Christmas Season Jerez 2016

December 7, 2016

Also, you might want to head to Europe to see Black Jesus because the USA doesn’t have any.  Just the other day the jury responsible for determining the guilt of Walter Scott‘s killer was deadlocked in a mistrial.  Apparently, Black Jesus isn’t going to save anybody in South Carolina any time soon and there is still no semblance of justice.  Click on the link for Exhibit A.  I get the feeling that there are going to be a lot more martyrs for the Black Lives Matter movement to proselytize.

Enjoy my family video to help take your mind away from all the madness.  There will be no Christmas cards this year because we are terrifically poor, but at least they aren’t filming Black death on the streets and allowing the murders to go free.  Check out an article here in ColorLines by Kenya Rankin about the mistrial of Michael Slager. Yeah, so then there’s that.  Merry Christmas everyone.

DeMatha Legend Adrian Dantley Meets DJ Harvey

November 23, 2016

“The best thing I ever did was to go to this school.” – Adrian Dantley, on DeMatha

Watch the NBA video embedded in the link above.  Darren Harvey was the lucky young man that got to size himself up next to a Hall of Fame inductee.  The two not only have DeMatha in common, but also Notre Dame.  Darren “DJ” Harvey is the leader of the DeMatha Stags basketball team in 2017 and he committed to play for Notre Dame in the Fall.  I hope that this DeMatha legend sighting is a sign that bodes well for the team this year.

Follow me.  There is more basketball coverage to come and I can see more Marc Stern videos in your future.  Shout-outs to Capitol Hoops for the DJ Harvey recruiting video.

Check out the NBA career stats of Adrian Dantley in Basketball Reference here but please understand that he is an individual that exudes 100% class.  This is deeper than basketball but it should suffice to say that DeMatha and the University of Notre Dame have a long history.  Anyway, give your boy a plus one (+1) if you can.  Also feel free to share and like this article in order to show these DeMatha Stags some love.

Undefeated DeMatha Stags Football Champions 2016

November 20, 2016

Congratulations to the 2016 DeMatha Catholic High School football team on an undefeated 12 – 0 season and WCAC championship.  The Stags won their fourth Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title in football in as many years.

Check out the highlights (including select game video) that I compiled from Twitter here: .

This time it was against the Saint John’s College High School Cadets in extraordinary fashion and the win required a never-give-up attitude and late game heroics.  SJC quarterback Kasim Hill is headed to the University of Maryland next year and will undoubtedly start on their home field in the future but he was no match for this DeMatha team.  Hill hooked up with Ed Lee for three touchdowns in the first half and it looked as if he was going to will the Cadets to victory early on when they took a 19 – 14 lead into halftime.

The answer came late for the DeMatha Stags who are usually accustomed to dispatching opponents early by demoralizing them with a bruising running game.  Without the benefit of time on their side the DeMatha football team relied on gritty play to come from behind after the Cadets eventually amassed a fifteen-point lead.  Trailing 29 – 14 in the fourth quarter the team that never quit got a break when Kasim Hill was sidelined temporarily.  A botched pitch resulted in a DeMatha recovery and a quick score to make the tally 29 – 21 in favor of SJC.

The most ironic scene of the afternoon was a video of Saint John’s students chanting, “overrated!” to the DeMatha crowd during their eventual failure to win the contest.

On the ensuing play the Saint John’s head coach Joe Casamento, commanded the Cadets to defend against an onside kick but failed to plan for the deep kick.  The DeMatha special team unit recovered the ball at the SJC 1 yard line as it rolled untouched after a footrace between the aware and unawares.  DeMatha quarterback Beau English threw a short strike to honor man #10 Anthony Toro and suddenly the Stags were back in business.  DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks sensed the momentum shift and opted to go for two but the conversion failed.

With the score at 29 – 27 the vaunted DeMatha defense came up big and forced a punt.  The Stags offense matched the phenomenal efforts of their counterparts by marching down the field and scoring again on a fade route to the running back Myles Miree.  After kicking the extra point this time Coach Brooks must have thought that the DeMatha football team already had all the makings of a win.  With the score 34 – 29 with only 1:05 left to play he wouldn’t have very long to contemplate it.  Myles Canton intercepted Kasim Hill on what would be the last play of the game and returned it all the way back to the SJC 1 yard line.

