Why Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott work so well together

Last season was amazing for the Dallas Cowboys. They managed to win without Tony Romo, a feat previously plaguing the team. The team was able to hit the jackpot during the draft and most of that was because of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. A 4th-round pick and the 4th overall pick, the two had chemistry and it showed on and off the field.

The main reason I believe they worked well together was that they were both rookies. It’s a little easier with a veteran guiding a rookie because, with two rookies, it can be kind of questionable. However, these two were able to benefit off of that. They learned together, made strides and helped lead the team to an impressive season. They soaked up the information from the veterans and players who were already on the team so they knew what to do.

Another obvious reason is the team’s offensive line. Known as one of the best O-lines in the NFL, each was protected. Dak was able to move around the pocket and confidently make throws while also being able to pick up some yards and necessary first downs when they needed it. In the same vain, the line would part or create holes for Zeke to run through. While being smart had something to do with it, the line deserves a lot of credit for their success as well.

Zeke and Dak truly became best friends, on and off the field. That’s not always necessary for success, but it helps. Having a relationship, off-the-field allowed them to spend time together, learn more about it and in turn, use some of the information on the field. On the field, the two carried that same bond and were able to use their energy to make plays off of each other.

While their main objective was to win, the two actually had fun. It’s rare to see two players out there, doing what they love and having fun at the same time. You can see in the way they act towards each other and how they play, they like to have fun on the field and it only helps the entire team. If a few players are having fun with a lot of energy, it keeps everyone’s spirits up and helps prep the team up.

Dak and Zeke are the heart of the Dallas Cowboys and they will be for years. Their chemistry, focus, and competitiveness make them one of the dynamic duos currently in the NFL. It’s hard to believe the two are only entering their second year of play together but they’re sure to continue to raise the bar. I can’t wait to see what the two do this upcoming season and how their chemistry grows.

 

 

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors don’t deserve to be vilified

Unlike last season, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games, winning the NBA Championship. Their 2nd in a matter of three years, the Warriors have become the love-or-hate team of the NBA. They’ve been seen as villains since the beginning of the season, something they don’t need or deserve.

Before we start, I don’t see the Warriors as a super team. Yes, I think they have a talented roster and a lot of stars, but they’re not a superteam. They weren’t built to win championships as evidenced by last year. Durant didn’t sign with them so they could become a superteam. Superteams are built specifically for the purpose of winning and I don’t think the Warriors are like that.

I see the Warriors as a team who knows how to compete but have fun. They are a pretty young team who is having fun, on and off the court. They have a lot of talented guys including Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson. Each of the three set records at some point this season but didn’t make a big deal about it. They continued to grind and make plays to help secure their spot in the playoffs.

The other issue I see with vilifying the Warrior is they deserved to win. After a year of constant taunting and blowing 3-1 lead jokes, they wanted revenge. You can only hear a joke so many times before it gets old and it wasn’t always joking. They were constantly being questioned about it, having to talk about it or constantly making jokes about it themselves. That had to be tiring especially for a team who was so focused on achieving that same goal this year.

You don’t see people vilifying the Cavs. They have one of the most impressive players in basketball, Lebron James. James has essentially built a super team around himself and no one bats an eyelash. Since it’s Lebron, he’s allowed to do it and let’s not forget when he went to Miami and built his own superteam. Why is it okay for Lebron to be part of a “superteam” but not for the Warriors? There isn’t any difference and it’s frustrating to see people blasting the Warriors for it.

What I really love about Golden State is they take it all in stride. If they’re portrayed as villains, they play the part, flawlessly. They leave everything on the court and then throw some shade off the court. Most recently, Draymond Green wore his “Quickie” shirt in reference to the Cavs arena, demonstrating how the Warriors uprooted the Cavs out of their own stadium. It was also a callback to James who wore an “Ultimate Warrior” t-shirt last year during their victory parade.

It’s so funny how when the Cavs did it, everyone laughed. Now the Warriors are doing it and we’re getting think pieces about how Green’s an idiot. Either way, the Warriors deserved to win. They outplayed the Cavs, got their revenge and can celebrate their victory as much or as little as they please. Vilifying them is pointless and only helps them in the end.

