Archive for November, 2012

Recounting the Thanksgiving Holiday

November 27, 2012

By: Brittani Sahm
Sports Information Assistant

The normal topic to talk about after Thanksgiving would be how many pounds of food I ate or the infamous Black Friday shopping. I actually tried to control myself on the overeating this holiday and my shopping spree desires ended when people started to line up outside of stores at 5 pm on Thanksgiving Day. No thank you. Instead, I want to recognize and thank all of the awesome people that make every holiday so very special.

First of all, this time of the year usually brings a ton of anxiety for me. Not only because of the gazillion people clogging the roads and the stores, but mostly because I’m supposed to be three different places at once, literally. I come from a divorced family, and both of my parents are engaged. That means I have, at the very least, three families to visit on the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with all of them, but planning the day around everyone else’s schedule can be a bit stressful.

I was thankful for the Turkey Trot to burn off some of the calories from Thanksgiving.

This year, I added one more thing to do on Thanksgiving: Run a 5K Turkey Trot! It went well and I’m glad I did it after I counted all of the calories I ate.

We always start our Thanksgiving with an early lunch with my mom’s family. My grandma is the best cook I know and the food never disappoints. I have three aunts, who all bring their husbands, and seven cousins who try to fit in one kitchen with my family of five. It is by far the loudest house of the day because us women just can’t be quiet. Add in four medium to large sized dogs that always find their way inside and you have the perfect combination for disaster. I love every second of it though because the holidays wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t a little dysfunctional. This year we even got a surprise phone call from my younger cousin Cris who just left for the Army! Great way to end my first meal of the day.

Next up was my stepmom’s family. Now that my younger brother has his license, he gets to escort me and my younger sister around. It really is great to be oldest. Anyway, my stepmom also has a huge family and everyone gets together to eat, laugh, watch football and play some poker. I ditched the poker this year… I was sick of losing. I couldn’t resist the delicious homemade cinnamon rolls despite my very full stomach. I even skyped my sister in Arizona and talked to her and my baby niece for a little bit. We really wished she could be with us this year…

This family really has become one of my own even though I wasn’t born into it. I have more people I can feel completely comfortable around and who accept me and my brother and sister. I wouldn’t have my sister Chelsea or my second mom to grow up with and I wouldn’t have half of the memories or experiences if it weren’t for them. I am thankful every day for them and wouldn’t be the same if I weren’t a Sahmofalo (our cheesy, but awesome, nickname).

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about family and I enjoyed seeing mine!

Finally, we ended our day this year at my stepdad’s. We don’t normally go there on Thanksgiving, but they were in town this year and it is always nice to see more family. I obviously did not eat anything there, but at that point the day was almost over. I burned off the 4,000 calories I ate earlier in the day by running around with the little kids. My stepdad’s sister has four boys, with only one of them over the age of 10. It gives me a reason to act like a kid again! I fit in pretty well with them anyway, considering my height and all.

I’ve only known this family for a few years, but they are some of the most generous people I know. I am the oldest “grandchild” and was in college when I came into their life. They are HUGE Syracuse Orange fans and they fully support my obsession with the basketball team and take me to some of the games when I am in NY. All jokes aside, I have yet another family I can hang out with and talk to about anything. My life really wouldn’t be the same without them.

I saw some of my dad’s family throughout the week because they have other plans on the holidays, but I am still grateful for the time I do see them. I add more aunts, uncles and cousins than I can count at this time, making my family seem even bigger than I’ve ever realized. I guess its not the size of the family, but the fact that I have so many people I can rely on and love that makes all the difference.

I’d like to send one more huge thank you to ALL of my families that make every holiday and every day that much more awesome. It may be a little stressful finding time to see everyone, but it really is all worth it.

Give Thanks

November 19, 2012

By: John Geissinger
Assistant Swimming Coach

So proud of my wife Alex!

