Archive for December, 2012

Oh Christmas Wreath

December 14, 2012

By: Alison Kapuska
Assistant Athletic Trainer

Me and Sis

Ahhh the memories!

The holidays are a very non-traditional time in the Kapuska household. When I was younger, we had TV commercial holiday celebrations. My family is originally from the suburbs of Chicago. We would split Christmas Eve and Christmas day with both sides of my family. The dinners and the “one at a time” present opening, even an occasional Santa visit.  But then the family moved to the frozen tundra of Minnesota and we adopted a more non-traditional holiday celebration.  We would every couple of years celebrate Christmas in Chicago, but a majority of the time we would be in MN.

One of our favorite traditions was seeing movies and eating Mexican food on Christmas Eve, which leads to leaving celebratory milk and cookies for Santa. But instead of milk would be Santa’s adult beverage of choice that would go along with our Mexican themed dinner if you know what I mean. I should add that this still occurs. We started another tradition 2 years ago when I wasn’t able to get back to MN in time to buy a Christmas tree. Shocking enough, you can buy a Christmas tree in MN at the end of October, but they are nowhere to be found the day before Christmas Eve.

Today

And the new traditions!

So instead we found the most beautifully decorated Christmas wreath that we hung with pride on our wall next to the fake tree. We kept up the Christmas wreath this year although we decorated it our selves (which means my mom and sister decorated it). We got the whole experience by going to the Christmas tree farm the week of thanksgiving it was fabulous. Thankfully there wasn’t any snow and it was quite pleasant out.

Our holiday plans this year are the best yet we will head south to Florida. We will be spending Christmas Eve in Disney World and Christmas day at Harry Potter land. I’m really excited about spending time with the family in a relaxing/sunny atmosphere. They reported getting around 17 inches of snow last week in MN so ill take a pass at that this year. One thing I know for sure is that as long as you’re with family and people you love you can be anywhere and have an amazing holiday.

They’re Playing Basketball

December 12, 2012

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

Something Here

The Rockbridge Special Olympians & SAAC members

Last Wednesday night our men’s basketball team played their last home game before starting final exams.  The team played extremely well, pulling out a 16-point victory in entertaining fashion.  The team shot very well from the field, which must have been contagious that night.

During halftime of the game, Washington and Lee University’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) played a short basketball game with Special Olympians from Rockbridge County.   There were plenty of great plays by both teams, which included some great passes into the paint for easy buckets.  The execution on offensive was impressive throughout the game as the teams shot very well from the field.  The highlight from the night was when one of the Olympians stepped back and hit a 3-pointer from NBA range, which brought the crowd to their feet!  It was a great shot, so great that members from both teams stopped playing to cheer and high-five each other.  As the game clock started counting down that same Olympian hit a buzzer beater to end the game, again bringing the crowd to their feet!

Was it a game-winning basket?  No one knows because no one had any idea of the score, and nobody cared.  It was great to see the athletes on both sides smiling and having fun.  As a competitor and coach, this mini game that was played at halftime, helped remind me of the important things in life; the final score and wins and losses did not matter that night!

Is golf the sport of the future?

December 10, 2012

By: Jake Elijah Struebing
W&L Junior Golfer

sandWhether we golfers like to admit it or not, our sport is currently in a state of upheaval. According to the National Golf Foundation, for the third consecutive year, the number of golfers in the U.S. declined, falling 3.6 percent to 26.1 million in 2010. The numbers in 2011 indicate another, albeit smaller loss of participation. Even the continued parity at the top of the professional golfing world, between the fall of Tiger and the rise of Rory, and the corresponding drop in television ratings, reflects these trends. Similarly, the global economic recession is devastating the game in European countries plagued by high unemployment. The PGA of America has, to their credit, responded to these disturbing numbers, instituting programs such as “Play Golf America” and “Tee it Forward.” These initiatives attempt to grow the game by making the game more accommodating for the beginner golfer. But, as recently as last week, the USGA and R&A banned the anchoring of a putter for all golfers, even amateurs. This action makes the game more difficult for the average-joe and reinforces the negative reputation of the USGA and R&A as protectors of the antiquated, country-club tradition.

So where do we go from here? Golf can still be the sport of the future considering the scientific and technological innovations occurring both on the course and in the laboratory. I am proud to say that my brother, Jesse Struebing, the golf coach at MIT, is joining this golfing revolution. The MIT golf program is partnering with Robert Goldberg, a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience to develop a method for tracking stress levels on the golf course. This innovative new study was recently published in the Wall Street Journal in an article by Scott Cacciola.

