“One of my friends nicknamed them acid portraits, so that’s sort of what I’ve been calling them,” Fuesler said. “They’re just really, like, bright and colorful and kind of trippy looking portraits of people.” Coffman, a rising senior majoring in aerospace engineering, captured the energy of these moments on camera. With a click of a button, he photographed protesters on the frontlines, cop cars on fire and youth skateboarding in the street. With every donation that she gets, Kapoor has been matching it through several contacts and organizations, such as USC Project RISHI, a nonprofit organization that leads initiatives in India and Los Angeles. “I’m starting to become more comfortable just putting my artwork out for people to see because it’s been received fairly well so far,” Work said. “So I think it’s something that I can keep doing, and even if it’s not for other people, it’s something that I’ll still do for myself.” “I hadn’t sold posters before, but I decided it would be one of the ways in which I would be able to raise a lot of money really fast if I was able to just sell my posters and step out of my comfort zone and raise my voice to garner donations, and it ended up working out pretty well,” Work said. Fuesler has recently joined #CommissionsForChange and has received a positive response. So far, a lot of her close friends have submitted forms, but Fuesler hopes to expand her art activism and garner more interest. Fuesler, a Latina woman, said she wants to use this moment to uplift the Black community. As protesters took to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others who have been killed at the hands of law enforcement, Bobby Coffman was there beside them in Los Angeles. Fuesler has done similar advocacy work before; to help those who experienced stress due to the coronavirus pandemic, she designed a coloring book that doubled as a mood tracker. Now, she is creating stylized portraits for anyone who submits proof of donation to any organization benefiting the Black Lives Matter movement. Kevin Yin, a rising sophomore majoring in media arts and practice, has also been using his digital art skills to fundraise for racial justice. Yin has been creating commissions in order to aid in the movement as an ally, and he’s no stranger to advocacy work. In high school, Yin created graphics for student groups leading movements such as environmental protests, school walkouts and women’s marches. “I care a lot about Black Lives Matter, and I don’t really see it as a political issue,” Kapoor said. “I wanted to do more to help towards it. I did the donations [with] what I could for my family [and] with our income and everything, but I wanted to do more.” “That was basically kind of what I based the little project, I would say, off of because you can see the resilience of Black culture even in times of hardship,” Coffman said. “You see these Black youth skating on a burnt-down car while police are shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at people. No matter what, the street will always belong to the people.” Initially, Coffman did not intend to sell the photographs, but after people expressed their interest, he saw the opportunity as a way to raise money for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a law firm that, according to its official website, “seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.” “I incorporate my own style for painting with adding flowers and a lot of nature-y stuff, so a lot of clouds,” Kapoor said. “And I’ve also added henna on a couple of the paintings like the hands since I’m Indian.” “This is a very important movement for the culture, especially right now,” Coffman said. “I just kind of wanted to show everybody else what it is kind of like to be on like the frontlines of a violent protest, I would say, where things are on fire, and there’s definitely tear gas being shot.” Work was initially hesitant about whether his voice would be heard, but thanks to support from family and friends, he has been able to raise more than $700 for ActBlue, an organization that splits donations between several groups fighting for racial justice. While on-the-ground protesting has been an avenue for many to get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement, Mekhla Kapoor has been unable to do so in fear of spreading the coronavirus to her grandparents. Instead, Kapoor, a rising junior majoring in computational neuroscience, has been using her love of painting to fundraise for the Black Lives Matter movement. Kapoor has never sold her own art on such a large scale before; the magnitude of the moment, however, inspired her to seek out more ways to get involved. “I think a really important part of being an ally is to understand that this is about something so much bigger than yourself,” Fuesler said. “And that you really need to educate yourself and learn and listen to other people who just haven’t been listened to for so long throughout our history.” (Art courtesy of Kevin Yin) (Photo courtesy of Bobby Coffman) Yin is part of a campaign called #CommissionsForChange, a fundraising project originally started by Stanford University student Amy Lo. The process for getting a commission done involves submitting proof of donation, filling out a form and sending Yin one to three photos that he transforms into digital art. The film photographer, who began his craft during his sophomore year at USC, wanted to document the experiences protesters had to go through to fight for justice. When taking photographs, he focused on capturing moments that highlighted the energy of the protest, such as protestors going head-to-head with the police while wearing face masks to protect themselves. Emily Fuesler, a rising senior majoring in art and media arts and practice, also participates in #CommissionsForChange as a way to support the Black community. From a young age, Fuesler found comfort in various forms of art. As she grew older, Fuesler knew this was the career path she wanted to pursue. “I’ve always sort of [wanted] to use my art to bring change to the world and to bring about escapism and to imagine sort of a better world,” Fuesler said. (Art courtesy of Emily Fuesler) “Some people call it digital photo edits or photo art, but it’s supposedly like a collage feel,” Yin said. “You take different elements in the photos and you change them with blending layers and then other elements.” Those who donate are able to choose between three different paintings: a cartoon character of the person who did the donation, two people holding hands and the Black Power fist. Kapoor creates the color schemes of the paintings based on the donor’s Instagram feed or their favorite colors. (Art courtesy of Mekhla Kapoor) Similar to Kapoor, Kendall Work is selling his art for the first time to collect donations. Work, a rising junior majoring in mechanical engineering, takes classes outside of his major at the Roski School of Art and Design and is selling posters of singer-songwriter Solange that he created in a digital design class.