Calvin Ashley, a highly recruited offensive lineman for Saint John’s went down with an injury that left him unresponsive for a short period.  There were 29 seconds remaining on the clock when the game was decidedly over and both teams retired in prayer for the Auburn commit.  34 – 29 would be the final score and DeMatha completed one of the most memorable comebacks in school history with the total effort of their football team.

There are just too many football Stags to name and not enough time to give them all justice, but it will suffice to say that this is one of the finest sports teams that DeMatha has ever had.  In addition to notching multiple historic superlatives the 2016 DeMatha football team should also garner consideration for a share of a mythical national title with their unblemished record.  Their magnificent performance is rare when you consider their strength of schedule and conference format.  DeMatha took everybody’s best shot this year and achieved greatness by consistently rising to the occasion as a team.

A collection of individuals, no matter how talented, couldn’t beat this team.  Even when the odds were the longest and football fans were headed towards the exits, the 2016 DeMatha team showed that they were prepared to overcome adversity.  Coach Brooks should be proud that his DeMatha football team could do it in a way that is both reflective of the school and aligned with the ideals that the prestigious conference is supposed to stand for.  The WCAC might be headed for restructuring in football with a more powerful commissioner about to take the reins for the first time but DeMatha is already in great hands.

In a world where even high school sports are experiencing the influences of big money and corporate donors, Coach Brooks still managed to do things the DeMatha way and win.  Chalk another one up for the DeMatha Stags that bought into the system and toughed it out to keep the WCAC football championship trophy in Hyattsville.  The 2016 DeMatha football team certainly lived up to all of the hype and a celebration is surely in order.

Trump Victory & American Loss

November 12, 2016
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Melania Trump poses for British GQ magazine fifteen years before becoming the First Lady.

President Elect Donald J. Trump’s wife Melania will inherit the title of First Lady when he takes the oath of office in January, 2017.  Unless you have been hiding under a rock, by now you realize that Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States of America.

Trump has been on record making racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic statements that struck a chord with the American electorate.  Trump also campaigned on promises to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, increase military power, end universal healthcare, limit funding to United Nations initiatives, and to rescind US participation the Paris Accord that focuses on global warming.  Despite facing pending criminal charges that alleged that Donald Trump raped and sexually assaulted a child, he has continued to the highest office in the land.  (The rape charges were officially dropped days before the election on November 4 according to the Jeff Zarranandia of Snopes.)  The president elect has no prior government experience but he has vowed that he is the person that can make America great again.

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Protesters against President Elect Trump are pictured in Seattle, Washington. Foreign press like The Indian Express focused on the breadth of the protests in America.  [Source Associated Press via The Indian Express]

Some United States citizens feel a profound sense of loss due to the election of Donald Trump.

Many Americans are already protesting the Trump ascension.  Most notably a movement using the moniker Yes California along with the hashtag #CalExit is organizing to separate Western states from the rest of the United States.  Demonstrations have been held in cities throughout the entire United States in the days following the election results and it is a situation worth monitoring further because the world has taken notice.

The policy changes recommended by President Elect Donald Trump have far reaching effects.  The United States of America has technically been at war for 223 out of the 240 years of existence and the use of the military depends upon the moral authority of the presidency, and congress to act.  Trump has advocated a more aggressive use of the military that has been ruled illegal or unconstitutional along with beginning new armed conflicts in new countries.  The opinions held by citizens of other countries is trending downwards and confidence in the proper use of the United States military power has also significantly eroded around the world.  The destruction of life and property is also very unpopular to begin with, but it is even more detested when the results can be seen on the nightly news.

The motives for using force are eventually rendered naked in the age of information and even more subtle shifts are studied in great detail.  The Paris Accord is an agreement fostered by the United Nations that officially went into force on November 4 as published on their website.  Environmental concerns over global warming have caused responsible industrialized nations to limit their own production of harmful gasses for the good of everyone on the planet. Donald Trump doesn’t believe that human activity can cause climate change and has expressed a desire for the United States to back out of the obligation during his campaign.  While he might be unsuccessful in his initial desire, this sort of stance reveals that President Trump would be reluctant to continue to doggedly pursue solutions to a shared, pressing problem.