Dr. Goldberg’s research resulted in a “wristband that measures stress in real time by shooting small electrical charges into sweat glands.” That data is then relayed via Bluetooth to an iPhone app, which displays stress levels in graphical form. The hope is that “golfers – and their coaches – can use that information to understand what triggers stress on the course and then go about unearthing solutions.”

phoneThe image to the right shows a spike in my brother’s stress levels after mishitting an approach into a sand trap. But the research also has everyday life implications. Anyone can use the device to monitor and manage stress. In particular, Dr. Goldberg plans on targeting groups who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to a broader mix of consumers ranging from “pregnant women” to “tech geeks.” The device, called “Bandu,” is expected to hit the market in 2014. Jerry Yang, the co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo, is one of the lead investors on the project.

The device, by making the game easier and more readily understandable, has the potential to draw a diverse array of people into the golfing world. It brings scientists and academics into the sport, the technologically inclined into the golf business, and gives athletes a new to way to look at their performance. I can think of no way to better grow the game in the 21st century.

A lot to be proud of

December 5, 2012

By: Christine Clancy
Head Women’s Basketball Coach

As a coach, I have always put an emphasis on the defensive end of the basketball. It is my philosophy that if you can defend, you can play with any team in the country. The team has bought into my defensive mind-set and their commitment to our defense has limited our opponents’ ability to score and as a result, we have found ourselves in all six of our games this season.

I am so proud of the physical and mental effort that the team puts into every possession. No one on our roster is over 5’10 (with the exception of the 3 coaches…) and thus far we have battled with teams that have at least one, if not more, 6’0 post players. We have used hard work and intelligence to counteract size and speed and we have created frustration for the teams that we have faced.

The success on the defensive end has been overshadowed by our struggles on the offensive side of the basketball. We are in a shooting slump and this has frustrated our players…

I am so proud of this group of women for the way they have played defense and competed this season.

I am so proud of this group of women for the way they have played defense and competed this season.

Despite our scoring woes, I have faith in what we are doing and the potential of this young team. We will continue to develop chemistry on the court and confidence in our shots, and this will lead to more success on the offensive end.

As our students head into finals, we will continue to work hard and get better everyday. There is a lot to be proud of and many successes to come!

What Kind of Dog is Best for Us

December 4, 2012

The Generals’ basketball seasons started a few weeks ago and that means that I will be at almost every home men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as the men’s road games. This leads into a talking point that my wife, Lydia, and I have been thinking about getting a dog. What does getting a dog and basketball season have in common?

Don't you just want to give it a big hug.

Don’t you just want to give it a big hug.

Basically, I’m not home as often, so it will give Lydia a companion when I’m not around. Also, we both love dogs, and this might just speed up the process of getting one.

Now, if we do end up with a new pup, we have to figure out what kind of dog we want. We both came from homes that had dogs when we were kids. My family had a mutt, Maggie, that we rescued from the animal shelter and then a pair of golden retrievers, Yoder and Gus. Lydia’s family had a couple of rescue beagles, Copper and Cricket. Lydia’s parents also took in her brother’s dog a few years back. He’s a pitbull-boxer mix named Marley. So looking at what we might get, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite types of dogs.

My all-time favorite, and one I will definitely own at some point in my life is a Newfoundland. It’s basically like a normal

dog except like three times as large (as you can see from the photo) and looks like a bear. I’ve always thought they were good-looking dogs. Not only do they look cool, but according to the American Kennel club “sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland.” How can you go wrong with a dog constantly called a gentle giant?

A dog that can skateboards, um, not much is better than that.

A dog that can skateboard, um, not much is better than that.

Of course, the down side is right now we don’t have a lot of space and Newfoundlands are expensive dogs. I mean, they probably eat as much as I do in a month.

So let’s go to the other end of the spectrum and look at an English Bulldog. They come in a small package, but any type of dog that can skateboard (pictured) is all right in my book. Plus, look at that face. How can any not be happy looking at that face? Out of all the smaller dog types, this is my favorite. For some reason it just feels like a bigger dog than it is.

The third and final dog I’ll list here is a Bernese Mountain Dog. Obviously bigger than an English Bulldog, but smaller than a Newfoundland. The coloring of the breed is unique (just look at the adorable puppy) and it loves being outdoors. And as many of you know, there are great places to spend time in the outdoors around Lexington. If I had to pick a purebred dog right now, it would probably be this one.

Try not to smile looking at this.

Try not to smile looking at this.

My wife and I are very flexible when it comes to what kind of dog we might get (we really do like all types, although I’m more of a big-dog guy than a small-dog guy), so we may end up with a dog from a shelter before getting a purebred later in our lives.

What I would like to do and we’ve had some difficulty in the past doing this, but I would like to know what you think in the comments below. You can post about your favorite type of dog, what you think I should get or anything else you believe is relevant to this specific blog. As long as you don’t start talking about cats (kidding – maybe).