The High School World

Through less than a year of high school, I have been introduced to a whole new world of sports. I mean, I would be clicking through channels, and pass over every televised high school sporting event. But now, I find myself desperately searching for a high school basketball game on TV.

The home games at my high school are more of a social event than professional or college games. For example, our school lost every home football game this past fall. And even though I attended all four, I couldn’t tell you the score of any of them the next day. I doubt any high school student could.

Then basketball season came around. I didn’t really think I’d go to a lot of games, but freshman ball got me engaged. I started in every contest, averaging a stellar 10.6 PPG while logging the most minutes per game on the team.

I was very well-known after getting a shoutout on the morning announcements from the principal. She informed the whole school that I had set the record for most 3-pointers in a quarter at our high school.

As you could probably predict, I was completely immersed in high school basketball. That’s how it began. I started to go to my high school’s home games. Last year, the high school team was undefeated at home. This year, not bad, but definitely not undefeated.

Regardless, the games were fun so people went. Definitely better than homework. My first ever high school game (as a student) was Columbia vs Irvington. Irvington won, led by a 6’5” freshman. This kid was insanely talented, using a smooth jumper and throwing down some huge dunks.

After the game, a scout for a Division III college approached a different Irvington player, and they exchanged information. So, I went home and researched this guy, and watched videos of him play. I began to look through all of New Jersey’s high school prospects.

That’s when I realized how cool high school basketball was. Future college players playing against kids I go to school with everyday. I became an expert on NJ high school players, and knew who to watch for in every game.

For example, my high school played its rival, Seton Hall Prep, a few weeks ago. SHP was led by junior guard TJ Gibbs. You could tell he was the best player right as he stepped on the court. Only a junior, Gibbs has offers from esteemed programs such as Uconn, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Virginia.

In fact, there was a scout from Virginia’s coaching staff in the gym. It was so cool to see future college players play at this level. More recently, St. Anthony’s came to play my high school team. Coming into the game, they had four players with Division I offers.

The final score was 91-44, in St. Anthony’s favor. One of their seniors, Markis McDuffie, had already committed to Wichita State, while another, Jagan Mosely, was being scouted by Louisville. Mosely threw down an insane alley oop in the game, which was caught on video.

Of course, I had that video sent to me immediately. I tweeted the video, tagging Mosely. Thirty minutes later, I check my phone, and find that he retweeted my tweet. After all, he’s just another high school kid. Pretty cool.

I’ve found a new love for high school sports, especially with the local talent. The highest rated high school point guard in the country, Isaiah Briscoe, plays 15 minutes away! He has already committed to Kentucky, and John Calipari attended a tournament that my high school played in, back in December.

And now I find myself obsessed with recruiting, whether it’s Jim Harbaugh’s targets for Michigan, or just monitoring the offers/commitments of local NJ players. Heck, I watch more high school basketball than NBA basketball.

High school has opened up a whole new sports world, one that is entertaining, cheap, and very fun to watch.


Nightmare at The Garden

It’s been quite a basketball season so far. Being a Knicks and University of Michigan fan, I’ve been significantly disappointed with both teams. And I’m going to go out on a limb and say Phil Jackson’s first year with the Knicks isn’t really going as planned.

Other than the Timberwolves, New York has the worst record in the NBA. The Knicks lost 26 games out of 27 in one stretch, and set a franchise record with 16 straight losses. The Knicks are 28th in the league in points per game, and 28th in points per game differential.

Like I said, probably not what Phil Jackson envisioned as his first season in New York. However, knowing that this season is basically hopeless, Jackson has made moves to help for next year.

Recently, the Knicks traded Iman Shumpert and JR Smith to the Cavaliers. The Knicks didn’t receive any notable players in return, but this transaction got rid of two big contracts. Additionally, Phil released Samuel Dalembert, which saved a decent amount of money too.