Election results have been tallied for the Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council, and the elected executive board, including a USC student, consists of new faces ready to tackle issues concerning the local community.Shawn Simons will be returning as president of the neighborhood council but will be working with a new executive board. Ashley Ramos, a junior majoring in political science, will serve as one of the two representatives for Area 3, the area that includes North University Park.Community · The North Area Neighborhood Development Council, pictured here during a meeting at the University Village in March, recently elected a new executive board. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanRamos will be replacing Samantha Foley, a senior majoring in political science and international relations, and Daniel Wu, a senior majoring in Los Angeles urban studies, both of whom were appointed to the council and served for a year.Though a number of students showed interest in running for the council, Ramos is the only one who followed through with the election process. Ramos said she decided to run because she thinks serving on the neighborhood council will be a good experience and could be a starting point for her to learn more about city planning and urban development.In her new position on the council, Ramos said she hopes to be a link between the university and the community.“As far as what I would like to do on the council is just to keep an open line of communication between the university and residents,” Ramos said. “It would be really good to just have everybody in the neighborhood kind of have a say in the Master Plan since it affects so many people.”Although Ramos will graduate before her two-year term on the council ends, she said she plans to go to graduate school at USC, which will give her the opportunity to stay on as an active member of the council.Two of the main issues the executive board plans to address this term include creating a community benefits package that will present concerns about the Master Plan to the university and city hall and ensuring that recreational activities for South Los Angeles children will continue. Parks and libraries, Simons said, have been struggling amid the city’s stark $212 million budget deficit.Simons said she is currently working on a budget proposal with the mayor’s office to identify strategic partnerships for parks and libraries through neighborhood councils.“I think this is going to be a huge piece of the puzzle in South L.A. … Those services are so desperately needed for the youth in our area,” she said.The new executive board will also be working on the council’s outreach efforts, especially because it wants to be accessible for community members who will be affected by budget cuts.“We need to make sure people know who we are and how they can get in touch with us … When there is a crisis happening, we need to mobilize our area and amplify our voices,” Simons said.The council, however, will face challenges in reaching these goals.Simons said the new board is going to have to be very smart about how it allocates money and look for new ways to reel in funds. The Los Angeles City Council has cut $40,000 of NANDC’s funding because of the deficit, she said, and during the next fiscal year, starting in July, the council will be starting at a zero dollar balance.The two outgoing USC student representatives said they have high hopes for the council after what they were able to achieve during their time.Foley, who served for a year on the neighborhood development council, said one of her biggest accomplishments while on the council was lobbying to move the local farmers market from Shrine Place to University Avenue.“That’s been awesome because students go up and down that street all the time, and it’s an area [where] community members also feel like participating. It’s accessible to both groups,” she said.Foley and Wu also worked to launch public forums aimed at gathering opinions about the university’s Master Plan. Those forums began last month and will continue in the coming weeks.Wu said serving on the council was a great experience and gave him the chance to work with community members and also to observe interactions between members.The new executive board will host its first steering committee this month to help identify some basic principles as well as approve appointed positions.
He’s won 19 games in two years, more than everybody in the country except for a couple of 2005 Heisman runner-ups and a Boise State QB who plays in a much weaker conference than the likes of the Big Ten.He quarterbacked the Badgers to an unexpected 10-3 record in 2005, capped by an upset victory over the No. 7 Auburn Tigers in the Capital One Bowl, in which he threw for more than 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns.He set UW season records for passing yards (2,920), touchdowns (21) and attempts (328) in a season where the starting tailback, Brian Calhoun, had nearly 40 more carries than any other runner in Division I football.John Stocco has constructed what most would consider a good-looking career at Wisconsin. Stocco, nonetheless, still receives a more-than-steady dose of criticism from a fair amount of outside sources.John Stocco does not care. And that, says his quarterbacks coach Paul Chryst, might be his greatest weapon on a football field.”I think that John is his own hardest critic — and he’s got a good ability, which he needs,” Chryst said. “He’s not going to get too high or too low. He doesn’t need to read anything to affect how he feels, so I think he’s tremendous there.””He’s a guy that, from sophomore year on, when he started every game, a lot of people were criticizing him, and he never really paid attention to that,” adds close friend and UW linebacker Mark Zalewski. “If I brought it up just as a joke, he’d just laugh it off, and I think that’s what you need out of a starting quarterback, a guy who just comes to work every day and just pays attention to what he needs to do and doesn’t worry about what other people say about him.”Stocco acknowledged the freedom of fans and media alike to formulate their own opinions as they please, adding he has been able to block out all outside distractions.”Everyone has a right to say whatever they want, so it’s something that I don’t let bug me. It’s not something that I worry about,” Stocco says. “Sometimes I kind of think about something and it does motivate me a little bit, but, for the most part, I don’t think about it too much.”It puzzles the mind — especially for those who don’t know Wisconsin football as well as others — how the starting quarterback can be subject to so much belittlement after accomplishing so much.Could it be that Stocco pales in comparison to the talent of Matt Leinart and Vince Young, the two Heisman contenders who won 25 and 24 games, respectively, since 2004? Perhaps.”No, he’s not [Vince Young],” Chryst said with a laugh. “I don’t think that anyone worries about any of that. So when that comes up, it’s not a big deal. I think he’s confident