As this season of gratitude comes closer, I find myself reflecting more and more on what I have.  Often I’m so focused on what I want and what I think I need, that I forget to count my many blessings.  Early last month my wife, Alex, was called on to be an anonymous bone marrow donor for a man with leukemia.  She donated 1.2 liters of her marrow, making her extremely anemic, fatigued and sore– all for a person she’s never met.  Instead of complaining, she was just so excited to have this opportunity to help her fellow man, and I was struck by her willingness to sacrifice.  Sometimes, in the midst of life, I fail to remember how lucky I am to even have my health.  In fact, like most of us at Washington & Lee, I have health in abundance.

My wife decided that since she had so much to be thankful for that she needed to give to someone who had less, and that’s a great lesson for me.  Not everyone has the chance to give the gift of life and health, but we all have the opportunity to offer kindness in our daily life.  Equally important is the responsibility to be thankful.  If you attend college, you are among a select few people in the world with an abundance of food, clothing, health, shelter, money, and support.  Do yourself a favor, and take a moment every day to remember how incredibly lucky you are.  Thank those who have helped you get where you are, and remember that you can help others get where they need to be.

In a field marked by constant competition, it’s easy to overlook the small successes in life.  This Thanksgiving, remember that every day of your life is a tribute to the successes that have come before, and a prelude to the accomplishments you are bound to have.  Enjoy your family and friends this season, and take a few minutes to learn about bone marrow donation.  Even if you don’t want to donate your marrow, you can always donate your time or resources.  Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Getting things off my chest

November 9, 2012

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

Yesterday I was in Salem, Va., for the annual ODAC women’s basketball media day which aside from being a nice event to publicize the conference’s teams, is always a good opportunity to catch up with the sports information directors from around the league.

I generally received two questions from these folks:

1. How is Parker doing … family life seems to be treating you well.  (It was also nice to hear from one former W&L assistant that I can sire a pretty darn cute child.  One of my more proud moments)

2. It’s nice to see that you’ve survived another Sunday of Eagles football

It was then that the light bulb went on and I realized that my pride for my son and my disappointment in the Eagles is pretty much all I post on my facebook page anymore.  What else would they really have known about me from the last few months.

Asking about my son and knowing how proud I am of him was legitimate and noteworthy.  Reliving some of my rants from how the Eagles have performed was far from noteworthy and probably a little embarrassing.  So, I’ve decided to get it all of my chest in today’s blog and then go radio silent regarding the Philadelphia Eagles for the remainder of the season.

I’m just tired of seeing this same scene every Sunday

I have trouble controlling my emotions when it comes to my favorite team.  I have a great love for my other teams: The Philadelphia Phillies, Penn State Football, Villanova Basketball, all of Washington and Lee athletics, but it all pales in comparison to my love of the Eagles.

When I was a child and my parents wanted to punish me in the fall/winter (usually because I wouldn’t behave in church), all they had to do was reveal the threat of no Eagles on the TV and I generally straightened out.  On the rare occasion that I didn’t, I would listen to the radio call on my clock radio in my room, usually without their knowledge.  I used to live and die with every game and would be upset until Wednesday or Thursday after every Sunday loss – and there were a lot of them in the 80’s despite playing in the 1981 Super Bowl.

I would be upset with every loss in those days, but I rarely felt what I now feel – disappointment.  I rooted for them and wanted them to win, but I rarely expected them to.  That’s what six losing seasons in your first seven years of rooting for a team will do.

It wasn’t until 1988 when I started to feel differently.  The Eagles turned the corner and made the playoffs following a 10-6 season.  The team had a devastating defense coached by Buddy Ryan and led by Reggie White, Clyde Simmons and Jerome Brown and an electric offense paced by Randall Cunningham, Mike Quick, Chris Carter (yes, he actually was an Eagle until we released him because of drug problems), Keith Jackson and Keith Byers.  It was then that I actually had aspirations that the Eagles could actually make it back to a Super Bowl.  It all ended on Soldier Field in the game known as the Fog Bowl.  I still say we make it all the way if not for the fog that grounded our passing game that day.