A novice politician without any experience in government beat out seasoned lifers on a grueling campaign trail but citizens of the world are now questioning American integrity for electing such a polarizing figure.  The new direction that a Trump presidency would proceed in is likely to be viewed as reflecting the views of the American populous even though he failed to win the majority of votes.  Instead of informing would-be constitutional scholars on the Electoral College system that the United States is a republic, perhaps we should all examine Trump?

Even a perceived deficiency in character in the President of the United States can significantly alter reality for voters at home in America and foreigners abroad.  It is dangerous for the United States to endure such a loss and in turn, it puts the entire world in peril.

[Featured Photo from The New York Post files]

Total Experience: Formula V8 3.5 World Series in Jerez 2016

October 31, 2016
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The Circuito de Jerez was completed in 1985.

Formula V8 3.5 World Series in Jerez de la Frontera was a spectacular success that began with the impromptu exhibition on Calle Alcade Álvaro Domecq.  The main avenue leading the center of the small city was choked with tire smoke instead of cars during what would normally be rush hour.  Around 7 pm on Thursday a day before the racing car festival began a lone Formula V8 team pilot, Alfonso Celis, Jr., was doing donuts in the street as throngs of unfettered bystanders gawked.   The thought of being merely meters away from an intensely powerful vehicle didn’t instill fear into the people of Jerez.  Onlookers gathered behind temporary metal barricades sheltering only their ears from the din of a roaring V8 engine opened full throttle while ignoring the high-speed pelts of pebbles kicked from the tires.

Everything portended well for the Formula V8 3.5 World Series from the beginning.  No one was injured in the promotional and the steadfast crowd was energized and excited to spread the word that this year was not to be missed.  Thousands of people from Andalusia turned the Circuito de Jerez into a small metropolis of its own on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as motor heads filled the stands to watch various categories of races.  The Circuito de Jerez was open, accessible and free during the Formula V8 3.5 World Series Festival, which stands in stark contrast to other racing platforms.  With games and rides for children of all ages as well as racing drama in the penultimate affair in the calendar of Formula V8 events had all the makings of a good time.

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Jerez de la Frontera was ready for Formula V8 3.5 World Series well before the start in 2016. [Photo from RPM Racing]

The premier events also aired on local television and it was also obvious that Jerez appeared more filled than usual the entire weekend.  More English conversations could be heard in hotel lobbies that are frequented by those in the know and looking out for the latest happenings or the best service.  The more populous capital of Andalusia is Seville, a short car ride away from Jerez, but afterhours establishments must have felt the surging pulse that added multitudes bring if only for a weekend.  Tapas bars and nightclubs were also at capacity and the usually intimate town of Jerez succumbed to the pressures and desires of racing fanatics seeking fun.

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Matevos Isaakyan signs autographs with his SMP Racing teammate Matthieu Vaxiviere in the background. [Photo from RPM Racing]

RPM Racing who sponsors the Formula V8 3.5 World Series should be very pleased with the outcomes at the Circuito de Jerez.

Add this to your calendar next year if you are of the adventurous sort.  Jerez might be to Seville what Philadelphia is to New York, but if are searching for a modern tradition in old Spain, look no further than motor sports.  Peaceful coexistence between two close municipalities relies on the ability of each to maintain their own identity and stay in their lane.

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Beitske Visser is applauded by La Alcadesa, or mayor of Jerez, Mamen Sánchez Díaz. [Photo from RPM Racing]

The Circuito de Jerez is a major attraction and the focal point of racing in Andalusia that provides a distinctive contemporary flare that most of antiquated Spain cannot claim.  Jerez is a special place.  The name, itself, is from a wine produced 5,000 years before Christ but the people have embraced racing of all sorts with the type of fervor that compares to Talladega, Indianapolis, and Daytona.

 

The Circuito de Jerez is one of the more famous and problematic tracks in the world for cars and completely different than racing in a left-turn-only oval.   The course is known for being unusually narrow requiring top-level skills for navigation.  Beitske Visser is the only female driver in the Formula V8 3.5 series and she explained the intricacies that make Jerez unique and her leap in performance.

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Beitske Visser is with team Teo Martin after switching from team AVF in 2015. [Photo from RPM Racing]

“Every year you improve.  I thought today we were super strong on race space but unfortunately it is not easy to pass here.  The race is very difficult on tire management,” Visser added sounding wise beyond her twenty-one years and excited about her gains.