With only a few players under contract after this year, the Knicks will have a ton of money to spend on free agents. Also, hoping the Knicks lose the majority of their remaining games, they will have a top-3 pick in the draft.

Personally, I think the Knicks should get rid of Jose Calderon. I don’t think he’s the long-term answer at point guard, and it would give Phil more money to spend if Calderon wasn’t under contract.

Nowadays, you need a great point guard to be successful. Let’s take look at the good NBA teams and their point guards. The Warriors with Steph Curry, the Clippers with Chris Paul, the Spurs with Tony Parker, the Trail Blazers with Damien Lillard… I could go on and on. Point is, the best teams have great point guards.

Therefore, if I were Phil Jackson, my first priority would be point guard. Goran Dragic, of the Suns, has given the impression that he would like to play for New York. Another potential target is Reggie Jackson, of the Thunder. I’d prefer Dragic, but both would help the Knicks get back to the playoffs.

In terms of the rest of the lineup, here’s how I see it. Despite swirling rumors, I don’t think Marc Gasol will end up coming to New York next year. He’s a starter in the All-Star game, and I doubt he’ll leave Memphis. That leaves a vacant position at center.

If the Knicks (hopefully) can secure the 1st pick in the draft, I think it’s a no-brainer. Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s center, has shown incredible talent and potential. And, even if the Knicks don’t get the 1st pick, they could always take Karl Towns, Kentucky’s center.

So, I’m hoping the Knicks fill the center position in the draft. I think Carmelo Anthony is at his best when playing power forward. At this position, Carmelo gets favorable matchups which makes it easier for him to generate points. That leaves small forward and shooting guard.

Tobias Harris, the Magic forward, publicly stated that he wanted to win with the Knicks. He will be a free agent this summer. If Phil signs him, that only leaves shooting guard. Tim Hardaway Jr. has a great deal of potential, but I don’t think he’s ready to start on a winning team.

Ideally, the Knicks would sign Bulls guard Jimmy Butler. However, there’s a good chance he stays in Chicago. Another good option is Wesley Matthews, from the Trail Blazers.

A lot of factors will play into the reconstruction of the New York Knicks in the upcoming months, but here’s my ideal lineup going into next year:

PG- Goran Dragic/Reggie Jackson

SG- Jimmy Butler/Wes Matthews

SF- Tobias Harris

PF- Carmelo Anthony

C- Jahlil Okafor

That lineup has a solid balance of experience and youth, and a lot of talent. For now, I just have to hope the Knicks get their younger players experience and lose all of their games. And, despite their horrible record, I think (and hope) Phil Jackson can make the Knicks a playoff-team next year.

Playoff Time

The 2014 NFL season ended yesterday. It was a very interesting year, including the domestic violence issues that sidelined notable players such as Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, and Greg Hardy.

Throughout the league, several rookies made a huge impact on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Odell Beckham Jr, Mike Evans, Jeremy Hill, Terrance West, Kelvin Benjamin, Zack Martin, Brandin Cooks, Tre Mason, and Carlos Hyde made a big difference for their teams this year. Defensively, CJ Mosley, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Aaron Donald, and Chris Borland made a big difference for their teams this year.

While the future looks bright with a lot of young talent, the veterans were able to dominate as well this year. Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Peyton Manning all finished in the top 4 in passing yards.

It was quite a competitive league this year. Some teams competing for a playoff spot, while others were competing for the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Yesterday, the playoff bracket was set, as all the teams completed their 16-game schedule. Unfortunately, my Giants weren’t good enough for the playoffs, but too good for a top five pick in the draft.

The Buccaneers secured the #1 pick in the draft. Anyway, here are my bold predictions for the 2014 NFL Playoffs.

