Archive for January, 2013

The weather has been frightful but the men’s lacrosse players have been delightful

January 30, 2013

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

As you can see, we've dealt with some interesting conditions thus far.

As you can see, we’ve dealt with some interesting conditions thus far.

Last year I often bragged to friends back home in upstate New York that I was able to go an entire preseason without wearing my gloves.  What a difference a year makes!  So far this season the weather has reminded me of preseason lacrosse practices back home. From pre-practice snowball fights to after practice snow angels the team has been in great spirits and handled the undesired weather very well.  They have come out everyday regardless of the weather and competed.  I have been very pleased with the competition at each position.  It was obvious from the very first practice that the team has worked very hard in the off-season.

Just two weeks from today we will have our first game of the season.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done between now and then but the team is focused and I am confident we will get where we need to be to start the season.  I am unsure what the weather will be on that Tuesday evening, but I am certain that it will not phase this group.  At the end of the day despite the weather, the game of lacrosse is simple and comes down to passing, catching, and picking up ground balls.  The team that does that the best early in the season will likely be one of the few teams playing May.


Golf in Bermuda

January 25, 2013

By: Lydia Barit ’16
Women’s Golf

Golfing in Bermuda is an exceptional experience, and I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up playing golf there. Bermuda, though only 22 miles in length, is abundant with five 18-hole beautiful seaside golf courses, three of which I have played.  Although each course is special in its own right, each one presents you with a set of challenges that you rarely find elsewhere, especially in the United States.  Being next to the ocean, golfers experience a multitude of wind speed and direction changes in just one round.  Moreover, since Bermuda is a dead volcano, the contour of the island is not flat, a characteristic shown through its courses.  Hills, dips, drops, and curves are components of each course on the island, presenting golfers with yet another set of challenges.  Another element I find hard to deal with is the grass.  Since I received most of my instruction in Whitefish, Montana, where the bent grass is in perfect condition and there is plenty of soil to make a smooth divot in, I had difficulty employing the same technique in Bermuda after a month away, where there is little soil on top of the hard coral surface. From what my Dad tells me, it’s a lot more like playing golf in Scotland or Ireland than playing in the U.S., and learning how to hit the “bump and run” shot is essential!

Few things are more beautiful than playing the Mid-Ocean Course in Bermuda.

Few things are more beautiful than playing the Mid-Ocean Course in Bermuda.

There are few places more beautiful than Bermuda to tee it up. Looking out over the ocean while playing is breathtaking.  Feeling the salt on your skin after a gratifying round of getting over the hills and avoiding sudden wind shifts is one of the best feelings.  Furthermore, golfing in Bermuda really sharpens your game and toughens you mentally.  If you can score well in these challenging conditions, it bodes well for your golf back in the U.S. And for someone who is a traditionalist and appreciates golf history, having the opportunity to play on a course like Mid Ocean that was designed in 1923 by legendary golfer and designer Charles Blair MacDonald is very special. Instead of focusing on the amenities of golf (a snack stop every four holes, a cart service bringing out towels, going back to the clubhouse easily after nine holes), Mid Ocean presents you with a solid 18-hole course that just plain screams golf.

Although the conditions can be challenging and frustrating, and the terrain somewhat rugged and raw, I would never give up playing at home for anything.  When I fly home for breaks, I drive straight to the course to play with my Dad.  Being exposed to these challenges, I believe, has made me a more complete golfer, in that I am comfortable and confident with these specific challenges that come my way (and facing these challenges while looking over the ocean isn’t the worst thing ever!).  Teeing it up in Bermuda should be on any golfer’s Bucket List!

The Year in Movies

January 22, 2013

By: Chip Whipple
Assistant Sports Information Director

The Oscar nominations were recently released and it got me to thinking about movies. Not necessarily about the movies that were nominated, because I haven’t seen any of the movies that were nominated for Best Picture (I am really looking forward to seeing Silver Linings Playbook, Argo & Lincoln).

My wife, Lydia, and I don’t go out to the movies all that often, so we rely on Netflix to watch movies. I decided to create a Top 3 and Bottom 3 of movies I watched for the first time in 2012 and list the reasons why. Everyone has different criteria for why they like movies, but for me it is pretty simple: I just want to be entertained.

Bottom 3 Movies

This means war was certainly not one of my favorites

This means war was certainly not one of my favorites

3. This Means War – This was a movie that Lydia really wanted to watch. It is a classic Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy, which means it is not all that funny and the romantic parts don’t get you all that invested.

