Following the elimination of the Concordia women’s hockey team from the playoffs last week, the only Stinger teams remaining in-season are both the men and women’s basketball teams.
While the men’s basketball team has taken a step back from their phenomenal seasons over the last four years, they are still very competitive in a wide-open Quebec conference where three teams were still battling for playoff position going into the final weekend of the regular season. With their wins against the McGill Redmen on Sunday afternoon, the Stingers will host the UQAM Citadins in the first round of the playoffs for the third straight season.
The women’s side is returning to the playoffs for the first time in three years and should be considered the dark horses in the Quebec conference playoffs. After starting the season 0-4 going into the Christmas break, they entered 2008 with a vengeance, finishing the season’s last 12 games with an 8-4 record beating both teams ahead of them in the standings, the UQAM Citadins and the Laval Rouge et Or – a team they hadn’t beat in 29 games dating back to 2002. It was also their first season at .500 in three seasons.
Both teams have battled adversity. The men’s team lost forward Dwayne Buckley who got injured in the team’s first regular season game and have had to deal with life without last year’s outstanding defensive player. The women’s team has had to deal with an extremely young and talented roster that may see every member return next season.
Both teams have done Concordia proud, and will continue to do so all the way to the end, which will hopefully be in the National Championships.
The basketball teams have a history of success at Concordia – all you have to do is take a look at the banners in the gym – and it is very nice to see both teams once again capable to make a long run in the playoffs this year.
The battle begins Friday night. John Dore and the men’s basketball team host UQAM while Keith Pruden and the women’s team visit UQAM.
For both teams ultimately the Quebec championship passes through Quebec City and the Laval Rouge et Or, who took both regular season championships and have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Baseball’s big problem
Major League Baseball’s role in the American Civil Rights movement was unprecedented, and when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s colour barrier in 1947, it sparked hopes and dreams in the minds of African Americans throughout the country.
In fact in 1975, 27 per cent of Major League Baseball players were black. Nobody would have believed that this percentage would drop even further. Last year, ironically the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s debut, only eight per cent of the players were black.
There are several reasons for the drop. Perhaps the most significant is that Major League Baseball teams are focusing on Latin American countries to develop baseball academies. The reason teams are focusing on Latin America is because the players from those countries are not subjected to the MLB Draft. Teams can develop players and sign them in an open market economy. If teams started to create baseball academies in the U.S., the players they developed would have to go through high school and college teams before being put into a draft pool, which gives teams the worst teams a better chance of signing the best players.
As we reach the end of black history month, baseball is facing an identity crisis that may destroy the game’s popularity among African American youths.
Will baseball still be considered America’s game when the playing field looks nothing like America?
This downward trend is also not something that can be easily fixed. It took baseball 30 years to get to this low; it will take just as long – if not longer – for baseball to get out of it.
It just goes to show that while we seemingly are making strides in race relations in sports we are not anywhere near where we thought we should be when Jackie Robinson made his debut 61 years ago.
On March 8, Concordia’s annual Rogers Sportsnet Sports Journalism workshop will feature award-winning baseball historian Adrian Burgos, author of Playing American’s Game: Baseball, Latinos and the Color Line, who will make the keynote speech addressing the changing world of sports. It begins at 9:00 a.m. in CJ 1.114 at the Loyola Campus.
Concordia wrestlers headed to New Brunswick
While the National Championships for the basketball teams remains a possibility, they are a reality for perennially the strongest team Concordia has to offer – the wrestling team.
Seven wrestlers – Ella Rebalski and Nikita Chicoine on the women’s side and Tyler Marghetis, Serguei Guevorkian, Alex Dyas, Gurveer Talhan and Michael Noonan on the men’s side will represent Concordia at Nationals in Fredericton, N.B. from Feb. 29-March 1.