First, the AFC:

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a tough division matchup between two good teams. Pittsburgh will have the edge playing at home. If Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell can play, I think the Steelers offense gets them to the divisional round.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts. This is the other AFC wild card matchup. The Colts have not been playing well lately. However, I strongly believe that home field advantage is a large factor. The Bengals defense is not that great, and I expect Andrew Luck to have a big game. I think the Colts win a close game, and advance.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos. The last time these two teams met at Mile High Stadium in the playoffs, Tim Tebow led the Broncos to an overtime victory. This is a clash between two high powered offenses. The difference will be the Denver defense. With the crowd on their side, the Broncos will knock the Steelers out once again.

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots. There is no way the Colts go to Foxborough and win. Brady will pick apart the Colts secondary, and Andrew Luck will have trouble against a tough Pats defense. Patriots win.

That leaves the Patriots and the Broncos. A rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. Last year, it was in Denver. This year, in New England. Two good defenses and two good offenses. A tough game to predict. However, I think the Broncos will find a way to win. CJ Anderson has been on fire lately, with 7 touchdowns in the last four games. The Pats will have a tough time stopping Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, especially with Peyton Manning throwing them the ball. Broncos beat the Pats again, and get to the Super Bowl.

Now, the NFC:

Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys offense has been great. The Lions defense has been great. I am almost positive the Lions will (at least they should) put up points against a Cowboys defense that is 26th in the league in passing yards allowed. Advantage, Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson. The Cowboys rushing attack, led by DeMarco Murray, was incredible this year. However, Detroit has allowed the least rush yards per game in the NFL. Lions win.

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers. The Panthers were lucky to make the playoffs, as they didnt even finish with a winning record. Meanwhile, the Cardinals boast a record of 11-5. With one of the best defenses in the league, the Cardinals go to Carolina and win.

Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks. This game is in Seattle. I repeat, this game is in Seattle. Seattle is arguably the toughest place to play in the NFL. With one of the best defenses in the league, and the crowd behind them, the Seahawks are going to make it hard for the Lions to score. Really hard. Meanwhile, I’m confident Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch will find a way to score points, being that it’s so difficult to contain them both. Seahawks win.

Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers has been arguably one of the best QBs of the year, with 38 passing touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. The Cardinals come in without their starting QB (Carson Palmer) or their starting RB (Andre Ellington). With the crowd behind them, the Packers defense will make it tough for Arizona. Packers win.

That leaves the Packers and the Seahawks. It’s unfortunate this game is played in Seattle. The great Seahawks defense and the screaming crowd will make it hard for the Packers to score. I think they will score some, though, with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. However, Seattle’s offense will be the issue for Green Bay. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch will torture the Packers defense. Seahawks win.

Super Bowl XLIX:

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks. A rematch of last years Super Bowl. Last year, the Seahawks destroyed the Broncos, 43-8. I think this time it will be much closer than that. Two good defenses, two good offenses. It will come down to the wire. Peyton will have a tough time against the Seahawks defense, but I do think the Broncos will manage to score. Russell Wilson’s mobility will be key, as well as his ability to extend plays. The Broncos will have a tough time containing both Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. In the end, I think the Seahawks win, for the 2nd straight year.

I’m really just hoping the Lions go to the Super Bowl. First of all, I would like to see Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson play in the big game. And, if the Lions go, Odell Beckham Jr will replace Megatron in the Pro Bowl. And I really just want to see Odell play some more football. The playoffs begin on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015, and continue until the Super Bowl, which is February 1st in Arizona!

Time to Bowl

The college football season is winding down, as bowl games are right around the corner. This year’s postseason is quite significant, being the first year with the 4-team playoff system. Before, the top two ranked teams would play in the BCS National Championship game. Not anymore.

Now, the College Football Playoff committee determines the four teams that will play in the new playoff. The other bowl-eligible teams, who don’t qualify for the playoff, will still have an opportunity to play in a bowl game. Like always.

Towards the end of the season, the committee releases their playoff rankings each week. Currently, the top four teams are: Alabama, Oregon, TCU, and Florida State. In that order. A lot could change, as the season isn’t over. Some teams still have a regular season game to play, and there’s also the conference championships, which have yet to be played.