2. Wrath of the Titans – The Clash of the Titans remake was actually not a bad movie (it was average with some good action scenes), but this sequel was just one CGI monster after another. It was clearly a case of the studio making money off the first and trying to push out a sequel as quickly as possible. Plus there was not a memorable Liam Neeson line like “Release the Kraken” in Wrath.

1. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – I’m actually more than a little embarrassed that I watched this movie (I’m a sucker for comic book movies as you’ll see below). Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (Hard to believe, I know) is far removed from when he was a respectable actor, and now he mostly does cash grab movies. The first Ghost Rider was a bad movie, but one of those movies where it is so over the top and overacted that it makes it fun to watch. Spirit of Vengeance just made me want to slam my head against the table.

Top 3 Movies

The Avengers was definitely my favorite movie of 2012.

The Avengers was definitely my favorite movie of 2012.

3. The Five-Year Engagement – I really enjoy Jason Segal comedies. This movie wasn’t as funny as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I enjoyed it all the same. For a year that had a lot of bad comedy films (That’s my Boy, The Three Stooges, etc.), I’d put The Five-Year Engagement just ahead of 21 Jump Street on my favorite comedies I saw this year.

2. The Dark Knight Rises – Christopher Nolan just knows how to make well-crafted movies. Again, I really enjoy comic book movies and this definitely fits in that category. The pacing was a little slow in the middle of the movie and it wasn’t as good as The Dark Knight, but still a movie that I’d be happy to own.

1. The Avengers – Not only was director Joss Whedon able to tell the story and have it make sense with so many superheroes, but the part that makes this movie great was the build up to it. After having seen Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk, this was a capstone, which made all the time watching those movies really worth it. Let’s just hope as they build up to Avengers 2 everyone involved does the same great work.

ODAC Women’s Basketball

January 19, 2013

By: Christine Clancy
Head Women’s Basketball Coach

The ODAC is an interesting and exciting league to coach in.

The ODAC is an interesting and exciting league to coach in.

I have coached and played in four different division III conferences (UAA, NEWMAC, NESCAC, and ODAC), and the ODAC is the most interesting of the four. Not to say that other leagues are not competitive or interesting, because they are and they regularly have teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, but the ODAC is unique because of its diversity. The profiles of the 12 schools are very different and as a result each team in the league has a very different personality and playing style. This diversity leads to some interesting match-ups and results. I am always intrigued to see the final scores from league games and am often surprised by the results.

It is a fun league to coach in; you see a different style of play and different offensive systems most every night … because Shenandoah was added to the conference we now have 12 teams, play an unbalanced conference schedule (every team once and ½ of the teams in league twice), and everyone makes the ODAC tournament. Right now, with nine conference games left, anything could happen and anyone could walk away from the season as the ODAC Champion.

Individual players and teams have the motivation to compete every night as they are assured a play-off position and they fight to improve their standing in league. As a coach, to motivate players, you have to remind them that anything can happen in the post-season.

In the UAA, where I played as an undergrad at Brandeis, as a result of the geographic diversity of the conference, there is no conference tournament – teams may know very early in conference play that their post-season hopes are non-existent. As a player, I loved the UAA, but I do envy my players and their opportunity to compete in the ODAC tournament.

When the three seniors on the team were freshmen, the team won the ODAC as the underdogs … To know that this is possible and to have leaders who experienced that championship run is exciting. I don’t know if we will make a championship run this year, but I do know that it is possible and this possibility makes every practice and every game even more fun, exciting, and competitive!


My Bucket List

January 15, 2013

By: Brittani Sahm
Sports Information Assistant

Just in case anyone was wondering, the flu is all around us and it is as horrible as everyone says it is. I know because I was stuck in my bed for almost a week doing absolutely nothing but watching TV and drinking water. Lesson of the day: wash your hands.

The time alone was actually good for me because it gave me some quiet time to think about life and where I’m headed. Then I remembered I’m turning 23 in less than a month. Wait, what! Everyone laughs at me when I say this because I’m still the baby around here, but I feel like life is moving at lightning speed without stopping to see how I’m doing. With that, I made myself a bucket list. All of the things I want to do in my life. We’ll see how this goes. I’ll even give a sneak preview into some of my biggest dreams.

1. Tour Europe
Maybe this seems a bit cliché since I have yet to make it past Ohio (I know…), but Europe has always fascinated me. The different languages and cultures in such a small area are astounding. My main destination would have to be Paris. I took French in high school and I feel kind of cheated that I never actually got to see the place I learned about for all of those years. One day I’ll be delightfully sipping wine and eating crepes in the show of the Eiffel Tower. Hey, a girl can dream.