and comfortable with who he is, and it’s a good thing.”Most would agree that Stocco’s style falls into the category of a “managing” quarterback. His job is to make smart decisions, take advantage when and only when opportunity presents itself, and mainly not do anything stupid. In other words, Stocco succeeds more by “not losing” the game rather than making the big plays to win it, as opposed to superstar Qbs, who reign in the glitz with flashy plays.It’s easy for Chryst to say Stocco feels comfortable with this role. After all, with Calhoun in the backfield, the running game was able to carry the offensive load, as it has for much of UW’s history. The 2005 Badgers were good for 34.3 points per game, a Wisconsin record.But the new year brings an interesting scenario for Stocco and the UW offense. Calhoun is gone to the NFL Draft, and there hasn’t been one back that has truly shined over the others in spring practice. However, with such a new set of receivers — top targets Brandon Williams, Jonathan Orr and Owen Daniels have also left — Stocco has struggled through a bit of a frustrating spring thus far.”John’s facing — I don’t want to say it’s a unique situation — but a situation where he’s got to improve his game and step up his game without assuming the whole responsibility,” Chryst said.One of Stocco’s favorite words is consistency, symbolic of his ultimate goal as a Badger quarterback, and the soon-to-be fifth-year senior used it a lot when talking about the objectives of his new wide receivers.”We need to get them to the point where they fully understand what they’re doing so they can just play fast and just cut it loose, and that’s going to be a continual process,” Stocco said. “I think it’s something that we won’t be done with this spring. We’ve got to keep working throughout the summer and fall camp, and we’ll be ready to go.””I think he’s doing a hell of a job, and I think that’s just because he’s been doing so well [since] last season,” said senior defensive lineman Joe Monty, who has lived with Stocco for nearly three years. “It’s going to be fun to watch and see what he can do with these younger receivers, especially.”While Chryst admitted there has been some aggravation this spring in trying to create consistency between quarterback and receivers, he said Stocco’s confidence in the wake of a memorable 2005 campaign has made a difference in the way the quarterback carries himself on the field.”Last year, he [was] coming off of his own personal development in where he needed to go,” Chryst said. “Now I think there’s confidence, and I think that he certainly trusts his game more, so I think there is a combination of things making him more confident.”Stocco will carry that confidence strong into Camp Randall Stadium this fall. Love him or hate him, the Wisconsin faithful will root on No. 7 and hope wholeheartedly that he and the Badgers can repeat their success from a year ago.To Stocco, it wouldn’t matter if the entire stadium supported him through the good times and cursed him through the bad. There are definitely no hard feelings, as he called Madison “amazing” as a sports city.”The fans are just unbelievable. It’s just so much fun,” Stocco says. “I really haven’t been anywhere better. I can’t imagine what would be better. I love it here.”
GREGORY DIXON/Herald photoWhen the Wisconsin Badgers face off against an in-state opponent, regardless of the sport, it always seems to bring out the best in everybody as they try to prove their team is the best in the state.As the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team prepares to take on UW-Milwaukee(3-3-0) Friday night at the McClimon Soccer Complex, they are working hard in hopes of securing a victory over their in-state foe.”UW-Milwaukee is definitely a big rival for us,” junior forward Taylor Walsh said. “It is always a big goal of ours to be the best team in our state.”Coming into Friday’s game against the Panthers, the Badgers (3-2-1) hope to carry over the success they had on the road last weekend against Northern Arizona. Last Sunday, Wisconsin ended the Lumberjacks’ five-game unbeaten streak and handed them their first loss of the season. In addition, the Badgers’ lone goal, scored by junior forward Tricia Krombach in the eighth minute, snapped the 513:13 shutout streak of NAU goalkeeper Elizabeth Winkelblech. “It put our team in the mentality that we can overcome obstacles that are set in our way,” Krombach said. “The fact that we can come in and show them what a Big Ten powerhouse can be like is really good for our team.”In addition to beating Northern Arizona, the Badgers fought hard and played strong against a tough Brigham Young team despite losing 1-0. Like NAU, the Cougars of BYU came into the matchup undefeated, allowing zero goals in four previous games.The Cougar defense continued its strong play as the Badgers managed only two shots on goal from sophomores Whitney Owusu and Stephanie Krombach. Although they didn’t come away with a victory against the Cougars, the match was not a total loss for the team.”We actually played really well against [BYU] and gave them a good challenge,” forward Stephanie Krombach said. “Even when we lost to BYU it still [made] our team better and brought us closer to the next level.”Further, the road trip as a whole showed marked improvement from the Badgers’ previous road trip Aug. 25-Sept. 2. On that trip, the Badgers battled Vanderbilt to a scoreless tie and lost 3-1 to the Georgia Bulldogs. Additionally, UW was outshot 46-13 by their opponents from the SEC.For Wisconsin, improvement has come day-to-day and week-to-week as they continue to develop as a team. Much of the Badgers’ continued improvement can be credited to a desire to learn and a great coach who has a lot to offer.”[They are] so willing to learn and put forth the effort and battle for stuff,” head coach Paula Wilkins said. “I see growth in them in every practice and every game.””It is more of a learning atmosphere; Paula has a lot to teach, and she teaches us new things every day,” Walsh said. “It is my fourth year, and I think I have learned more this year than I ever have.”As Wisconsin prepares for Friday’s game against UW-Milwaukee, they are working on a few things in practice that they believe will help them continue to improve as a team.”We want to be able to keep possession a little bit more, work on our shape in the back and to solidify some stuff that we want to do pressure-wise defensively,” Wilkins said. “We are [also] focusing on being able to get the ball and numbers in the offensive third.”Regarding the game against the Panthers, the Badgers will be looking for a strong team effort as they hope to come away with the victory.”Everybody kind of just needs to step it up this Friday,” Walsh said. “I hope everyone [has an impact],” Coach Wilkins added. “I think Taylor is always a major threat up front, Krista [Liskevych] and Marissa Sarkesian have come through in the midfield and become a little more dangerous, and obviously Tricia [Krombach] has added an assist and a goal, so hopefully that will continue.”