It’s hard to tell what will happen in the next few weeks, as upsets are very common in college football. But, I have made some predictions on who will get into the 4-team playoff. And here they are.

First, I think Alabama gets in. Alabama’s last game of the season is Missouri in the SEC Championship game. I like their chances. Missouri is a solid team, but they have played a pretty easy schedule. I know the SEC is tough. But they really haven’t played any good teams, being in the SEC East.

Their toughest opponent was Georgia, who beat Missouri 34-0. Other than that, Missouri just played mediocre football teams. I don’t think they have what it takes to beat the hot, talented Alabama team.

So, ‘Bama gets in. Next, I think Oregon gets in. Oregon, led by Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota, has looked really good lately. Their final game, in the PAC-12 championship, is against Arizona. Arizona is the only team who has beaten Oregon all year.

And that’s exactly why I think Oregon will beat them. Oregon wants revenge. It may be a close game, but I think Oregon comes out with a victory, and secures a spot in the playoff. If Arizona (who is ranked 7th in the country) wins, I believe they will make the playoff, as the PAC-12 champs.

Next, I think Florida State gets in. Florida State’s last game, in the ACC Championship, is against Georgia Tech. I actually think Georgia Tech could pull off an upset. It’s very possible. But, I think Jameis Winston will lead his team to victory, and Florida State will claim a spot in the playoff, being the only undefeated team in the country.

Most ESPN experts agree, and think Oregon, ‘Bama, and Florida State will get spots in the playoff. The real problem is the 4th spot. Who will it go to? After the loss of Mississippi State, it’s really between Ohio State, Baylor, and TCU.

Ohio State’s final game is Wisconsin, in the Big Ten Conference Championship. The buckeyes star QB, J.T. Barrett, who passed Drew Brees for most touchdowns in a single season in the Big Ten, is out for the year with a broken ankle.

I don’t think Ohio State will be able to keep up with Melvin Gordon and the Badgers offense without Barrett. I think Wisconsin rolls, and knocks Ohio State out of contention.

Baylor plays Kansas State in their last game. Kansas State is a pretty good team, going into Baylor with a 9-2 record. Their only losses are TCU and Auburn, two very good teams. I think Kansas State pulls off the upset, knocking Baylor out of contention.

That leaves TCU. The Horned Frogs play Iowa State in their last game. Iowa State has a 2-9 record, and are pretty bad. It should be an easy win for TCU, which would have them finish with an 11-1 record.

Therefore, I think TCU gets in. However, if Baylor wins, that’s different. If Baylor and Ohio State both win, there’s a conflict. All three of those teams will have one loss. Regardless of Ohio State, if Baylor wins they should get in.

Baylor and TCU will both be 11-1, and Baylor beat TCU. With the same record, in the same conference, Baylor has the head-to-head advantage. There’s no reason Baylor shouldn’t go over TCU.

So, really, in my opinion, Baylor controls their own destiny. Now, say Ohio State and TCU both win, and Baylor loses. Ohio State would be 12-1, while TCU would be 11-1. Each with one loss, I think TCU deserves to go. They have a more difficult schedule than Ohio State, being in the BIG-12.

So, this is how I see it. Based on my predictions, the 4 playoff teams, in the 1st year of the College Football Playoff, will be: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, and TCU. However, the 4th team could be Baylor (If they win), or Ohio State (If they win AND Baylor loses AND TCU loses).

There’s a lot of football left. I’m excited to see how the rest of the games will unfold, and which teams the College Football Playoff committee will put into the playoff! Tune in to ESPN this Sunday at 12:45 ET to see which 4 teams make the 1st ever College Football Playoff.

Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim Draws Syracuse Fans to Words

He’s coached for over 30 years at Syracuse, with a winning record in every
single season. He’s in the basketball Hall of Fame and has the most wins at a
single school. He’s coached the U.S. National Team. He’s won a national

The man I speak of paid a visit to Words in Maplewood on Tuesday night. His name is Jim Boeheim.