It was difficult for Beitske to hide her happiness at her results after the festival even though she didn’t place.  Visser is moving past the initial attention since joining the tour in 2015 and has shown her followers that she is ready to challenge leaders with her strongest race finishes of the season coming in 7th and 5th in the two races in Jerez de la Frontera.  As one of the more popular drivers on the tour Visser has broadened the appeal of the sport and the Netherlands native has formed a solid base of supporters.

Even in Europe the thrill of raw power emanating from a revving supercharged engine is infectious and embodied by unique fans that sometimes like to take their shirts off in the racing stands.  Racing fans here are just like the Americans!  The weather for the Formula V8 World Series Festival was a warm 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the waning days of October and a fabulous afternoon for racing.  This part of Andalusia has the ideal climate for baring flesh and amplifying the atmosphere in autumn.   The Circuito de Jerez was already buzzing from the increased competition in the overall Formula V8 3.5 series points standings.

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Tom Dillmann is from France and at 27 years of age, one of the oldest drivers in the Formula V8 3.5 World Series. [Photo from RPM Racing]

Hot temperatures provided the perfect setting for the inevitable showdown between Tom Dillmann and Louis Delétraz.

 

After the events concluded Louis Delétraz took a narrow three-point lead over Dillmann after being penalized in the first race on Saturday for forcing the previous overall individual leader into the gravel during their battle for position.  Dillmann sits at 197 points headed into the season finale that will be held in Barcelona the weekend of November 4 and one of the most consistent Formula V8 3.5 drivers is in a funk.  At only nineteen years old Delétraz absorbed his worst finish of the year in the first race on Saturday by claiming second place in his final race on Sunday to give himself a slim lead.  The Rookie of the Year Delétraz was cool in the post-race interview with the knowledge that Dillmann didn’t make the podium in four out of the last four contests.

When asked about his most recent performance Louis Delétraz declared, “I try to keep calm because that is how you win championships.”

Delétraz was also stately in the reference to the penalty decision for illegally contacting Dillmann’s car on Saturday.

“My main focus today was to just take that poll position and try to take a win because I think that is the best answer as a driver to something that you don’t agree with,” he added.

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Louis Delétraz races for Fortec Motorsports and hails from Switzerland. [Photo from RPM Racing]

With 200 individual points Delétraz is already playing with house money and confident that he has already claimed the rookie title and frustrated veterans like Tom Dillmann who is now in second.  Matthieu Vaxiviere is the nearest competitor to the pair with 175 to complete the likely top three in driver points standings.

First place in the Formula V8 3.5 series in Jerez on Saturday went to Matevos Isaakyan with Egor Orudzhev and Matthieu Vaxiviere taking second and third place, respectively.  Dillman, a former Formula 3 champion, was still the overall points leader going into the final day at the Circuito de Jerez but he couldn’t withstand the onslaught of youth and finished 8th on the final day of racing.  The pressure that built up by Sunday led to a very quick start and a display of expert skills that left Egor Orudzhev, Louis Delétraz, and Matthieu Vaxiviere standing on the podium 1,2, 3.

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Formula V8 3.5 World Series podium from the race on Sunday, October 30. [Photo from RPM Racing]

Egor Orudzhev tallied his fourth win of the year, giving him the most in Formula V8 3.5 in this season so far.  Egor credited practice to his victory in the press conference.

“Yeah, we worked on the starts,” confessed the twenty-one-year-old Orudzhev deflecting the credit to his team Arden Motorsports.  “We always work quite hard on that part because you can win a race by [doing] that, like today.”

Orudzhev, a team Arden driver, declined to reveal much else.  “We just cruised,” the Russian driver remarked.

Louis Delétraz agreed, “Today I had a not-so-good start but Egor had a really good one.  I could see him fly by and I just couldn’t do anything about it.”  In the overall team standings Arden Motorsport is in the lead with 337 points and team Lotus is a not-so-distant second with 322.

With only Barcelona left on the schedule all the other racing teams are out of contention for the team championship but racing is a sport where there are many story lines to follow.  Different countries, teams, and personalities are a fascinating mix and part of the global appeal of motorsports.  The entire Formula V8 3.5 World Series is covered in multiple languages at GPUpdate.net in detail.  Also, check out this short video recap of the racing weekend below.