 

How I fell in love with sports

Growing up, I never thought about being an athlete. From a very early age, I knew I wasn’t cut out to be on a field or a mound or anything. As much as my dad tried to assure me I should try out for softball, I didn’t want to. Sports were something I had no interest in trying from constant fails in gym class.

That sentiment echoed into my high school days and later in college. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of watching sports back then, either. Listening to my dad yell at the TV was just something that was part of my life. I didn’t have to understand or even watch but I remember him being passionate about the game. Up until I went to college, it was in blissful ignorance about how great sports could be.

During my freshman year, I didn’t care much about sports. I befriended a girl who liked the Dallas Cowboys too and we talked about the team generally but nothing too serious. I decided to change my major my sophomore year from education to English with a writing concentration. What was I going to write? I wasn’t all that sure, but I wanted to get my voice out there.

Then my junior year, something clicked in my head. I began researching the Cowboys and finding out more info about the players. I started to watch the games and become invested in what was going on. Before I knew it, I was watching the games every single week, downloading ESPN’s app on my phone and posting on my Tumblr about sports.

It was so sudden like a light-switch had gone off in my head. Since that day, I haven’t ever stopped talking or writing about sports. My first article was published on a random website but I wrote with passion and came up with a clever title. Looking back at it now, I made a lot of dumb points and wrote way too much for a feature. Either way, the article was a turning point for me.

I had fallen in love with football and the NFL. I didn’t understand much then but I learned more and more. I grew to appreciate the game, teams and the players each week and it suddenly became a huge part of my life. The NFL will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first sport I fell in love with. I remember where I was for key moments from games to the draft and OTAs.

In addition to the NFL, I started to express interest in other sports. I have written about the MLB, NHL, NBA, NWHL, tennis, rugby, swimming among others throughout my career and I look back on all of them with love. I might not follow all of those sports now, but they all hold a place in my heart. If I had to pick a second fave, I’d either have to go with the MLB or NBA as it has become a huge part of my career.

My love for sports was reinvigorated last season, though. When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott, I was hesitant. He was from Ohio State and seemed like a little bit of a handful. He did end up being a handful last season but for good reason and then there was Dak Prescott.

I started the season, rooting for Romo all the way. I wanted him to avenge last season and finally prove his worth. Sadly, his injury derailed him from getting that but ushered in a new era. The Dak Prescott era started and he became the face for America’s Team and the apple of my eye. Well not really, but you get it. I love that guy, a lot. Prescott and Elliott made football fun again and brought life to a sport marred by scandal, in and out.

Prescott and Elliott made football fun again and brought life to a sport marred by scandal, in and out. They made me fall in love with football all over again and I couldn’t be more thankful that they’re on my team. It’s so hard to imagine them not being on my TV, seeing ESPN tweet about them or writing about them. Their passion for the game was exactly what I needed to invigorate my love for football.

Falling in love with sports was never in my plans, but I’m glad it happened. I can’t imagine my life without sports or not writing about them. Being a sports fan defines me and I wouldn’t want anything else to.

 

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors make the NBA fun

I have to confess something. I’m not a big basketball fan, never have but I’m starting to see the charm of it all. Last year was the first year I actually sat down and watch the NBA finals. The series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers was full of drama, competition, and excitement. A sport I had barely paid attention to was now something I looked forward to each week.

This season, it’s the same matchup again. While I cheered for the Cavs last season, I’m leaning more towards the Warriors. They’re such a talented team and one who deserves to stop hearing the 3-1 lead jokes. With key players such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and now, Kevin Durant, the Warriors make the NBA and basketball fun again.

What excites me the most about the Warriors is their spirit. You can tell they’re playing to avenge last season. As the winningest team in NBA history, losing the finals had to be a crushing blow. Even though they weren’t as great during the regular season, they have taken control in the finals. They are looking for a chance at redemption and who are we to rob them of that?

You can criticize them for being a super team, but I don’t see it like that. They’re a great team, no doubt there but not super. The Tune Squad was a super team but the Warriors are a rare team. They’re rare in the sense that they’re such a special and unique blend of talent, personalities, and obsession.

The talent aspect is obvious. Former MVP Steph Curry broke his own 3-point record, Klay Thompson became the first player in NBA history to score 60 points in under 30 minutes and Kevin Durant was a key in winning the first two games of the series. That’s not even mentioning Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and JaVale McGee.