Coach Boeheim, 69, recently published a book, called Bleeding Orange. In this autobiography, Boeheim reflects on his life, and discusses his experiences associated with the game of basketball.


The room was packed, and most people wore their Syracuse orange apparel. At the front of the room with a microphone, Coach Boeheim started by saying that he had caught an acute case of laryngitis, and could barely talk when he woke up that morning. Nonetheless, he followed by saying what a privilege it was to be at Words.

Coach Boeheim then began to talk basketball. He touched on the fact that
Syracuse had lost their three best players from last year (Tyler Ennis, CJ Fair,
Jerami Grant) and who he’s counting on in this season.”We’ve got a senior center, who I think will come into his own this year. Rakim Christmas, I think
he’s gonna be a tremendous player,” Boeheim told the crowd.

Boeheim also discussed his new freshmen for this year. He noted that Kaleb
Joseph, the successor of Tyler Ennis, is a very talented player. He also talked
about Chris McCullough, their freshman forward. “The only difference between him (McCullough) and Carmelo Anthony at the same stage is 25 pounds,” Boeheim said.

That’s a pretty big comparison, as Carmelo Anthony — the all-star forward for the New York Knicks– is arguably one of the best players in the NBA. Boeheim also praised his guards, Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije. Clearly, Jim Boeheim feels good about the talent on his team going into the season.

Coach Boeheim addressed the Syracuse fans, and talked about recruiting for next year, the season of 2015-2016. “We should have a great recruiting year this year, and recruit four or five guys in the top 30 or 40 in the country.”

Boeheim was confident in the way things were going in terms of his basketball program. After about ten minutes of hoops talk, Coach Boeheim signed books, after telling fans it was his first book signing ever. Many people lined up to get their copy of Bleeding Orange signed.

Boeheim personalized the books, writing names along with his signature. I thought that was pretty cool. Everyone eagerly waited on line. One kid asked if they could take Coach Boeheim home!

Unfortunately, that offer was shot down. Of course, Boeheim had to go back to Syracuse, and continue to prepare for the start of the season, which is right around the corner. Ranked 23rd in the country, coming off of a 28-6 record last
year, the Orange look to have another great year under the legendary coach.


A Giant Game 7

History occurred last night. The final game of the 2014 professional baseball season was last night, between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco  Giants. It was Game 7 of the World Series, as the series was tied 3-3. Heading into Game 7, the Giants were seeking to win their 3rd World Series in the last five years. The Royals, on the other hand, hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1985, which is the year they won the World Series.

The Royals were a surprise to make it to the World Series. They squeezed out a victory against the Oakland A’s to claim the last spot in the playoffs this year. Personally, after watching Moneyball, I thought the Oakland A’s were gonna win the World Series! I just had that feeling. That was when Kansas City got really hot. After eliminating the A’s, the Royals won 7 straight games, knocking out the Angels and Orioles along the way. Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ ace, handed the Royals their first loss of the postseason in Game 1 of the World Series as he pitched seven innings, only allowing one run.

However, the Royals bounced back with two wins in a row, obtaining the series lead. The Giants captured a victory in game 4, tying the series up at 2. Madison Bumgarner got the start in game 5, pitching in front of his home crowd for one last time this season. Bumgarner showed why he was the NLCS MVP. The Giants regained the lead of the series as Bumgarner tossed all 9 innings, preventing the Royals from scoring a single run. With the series on the line, the Royals exploded for seven 2nd inning runs, propelling them to a 10-0 victory in Game 6, to tie the series.

And then it was Game 7. Game 7 of the World Series. The highest stage of America’s past time. October 29th, 2014, in Kansas City. There was a sea of blue surrounding the field, and millions of people tuned in on FOX to see how this game would unfold. Jeremy Guthrie got the start for Kansas City, while Tim Hudson got the nod for the Giants. This matchup made history, as the two starting pitchers’ ages add up to the highest age ever in a game 7 of the World Series (74 years). However, it wasn’t these two starters that made the difference.