The fog bowl was one of the most bizarre scenes in pro football history

The 1988 season was the first of five-straight seasons of 10 or more wins, four of which resulted in playoff births.  We won just one playoff game in all that time, a 36-20 victory over the Saints in 1995.

Following sub-par seasons in 1993 & 1994, Philly went back into the playoffs in 1995 & 1996, winning a 58-37 wild card game against the Lions in 1995.

Most of these seasons ended with my being upset, but my expectations were mostly that I was happy to see them in the playoffs.  It wasn’t until 2001 that my hopes and disappointments started to soar.

Andy Reid was hired as the Eagles head coach in 1999 and drafted Donavon McNabb with his first pick.  I loved the pick and the next season Reid and McNabb lifted the Birds’ from 5-11 in 1999 to 11-5 and the Divisional Playoffs in 2000.

In 2001 the Eagles advanced all the way to the NFC Championship game before falling to the greatest show of turf, the St. Louis Rams led by former Eagle coach Dick Vermeil and quarterback Kurt Warner.  I wasn’t disappointed by the loss, merely happy to have come so far and knowing that we had a young team that could make it back in the next year or so.  The Eagles did better.  They made it to the NFC Championship game each of the next three seasons and as the top seed each time.  And each time, they took a piece of my heart and stepped on it.  The 2002 season we went 12-4 and had the Buccaneers at home; at the miserable Veterans Stadium, where we would most assuredly kill them.  The Bucs had never won a game played at something like less than 32 degrees and it was colder than that.  Of course, we lost 27-10 and the Bucs went on to win the Super Bowl.  The next year it was against the Panthers, who never had a prayer of sniffing a Super Bowl.  McNabb suffered a rib injury and Jake Delhomme led the Panthers to the big game where they narrowly lost to the Patriots.

So the next year had to be it and we finally came through.  Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots.  We went 13-3 in the regular season and all looked good, especially with the return of Terrell Owens from injury.  In the end, Andy Reid’s poor clock management and a quarterback who tossed his cookies on the field in front of everybody was too much to overcome and we lost.  Disappointment, again.

I hate Kurt Warner mostly because of this moment in time as he celebrated my misfortune.

And then, it happened.  The 2008 team was again a disappointment, but so was everyone else and they backed into the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record (the one tie was the game McNabb notoriously said he didn’t know you could tie).  Then they beat the Vikings in the first round, knocked off the Giants in the divisional round and advanced to the NFC Championship game again, one game away from the Super Bowl and only the pathetic Arizona Cardinals in front of them.  W&L Track & Field Coach Nate Hoey (also a Birds fan) and I cashed in a few chips and worked out a scenario where we could get Super Bowl tickets, cheap direct flights to Tampa and a place to crash.  It was going to be a fly out day of the Super Bowl, watch the game, fly back on Monday morning and back in the office by 2 pm Monday afternoon.  It was perfect until we stunk up the first half against the Cards and trailed 24-6 at halftime.  I swear I was ready to murder anyone who walked in my line of sight.  And then miraculously, we scored 19-straight to take a 26-25 lead in the fourth quarter.  Then Warner, the same man who defeated the Eagles in the 2001 NFC Championship game, guided the Cards on a 74-yard drive that crushed my dreams with less than 3:00 left.  Not only were the Eagles not going to the Super Bowl, neither was I.  A once in a lifetime opportunity gone.

The next two years the Eagles again made the playoffs but lost in the Wildcard round.  In 2011, every big name free agent joined the Eagles and there was dynasty talk.  All this did was build up even more expectations that would fall flat.  An 8-8 season last year where we turned the ball over at a staggering rate and a miserable start to this season where a bunch of high-priced stiffs have underachieved and with a quarterback who has so reverted to his old self that I wouldn’t be surprised if he sacrificed a live Chihuahua at the 50-yardline during pregame introductions.