2. Learn to surf
This is kind of silly. But seriously, how cool would it be to know how to surf? I get to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the ocean and I could be one of those people other people on the beach want to be. Yeah, I could totally see myself doing this.

Lambeau Field is one of those places I absolutely need to see.

Lambeau Field is one of those places I absolutely need to see.

3. Go to Lambeau Field
If anyone doesn’t already know, I am a Green Bay fan. Why Green Bay? Can’t really tell you the exact reason why, but I have loved Brett Favre for most of my life. It just kind of happened that I turned into a GB lover. Lambeau Field is one of those places where I absolutely will go one day, as soon as I have enough money to even think about it. There is so much history in the stadium and I’ve heard awesome things about it and the town. I NEED to experience it for myself.

4. Finish an Ironman
Sports are my life, as you can tell by my working in college athletics. I ran track all the way through college and I still can’t get away from exercising. I love it and I love a challenge. Last April I finished a half-marathon, my first one ever! Since that moment, I knew I could train for anything I put my mind to. This goal won’t be accomplished for a long time because of the immense amount of training it takes, so I’ll tackle this once I settle down.

So there you go, some of my biggest dreams in life. My boss, Brian, just mentioned today that you have to take advantage of the time you have now because it goes by way too fast. I may still be a “young adult” but I understand the message. You have the live for the moment, and I think my bucket list will keep me plenty busy.

Training Trip 2012-13

January 11, 2013

By: John Geissinger
Assistant Swimming Coach

The Generals enjoyed some sun and fun amidst the training.

The Generals enjoyed some sun and fun amidst the training.

The Washington & Lee Swim Team heads into the New Year coming off a great week of training in sunny Miami, Florida. The trip consisted of doubles, LC meters, and PTR (Prime Time Rays)* We even spent an evening in South Beach, sampling the local sushi and enjoying the people watching that was provided. Between sessions some particularly aggressive athletes (Eric Shuman) entertained the team with adept and amusing body surfing skills.

While the athletes were excited to be in a tropical location the focus never left what we were there for: to train. With only 28 days left until the ODAC Championship and 33 days until the BMC Championship everyone must begin their championship preparation. There is still work to be done and all of us down at the pool are excited to get to it!

Hitting Reset

January 8, 2013

By: Scott Abell
Head Football Coach

The Winter Break was well needed, but its great having everyone back in Lexington.   I will admit at the beginning of each break I find it calming that the small city life of Lexington is a little more peaceful, but it does not take me long to also realize that so much of what makes Lexington so fantastic is its students.

Moving to Lexington four years ago was one of the best things to ever happen to my family.  I did not realize it at the time, but what a remarkable impact that both our campus here at Washington and Lee and the campus of VMI have on not just my family but our entire community.

As a resident of Lexington I feel blessed to share this town with two universities that exemplify such honor and character in everything that is done on each of their respected campuses.  So I will deal with the added dart across the road from a student running late or the occasional extra time waiting at local restaurants because it’s worth it.  Welcome back students!

2013 NFL Playoffs

January 4, 2013

By: Brian Laubscher
Sports Information Director

The 2012 NFL season was significant for me even if it was rather insignificant as it pertains to the Philadelphia Eagles.  Aside from their smoke and mirrors 3-1 start to the season, it was a miserable year for the Birds, who won one of their final 12 games to finish 4-12 overall.  As you could read in my November 9 post, I gave up on this season long ago.

What this did was teach me that I could find joy simply in watching the games.  The whole thing looks so much different when you’re not absolutely miserable about your own team.  Even fantasy football was that much better.  Usually when the Eagles would lose, I would be pissed for any other people that experienced the joy of seeing their team win.  I would rather they feel the same miserable feeling that I was experiencing due to a loss.  Screw em’ I would think.  Let them feel awful too.

Parker sporting his Eagles jersey after he learned Andy Reid had been fired on December 31!

Parker sporting his Eagles jersey after he learned Andy Reid had been fired on December 31!

That miserable wretched person was replaced by a kinder and gentler soul this midseason, someone who actually is looking forward to the playoffs this year.  Usually I’m pissed off the other teams are in it or I’m scared to death that the Eagles will disappoint me yet again.  Nope, not this year.  Andy is gone and the future looks bright.  Even Parker was allowed to wear his Eagles jersey as of December 31!