The Giants struck first in the 2nd inning. Guthrie loaded the bases with no outs, and the Giants took advantage. Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford each provided a sacrifice fly, which gave them a two run lead, heading into the bottom of the 2nd inning. But, the Royals came right back. In the bottom of the same inning, Alex Gordon smacked a double that drove in a run. A few pitches later, Omar Infante’s sacrifice fly drove in Gordon, to even the score at 2. Tim Hudson was removed from the game in the 2nd inning.

In the 3rd inning, Guthrie got the first three batters out, including a strikeout to allstar catcher Buster Posey. The Royals led the bottom of the 3rd off with a base hit. Then, Eric Hosmer, one of their best hitters, smacked a grounder up the middle. The rookie second basemen, Joe Panik, dove towards the ball. He extended his glove just enough to snag it. From the ground, he flipped the ball with his glove to second base, where Brandon Crawford caught the ball and threw it to first for a double play.

It was an incredible play by Joe Panik, that turned a situation in which there would be runners on first and second base, into a situation with two outs and no one on base. It was pretty sick to watch. Kelvin Herrera, the Royals’ stud reliever, took over for Guthrie in the 4th inning, with a man on third base. Michael Morse took a pitch from Herrera into right field for a base hit, and Morse’s 2nd RBI of the night. This gave the Giants a 3-2 lead.

In the 5th inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy made his 2nd pitching change. This time, he brought in his ace. Madison Bumgarner. After allowing a single to his first batter, Bumgarner shut the door. He retired 14 straight batters. The Royals bullpen did their part, shutting down the Giants offense for the rest of the game. So, it was 3-2 Giants in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Gordon stepped up to the plate, with two outs.

On the 2nd pitch of the at-bat, Gordon ripped a line drive into left center field. He slowed up around first, thinking it was a single. Suddenly, he starts sprinting towards 2nd base! The Giants’ center fielder had misplayed the ball, and it got past him! The ball rolled to the wall. The left fielder came over to retrieve the baseball as Gordon rounded 2nd base. The left fielder bobbled it before throwing it in. Gordon settled into 3rd base safely.

It was like the Royals were meant to get the W. That error almost cost the Giants the lead. Meanwhile, I was mad. I was sick of the Giants winning. I wanted to see the Royals win at home. I was mad at Alex Gordon for slowing down at first. Because if he hadn’t, he would’ve scored on that play. Now, I understand why he slowed down, and I probably would’ve done the same thing. But if only he didn’t slow down….

Anyway, the Royals had a man on third base. Bottom of the ninth. Down to their last out. Salvador Perez hobbled up to the plate, barely able to run after he was hit by a pitch in the 2nd inning. The tying run at third base, the winning run at the plate. Boy, how amazing would it be if Perez hit a home run. It would be like a fairy tale. But Madison Bumgarner wasn’t having any of it. Bumgarner got Perez to foul out, and the Giants won the World Series.

Bumgarner set the MLB record for most postseason innings pitched (52 2/3) and maintained an ERA of 1.03 throughout the playoffs as well. He was named the 2014 World Series MVP, at the age of just 25. We’ll be seeing a lot more of this guy in the future. This World Series capped off a good MLB season, and even though I was really tired this morning, it was worth it to watch the whole thing!







Falling out of Summer

It’s that time of year again. The summer went by so fast, just like every other summer. As much as I am dreading going back to school, I do look forward to fall. After all, fall is the best season.

I love fall for many reasons. In Jersey, all the bugs go away, and temperatures are not overwhelmingly hot or cold. There isn’t as much rain as spring, so fall is definitely my favorite season.