The allure has captivated a dedicated following that enjoyed unprecedented access in Jerez with constant pit crew walk-throughs and autograph signings each day of the Formula V8 3.5 World Series Festival.  Racing at the elite level has something for everybody so don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the total experience if you are ever given the opportunity to visit the Circuito de Jerez.

[Featured photo from RPM Racing]

National Focus on WCAC Football in Final Weeks of 2016 Season

October 30, 2016

We are coming up on the football regular season finale in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) but before can we just acknowledge that the DeMatha kids from years’ past are doing alright?  DeMatha football had a bye-week in the last weekend of October but the Stags that won championships over the previous three years were hard at work this Saturday.  Lorenzo Harrison is up to his old tricks now with the University of Maryland and he has played his way into All-Freshman team talk.  Lorenzo has been nothing short of sensational and professional scouts have already taken notice. Fellow Stag turned Terrapin teammate Tino Ellis just started his third game and is impressing in college, as well.  John Lovett is busy setting records at Princeton for scoring touchdowns.  Ju’Whuan Bentley and Mark Allen took a photograph at the Purdue versus Penn State game and contemplated the bond of excellence that ties all of these gentlemen and scholars together.

We could easily go on.  All those guys were extremely good, but none of them were playing for a national title this late in the football season.  As much success as the recent key performers had in DeMatha uniforms and beyond, there is even more excitement surrounding the 2016 squad.   There are new players ready to make a name for themselves and they could do it in rare style.  (There will be more on those athletes in The Chronicles of Six very soon.)  DeMatha football players today have the chance to go undefeated and subsequently launch head coach Elijah Brooks into the pantheon of legendary Stags. Of course, they would also do the same for themselves because the 2016 team is also in the hunt to be the best high school football team in the United States.  Coach Brooks was an outstanding DeMatha football player and he understands the high stakes that his kids are playing for.  The team is sitting at a perfect 9-0 and they are ranked #6 in the USA Today expert poll and #9 according to USA Today computers.

If DeMatha football remains undefeated in 2016 they will go down as one of the best sports teams that the school has ever had.

The groundwork for this kind of campaign is grueling and has taken decades of trying to finally materialize.  DeMatha has been on the cusp of greatness for a while and the evidence has always been on the field.  With a multitude of suddenly famous players as precursors and WCAC football championships from 2013, 2014, and 2015 this year could be considered a continuation of sorts.  The pressure has been slowly mounting for years and thoughts are now drifting towards capping the season in a way that has seldom been done in school history.  An unblemished record could also mean a measure of vindication for the national aspirations of the football program at DeMatha but first they are going to have beat two of the top four teams in the league, twice.

For the first time since coach Brooks took over the program this DeMatha football team is in control of their own national destiny heading into November. First, the 2016 football Stags need to take care of business in the conference to close the regular season and then again in two playoff games.  Good Counsel is a familiar WCAC foe standing in their way and the presumed fourth playoff seed is likely to face the Stags two weeks in a row.  The first meeting this season between the two will be broadcast on ESPN in their finale of the annual high school football showcase of the top teams in the country on November 4.

The Falcons haven’t enjoyed much success against DeMatha in recent years and are playing to retain respect in a league that has seen some changes in the top echelon of competition that they once dominated.  Gonzaga and Saint John’s College have both beaten Good Counsel already and will play their own storied rivalry between themselves on the same weekend to determine the second and third playoff seeds.  Some of the best and most-watched high school football is going to be in the WCAC and eyes have finally shifted from powerhouse states like Texas and Florida to the DC Metropolitan area.

Such a change has been a very long time coming.  None of the WCAC superlatives would have been possible in a league that simply settled for just being mediocre, and the top four teams have all played a significant part.  DeMatha football is poised to stand out from even this elite few but it will take a complete group effort to get the job done.  (The Stags have previously won national titles is wrestling, soccer and basketball.)  DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys is no stranger to the added attention but the 2016 football players could really capitalize on it in a very political sport.  Football rankings that are produced over multiple seasons are almost impossible to climb but we might all be witnessing something special.

Stay tuned because whatever happens next is guaranteed to be newsworthy.

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The 2016 DeMatha Football team is attempting to make history in November.

Formula V8 World Series is in Jerez

October 26, 2016

My October surprise this US election year was completely unexpected: Europe has their own version of the World Series.  (For the free.)  October 29th and 30th.

