Home Runs

Yesterday, there were 50 home runs hit in the MLB. That’s a lot of baseballs going out of the park.

Although they don’t all involve actual home runs, here are a few “home run” performances in sports that have occurred lately.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics hit a “home run” tonight with a 92-86 win against the New York Knicks. This brings the series to 3-2.  Kevin Garnett had a fantastic game for the Celtics with 16 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. The Celtics looked like there season was going to be over soon when they went down 0-3 in the series, but the win tonight has made this quite the series.  We’ll see if the Celtics can hit another home run Friday in the next game which is in Boston.  A win on Friday would set them up for the potential to make history and hit a grand slam.

The Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland Indians contributed to the 50 home run total yesterday by hitting 7 in their 14-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. This was not the first “home run” of a game the Indians have had lately.  Following a 0-9 loss to the Royals on Sunday, they bounced back and beat them 10-3 in the second game of a double header.  They got another win against the Royals on Monday.  There streak continued tonight with a 6-0 win against the Phillies.

Stephen Curry

The NBA playoffs have started with many lopsided series, but Golden State and Denver have been exciting to watch.  One reason the series has been great is because of Steph Curry. The former Davidson College guard has had some great playoff games, including a 22-point third quarter in game 4 of the series.  He struggled a little bit in Golden State’s last game against Denver, but he is still averaging 24.8 points and 9.8 assists in his 5 playoff games.  This has helped Golden State to have a 3-2 lead and another chance to win the series tomorrow (Thursday, May 2) night.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Sources

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Stephen_Curry_2.jpg

Draft Day

The first round of the NFL draft takes place tonight at 8 pm in New York City.  This year, the draft includes some great stories and interesting players.  Here are a few that I will be watching for tonight and in the other rounds.

Giovani Bernard

He helped UNC have a great season last year and is listed as the top running back prospect on Yahoo! Sports.  It will be interesting to see where he ends up going in the draft and which team he will play for next season.

Jonathan Cooper

One of the reasons Gio had the season that he did was because of Jonathan Cooper, the All-American offensive guard from Wilmington, North Carolina.  He has a great story and is expected to go in the first round, possibly as an early pick.

Tyrann Mathieu

The LSU cornerback has done some amazing things on the football field, but has a shaky past off the field. The Honey Badger was a Heisman candidate in 2011, but he was not able to play at all in 2012 after failing multiple drug tests.  Also, he has been in the news for controversial actions off the football field.  Although he is now saying he was not involved in the plans, he has been linked to a controversial draft party as recently as yesterday.

His highlights are incredible though…

Manti Te’o

Manti Te’o had a crazy year. The linebacker is projected to go in the late first round or early second round. The former Heisman candidate’s draft stock has been really hurt by a scandal, championship game against Alabama and combine results.

Marcus Lattimore
I really feel for Marcus Lattimore, the running back from South Carolina.  He was going to be the top running back in the draft and likely an early first round pick, but he had a horrible injury that tore his ACL, LCL and PCL during a game in November. Now it’s somewhat unknown how he will play when he returns from the injury and fully heals. It is also completely unknown when he’ll be drafted, or if he’ll be drafted at all.

Until next time,

Hannah

 

As the Semester Ends, Tennis is Heating Up

Yesterday, I played tennis with my friend Sallie after the Branding of Me met for the last time.

Sallie and I at the tennis court

I was feeling a little down before we met up at the courts. Another semester is coming to a close. This has been a great semester. I have learned so much in all of my classes, and I have enjoyed them very much. Also, the conclusion of another semester makes me think about how quickly time goes by at UNC.

Playing tennis today was a great way to clear my mind. I left the courts not feeling down, but happy about all that I learned this semester and that I have the opportunity to spend another year at UNC.

I also left the courts happy because playing tennis and thinking about summer reminded me that tennis, as in the Pro Tour, is starting to heat up.  I am looking forward to watching some amazing tennis this summer.

