Fair Game For Home Fans To Discuss D-III Teams?

As many of you are aware, I am part of the web-casting crew for Stevens Athletics on Empire8.tv. As a broadcaster, I have always felt that I can be as critical as appropriately necessary of a team (Stevens or otherwise) irrespective of the fact that I am hired by the Stevens Athletics Department. I think it is fair to say that my bosses have been more than fair regarding broadcasting practices that we do our best to provide as unbiased of a portrayal of a game as humanly possible. I think that accepting constructive criticisms is a part of growing up that allows programs to develop more thoroughly than just positive reinforcements of things they are doing correctly.

However, I have been thinking recently in conjunction with a friend of mine to start a discussion blog solely dedicated to talking about a given sport like soccer for which I am a big fan of and something that definitely has the most intense fan base on campus. This is a team that is less than 8 months removed from going to the National Championship game and has just released a very ambitious schedule of the 2009 regular season.

The moment the idea came to fruition, I had a feeling there might be some conflicting but legitimate issues that might arise. I don’t think any of the following issues are deal breakers in me trying to accomplish what I want to in the short run but could be more problematic in sustaining long term. I think the only reason this issue arises is because D-III is not nationally known as much as the D-I programs, so anything available is generally more than what’s out there for an average team.

In this age of technology, the first arising problem is how much information is too much information? You can be rest assured that all of these coaches, even at the Division III level, do their homework regarding scouting opposition teams, their players and tactics. As much as I would like to think my analysis of a given situation is accurate, I don’t think any coach or opposition is going to relying on the latest posts by a couple of college students and adjust their game plans accordingly.

There is no argument that such a forum gives perspective from the home side and probably something you generally don’t see highlighted very often but is discussing such a matter detrimental in any way to the progress and success of the team you root for? Is it that horrible of a thing to point out recent struggles in a rather specific manner or talking about formations or plays that have been more successful?

I really don’t expect this to be much of an issue but there was a minor incident at another school discussing in an open forum regarding upcoming schedules and issues with the team over the course of the season. The issue seems to be whether or not certain information should be copied over from a blog and posted on to a more popular source where the likelihood of it being read by an opposition greatly increases. I am going to stand by my stance that once it’s posted for the public to see, the original author has no claim or right towards where it gets published as long as it done so with proper accreditation.

Anyways, let me be clear that I feel fans as well as anyone else should be able to discuss what they want about any team they want. That also includes you readers who should feel free to let me know what you think of discussing especially about school sports programs and whether you think it hurts teams or not hearing from people closer to the program than maybe the average fan.

Also, stay tuned for an announcement regarding the start of the discussion blog regarding a Stevens sport coming towards you in approximately couple of weeks.

Soccer Coaching & Sportsmanship Story

I had planned to write about this last night but I was just too tired from class and coming home. I did become certified to coach soccer yesterday from NSCAA. It went by faster than I thought and Coach Tim O’Donohue who taught the course really did well. The only other experience I had with him was on the field when he is a passionate, fiery person to say the least but seeing him off the field and talking to him about soccer and just hearing what goes on in his head during a game was awesome. I’m thinking of maybe helping out with the Academy Eagles next year – maybe I’ll talk to Coach McNulty this week and see what she thinks (btw, she’s still the best coach I’ve ever met).

Anyways back to what I was gonna write about. It’s a remarkable story of sportsmanship unlike any other. My sister has it up from yesterday (link) and I’ll throw in an except from what she wrote.

While playing in a College Softball game (the loser would be eliminated from the playoffs), Sara Tucholsky scored her first home run (ever) but collapsed near the first base because of a knee injury. According to the first-base coach, her team could not help her because she would be called out, and even if a pinch runner was put in the home run would just count as a single. Unbelievably, two girls from the opposing team — vying for the playoff spots — picked Sara up and helped her touch the remaining bases and brought her back to home base.

In this day and age, where most people don’t even bother helping others in every day situations that would have no effect on them, these amazing girls helped the opposing team in a competitive setting, just so the results would be fair and Sara and her team would get what they deserved, while knowing they would be eliminated from the playoffs. – link

Below is a thumbnail of the two girls carrying their opponent around the bases. I read a couple of stories on it yesterday and one that really caught my eye was by George Vecsey from the NY Times where he asked whether the Oakland Athletics would have carried Kirk Gibson around the bases after he hit the home run off of them or really if we would have seen it anywhere else in professional sports. Maybe it’s a gender thing that the girls would do it the guys wouldn’t, maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions but it’s a great story nonetheless.

Update (1:50 PM): ESPN has a video up of the 3 girl involved and you can view it below.