And with the nice weather, the fall brings football back. Michigan and the Giants play on Saturday and Sunday every weekend for most of the fall season. I always look forward to cheering on my teams as they take the field each fall.

And when football is on, you already know I will be on the computer constantly checking my fantasy football score. Fantasy football is back, and it makes the NFL so much more entertaining. In my opinion, it’s by far the best fantasy sport, and this year I’m going for the 3-peat in the league with all of my friends. Wish me luck.

This fall has a special significance, though, because I am starting high school. I already have my schedule, which actually made me a little more excited for school. But I’m not too excited for nine months in a classroom.

In addition to the academic aspect, I also get to play soccer. Eventually, (hopefully), I will play hoops in the winter, and baseball in the spring. At the beginning of the summer, which is the heart of baseball season, I was debating whether I really wanted to play soccer.

I’m really glad my parents forced me to tryout. I’m in the starting lineup so far, and it’s actually really fun! I like the coach, and I’m pretty sure he likes me. I like all my teammates, and we look to be pretty good this year.

My dad is always telling me to have a positive attitude towards everything, so I’m trying my best to forget the fact that the summer is over and school is starting. It’s a little easier though, since football and soccer make up for it all!

The transition from summer to fall is definitely the most difficult for me. In the summer, there is much less responsibility, and you don’t have to worry about a lot. However, as fall begins, I begin to feel that I have a lot of responsibility, and a lot of things to do, whether it’s sports, school, or anything else.

Regardless, I look forward to embark on a new journey as I begin high school!


The Stolen Bike

The day started out like any other day: Wake up, go to soccer. The start of the season is right around the corner, and after practice we were required to go to the high school to take a concussion baseline test.

So, I went home after practice, yawning while explaining to my mom that I would have to report to the high school in a little bit. She simply nodded, and of course, after a short period of time passed, I biked to the high school.

I saw my friends’ bikes locked to two different poles in front of the school.

Without hesitation, I placed me bike right next to the locked bikes, since I don’t own a lock. I failed to remind myself about the ramifications of leaving my bike unlocked.

Anyway, I marched into the high school, and after a brief explanation, I was seated in front of a computer, and proceeded to answer a lot of questions for the baseline test. I tried to get the best score, while not wasting any time to get out of there and get on with the rest of my day.

A feeling of relief washed over me as I walked out of the room, finally done with the test. Eager to see what the rest of the day had in store, I met my friends outside.

They all started walking quickly towards me, a serious look on their faces.

One said, “Jake, was your bike next to ours? Dude someone took it!”

Now, I had heard something similar to this before. I told them to stop messing around; thinking that they had hid it, knowing it wasn’t locked. They pushed on, insisting they had seen someone riding away on my expensive bike.

I didn’t buy their story. Not until they told the security guard to call the police. My face hardened, and I asked, “Wait, are you serious?”

To which they replied in unison, “Yes!”

It was then when I realized my bike had been stolen, since this would be too far for a prank. The security guard called the police. He made me, and my friends (the witnesses), write our names and phone numbers on a piece of paper.

Then, he ushered us outside and asked where my bike was placed, and we quickly showed him. Unfortunately, there were no surveillance cameras that looked at that specific spot.

The police officer got there and asked for all of my information, and a description of my bike. He then asked my friends for a description of the man that took the bike. They also told the officer that they yelled to the guy, telling him to give the bike back.

The police officer eventually left, after saying he’d do his best to find the bike. I had nothing better to do, so I went into town for lunch with another friend, who wasn’t a witness. I was mad, because throughout the summer, I had biked everywhere. As I was still trying to contemplate everything, I got a call.

I got a call from one of my other friends, who said they had found my bike in a bush on the other side of the high school, and that the bike was being taken to the police station.

Puzzled that the bike had turned up so quickly, I called my mom, who picked me up and we went to the police station. After lots of paperwork, I was able to take my bike home. It was pretty wild.

