The Accidental Fan: Who Are These Men and Why Are They Tackling Each Other?
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The Accidental Fan: Who Are These Men and Why Are They Tackling Each Other?
This article will commence a new, ongoing and semi-random series in my column: “Sports Films for NARPs.” Columns for this series will address sports films that are potentially accessible to non-sports fans.
The Accidental Fan: The Suplex Saga, Episode III — Return of the GLOW
On June 25, Dartmouth made a historic decision with the hiring of new senior associate athletics director Dr. Kristene Kelly, the first African American to hold a senior administrative position in the Dartmouth athletics department. Kelly comes to Dartmouth after spending the past two years as the athletic director at Keene State College and brings with her a passion for sports and high expectations for the various programs. A native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kelly comes from a diverse background of professional experiences, having been a member of sports administration teams at both Division II and Division III schools. After graduating as a member of the Class of 2000 from Johnson C. Smith University, Kelly has played a pivotal role in each of the athletic programs of which she has been a part. She served as an academic counselor and graduate assistant at the University of Tennessee, where she also earned her master’s degree. She served as the sports and information director at Johnson C. Smith for over six and a half years before moving on to sports administration. She then served as the senior associate athletics director at Saint Augustine’s University in North Carolina, supervising the 14-sport program before being hired as the athletic director at Keene State. Under her guidance, Kelly saw the Owls win eight conference championships and advance to eight NCAA postseason tournaments. Kelly has also emphasized the importance of balancing academics with athletic performance for student athletes. In the past two years, during her tenure, almost 200 student-athletes were recognized as All-Academic performers in the Little East Conference. Kelly will assume her new position in Hanover starting August 1.
The Accidental Fan: The Suplex Saga, Episode II - New Japan Strikes Back
For my next three columns, I am choosing to tackle a contested subject: professional wrestling. And yes, I am talking full on World Wrestling Entertainment Wrestlemania-style wrestling. First of all, if you are a casual sports fan, you might be wondering: “Is wrestling even a sport?” Well, it is certainly athletic. Doing all of those flips and hits sure is not easy. However, you might point out that all the fights are choreographed, and the winner is predetermined, which takes the sportsmanship out of it. After all, are not sports meant to be a contest with others, or at least with oneself?
In my last two columns, I focused on my personal entry points into baseball and hockey. However, I have yet to find my personal entry point into basketball. I have been to two basketball games in my life — three if you count the time I went to interview fans for The Dartmouth — though I was a little too preoccupied with interviews to focus on the game. Both professional games featured the Boston Celtics. I attended the first because my competitive dance team was asked to perform at TD Garden before the game. I’ll admit, my engagement was low. I was too busy focusing on not screwing up while dancing on the jumbotron. Besides, at the time, I could not fathom why people even liked sports.
Last season, men’s lacrosse had a disappointing campaign, finishing with a 2-11 record and zero wins in Ivy League play or on the road. The team struggled especially with offensive efficiency, scoring only 90 goals throughout the entire season, by far the lowest amongst Ivy League teams. The University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, tied for next fewest goals in the conference, scored 141 goals each. Consequently, the Big Green sported the lowest shot percentage in the Ivy League at 26.4 percent, while averaging a 6.2 goal loss per game. To address the team’s issues with offensive production, Dartmouth hired Joe Conner Jr. to serve as associate head coach and offensive coordinator.
I’ve heard lots of complaints about how hard hockey is to follow due to its fast pace. But that is exactly what makes it fun to watch. I am a fan of Boston teams, so my favorite hockey team is naturally the Boston Bruins. Recently, I went with a friend to a Bruins game. It was his first one, so throughout the evening he asked me numerous questions about the fast-paced game. I don’t think I gave him a single satisfactory answer by the standards of a true hockey fanatic, and yet we still had a fantastic time cheering the Bruins on to victory.
Dartmouth football recently announced its Class of 2022, with 29 student-athletes slated to join the team. The recruits hail from 16 different states, with five representing Florida alone. The class features a variety of new talent headlined by the welcoming of Jake Allen ’22, a transfer quarterback from the University of Florida, as well as John Paul Flores ’22, whose older brother Jacob Flores ’16 was a member of the Green Bay Packer’s practice squad in 2016.
Sports can be polarizing. Either two people root for competing teams or enjoy completely different sports, while in other cases, one person is a fan, and another is not. There is also a perceived tension between those who like the arts and humanities versus those who like sports. While people can like both, examples of harmony between the two in popular media are rare. In high school, I was one of those people who participated in the arts and did not care about sports. I knew people who liked both or were high school athletes, but I never took any interest. More recently, however, I have discovered several entry points for the casual fan and have had a lot of interesting sports experiences along the way. This column will explore the position of casual fans as well as the complex culture surrounding sports.
This year the men’s soccer teams will bid farewell to its three graduating seniors: Wyatt Omsberg '18, Matt Danilack '18 and Tyler Dowse '18, who have won four consecutive Ivy League titles over the course of their athletic careers . Their impact on the program has been immense, with the team finishing at the very bottom of the Ivy League in 2013 and finding itself at the top after their arrival in 2014 . This past season, the three seniors served as co-captains, finishing off their Dartmouth soccer careers without ever knowing what it’s like to be anything but the best in the Ivy League .
At the end of each academic year, The Dartmouth’s sports section puts up players to be voted upon by the student body as the best of the best. In this year’s The D Sports Awards, five of the top rookies, five of the top female athletes and five of the top male athletes were pitted against each other. The winners emerged only after a popular vote by members of the Dartmouth community. The D is happy to announce the following athletes as the winners of this year’s awards.
When Dartmouth’s Triathlon Club was founded five years ago by Kendall Farnham ’14, Sara Heard ’15 and Nicolina Mascia ’15., the group of students wanted to fill the void for athletes who wish to expand to multiple sports.
At the end of each academic year, The Dartmouth’s sports section puts up players and moments to be voted upon by the student body as the best of the best. In this year’s The D Sports Awards, five of the top rookies, five of the top female athletes and five of the top male athletes are pitted against each other, the winners emerging only after a popular vote by members of the Dartmouth community. In order to vote, students and community members must go to the link below to cast a single vote before Wednesday, May 23 at 12 p.m. The winners will be announced on Friday, May 25 in the next issue of The Dartmouth.
Over the course of the last four millennia, sports have served as an integral part of the human experience. With these contests drawing billions from around the world, marketing representatives constantly need to develop innovative approaches to engage fans throughout the year. However, what strategies do teams use to motivate fans to respond? What do some of these interactions look like? Do they differ among different sports?
Brian McLaughlin ’18 has had a magnificent Dartmouth career and is a veteran member of the varsity alpine ski team. McLaughlin has been on skis since he was two and competitive since he was young. A leader on the team and a notorious competitor, McLaughlin was already a prolific athlete by the time he started at Dartmouth, but he has proved himself even more.
Veteran head equestrian coach Sally Batton recently announced that the 2018-19 season will be her last. Recipient of the 2013 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Lifetime Achievement award, Batton will retire from an illustrious 29-year career that saw the Big Green win five Ivy League championships, highlighted by a 2014 team appearance in the IHSA Nationals.
In the world of sports, athletes often retire well past their prime, which only makes sense as ultra-competitive individuals struggle to deal with the decline of their abilities. Thankfully, this column avoids that awkward dilemma by never having had a prime in the first place. We’re not going out on top, per se, but we are most certainly going out.