Getting Off On The Right Sock

The 2013 MLB Season is now about 1/3rd of the way over and there are a few big surprises so far. One very big surprise is the standings of the AL East. Sports Illustrated predicted the order of the standings in this division the exact opposite of what they are as of June 4th, 2013. SI predicted the order of the division being 1. Blue Jays 2. Rays 3. Orioles 4. Yankees. And 5. Red Sox. But to the surprise of many, it is the Red Sox in 1st and the Blue Jays in last. Not many people had seen this coming, even the most optimistic of Red Sox fans had guessed a 2nd to 3rd place finish would be in order, and that would be just okay following their disastrous 93 loss season last year. But the Red Sox have started the year fantastically and are on pace for a 98 win season. Many people have tried to pinpoint exactly what is making the Red Sox so successful this season. I think there are many reasons.

The Boston Red Sox are one of the most successful teams in baseball and there are many factors that are helping them with that. One of the biggest reasons is there very smart approach to free agency in the offseason. The Red Sox stayed away from the big-name signings that had gotten them in trouble in previous years (See, Carl Crawford), and went after more middle-of-the-pack free agents, such as Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, and Koji Uehara. These players cost much less than some bigger names and have already shown the ability to shine in big markets and under pressure, unlike some past signings (See, Carl Crawford). These newcomers are by no means the only things helping the team though, as veterans that have been with the team for a few years are a huge factor also. David Ortiz is having a career revival, Dustin Pedroia is playing like an MVP, and Daniel Nava is having a career year. Clay Buchholz is pitching like a Cy Young winner, Jon Lester is finally back, and John Lackey is having a comeback year. The Red Sox are surprising everyone this year, but if you look closely, there’s no reason it should be that way.

~ Jake Wallinger

Ballet is for the NFL

Most people say dance is “stupid”. Some dancers like me say it takes commitment and strength. And it’s true.   It takes no less commitment than football, baseball or basketball. The truth is, the people who say dancing is stupid, easy, and pointless can’t dance. And why they can’t dance? Because it’s too hard for them! However, some NFL players can say that dance means something because they take classes themselves. No joke, players in the NFL take ballet or other dance classes to strengthen their calf and thigh muscles!

Don’t believe me? Well, an interview was done for Sports Illustrated  about the secrets to NFL players staying in shape and preparing for games. It all started in the 1970’s when a wide receiver Lynn Swan announced that he had taken  yoga and ballet classes to prepare for his games. Ever since then, NFL coaches have pushed players into taking ballet classes for strength. I don’t blame them! As a dancer myself, I have been dancing for 11 of the 14 years of my life and I have a good amount of calf muscle and arm strength as well.

Dance is stupid you say? Well your favorite NFL teams take it to improve and do some of the same exercises that I do. Try standing on the balls of your feet without holding onto anything for 2 minutes straight! That is what strengthens their Achilles tendon. Bahtmahs, (high kicks)? Try doing those for an entire 3 minutes. That helps the kickers of the team and also strengthens hip muscles. Pleaes, (kind of like squats but harder)? Yeah, they do those too. And they aren’t easy!

Dance and yoga are both hard. No way in any shape or form are they simple. Even senior tailback DeAngelo Williams, a training junkie who gained 1,948 yards and scored 22 touchdowns last year said “I would rather do sprints and up-downs than that yoga,” . That says something! The whole team from the University of Memphis has to take yoga and ballet classes for flexibility and agility. They even admit, “Women can do a lot of things men can’t do,”. So think twice before saying dance or yoga are for sissies… Because you don’t really get it until you try it like many NFL stars have.

~Ariana Pepper