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Just trust me, this is official and they mean that you can bring your family for free.

I must be turning into my father because the words “free for the family” are like sweet music to my ears and command my full attention.  This weekend the Formula V8 World Series Festival is in Jerez de la Frontera and they have extended an invitation to all of the families in this wonderful city to participate in two days of racing.  You can download your free invitation and take as many as you need from here but my guess is that if you were in town, I would have known about it and already told you.

Jerez de la Frontera, Spain is really a city that loves their motor sports.  At first I thought that it was just motorcycles and bicycles but now I realize that the people aren’t afraid to let loose on their main avenues.  Jerez isn’t just the city of horses that happens to be named after the fabulous wines of the region.  Xerezanos-Jerezanos have also embraced some cool modern traditions.  Motor sports have been a big deal in Jerez for a while and now I am contemplating a whole new tag in my sports section.

Anyway, rock out to my self-filmed hype video when team AVF and pilot Alfonso Celis, Jr. took over the main street leading to the center of the city.  Enjoy this treat!

Is Basketball Emerging as the New World Sport?

October 21, 2016

It is October and that means that all true sports fanatics in my home country are fixated on baseball.  For some that means making a subtle adjustment in their feelings towards teams that they are willing to root for and the process can be remarkably pragmatic and rational as far as emotions go.  Often times baseball fans will use this time of year to switch allegiances of sorts from their hometown or favorite team to a team that actually still has a shot at winning the World Series grand finale -if only temporarily.  Much like the “holiday” of Halloween, these agonizingly deep and tortuous spirits of October don’t elicit too much attention considering all the people on the planet.  Baseball is one of those great American inventions that has largely been confined to the Americas, Caribbean, Japan, and the Philippines despite the lofty titles that the ultimate prize bestows. However, basketball is the treasure to the world presented by the United States that shows the most persistence in spreading.

When trying to explain the intricacies that can aptly surmise the fascination with a pastoral game without time limits even the most expert baseball aficionado may fall well short.  The marketing just hasn’t been the same for baseball since Babe Ruth, but basketball has an angle that is blatantly apparent.  Instead of trying to explain that accurately hitting a spherical ball with a cylindrical bat is arguably the hardest skill in professional sports through physics examples try showing a highlight reel of a top level basketball player.  Virtually any variety of shots in basketball will leave the viewer with a sense of awe instantaneously.  Pictures of distance shooting with incredible accuracy and powerfully graceful slam dunks have spellbound us all and are suspended in time on the internet.  Even dribbling and passing a basketball can invoke a kind of Magic that can enchant a casual observer.  A novice could watch 1000 home run at-bats before ever glimpsing why the seemingly simple task of knocking the ball over the fence is amazing, every single time.

Basketball cuts to the chase, and you don’t need a history lesson on antebellum Americana and the abundance of yeoman farmers to understand the new world sport.  Basketball started out as a team game that could be played indoors.  Later basketball evolved into a sport that would thrive in urban spaces especially when played by individuals that faced more economic hardship than merely bored farm workers.  Historian and Associate Professor at the State University of New York, Justin Turner referenced that the first baseball squad ever recorded playing a game was none other than the New York Knickerbocker Club that also published the first rule book in 1845 in his post doctoral dissertation.  (BASEBALL DIPLOMACY, BASEBALL DEPLOYMENT: THE NATIONAL PASTIME IN U.S.-CUBA RELATIONS, page 14)

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The New York Knicks (1946 – 1947) Basketball Team

Thanks to modern agriculture we may never see the likes of the conditions that created baseball again but human beings keep reinforcing the circumstances that founded basketball.  The impact that each game has played in the global economy is quite astonishing but the blueprints for additional wealth seem to be divergent.  Indeed, the future looks brighter for one of the games.  The increased development of the world is leading towards larger populations living in denser cities where the disenfranchised and marginalized dream of a nontraditional means of escape.  What is more, the equipment for playing basketball is more along the lines of the most popular world sport of soccer and the purest form can be embraced by both sexes.  All you really need is a ball and people start to come together.