Maybe they were out all night playing craps in the casinos.Or maybe they each had five midterms last week and couldn’t practice at all.Perhaps they all had man-crushes on Davidson’s Stephen Curry, or maybe theywere afraid of possibly facing Kansas.All these crazy ideas were circling in my head as I walkedaround downtown Detroit Friday night in utter disbelief, looking for thenearest blackjack table at which I could feed my newfound depression.I just couldn’t figure it out. How did that just happen? Howdid the Badgers just get embarrassed by a team from the Southern Conference? Idrove eight hours for that?The matchup seemed perfect. Michael Flowers — the bestshutdown defender I’ve ever witnessed in person — was going to frustrate Curry,much like he did with Michigan State sharpshooter Drew Neitzel, and the Badgerswere going to coast into the Elite 8. I was sure of it.As I continued my meander through Motown, it finally hit me:The better team won Friday night. Davidson was no lucky Cinderella team,either. I’m convinced the Wildcats would beat the Badgers eight times out of 10.And the way they played Friday night, they would have beaten any team in thecountry.Yup, I said it: Any. Team. UNC, UCLA and Memphis included.Oh, and Neitzel doesn’t even belong in the same sentence asCurry. The hype is real; the kid can flat-out play. It’s a joke that zero ACCschools offered him a scholarship out of high school. He has yet to shave, buthe still played like His Airness himself Friday night. Babyface was simplyunstoppable.I’m not sure if the Badgers didn’t believe Curry was as goodas advertised or what, but they looked completely unprepared to at leastattempt to slow him down (let alone play any sort of organized offense in thesecond half, but that’s a completely separate issue). Curry ran off double andtriple screens, no one hedged to remotely help Flowers recover, and the son offormer NBA guard Dell dropped 33, while the second-half score read: Curry 22,Wisconsin 20.When the fat lady finally sang, Davidson head coach BobMcKillop subbed Curry out of the game, to which he received a well-deservedstanding ovation from the Wildcat faithful.The two-inch Badger fan standing on my left shoulder waspouting and crying, but his counterpart on my right — the objective basketballfan — was standing and clapping along with the fans who made the free trip fromNorth Carolina. It was the most dominant basketball performance I’ve ever seenlive. I just stood there, arms folded, in complete awe.There’s no way around it. Friday night sucked. The Badgersplayed with no heart, they were humiliated on national television, and now allthe chants of “overrated” still ringing in my head seem justified.The final chapter of a storybook season ended on a noteBadger Nation can only hope to one day forget. But let’s not forget one thing: Itwas still that, a storybook season.Last fall, the expectations surrounding Bo’s bunch weremediocre at best. They lost Kammron Taylor and Alando Tucker to graduation. The2007-08 season could never measure up to the ’06-07 squad, right?Wrong. It did. And then some.Prior to Friday, a supposed team made up of a disappointingformer McDonald’s All-American, a kid from South Dakota who can’t jump orshoot, an undersized power forward, another near-seven-footer who can barelyget out of his own way, an inexperienced point guard, a kid from Iowa who cando nothing but shoot 3-pointers and a defensive specialist with a below-averagejump shot proved the naysayers wrong.They gelled, they improved, they matured, they improvedagain, and they began to believe in both themselves and in Bo Ryan’s winningways.And then, all of a sudden, they were outright Big TenChamps. And then they won the conference tournament. And then they were in theSweet 16, a feat even the No. 1 nationally ranked Badgers of ’06-07 couldn’taccomplish.In October, had someone told you that come March, all threeof those things would be on this Badger team’s r?sum?, wouldn’t you havelaughed?Me too.All four of their losses were against tournament teams; theylost to one Big Ten team (Purdue) all season, and they beat Texas on the road.All year they were too slow and not talented enough. Fridaynight it finally came back to bite them.But since their Jan. 2 upset over the Longhorns, this Badgerteam played with heart and found ways to win. It wasn’t always pretty (i.e.,Brian Butch’s bank three in Bloomington), but they kept miraculously gettingthe job done somehow.On paper, this team was probably a tournament bubble team atbest. But Ryan transformed a roster full of nice ball players into top 10winners, something most coaches could never dream of doing.Yeah, the word “Davidson” will always leave a sour taste inall Badger fans’ mouths. Had the Badgers played well, maybe it would have been OK.Had Curry hit a miracle buzzer-beater in a well-played game, then we would beleft to shake our heads and applaud.But that didn’t happen. Wisconsin looked like a JV teamFriday. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.Nonetheless, they did the unthinkable this season. They willforever be 2007-08 Big Ten Champs. And no one can ever take that from them.?Derek is a sophomore majoring in economics. Was theBadgers’ season a bust? Send him your thoughts at email@example.com.