Personalities abound on the team, but none more than Draymond Green. Green is one of those players you either love or hate. The same can be said for the rest of the team too because all have such distinct personalities. Fans might love them for their talent, but truly appreciate them and their personalities, on and off the court. The great thing about the whole team though is their sense of humor. They know how to answer questions and at least get a smile out someone from it.

Last but not least is the obsession. When a team’s as good as Golden State, people start to become obsessed. Suddenly, they’re all under a microscope and we want to know everything about them. Before you know it, they’re being painted as the good guys and before you can even blink, the villains. Obsession doesn’t even begin to describe their fans or their haters but they aren’t the only ones.

The Warriors are obsessed with showing they’re more than a superteam. They want the NBA to be fun. They want to show us all their personalities and embrace the love and hate. They live for the boos and the cheers, giving us everything we want: a show. It’s hard to keep your eyes off the screen when there’s so much going on.

I might not have always been a basketball fan but with teams like the Warriors, it’s hard not to be.

 

49ers

Torrey Smith is NFL’s voice of reason for Colin Kaepernick

Being on an NFL team is always difficult especially because you never have job security. Colin Kaepernick knows this all too well. What originally began as a promising career has fizzled as fast as RGIII’s time with the Cleveland Browns.

When Kaepernick decided to protest the national anthem, a bigger spotlight went on him but not for the right reasons. We weren’t talking about his playing time but what he was doing before the game. Fans of the NFL and non-fans alike have shunned him, sent him death threats, assaulted and harassed him. Many players sided with him, either copying his gesture or making their own statement. Either way, it got the world talking about issues like Kaepernick hoped.

However, the move seemed to blackball him from the rest of the NFL. While some teams spoke about the player’s choice, others vehemently spoke about cutting them. Most recently, New York Giants’ co-owner, John Mara spoke about it. Reported by ESPN, Mara talked about receiving impassioned fanmail, “‘If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game.’ It wasn’t one or two letters. It was a lot. It’s an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, moreso than any other issue I’ve run into.” Interesting considering the Giants recent scandals involving domestic violence and off-the-field behavior.

People weren’t pleased with his statement but most of all, Torrey Smith. Smith who currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles is a former teammate of Kaepernick’s and he tweeted out his thoughts after.

https://twitter.com/TorreySmithWR/status/869209085207597057

https://twitter.com/TorreySmithWR/status/869220488861679616

Smith’s first tweet is something I’ve always thought about NFL fans. They are completely hypocritical with their morals and values. If they have a love for a player, he should get a second chance or if he didn’t commit a “heinous crime” in their opinion, he needs to be forgiven and everyone is being too harsh on him. Being from Pennsylvania, I see a lot of this when people refer to Ben Roethlisberger who settled with two women out of court but was accused of sexual assault. Even though we have nothing to prove his guilt or innocence, fans quickly defended him. Instead of seeing the women as victims, they saw him as a victim. That’s just an example but something fans have found excusable.

Then his second tweet is even better because it calls out the hypocrisy of fans, coaches, players and teams. People associate kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of disrespect and were quick to vilify Kap but didn’t want to address the idea. They don’t want to be called out on their racism or prejudice, they want to ignore that issue and focus on his “hatred” for America which wasn’t it at all.

Looking at it from the other side, they’re praising teams who have criminals on their roster. Players such as Junior Galette, Joe Mixon, Terrell Suggs and James Harrison have all been accused or committed domestic violence. Then there’s sexual assault which players like Ben Roethlisberger, Ahmad Brooks, Jameis Winston and Richie Incognito have been accused of doing in some capacity. All of the players listed above are currently on active NFL rosters while Kaepernick reminds a free agent.

Do we see the problem here? People care more about their country than a woman. It’s disgusting to say, but men are more worried about a man sitting during a song than a man touching or putting his hands on a woman without her consent. It’s sickening to think that the NFL will cut players for domestic violence or sexual assault only when there’s evidence people can throw in their face. If not, then good for you because you’ll likely be on an NFL roster.

Torrey Smith was right with what he said. If people put half their energy into hating Kap as they did about standing up for women, the NFL would look a lot different. Hopefully, Kap gets another chance and the NFL starts to take sexual assault and domestic violence seriously. I’m crossing my fingers.