I’ve had enough.  Enough hoping and pacing and cursing and cheering and any other adjective to describe what goes through a person’s veins when they break from reality and hope for something that they only wish to see once in their lifetime.  I’m not finished rooting for them.  Let’s face it, I never will be.  But I am as long as Andy Reid is fumbling over the time on the clock and how best to call his timeouts after a false start penalty in the first five minutes of the second half.  I’m done with passes on second and third and goal from the 2-yardline.  I’m done with Michael Vick throwing interceptions or fumbling for six points the other way when we’re in the red zone.  I’m done with watching the defense let people walk the ball down the field in the fourth quarter.  I’m just done for this season.

The Eagles play the Cowboys, our most hated and dreaded opponent this Sunday in a national game at 4:25 pm and I’ll most likely be checking out the new Trader Joe’s store in Charlottesville.  That’s where this journey has taken me for the moment – picking out cheap wine so I can drown my sorrows.

So that’s it.  There’s my final rant of the season.  Case closed.  I just hope and pray that Andy and Michael Vick are never allowed in the Philadelphia city limits ever again.  At that point, I’ll start watching again.

Thanks for listening.

A Great Day to be a General!

November 6, 2012

By: Alison Kapuska
Assistant Athletic Trainer

Saturday, November 3 — What a Day!

Saturday November 3rd was an intense day to say the least. As an athletic trainer I’m used to standing on the sidelines experiencing first hand the stress of an important game. I deal by pacing, filling water bottles, closing my eyes, and wishing I could fast forward time.  Not this past Saturday I experienced football’s amazing victory from the stands amongst the crowd. A crowd that was filled with fans, family, and on this occasion several athletic department staff members. Lets just say we can get a little rowdy when together. Which not gonna lie was tons of fun!

After the game and each over time would finish up and we were still tied was unreal. The collective gasps and cheers from the parents were crazy. I can’t even do the experience justice with words. The highlight from the game for me was watching the celebration following the 4OT field goal! It was awesome. The crowd was all signaling “its good!!” and the guys rushed onto the field. I wasn’t sure if my heart could take any more excitement.  But then I realized that volleyball was one game away from an ODAC championship also. We had been in communication with Matt Phillips who is the athletic trainer with VB who informed us of our semifinal victory and we were counting down till championship game time. At this point we had to rely on live stats and lots of refreshing. Once VB had sealed their victory I couldn’t be more excited for all the athletes. They work so hard through out preseason, practices, and games to achieve these big victories.  Saturday was definitely a great day to be a General!

Friday Night Lights

November 2, 2012

By: Nat St. Laurent
Assistant Men’s Lacrosse Coach

One of our goal celerations

This past Friday night, I was fortunate enough to be part of the 26th Annual Lee-Jackson Lacrosse Classic.  It was a great atmosphere on Wilson Field as we were able to play in front of an outstanding crowd that was there not only to watch a lacrosse game, but also to raise money for the local Special Olympics chapter and raise awareness and support for child cancer.  In the early stages of the game I started getting the feeling that this was going to be another knock down drag out Lee-Jackson Lacrosse Classic.  We held a small lead after the first quarter and then in the second quarter, our Generals exploded to score eleven goals in the quarter to take a 16-3 halftime lead.  In nine years of coaching college lacrosse I have never been in a game where we were that efficient in executing our game plan.  We went on to celebrate another Generals victory in the Lee-Jackson Classic.

The victory was a complete team effort.  I was very impressed in how engaged and dialed in our team was as soon as we took the field for warm ups.  There is something about being a part of the Lee-Jackson game that brings an extra amount of intensity and emotions.  In fact, I remember after a few of our goals the players on the sidelines were celebrating so much that a small mosh pit broke out!  It was great to see teammates supporting each other so much during the game.

Winning the Lee-Jackson Classic is a great way to end the fall season.  We should be proud of the men in Blue and White as they brought their A-game for sure!  Though we played well and dominated the game, there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve the kind of season we all hope to have.