One of the best things about college football is all the tradition. No other major sport has as many 100-year rivalries and traveling trophies as the NCAA gridiron.We’ve been blessed here at Wisconsin with the most-played rivalry in FBS: the battle with Minnesota for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. We’ve also got a few of the better traditions in the Big Ten with the Fifth Quarter, Camp Randall’s version of the wave and our beloved Jump Around. All three are part of what make Badger football games the events that they are.Obviously UW isn’t alone in that respect, as pretty much every other school has its own famous traditions: Penn State’s white-outs, Script Ohio at Ohio State (which I hate), running Ralphie the Buffalo around the field at Colorado, racism at Florida State. Missing from any list of NCAA football’s best traditions is anything that has to do with Minnesota, which Gopher fans seem to be fine with.Until now, apparently.While browsing Facebook yesterday, a former Herald sports editor brought this little nugget to my attention: There’s a Facebook group created by Minnesota students called “New 3rd Quarter Tradition.” The goal is to pick a song to be played at TCF Bank Stadium between the third and fourth quarters to get the student section pumped. Sound familiar?Oh, Minnesota. You go and get a shiny new stadium and then embarrass yourselves like this. To be fair, they do acknowledge Jump Around is our thing, so it’s not like they’re oblivious to the fact that this looks like a lame rip-off. And I do tip my cap to the effort. Best of all, it involves no dotting of any “i’s.”But the biggest problem I have with the whole thing is the mission to start a tradition. It’s as if they think it’s like deciding to order a pizza or picking out what to wear for the day. You can’t set out to start a tradition; it just ends up happening.Our own Jump Around started at UW’s 1998 Homecoming game against Purdue. With little going on during a boring game, a marketing guy decided House of Pain was just what the stadium needed to amp them up — and he was right. A little more than a decade later and Camp Randall still sways and shakes prior to the beginning of every fourth quarter.The great thing about this was that it wasn’t planned; it was spontaneous. More importantly, it had enough of an impact that it was repeated through the years until Jump Around became ESPN’s favorite thing to talk about ad nauseam anytime they televise a Badger game.Back to the Minnesota student section’s latest endeavor: I can’t blame them for trying, nor can I blame them for not having any great football traditions. They did play in the Metrodome for 26 years after all. The only thing that has less personality than that building is Ben Stein.I do understand where those guys are coming from, though. The Gophers can feel like a “real” college football team now that they have an awesome new outdoor stadium. There’s a real drive in the Twin Cities to show TCF Bank Stadium can create its own legacy comparable to other Big Ten venues. But Minnesota fans have a lot of catch-up to do as far as tradition goes (for the sake of this argument, forget that cheerleading was invented at Minnesota; every team everywhere has cheerleaders now). But with little more than the school song and “Ski-U-Mah,” in the way of unique traditions, this newest generation of Minnesota fans has its work cut out for it.There’s another detriment to the cause too — the fact that you need a Minnesota student ID with your ticket to get into the student section. What’s the point of cultivating a great student fan base if you don’t let outsiders enjoy it? Part of what makes the student section fun at Camp Randall is bringing friends and family along to enjoy the madness. I’ve even seen grandparents yelling choice words as part of a certain call-and-return chant for which Madison is infamous. If you have something good, share it with the world.And not that it’s the biggest factor, but sharing these kinds of traditions can go a long way toward attracting students. As a native Minnesotan raised by a Gopher and UMD Bulldog, I always figured I would end up going to the U of M. But a November trip to Madison my senior year in high school that included a football game changed a lot of that. No small part of it was the fact that I was allowed into the student section. Seeing the wave split and reverse, singing oldies in the stands, the novelty of yelling “beer!” after every “we want more” chant — it all gave me a great sense of community. I mean, where else can you get on the 81 on a Friday night and have the entire bus break out into a spontaneous rendition of “Build Me Up Buttercup?” True story, by the way.It’s the little things like this that give a school its personality. And that’s the thing about a personality — you develop one, you don’t go on Facebook to create one. Same thing applies to tradition.As enthusiastic as Gopher fans may be about outdoor football, you can’t force tradition, nor simply will it to start. Facebook, of all things, seems like an unlikely catalyst for a long-lasting legacy. How will Minnesota alumni feel telling their kids that the reason they play (insert whatever song they choose here) during every game was because of a Facebook group? Of course, they’ll then have to explain to their kids what “Facebook” was and it can only go downhill from there.As much as I love bashing Minnesota, I do have to give them this: They are nurturing a