I have several ideas of what could’ve happened, but I reckon the guy stole the bike, heard my friends yelling at him, realized he had been seen in broad daylight, and dumped the bike back at the high school.

Who knows, but that’s just my guess. Regardless, I have my bike, and you bet I’m getting a bike lock now!






The Zen Master Going to Work

I have still been waiting for the Knicks to make a run at the title. The Knicks haven’t been very successful in my lifetime, compared to the Giants or the Rangers. They have had good seasons, but nothing close to a championship.

A few months ago, the Knicks hired Phil Jackson, known as the “Zen Master”. Phil has won 11 championships in his past coaching days. However, with the Knicks, he is the team president and general manager.

Phil came in with a roster that wasn’t very promising. I honestly don’t know if the moves that he has made have been good, yet. Phil made a trade to the Mavericks that gave the Knicks a package including Jose Calderon, and two draft picks. But who knows how that’ll turn out?

He also traded for Quincy Acy, and Travis Outlaw. Additionally, and most importantly, he re-signed Carmelo Anthony. Now, most people declared that the Knicks would never win with Carmelo, due to his style of play and whatever else.

I completely disagree. We can win with ‘Melo, but Phil Jackson just needs to put the right players around him. Basically, nowadays, it takes more than one player to win it all. And that goes for every sport.

First, I think the Knicks need to trade Iman Shumpert. He isn’t that good, and we already have JR Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. at that same position. I know the Cavaliers expressed interest in Shumpert. He’s young, and a good defender, so he must draw interest elsewhere, too.

Either way, all of Phil’s moves made in order to be in better shape for next summer. In the 2015 off-season, the Knicks will have lots of money to sign a great player, maybe two.

I assume Phil’s goal is to win it all in the 2015-2016 season. I say this because currently, the Knicks are nowhere near the Conference Finals. The Bulls have a roster that includes Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Joakim Noah: Really good.

The Cavaliers have a roster that could literally go undefeated. Kidding. But they are easily the best team in the NBA, with Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron. So, the Knicks have touh competition in their own conference.

If I were Phil, I’d get rid of Shumpert and maybe upgrade the point guard, so we don’t worry about that position next summer. I would make Timmy Hardaway Jr. the starting SG, and of course Carmelo a starter. I’m not sold on Calderon, but if we do get another solid point guard, we can focus on the two remaining starting positions to fill with good talent.


So hopefully, eventually, Phil puts together a team that will compete for NBA titles.


The Mental Part of the Game

Baseball is a game of failure. I’ve been told this many times. Heck, the best single-season batting average recorded in the history of baseball is .440, which means this player didn’t even get a hit half of the time.

Getting a hit three out of ten times is considered very good. Now, this is where the mental part of the game comes in.

I, myself, have been in a terrible slump lately. Over the years, I have learned that I can’t let these things get to me. It took me awhile, I admit that. Let’s just say that there were several episodes of “losing my cool” in the past.

Now I understand that when you let these things get to you, it affects your game negatively. Also, it makes you look bad. You have to approach the game with a positive outlook, regardless of how many times you fail.

I bring up this topic because I am currently in a slump, as I mentioned before. In the spring I felt I was doing much better. But for some reason, I guess I just got out of rhythm this summer.

However, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. This year a bunch of kids left for club teams, so we knew we lacked some talent out of the gate. Still, I thought we would be competitive. I was wrong. So wrong. We finished 0-12, getting mercied in most of our games.

Sometimes it was because the other team was very good, and sometimes it was just because we were terrible. We were the Bad News Bears, subtracting their playoff run.

But throughout my life, I have learned to just keep plugging away. And fortunately, I got invited to play for a club team for the rest of the summer. I will get more reps, and more at-bats. Baseball is a game of repetition as well, so the more games the better.

You can be insanely talented, but if you can’t handle the mental aspect of baseball, forget about it. The great players today have mastered the mental and physical part of the game, some more than others, and I strive to do the same!