The comeback story in tennis is that Rafael Nadal is back from his knee injury. Not only is he back, but Nadal is winningNadal may have lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of Monte Carlo over the weekend, but he has made it to five finals out of the five tournaments he has played in since his return. He has won two of the tournaments. Monte Carlo marks the beginning of the clay court season which will lead to the French Open at the end of May.

Photo Credit: Christopher Johnson

Photo Credit: Christopher Johnson

There is a lot up in the air about tennis this year…

Will Djokovic continue his dominance? Earlier this year he won the Australian Open and last year he was victorious at the French and Australian Open. This year could be more of a challenge with Nadal’s return, and Andy Murray and Roger Federer are still very threatening, but Djokovic has looked very good the last few months.

Can Murray win Wimbledon? Talk about pressure…and passion.

Winning his first Grand Slam at the US Open last year will hopefully make it a little easier for him. Also, he was able to win the Gold Medal at the All England Club just weeks after Wimbledon last year. I would love to see him win at Wimbledon, but this year will certainly be a challenge.

Is this the year Federer will not be as relevant? I doubt it, and I certainly hope not. Federer has won 17 Grand Slam titles and I’d love to see him add more to his record this year.  Men’s tennis is as tough, but I still think this year will be good to Federer.

Can anyone stop the big four? Can David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, or anyone else get in the way of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray? What about Stan WawrinkaHe beat Murray at Monte Carlo and lost to Djokovic 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 12-10 in the Australian Open earlier this year. There is the potential for some great tennis in the upcoming tournaments and Grand Slams.

Who will step up in the women’s game? Currently, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are in familiar spots on top of the rankings, but can they stay there? I believe Sharapova could have an excellent year if she stays healthy. Azarenka won the Australian Open earlier this year, and took Wimbledon and the US Open last year.  She could continue to be a strong force in the women’s game. Also, Serena Williams is hard to ever count out, and like Sharapova, she will be hard to beat if she remains healthy. With that said, one of the reasons I like the women’s game is because upsets happen often and you never know what will happen.

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Sources

Can they Comeback?

One aspect of sports that I really enjoy are the comeback stories.  Sports create some circumstances that allow a person to overcome the odds and return to where they once were or even achieve more than they had before their comeback.  Yesterday, was the last day of the NBA regular season.  As the season concluded, the basketball world has presented several comeback stories that will be worth watching in the upcoming days, months and years.

Tracy McGrady

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Photo credit: Keith Allison

T-Mac was playing in China this season after not getting signed to an NBA team, but it is working out for him because he is making a NBA comeback to play for the San Antonio Spurs just in time for the playoffs.  He is eligible to play even though the Spurs signed him after the NBA trade deadline because he was not signed on another NBA team.

Will this comeback allow him to be on a team that wins his first playoffs series?  It looks like there is a decent chance.  I am just not sure how much playing time he will get or how much of an impact he will have on the Spurs.  I’ll be rooting for him to have a comeback though!

Kobe Bryant

Photo credit: Steve Lanctot

Photo credit: Steve Lanctot

One reason that Tracy McGrady may get his first play-off series win is that the Spurs will be playing an LA Lakers team without Kobe Bryant in the first round.

Kobe Bryant was in top form for almost the entire 2013 NBA regular season.  The LA Lakers made it to the playoffs this season largely because of Kobe’s contributions. Kobe tore his Achilles tendon last Friday and at best will not return to playing in basketball games for 6-9 months.  Other than this injury, not much else could stop Kobe this season.

Achilles are tough to come back from.  There is a lot that needs to happen correctly for a successful recovery before he can even start to prepare for basketball.

Only time will tell if Kobe can beat the odds, make a full comeback and try to get his 6th NBA championship.  It’s hard to doubt Kobe… he just had an amazing year in his 17th season in the NBA.

Phil Jackson

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Another big story in the NBA is that Phil Jackson wants to comeback to the game. This may have been expected because he tried to return to coaching earlier this season by reuniting with the Lakers when they were searching for a coach.  Interestingly, he is currently saying his return to the NBA may be in management, not coaching.

