Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Camp Hill "Crazies"

Two years ago, I stood in a crowd amongst fifty of my peers attempting to fester the word "diesel" into the mind of the huskiest kid on the Middletown boys varsity basketball team. Mission accomplished; several of his crucial foul shots were missed as we narrowly defeated the Blue Raiders in the closing seconds of the game. Although yesterday, when a player from the same opposition tossed up an abysmal shot late in the third-quarter, not even an "airball" chant followed. Described by a Lion witnessing our performance from the floor as "a disgrace to be blunt," the Camp Hill Crazies have definitely seen their better days. With that said, here are some things I believe our section is lacking:

Sole Leader- Back in the day, Colin Hester, was the pinnacle of high school student section leaders. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable of the atmosphere, Colin did a phenomenal job conducting our basketball supporters. Not only did he dictate chants, get the most out of surrounding individuals, and think of fun and creative ways to showcase our section during games, but he also was great at uniting the section as one and making everyone feel valued as a Crazy. Due to this attribute, many "on-the-fence" supporters not only started coming to games, but even began actively participating in chants believing their hand-swing might be the one to force the opponent's foul-shot wide. If someone could fill this void as Crazies leader, not only do I think our section attendance would increase, but group involvement would also amplify.

Focus on the Game- If you've ever taken the time to look around during a game, it's pretty embarrassing. With half the "Crazies" engulfed in their phones or averted from the game, talking to their friends a few rows back, you wonder if students even know a game's going on right in front of them. I understand high school sports games can be social events, but you have to remember what you paid your $4 for. The constant breaks, timeouts, and pauses between quarters aren't just there to give the players a break, they're for the fans too. Take advantage of these intervals to talk to John or Sally about the chemistry exam you had yesterday; but once the whistle blows your focus should change. With our purpose being to cheer on our team while discouraging the opposition in an attempt to sway the outcome of the game, fans have a larger impact than we might think; they're called the "6th or 12th man" for a reason. With that said, if the Crazies can put an active effort into watching the game a bit more than what we have been, I not only think participation and influence will increase, but so will people's appreciation for the sport itself.

Event Promotion- There's a reason why every ESPN commercial break showcases upcoming bowl games or lackluster NBA bouts; because otherwise nobody would know or care about these events. By advertising games as early as possible, in addition to hyping up pre-game beef between opposing players, sports networks are able to maximize their viewer turnout. Although commercials aren't an option for us at the high school level, many other forms of promotion could greatly increase our student section attendance for games. In-school announcements could be used to highlight theme nights and half-time events for upcoming games. Social media can also be a great help, not only by more heavily advertising games, but also by continuing to stir the pot with rival school prior to the big game. With these new concepts in place, the average Crazies' attendance could hopefully get back to what it used to be.

With these things stated and the Shamrocks coming to town for our next display, I sure hope we can return to form and not embarrass ourselves under the brightest lights of the season.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Almighty Trinity

A few homerooms ago, I sat in the cafeteria and listened to Guy Tanguay inform our school's interested students about the upcoming swim season. As you may know, our swim team is run through Trinity High School since we lack the numbers and funding to run the program ourselves. Now, coach said many notable things throughout the seven minutes, but one thing in particular stuck with me. In order to swim this year, despite possessing most of the individuals who lead the team to grand success year after year, Camp Hill students are required to pay $230 to Trinity to compensate for the funding of the program. Now, I've heard of school's requiring their students to pay money to cover some of the costs for their athletic programs, but $230... might as well start my 401K with that amount of money. After running the numbers and seeing how over $15,000 will be given to Gary Bricker to fund this activity, thoughts of scandalous profit plague my mind. By charging their students a hefty tuition and receiving money from added donors, there is no way in hell this school needs an extra 15k to fund a swim team. This is just one of the many reasons why I hate Trinity High School.

Athletically, these guys are about as underachieving as Chelsea FC in the premiership this season. As it stands, the girls soccer and boys basketball team are their only athletic programs that deserve merit. Surpassed by us in essentially every other sport, Trinity makes itself hard not to laugh. With the ability to recruit student athletes and scheme their way to stay just under Class AA and AAA student population benchmarks, they should never lose. They can basically acquire any athlete they want and play against the easiest competition in playoffs, yet they still shit the bed in nearly all of their sports. This wannabe Bishop McDevitt even hired a nationally-renowned reality TV star as a coach to try to help their cause. Due to this and the many inane decisions of the "deity" Gary Bricker, we continuously defeat them season after season athletically.

A private institution composed of kids living in a strict Catholic environment must be stellar academically, right? Wrong. Despite having the ability to pull exquisite students in from all over the West Shore, year after year, Trinity High School continually falls short in keeping up their marks. With significantly lower SAT scores and a much larger student to teacher ratio, Trinity isn't exactly earning their gold stars in the classroom. Still, despite their lackluster academics, they try to mislead the public into thinking they're the school of Camp Hill, PA.