So, in honor of my new outlook on the NFL, I’m going to offer my unbiased opinion on the 2013 NFL Playoffs.  Here we go.

Cincinnati (10-6) at Houston (12-4)

– I’m taking Houston in this matchup simply because I had Andy Dalton and A.J. Green on my fantasy team and I noticed that the duo hooked up with less frequency as the season went along.  Dalton was particularly bad, especially against the Eagles a few Thursdays ago – and no one struggled against the Eagles this season.  Of course Houston stumbled a bit down the stretch, but I just don’t think the Bengals have enough offense to keep up with Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and company.  Houston wins 27-21.

Minnesota (10-6) at Green Bay (11-5)
Sure, the Vikings defeated the Pack, 37-34, just last weekend to make the playoffs and end Lovie Smith’s reign in Chicago.  It was an inspired effort by Adrian Peterson, who had one of the finest seasons ever by a running back, even if it was enough to help my wife’s fantasy team win this season.  At the end of the day, this game is in Green Bay and the Pack have Aaron Rodgers.  Minnesota has Christian Ponder.  Aside from marrying Samantha Steele back on December 17, his season has been mediocre and average quarterbacks simply do not win in the playoffs.  Chalk this one up for the fighting Lombardi’s by a score of 26-14.

Indianapolis (11-5) at Baltimore (10-6)
As much as I really do want to pick Andrew Luck in this spot, he’s still a rookie quarterback playing on the road without the benefit of a running game or a stout defense.  The Ravens will win one for Ray Lewis to extend his Hall of Fame career.  Final score is 31-23 Baltimore.

Seattle (11-5) at Washington (10-6)
I’ve hated the Redskins pretty much since 1981, but this is the first season I’ve actually wanted them to win.  Not for the Skins, but for my many friends who feel like they’ve been suffering for far too long.  Hard to say you’re suffering when you’ve won numerous Super Bowls in my lifetime, but I did like seeing a lot of folks happy about them making the playoffs.  I also sort of like RGIII and Pierre Garcon.  Doesn’t matter though.  They’re still the Skins and they’re still playing with a rookie QB who is looking like he’s still not 100 percent.  Wilson is a rookie too, but his defense is much better in my opinion.  The Seahawks are the only team to get it done on the road, winning 17-13.

Baltimore at Denver (13-3)

No way Peyton Manning loses this game, especially with a re-energized running game led by Knowshon Moreno and a quality defense.  Aside from that, I also had Flacco in my fantasy league and he was terrible with the exception of a few huge games.  The Ravens also underutilized Ray Rice all season and they’ll pay for that mentality in this one.  Broncos win 33-20.

Houston at New England (12-4)
Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd.  Too many weapons.  Enough said.  Patriots win 42-24.

Seattle at Atlanta (13-3)
As much as I want to take Atlanta here, their playoff record comes into question.  They’ve been awful in the playoffs, especially Matt Ryan.  The pressure will be on Ryan too, since the Falcons couldn’t run against the Generals defense.  Seattle squeeks by 24-23.

Green Bay at San Francisco (11-4-1)
The 49ers are built to win in the playoffs. They run the ball, use play action passing and commit very few turnovers.  They also have a rocked up defense led by stud LB’s Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith.  Green Bay’s offensive line has been a sieve all season their running backs have been the worst in the league (trust me, I had all of them in fantasy at some point this season).  It’s not going to be any better against this defense.  San Francisco wins 27-14.

New England at Denver
A classic battle between two the best quarterbacks of my generation.  I just think that the Patriots have too many weapons and I hold Belichick in more regard than John Fox.  New England wins a shootout, 38-34.

Seattle at San Francisco
This is where the run ends for the Seahawks and rookie QB Russell Wilson.  The teams split the season series, with the Seahawks winning in Seattle by a score of 42-13.  This one’s going to be in San Francisco and Harbaugh will get the best of Carroll, just as he did at Stanford.  The 49ers win this one, 21-14.

New England vs. San Francisco
At the end of the day, Colin Kaepernick is the San Fran QB and Tom Brady is still the best big-game QB going.  It’s not going to come easy against the Niners’ defense, but I can see Brady hooking up with Gronk for at least 2 TD’s as the Pats pull out a 23-17 win.  It pains me to say it, but the Patriots are a dynasty and the 49ers just can’t wake up the echos of Bill Walsh to get enough O to win this one.

So there you have it.  My picks for the NFL playoffs in 2013.  Enjoy everybody!