Baseball might be the official American pastime but it just hasn’t been all that infectious.  The established realm of baseball can only claim the Netherlands as the only foothold in Europe.  Basketball has been full on sick since before the time it saw Doctor J and it still has a chance to go viral.  In the modern era that also includes the highly chronicled legends of Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich, and LeBron James so there may be no end to more stories like these running whatever courts that they want.  The youth of the world have taken up basketball on all inhabited continents due to the inspiration and excitement from striking visual cues that align with prevalent social themes.  This is the secret to the health of the game of basketball.  The culture of globalization is perhaps inadvertently breeding basketball lovers at a feverish pace.

The International Baseball Federation began six years after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and they no longer sanction a culminating event that unites the world for a true championship since the Baseball World Cup folded in 2011.  Basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891 some fifty years after sports resembling baseball were being played and the FIBA championship trophy and basketball Hall of Fame still bear his name.

The sports that we all play have a certain potential to reveal more about our increasingly interconnected and technical society than we may care to admit.  International participation in sports can certainly coincide with the rise of entire regimes and there is a hardly an upstart political movement that wouldn’t leap at the chance to appropriate such successes.  Popularity matters but total world domination is still like a jump ball in basketball: completely up for grabs.  In other sports it can be more like a forgone conclusion but the courts at least seem like the more egalitarian alternative than the diamond or the fields.  The United States has enjoyed a significant head start on the rest of the participants but the FIBA Basketball World Cup results show that the medal count isn’t lopsided.  Besides, things are known to change.

Spain was the last basketball team to win the FIBA tournament other than the USA in 2006 and the country will be the subject of further coverage on the phenomenal organic growth of the sport on The Chronicles of Six.  This author believes that the next basketball legend will speak Spanish as a first language which would dramatically extend a broad appeal.  Three English-speaking countries ultimately went into the creation of the sport of basketball as Naismith was Canadian born eventual citizen of the United States of immigrant Scottish lineage.  Currently the majority of the basketball innovators are from the USA because the sport is still an evolving invention 125 years after James Naismith recorded the first game in Springfield, Massachusetts.  In this series several Spanish athletes have been chosen for the spotlight in order to give interested readers insights into the emergence of basketball anew, and from a different perspective.

These stories are important and so expect more at a later date.

DeMatha Versus St. John’s College Is Back On In High School Football

October 4, 2016

DeMatha bested St. John’s College 14 – 13 on Friday, September 30 and one thing quickly became clear: The rivalry between DeMatha and St John’s College High School (SJC) is back in full effect on the gridiron.  The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) has several high profile events in football despite imbalances.

(Full Game Highlights from utrhighlightvideos / YouTube)

DeMatha has not lost to SJC in football in almost a quarter of a century and the Cadets haven´t notched a championship in football since 1989.  While the recent football record has been lopsided in the favor of the DeMatha Stags it is now obvious that the Cadets are once again serious about challenging their supremacy.  Their last appearance in the WCAC football championship game in 2013 resulted in a 31 – 10 drubbing at the hands of DeMatha.  The Cadets haven’t been back to the WCAC final game since, but they have recently lured a myriad of skilled athletes with undeniably augmented facilities.

A recent influx of cold hard cash from Under Armour CEO and SJC alumnus, Kevin Plank, has propelled the Cadets into not just WCAC relevance but also national rankings.  The Cadets (4 – 2) came into the DeMatha game ranked in the top 25 in the USA and had previously been ranked as high as number 10 prior to their loss to IMG Academy in Florida.  As sports fans have witnessed at the university level there are often higher expectations and thus more pressure with such generous financial support.  SJC forced an alumnus out as head coach of the football program last year to make room for a renowned outsider in Joe Casamento.  A bevy of top prospect transfers bolstered the Cadets that have continued to make gains but the narrow loss on September 30 against the 3-time defending WCAC champions has created more questions than answers.

The talk around the WCAC is that SJC can’t be satisfied with anything less than total victory but it remains to be seen if all of the changes are going to be enough.  DeMatha is currently ranked number 4 in the USA and the Stags have their eyes set on a national title.  In order to complete that mission the Stags are going to need a little luck with absolutely no losses for the remainder of the year.  DeMatha has been fortunate with a 6 – 0 record but as they might recall from the previous year, a national title in high school football is no easy task.  Surprises can come from unexpected sources however the Cadets are all but assured a second chance at beating DeMatha in WCAC playoffs in a shrinking football league.