You'd think it couldn't get any worse than it already is, but unfortunately, it does. Not only are the students of Trinity underachieving, but the facilities are too! With crammed and out-of-date complexes, this school has given itself quite the reputation. Possessing malleable bleachers, a great view of the neighboring trailer park, faulty stadium lights, slanted and bumpy practice fields, and a horrific track, Trinity High School has resorted to consistently using our facilities to practice their sports. Remember... these guys require tuition that's supposed to pay for this type of stuff, but I guess that's being used to pay off past sexual harassment lawsuits or something. Oh, and for those non-athletes... it doesn't get much better. Why? Well, because they don't fucking have air-conditioning. How the hell do you not have air-conditioning, this isn't the 1940s anymore? I don't understand how this school can deem itself superior when they don't even have the decency or money (remember: they require tuition) to keep their students from constantly perspiring in class.

Now, through the entirety of this post you might be thinking, "Well at least the students themselves don't poorly represent the school." That's where you're wrong. The Shamrocks clearly have added to their "divine" school's reputation. For starter's, these guys are some of the most appalling students I have ever encountered. After playing against them several times throughout my high school soccer career, I am certain that sportsmanship is not something valued at their school. Persistently dropping the f-bomb, committing cheap fouls, and showing disrespect toward the officials, these students know  how to make themselves look bad. Not very good Catholics if you ask me. Having even gone to the lengths of intentionally trying to injure opposing teams' best players, it pisses me off just looking at these fools. This is nothing though. They received a hefty fine just this year, after urinating and defecating throughout an opposing team's locker room. Can you believe that? If that's not sinful, I don't know what is. Lastly, there's the famed pizza scandal. Years ago, at summer camp, the Trinity football team sexually harassed their underclassmen, forcing them to eat pizza that had some "unusual" toppings on it. Now, I've heard of high school hazing, but this is repulsively beyond any of those stories. It's difficult to comprehend how a team could sit back and let this go on. The real surprise about this though is how the perpetrators of this wickedness were expelled. With little to no variance from the rest of their peers, I found this act to be unfair. Oh, and the parents of these devils aren't off the hook either. On top of poorly raising these chimps, these people have been known to carry out these similar thoughtless actions. From personal experience, I've seen these grown adults repeatedly taunt opposing players from the stands only to later get in heated arguments with the opposing parents. The level of immaturity among them is unreal.

Now, as much as we like to think that Trinity High School is also unreal, unfortunately it isn't. All of central PA has to deal with their antics. And if you think I'm paying $230 to their sorry asses, then think again. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, prepare yourself as Shuster and our boys lead the onslaught this Friday against the putrid humans that play for the Trinity football team. It's gonna get ugly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Best Grade of All Time

While recently waiting in line at my local Sunoco gas station, I couldn’t help but notice the man in front of me dealing with the cashier. As he handed over his $4.67 to purchase a gallon of milk and some gum, a beam of reflected light darted before my eyes. Its source: a sizable emerald ring with the phrase "Class of '78, One for the Ages" inscribed along the upper brass border. Taking heart to the words rather than the tough gemstone, I started thinking... was this man's class really one for the ages, or was that just the best tag line their grade could think of to describe their four year tenure? As I pondered this question moving up in line, I started to think about my own class. Yet no questioning was done with it, for mine certainly fit the slogan.
First let's start with academics; after all that is the whole point of coming to school you know, to get an education? Now most grades are smart, but we're not like most grades. Setting the record for highest number of kids eligible, GPA wise, to apply to the National Honors Society, our class packs a punch in the classroom. With nearly half the students in our entire grade taking at least one AP class, close to a dozen scoring over 2000 on their SAT, and almost our entire class set to further pursue our education at the collegiate level, I don't think much more needs to be said... the class of 2016 is experienced at hitting the books.
Next on the list are extracurricular activities, with athletics at the forefront. Both individually and in regard to the teams themselves, we have quite the resume to say the least. Whether it's holding the state record in the 200-meter dash, being recruited by the Jim Harbaugh, scoring 1,000 points by junior season, or producing numerous college-bound athletes; individually, you can't ask for much more. As for team sports, I'll put it this way... we have ten boys varsity sports teams offered at our high school; seven of them have legitimate chances to win state titles this year. Think about that for a second. But it doesn't stop there. We also have a nationally ranked quiz bowl team, band, and second-to-none drama department. Whether it’s running on the track, marching on the field, or acting on the stage; we have it all.
Lastly comes the topic of legacy. When talking about things will have left behind for this school, its tough to know where to start. By reinvigorating our school student section, we have significantly increased the attendance to many of our school sporting events. Student activity levels have also increased greatly due to the numerous creations of new school clubs. Yet, most importantly, we have instilled a mindset to our underclassmen. Before, rowdiness and lack of effort were applauded amongst the masses. Now, school sprit, enthusiasm, respect, effort, and intelligence are rewarded. While still keeping things entertaining and comical in different ways that the past, our class has truly done things right.
            After reflecting upon all our accomplishments, I further support my instinctual assumption at the Sunoco that our class is worthy of being deemed “one for the ages”. With each and every student having something to offer in our grade, it is hard not to appreciate us. With that said, hopefully decades from now some kid will spot me out somewhere flaunting my class reputation, only with the slogan “Class of 2016, You’re Welcome” carved into the border instead.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Debate Like No Other: Brady vs Manning (Part 1)

There are many intriguing debates in this world. Some are about political views, others in regard to religion, and a great many about the ways to live one's life. But no debate in this country, or even on this planet, is quite as fascinating as that of Brady vs Manning.