budding tradition that is actually pretty legit. Prior to home games now, the team has a “victory walk” from the McNamara Alumni Center into the stadium, allowing fans to cheer them on before the stands themselves are filled. It’s a pretty neat concept that they should make sure to carry on.But for now, Minnesota football tradition is a work in progress. For a few years at least, people will probably have more fun at other Big Ten venues where the customs are already established (even if they’re overrated, like a certain OSU band formation). Take heart, Gophers — you’ve got the stadium, you’ve got the enthusiasm, you’ve got a newly-electrified fan base. The tradition will come on its own.Adam is a junior majoring in journalism. Did he mention he hates the dotting of the “i”? Are you annoyed with Minnesota’s attempt to create a tradition? Seriously, dotting the”i” sucks. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After picking up two victories this past weekend, the Wisconsin men’s tennis team seems pretty aware of where it stands.Singles play continues to dominate. Doubles, however, is something that could still be fixed — and if it does get fixed, the Badgers could become much more lethal come tournament time.“We’ve been, in the last few years, pretty solid at the top of the lineup (in singles) and we’re getting some wins down low now as well,” assistant coach Evan Austin said. “If we can get our doubles going a little bit it’s going to give us a chance to beat some of those higher ranked teams.”Though the Badgers (14-6, 4-2) did come away from the weekend unscathed against Purdue and No. 48 Northwestern, it was evident that doubles could still be retooled a bit.Against a lackluster Boilermaker team on Saturday, the Badgers showed brute force early when senior Michael Dierberger and sophomore Patrick Pohlmann pulled off an easy 8-1 win.The rest of doubles, however, was not quite as breezy. Senior Luke Rassow-Kantor and freshman Chris Freeman lost their match, and suddenly the doubles point rested on No. 15 Moritz Baumann and Marek Michalicka, who struggled against the Boilermakers.Purdue’s Branko Kuzmanovic and Slavko Bjelica frustrated the Wisconsin duo with limited mistakes at the net. Kuzmanovic mastered the net points with careful touches that frightened the Badgers with a 5-4 lead. However, the scare passed and Wisconsin was able to claim the pivotal doubles point.Against Northwestern on Friday, Wisconsin sported a different doubles lineup and saw its lone victory come from Michalicka and Pohlmann, as the doubles point was lost.Following the doubles in both matches, Wisconsin’s singles played consistently well, winning 9 of 12 matches on the weekend as they secured a 5-2 team victory in both contests.Wisconsin has won four of its last five matches despite going 2-3 in the doubles point. With all the extra weight placed on singles, Wisconsin is fortunate to have come away so clean.“We’ve got to work on doubles,” Baumann said. “We’re really confident in singles, but improvement in doubles is what we’ll work on a lot in practice this week. It’s always tough to come back if you lose the doubles point — it makes it so much easier when you win it.”According to Austin, the team is still looking for the best overall pairing of teammates, which might explain why Baumann and Michalicka played alongside different teammates against Northwestern. Nevertheless, Austin believes some improvements were made on Saturday after seeing Dierberger and Pohlmann produce an 8-1 stomping.“I think we played better down there with Pat and Dierberger,” Austin said. “They played a little bit together in the fall and did pretty well together, so that was good to see.”“We’re continuing to look for combinations that give us a spark and play with a lot of energy because, really, in doubles that’s the difference.”Even though singles has been there to bail out the Badgers as of late, the team has not neglected further improvements to singles play. The weekend saw all three of Wisconsin’s freshmen — Billy Bertha, Ricardo Martin and Freeman — receive an increased amount of playing time. As the Badgers now sit in the middle of the Big Ten season, the cultivation of their more inexperienced players will be vital as tournament season approaches.“Going through matches, it’s kind of an emotional rollercoaster, and so to be able to get out there and play at a high intensity and to be able to shut them down, it just really adds to your experience,” Freeman said. “For the tougher matches you can rely on that and it’ll get you through.”With the three freshmen, Wisconsin saw varying degrees of improvement. Freeman won both of his singles matches, while Martin went 1-1 and Bertha 0-2.Both Austin and Baumann noted Freeman’s significant development after his dominating performance on Saturday in which he won his singles match 6-0, 6-2.“I think Chris is playing really well right now,” Austin said. “He kind of had an up and down start… he’s kind of gotten over the hump a little bit and is starting to get some wins and confidence.”As difficult as it may be to win a tennis match without the doubles point, Michalicka is confident in his team’s play at singles. And at that, it doesn’t matter how the team wins, as long as they keep doing it.“All these guys can win any day against basically, I feel like, anybody,” he said. “It’s always hard when you lose the doubles to win (the match), but it’s not impossible for us. It’s worked out a couple times.”