I think a lot of NBA teams would like to have Phil Jackson.  It will be interesting to see where he ends up if he has a comeback.

Until next time,

Hannah

Photo Sources

Leadership

Today in my class The Branding of Me, we watched the TED video by Simon Sinek. I had watched part of it before a couple months ago, but I really enjoyed being able to watch/think about it again today in class.

Today when I watched it, his ending words stood out to me.

“There are leaders and there are those who lead.
Leaders hold a position of power or authority.
But those who lead inspire us.
Whether they’re individuals or organizations, we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to.
We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves.
And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.”

If you have a few minutes, I would encourage you to watch this video (or try to watch it some point).

Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball on April 15, 1947, which was exactly 66 years ago today. When I listened to the part of the video about leaders, I thought of Jackie Robinson. Through his actions, courage and determination Jackie Robinson was a incredible leader and true inspiration.

Hannah

Keeping it in the Family

Sibling’s have a special connection.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to play with, or against, a sibling in a professional sport.  In honor of Siblings Day, these are some of my favorite siblings in sports right now.

Peyton and Eli Manning

The Manning brothers have won 3 combined Super Bowls.  Combined, they have also made 15 pro bowl appearances.  Although they compete against each other, they always seem to be very supportive of each other.  They can even be spotted working out at the same place in the off season.

They have also shown they have a great sense of humor…

Marc and Pau Gasol

The Gasol brothers have combined to have 5 All-Star game appearances in the NBA.  They have also come together to help Spain win two silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Venus and Serena Williams

For almost 15 years (Venus won 2 Grand Slams in 1999), the William sisters have dominated in women’s tennis.  They have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together and 3 Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles.  They have also won a combined 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

B.J. and Justin Upton

The Atlanta Braves signed the both Upton brothers this past off season.  So far, uniting the siblings is working well for Atlanta (and not so well for the Cubs).

Bob and Mike Bryan

The Bryan brothers have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together.  They also won the gold medal together in the 2012 Olympics. These twins even play music in a band together.

Until next time,

Hannah

Reflecting on my Love for the Chicago Cubs

Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs played their first home game of the season at Wrigley Field.  Like so many times in my life, especially during baseball season, the Cubs were on my mind. When I look back, I do not remember a time I was not a Cubs fan.  Even when I moved from Charlotte to Salisbury, North Carolina, people still figured out I was a Cubs fan.

I have no idea what exactly made me become a Cubs fan.  It probably started when I was pretty young and my family would visit friends in Chicago.  During these vacations I would get to go to Cubs games.  I think that the fun experience I had at the games has just stuck with me.  That’s about the only reasoning I can think of because I can’t imagine it is easy have such a truly positive association with a team that has not won the World Series in over a century.

Photo I took at Wrigley Field

Photo I took at Wrigley Field

The Cubs have created some of my favorite memories.

I remember in elementary school frequently checking the sports section in the newspaper and looking at the Cubs box score.

In 2003, my parents, brother, and I went to watch the Cubs beat the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the series to move on the NL Divisional series.  The atmosphere at the game was incredible. I also was very familiar with all the players on the team and my favorite player, Kerry Wood, pitched that game. It was perfect.

I also remember watching the Steve Bartman incident in the NL Championship Series in the 2003 playoffs.  I must admit, I still feel kind of bad for that guy.

One year in middle school I wore some kind of Cubs shirt almost every day to school. Yeah…that is how much I really like the Cubs.

I will never forget the pure excitement I felt watching Sammy Sosa at bat at Wrigley Field.  Also, the time that I was thrown a ball at batting practice when we saw a game in Atlanta.

These are the memories I will have forever and I hope to have many more Cubs memories in my future.

While I do not get the chance to watch the Cubs as much as I use to, I am still very excited that the Cubs season has begun.  The Cubs are already making some news with talk of a Wrigley Field renovation.  While they are off to a little bit of a rocky start, I have a good feeling about this season.

Here’s to hoping this will be the Cubs year!

Hannah