Having been a goal of mine ever since hearing of it on ESPN, I have come to put an end to the debate once and for all. Now, in order to complete this task, there is a certain set of guidelines I must follow. First, due to the many aspects of this great quarterback dispute (statistics, individual awards, team success,  etc.), I cannot simply tackle this debate in one single blog post. Instead, I will have to approach it using a series of posts, each highlighting two or three different facets of the Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning comparison. Next, throughout this process I will keep an open-mind, meaning bias will be excluded as best it can be. For if any favoritism is showcased in this writeup, all claims can be deemed incredible. Lastly, any fact stated in this work will be linked to a valid source. With this approach, hopefully I can create the most accurate conclusion possible as to whom is better: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Hope you enjoy.

How They Started

Son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, Peyton was born with football in his blood. He grew up in Louisiana playing football with his two brothers, Cooper and Eli, and came onto the football scene as a force to be reckoned with. Fueled by his competitive spirt and knowledge of the game, Peyton came out of high school as the unofficial number one recruit in the nation.  Taking his talents to Knoxville, the aspiring young quarterback continued his ways in college by setting 42 school, conference, and NCAA records during his four-year career as a Volunteer. At 6'5, 230 lbs, Manning left the University of Tennessee to become the first overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft. From there he would continue his legacy as an Indianapolis Colt starting the first game for the organization the very next season.

A year younger than Peyton, Tom was raised a few thousand miles away in the town of San Mateo, California. There, he established himself as a potent athlete in both the sport of baseball and football. Although being offered to play at the professional level for baseball, Brady decided his passion was with football. After graduating high school, he pursued a scholarship to the University of Michigan, were he would showcase his talent as a quarterback at the next level. Despite not playing much his first two years, during his Junior season, Tom became the starting quarterback for the Wolverines. From there he developed himself as a prominent Big Ten player, where he even led his team to a victory in the Orange Bowl his Senior year. Unlike Peyton, Tom was not given the luxury of being drafted first overall, or even in the first round. In fact, Brady was not drafted until late in the second-to-last round of the draft, where the Patriots took him 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. During his first season as a pro, the rookie worked himself up the Patriots depth chart from 4th to 2nd. Then, in 2001, when the great Drew Bledsoe suffered a major concussion in the second game of the Patriots' season, Brady was called up to be the team's starting quarterback.



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Walks to School

Almost everyday of the year, I drive to and back from school. It takes two minutes to get from Point A to Point B, assuming there is no traffic. Fast and reliable, this way of transportation never does me wrong, nor does it fail any of my other friends who mostly all also drive. Yet, each day as I take the repetitive drive, I always get a feeling inside me that just doesn't sit right.

Right before I hop in my car each day, I get dressed in my room. As I put my clothes on and slide into my shoes, I can't help but look outside my window and notice the group of younger students who assemble at my street corner every school day at 7:00 AM. Regularly there are many, sometimes few; occasionally on bikes, other times riding their scooters. Yet, no matter the means of transportation, or the quantity of the group, each day they go to and back from school together. Just a group of friends who, even if they only get to talk with each other for ten minutes before their first class begins, take the time to get up early and make something of their morning. Despite the less amount of sleep and actually having use energy to transport themselves to school, I have no doubt in my mind that these kids will be glad they decided to meet at that corner each day.

Before school sports, the driver's license, and those valued extra minutes of lying in bed, I walked to and from school everyday with at least one of my friends. In kindergarten, it was my mother. We’d walk up to the old Eisenhower Elementary School holding hands as she asked me questions about various things in life only for me to respond ever-so-purely and innocently with an answer. Next came the short, one-block walk to Schaeffer.  I’d go with my next-door neighbor down the block, sometimes in a sprint, to see if we could make it to our class line before the bell. Hoover came two years after... sometimes walking with one good friend, other times on scooters with a group. Alongside my classmate, I remember being the first known kid in the fourth grade to walk from the North Side of Camp Hill to Hoover Elementary without using a single crossing guard to get to school; simply unheard of at the time. In fifth grade, we’d start our trip to school by jumping off of the local Cheese Mountain and across to the other side of the creek. We’d then proceed to race on our Razor scooters to school, zooming past any pedestrian that stood in our way.
Then came the climax of the walks to school: the sixth grade. Always surrounded by a group of at least three, these mid-range walks to and from the Middle school provided me with some of my most distinct childhood memories. Whether it was failed creek jumps, walnut/pinecone wars, playing in the rain, snowball fights, throwing water balloons at cars, getting into fights with older students, or concussing a girl with a stray hose-nozzle; these times will always be deeply cherished in my heart. 

         As the age of cars and the inability to wake up early set in, these events slowly came to an end. Yet, as nice as cars and maximized time at home are, I always regret not being in a similar type of group each morning gathering outside on a street corner somewhere, waiting to create even more one-of-a-kind memories than passing them by in a mere two minute drive each day.