Welcome to Sidelines, a weekly column which will be included in all of our issues of The Brock Press in the Sports and Health section.
The Hamilton Tiger Cats got themselves into a mess two weeks ago when they hired former Baylor University football coach Art Briles —who allegedly covered up countless acts of sexual assault, rape and other offences committed by the members of his former football team — though the league overturned the hiring decision the same day. Good on the CFL, but the real issue here is that the Ti-Cats seem to have been content with having a coach with that history. Here’s my question: how long will it take before the big-wigs of the sports world stop putting winning records above human decency? I’m all for second chances, but I don’t think a second chance is something Art Briles deserves. No matter how bad the Ti-Cats’ season has been, nothing justifies putting this type of person on your turf in front of fans. It isn’t just about winning football games. And don’t even get me started on working out Johnny Manziel. Yikes.
At a time of year when we’re looking forward to a pennant race, the Jays are dogging it. Anytime things looked good, they got bad — and when they got bad, they got worse. Though exciting, the playoff runs of the past two years are long gone now; gone too is any hope of them making a run this fall —and with it, our collective interest in baseball is just about gone. Luckily, as our interest in the Jays wanes, our anticipation for the Maple Leafs swells as we await that first puck drop on October 4. Although I’m not ready yet for the icy temps we associate with hockey, at least we may continue to savour their playoff run and dream freely about what the 2017-2018 season will bring. The rooks’ are no longer rooks’, but it’s fair to expect even greater things from them the second time around. Maybe not eight goals for Auston Matthews in game one, but something close to it. After adding veteran forward Patrick Marleau this summer, it’ll be interesting to see how the Leafs offense compares to last season.
In other— close-to-my-heart— hockey news, the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (better known as the CWHL) will pay its players this year. It is nowhere near the amount of pay their players have earned — but it’s a start, and it’s a good thing for women’s hockey. Barriers are being broken every day in women’s sports, and this is a big one. I for one, am looking forward to watching this story unfold.
Let’s talk college football … Ohio State and Oklahoma, arguably the best matchup of the weekend, didn’t turn into the best matchup of the weekend. Though close through the first half, but Baker Mayfield and the Sooners took it to the Buckeyes in the second half. When will Ohio State get their offense figured out, and most importantly, the pass game? Another strong non-conference clash was Auburn and Clemson. Though Gus Malzahn’s team limited the amount of push-ups for the Clemson mascot, his offense didn’t have much in return. Let’s not forget about the PAC-12, USC and Stanford had an early season conference battle, with USC prevailing. The Trojans, though they had a bit of a scare last week against Western Michigan, may be the real deal this season.
With multiple games postponed and cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, I am sure I speak for all Badgers in saying that we are keeping all those affected by this tragedy in our hearts and our minds. Whether displaced, left without a home, left not knowing, we are thinking of you.
The NFL opening week was filled with lots of shockers, including game one between Kansas City and New England. I’m sure there’s a bit of concern for Pats fans that Tom Brady seemed to have no answer for the Chiefs defense, but we all know that Belichick will use this to his advantage. I’m calling it now, 15-1. For all of us who choose to cheer for the closest team across the border, it was a good opening weekend to see first-year head coach Sean McDermott get the win at home against division rival New York Jets. Also new to the head coaching role, Sean McVay in Los Angeles got his first win against Indianapolis.
The Steel Blade Classic is coming up on Friday to kick-off homecoming weekend here at Brock, and it should be a good one. Big stage, big game; fill the arena and get loud, cause this one promises to be a thriller. I’m excited, I hope you are, too. Don’t forget to get over to Alumni field to see the other games this weekend; men’s and women’s soccer host McMaster on Saturday, men’s and women’s rugby host Laurier, men’s lacrosse hosts Guelph, and on Sunday, men’s baseball hosts McMaster at George Taylor Field in a double header. Before you know it, you’ll be an alumni and it won’t be so easy to enjoy homecoming weekend, so get out there and support all our Badger teams this weekend.