No. 2 Penn State was just too much for Wisconsin to handle, as the Nittany Lions won the match in straight sets at the Field House.[/media-credit]Wisconsin volleyball head coach Pete Waite knew this weekend, the opening weekend in Big Ten play, would be difficult. He hoped, however, that his young team could rise to the challenge.Although the Badgers (11-2, 0-2) fought hard against both Ohio State (13-2, 1-1) Friday night and Penn State (11-2, 1-1) yesterday afternoon, they were not able to pick up a conference win after starting the season with a perfect 11-0 record.“In the Big Ten, you say this is a big week because every week is a big week,” Waite said. “It’s so strong that every win you can get is huge for the conference race and the NCAA tournament.”In front of two of its biggest crowds of the season, the Badgers succumbed to defeat against the No. 25 Buckeyes and No. 2 Nittany Lions.The Badgers fought especially hard Friday night against Ohio State, losing 3-2 in five sets (15-25, 25-16, 23-25, 25-23, 11-15). Wisconsin led midway through the fifth game before Buckeye libero Sarah Mignin went on an extended serving streak to put the Buckeyes ahead for good. Mignin had a similar streak late in game two which brought the Buckeyes back after trailing by as many as seven points.Some miscommunication occurred when two Wisconsin players let the ball drop just outside the eight-foot-line for an Ohio State point late in game five. Senior Allison Wack and freshman Annemarie Hickey gave hesitant looks to each other as they both watched the ball fall to the ground.The play proved to be a huge momentum swing in the set as the Buckeyes closed out the match just moments later.Wack put the blame on herself and admitted a senior leader needs to take control in that situation.“That was just hesitation, I think it was mostly me,” Wack said. “I just thought [Hickey] was going, she thought I was going. I just need to be loud and take it.”Wack, playing in her last Big Ten home opener, showed emotion and remorse immediately following the game.“I mean we had it, we were right there, so there was obviously a little regret of just missing some things and being a little hesitant,” Wack said.Ultimately, Ohio State’s height upfront proved to be too much for Wisconsin’s middle blockers.Mariah Booth and Allie Schwarzwalder, the last two Big Ten defensive players of the week, led the Buckeyes to 12 team blocks. Despite strong efforts from both Wack and freshman Elise Walch, the Badgers were never quite able to find rhythm on offense.The strong blocking effort was especially crucial in the match-deciding fifth game, though the lineup on the floor stayed the same.“I don’t know if they made any special adjustments, I think every set was slightly different inside or outside, and the block was able to set up different ways,” Waite said. “You know it’s a big athletic block out there so they did get a few blocks towards the end of the sets and it made a difference, but our hitters can respond and at times they can.”A rough loss for the Badgers, but a strong morale victory for the team that they hoped would result in momentum for their Sunday showdown with the three time defending national champion Penn State team.Welcoming the Lady Lions to the Fieldhouse yesterday afternoon, the Badgers showed they can compete with a team of their stature but were ultimately swept 3-0 (16-25, 17-25, 21-25).The silver lining for the Badgers was improving their point total in each set, but at times, the Badgers looked overmatched, hesitant and timid against the highest ranked team they’ve played all year.The losses were difficult to endure, but coach Waite and the team vowed to put this weekend behind them and continue to compete.“We always focus on one match, and that’s all you can do in any sport,” Waite said.
Badger fans, Bo Ryan has a secret.It’s so classified that the Wisconsin men’s hoops coach is willing to silence anyone about to let the cat out of the bag. That’s what happened Saturday afternoon in the Bradley Center, after UW’s riveting 69-64 defeat of in-state rival Marquette.Bo was doing his thing after the game, spreading his wisdom and extolling the virtues it instills in his basketball teams. About five minutes into his post game press conference, though, Bo’s secret was almost revealed. He probably saw it coming, but when a reporter asked about the Badgers’ athleticism potentially being underrated, Bo was ready.“Shhh, what are you telling them? We’re not athletic!”Of course, the remark was sarcastic. The crowd of reporters and athletic department staffers loved it, and the mood was jovial – for about three seconds. Then it was back to basketball, back to Bo.“We’re not going to win any sprints, really,” Ryan said. “Jordan [Taylor’s] two strides are my one stride, and I’ll be 63 next week. Jordan has to take two steps to equal one of mine. Does that mean he’s not athletic? No, he’s athletic. I’ve said this before, athleticism is measured eyesight – be it seeing the floor – hand dexterity, lateral quickness, vertical quickness – sure, those are all things. Going from zero to whatever in x number of seconds; there’s a lot of different ways to measure athleticism.”Jokes aside, Ryan hears this stuff all the time, about Wisconsin being all about size, being too slow to keep up with the nation’s elite. True, when opposing squads face the Badgers, they’re often aiming to run them off the court. But given UW’s success under Ryan, you’ve got to think it drives him nuts. After all, how would you like it if, after nine consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, people kept asking you how athletic your team really was?“I always think we have athletic guys because their athleticism, hung open, shows through in how I met your pass,” Ryan said, jumping back into coach-speak mode. “I’m coordinated enough to get the ball by the defense and get it to an open guy. I’m an athlete if I can run the floor and post up and get a good, wide base. I didn’t out-jump anybody, I didn’t out-this anybody, I didn’t out-quick anybody. But you can still be an athlete by doing things in basketball that are good, positive team contributions.”Therein lies the answer – the Wisconsin Badgers are indeed an athletic team. Forget about individual skills and all the measurements intended to quantify them; this isn’t the NBA. In Madison, it doesn’t matter if you can jump through the roof – you better be able to make the right read, make a solid screen, grab that rebound. Those, to name a few, are “good, positive team contributions” in Ryan’s mind.After all, hasn’t every sports movie ever taught us that that’s what it’s all about? All five players on the court, functioning as one single unit – that’s what Gene Hackman said in Hoosiers, right? Clich? as it is – and believe me, Hoosiers is responsible for so many of the greatest/worst sports movie clich?s – it’s true at UW. It’s also why nobody outside of Madison really notices.“We don’t really care what other people’s opinion of us is; we know what we have to do to be successful,” star forward Jon Leuer said after Saturday’s game. “If teams want to run against us, we’re going to bust to get back, spring to get back and try to take that away. We have our principles that we stick to, and that’s what makes us successful.”And isn’t hustle making up for a supposed lack of athleticism better than having skill with no hustle? Bo’s careful, efficient swing offense works. His disciplined, tough defense does, too. In his nine years at UW, Bo’s Badgers have five Big Ten titles and a NCAA tournament berth in every one.Furthermore, who’s actually unathletic on this team? For all the size that supposedly defines Wisconsin, Leuer, Keaton Nankivil, Jared Berggren, and Mike Bruesewitz all have impressive range from behind the arc. Leuer, with his 44.4 percent from deep, is the Badgers’ best three-point shooter. He’s also their leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker. But after last night’s game against Green Bay, Bo was calling Berggren the team’s best three-point shooter.UW’s athleticism also goes largely unnoticed because of Ryan’s offensive system. Frequently, the Badgers take the shot clock under 15 seconds – but it works. Wisconsin is tied for ninth in the nation with 1.18 points per possession and first for turnovers per game, only 9.3.When Bo mentioned eyesight, seeing the floor and hand dexterity, there was noticeably more emphasis. Under Ryan, you’re an athlete if you can catch the ball, see the court and then pass it to the right guy. Sure, shooting helps. But that comes with getting the ball on the right spot of your hands, on the right spot on the court.In that regard, it’s interesting Bo chose Taylor to pick on after the Marquette game. Yes, it was in jest. But as the point guard, the key distributor of the ball, Taylor excels at not only making the right decision, but also at putting the ball where the receiving player wants it. Taylor’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.8 is tied for 17th in the nation, and he’s always the first guy to garner praise from his teammates. Feed them the ball the way they want it, and that’s what you’ll get.So, consider the myth of the Badgers’ lack of athleticism busted – just don’t tell Bo.Mike is a junior majoring in journalism and communication arts. How athletic do you think the Badgers are? Let him know at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @mikefiammetta.