There aren’t too many WCAC schools that have had the stomach for this kind of high school football arms race.  Bishop Ireton and Paul VI have long since departed from playing the football schedule but still opted to stay in the WCAC for other sports.  When Bishop O’Connell of Virginia also dropped the sport there were only Maryland and DC schools left to play each other.  Three of the remaining six schools filled the holes in their schedules with national prominence in mind and that suddenly made wins against them hard to come by.  Gonzaga managed the feat last year in league play against the DeMatha Stags in 2015 and effectively ended the strongest national championship bid in recent years by a Washington DC metropolitan area school.

In order to even be considered for a national title the focus has to be maintained because every single game essentially becomes a national title game.  Contests against traditional rivals within the league are often the biggest pitfalls.  Even teams like Bishop McNamara and Archbishop Carroll have their hearts set on upsetting their more famous neighbors to make a name for themselves. There is a lot of good football to look forward to in 2016. SJC versus Gonzaga is one of the oldest rivalries in the history of the sport and DeMatha must play at Good Counsel to finish the WCAC regular season.  Both games will be played during the first weekend in November.

The grueling season will only get harder from there.  The WCAC playoffs and the pollsters are unforgiving in football and we all can’t wait to see how 2016 factors into ending these debates.

(Featured Photo A Stag In The Woods)

Beau English is Mr. Perfect

September 19, 2016
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#17 Beau English was a perfect 15/15 passing and leads the #4 team in the USA.

Beau English is no stranger to the winner’s circle and he has already led DeMatha to the WCAC championship in 2014 and 2015 after taking over as the quarterback for the Stags as a sophomore.  The United States Air Force Academy commit has dazzled fans early in the 2016 season by turning in not just one but two perfect passing performances en route to an unblemished 4-0 start.  This young man has measured up to the highest standards off of the field and on it.

Hot right out of the gate, Beau English has scorched opponents with a variety of passing options that DeMatha isn’t typically known for.  Gun slinging isn’t how most DeMatha football fans identify the program that has relied heavily on the run in the past.  (Even the former DeMatha quaterback with the nickname “gun” was primarily a threat on the ground, see below.)  The idea of running between the tackles isn’t news to any successful program however DeMatha has made it a calling card of sorts even before the days of former head coach Bill McGregor.

 

 

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DeMatha senior Beau English

The current DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks was a student of McGregor and one of his best running backs, but it is apparent that passing talent is in fashion as long as Beau English is on the field.  Beau has the ability to tally up yards even though DeMatha is still stacked at their most dependable position.  The featured running back this year, Anthony McFarland, was lost to a pre-season broken leg but the Stags have hardly missed a beat.  The offense has opened up under the steady stewardship of Beau English and it has resulted in a national championship buzz for DeMatha football.

After toppling Oscar Smith (VA), Avalon (MD), Bishop McDevitt (PA), and now McDonogh (MD), DeMatha football is ranked number 4 in the USA according to most polls.  Once again the eyes in Hyattsville shift to complete a perfect season and stay in the hunt for a national title.  While the entire cast of players and coaches deserves the credit for the success of the DeMatha football team there is no denying that Beau English has done his part so far.  The added dimension of the passing game has done wonders for running backs Khory Spruill and Myles Mireeand the DeMatha defense has been solid as well.

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Beau English is now known as Mr. Perfect and he is headed to the Air Force Academy after 2016.

 

But it is worth mentioning that Beau English is the first to be absolutely perfect in the modern quarterback rating system at DeMatha.  That is really something in my estimation.  This kid deserves this nickname regardless of the outcome of the rest of the season but I hope that you know by now that I’m rooting for him to take it to the fullest extent.  I have been writing about the DeMatha Stags for a very long time and there aren’t that many players that have achieved the level of nickname status from me.  If anyone could stand up to the mounting pressure it would be this guy.

If Beau English can keep the party going with his third consecutive WCAC title in football he will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in school history.  A name like “Mr. Perfect” will only draw too much attention to him where he is going and I wouldn’t wish any correlations to any other demerit dodgers on him.  I think of previous nicknames like the one I bestowed on Tommy “gun” Chroniger and I always knew that I could do better.  (Tom Chroniger won three WCAC titles for DeMatha football, but his passing completion percentage left room for improvement.)  Whether or not Beau English is able to accomplish the extraordinary feat of winning DeMatha’s first ever national title in football, he will always be Mr. Perfect to me.