Syracuse practiced for a Wake Forest defense that never made an appearance.The Orange’s game plans for a defense with soft coverage and basic pressure packages — things offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said the coaching staff saw on film from all 12 Demon Deacons games last year — became futile. Syracuse lost five yards total in the first quarter on offense when they presented a more attack-oriented defense than was expected.‘You always have things that kind of protect yourself,’ Hackett said. ‘Things that you think that you’re good at that the guys can execute right. And those are the things that we ended up having to go to down the road.‘And it was one of those things that you wish we could have got to a little early.’It took Syracuse three-plus quarters to adjust to the crazy, attacking defense Wake Forest brought and to pick up a last-ditch win in overtime. And with Football Championship Subdivision opponent Rhode Island (0-0) entering the Carrier Dome this week, the Orange (1-0) wants to get out to a much faster start in all facets. Wake Forest had more than double the amount of plays and time of possession as SU in a lopsided first half last Thursday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile the Rams may look like an easy win for the Orange on paper, Saturday’s game against URI (4:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable Sports) is a chance for Syracuse to mend the mistakes it made in its miraculous first victory.That begins with a faster start.‘Just coming out excited,’ safety Shamarko Thomas said. ‘Coming out excited and just pushing each other and competing more. And have faster tempo in the game.’Syracuse players said the coaching staff’s main emphasis this week was coming out and playing fast in the first quarter on Saturday. Hackett said he tells the players that starting fast has to become a way of life in team meetings. A way of life all the way down to the manner in which they eat — having the best breakfast they can in the morning and then going after the day.Slow starts were a problem for Syracuse last season, too, especially on offense. The Orange was often stagnant in the first half last season, failing to score in the first quarter in three wins — including one against Maine, an FCS team. Two years ago, Syracuse trailed at the half against Maine. Rhode Island comes from the same conference as the Black Bears, the Colonial Athletic Association.The Orange scored double-digit points in the first quarter in just one of its eight wins last year.‘We’re not necessarily known for coming out of the gate and doing great things,’ Hackett said. ‘That’s something our team has to be better at, and every one of them know that. And that’s a big goal for us.’With Rhode Island, Syracuse faces the same conundrum that it just faced against Wake Forest. Although the majority of college teams started the season last weekend, URI had a first-week bye.So just like last week, SU has to work with potentially outdated film. The Rams will be debuting a new defensive coordinator on Saturday, too.The game is also sandwiched between nonconference games against two power-conference opponents. SU has to put behind the adrenaline rush that came with last Thursday’s win and avoid looking ahead to Southern California next weekend.All that while also trying to get out to a faster start.The matchup has the makings of a so-called trap game, although running back Antwon Bailey said last week’s performance is a reminder that will keep SU focused.‘We still got a lot to prove,’ Bailey said. ‘We got the crap beat out of us for three quarters, so I don’t think — trap game won’t be a problem around here at all.’Defensively, a fast start will depend on increased communication. Rhode Island features a dual-threat quarterback, Steve Probst, who ran for 600 yards last season.Thomas said SU needs to talk more on defense when facing a quarterback who can run as well as pass. The secondary needs to communicate with each other so the cornerbacks know if they need to break off from their wide receiver if Probst is scrambling.‘I might be sticking the receiver and I don’t know it’s a run,’ cornerback Keon Lyn said. ‘So as a defense you got to communicate, talk out there so I can get off my block earlier, get off my keys, get off the player and go make a play on the ball.’And on offense, Hackett said the difference will be making adjustments faster. Rhode Island has shown a couple of unique looks on film. Plus, URI may base its game plan off of what it saw from SU last week.But Hackett said there’s only so much he and the coaching staff can do to prepare. He can’t ever tell whether Syracuse will come out of the tunnel playing fast. That’s just going to depend on the players.‘I sure as heck hope so,’ Hackett said. ‘I think I thought we were for Wake Forest, but you never know until the lights come on and people are in the stands.’firstname.lastname@example.org Comments Published on September 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: email@example.com | @mark_cooperjr Facebook Twitter Google+