Men’s Basketball reborn in season opener

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

Rhode Island College men’s basketball illuminated the Murray Center Thursday night in their season opener and gave RIC fans something to be excited about. The Anchormen dominated wire to wire in the 87-64 victory, the teams first game under new head coach Tom Glynn.

The Anchormen have entered the 2018-2019 season with the goal of exorcising the demons of years past. The RIC Basketball program has been on a downslide the last few years, only winning a cumulative 14 games over the past three seasons. Based on Thursday night’s performance, the Anchormen may very well be on their way to shedding the futility of years past.

RIC asserted their dominance almost immediately over the Fitchburg State Falcons. Within the first 10 minutes of the game the Anchormen racked up a 15 point lead, and by the end of the first half RIC lead 45-28.

The retooled Anchormen roster received production from some new faces throughout the opening half, in particular from two upperclassmen starting their first season with the team. Junior Benjamin Vezele muscled his way to 10 points, oftentimes laying the ball in over multiple defenders while simultaneously playing violent defense in the post. Senior Bernard Broaster scored nine first half point off the bench and sent his team sprinting into the locker room following a buzzer beater three pointer.

Bernard Broaster, Photo courtesy of Thomas Crudale

The second half only spelled further dominance for RIC, with the Anchormen leading by as much as 27 at various points. Coach Glynn refused to allow his team to become complacent however and was often visibly berating his players for mistakes made even when the team held a massive lead.

One strength for the Anchormen was their free throw shooting. The team’s aggressive post play led to RIC players getting many opportunities at the line. The Anchormen capitalized on said opportunities going 31-38 as a team with no RIC player missing more than two free throws.

By the time the game’s waning minutes came along the Anchormen had the victory well in hand and began attempting to impress the Murray Center crowd with various flashy dunk attempts before Coach Glynn pulled his starters.

The Anchormen were lead in the game by Vezele who tallied 21 points to go alongside nine rebounds. Right behind him was Senior captain Justin Campbell who managed a hyper efficient 19 point 11 rebound double-double off of 7-10 shooting. Coach Glynn leaned heavily on his starters with four players being on the court for 36 plus minutes.

Justin Campbell, Photo courtesy of Thomas Crudale

The Anchormen will follow this victory up with a three game road trip. RIC students’ next chance to see the team on campus will come on Tuesday, Nov. 20th when they face off against the Bridgewater State University Bears, tip off for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Super Bowl LIII: The New England Patriots V.S.

Joseph A. Griswold – Anchor Staff

As we pass the halfway point of the National Football League season, Super Bowl picks are starting to come fast and furious. For over a decade now, the New England Patriots have dominated the American Football Conference and have represented the AFC in eight of the last 20 Super Bowls, winning five of them. This year seems to be no different. Although the Kansas City Chiefs look formidable, Tom Brady has already proven he can beat the chiefs. Furthermore, with New England just one game behind the Chiefs and having the head-to-head tiebreaker, odds are that the path to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through New England.

In the National Football Conference, however, the path is much more unclear with the sole undefeated Los Angeles Rams falling to the New Orleans Saints and leveling out what is a highly competitive conference.

In the NFC, there are seven legitimate Super Bowl contenders with several teams that are quickly materializing into serious contenders. So, what separates the contenders from the pretenders in NFC, and most importantly who are the Patriots going to meet in the Super Bowl?

The most formidable contenders and favorites to come out of the NFC are either the Saints or the Rams who faced off in week eight with the rams falling 45-35. Both of these teams have one loss this season and have the makings of teams that can challenge for and win the Super Bowl.

The Rams are led by the league’s best offense and the NFL offensive MVP in Todd Gurley. The Saints boast a top five offense and just improved their depth with the addition of talented young cornerback Eli Apple. However, both of these teams lack stout defenses. If either of the defenses fail to be opportunistic, these teams can fall short of Super Bowl glory.

The next tier of teams in the NFC that are contenders, but not favorites include the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

Of these teams the Panthers have the best opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl due to the success of quarterback Cam Newton in his first year under offensive coordinator Norv Turner. In addition, the Panthers boast an attacking defense, but have shown at times this season to be inconsistent.

The Bears, Redskins, Eagles and Vikings are all tremendously talented teams that have been characterized by extreme highs and disastrous lows. The key to one of these teams contending is the ability to get hot at the right time and ride the momentum through the playoffs.

The last set of teams in the NFC are the dark horse teams, who, as of right now do not even seem to be in playoff contention, but if all goes right can make some noise. These two teams are the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Both of these teams have struggled to start the season. However, led by two of the league’s best quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers both of these teams have the ability to make a late-season run towards Super Bowl glory.

Photo courtesy of Profootball Hall of Fame

Super Bowl LIII in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta will end in a 38-35 New Orleans Saints victory over the New England Patriots giving Drew Brees his second Super Bowl title.

 

Point Counterpoint: is Baseball still America’s sport

 

Joshua Percy Anchor Staff

Baseball is one of America’s favorite sports, some dare say it is America’s sport. While some will argue that the issues with pace of play and decreasing viewership have caused baseball to secede the title of America’s sports to the football and the NFL in actuality baseball is still America’s sport, and here is why.

While tv viewership for baseball is at a decline, all tv viewership is declining. Generally, no one watches tv anymore, they prefer streaming services such as netflix and hulu. The argument of TV views droppings is not a solid one, while it is a good point. However, baseball teams still bring out a large crowd to there games. While people dont have 4 hours to watch a baseball game at home, a large amount of people do have 5-6 hours to enjoy a live baseball game and the atmosphere it creates. Baseball is still more of a competitive sport than football, in baseball you have a good 10-15 competitive teams while football is more predictable and has less competition.

The largest argument is that there are still more people around America that wants to play baseball than any other sport. How can we prove that? Well every baseball team has 3 minor league teams they have to fill, if there were not enough players, then they wouldn’t need those teams. The want to play baseball is greater than any other sport in America, and with that reason baseball is still America’s Sport.

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

Baseball was at one point the most popular sport in America, however over the last decade or so the people who manage the game at it’s highest level have done nothing to help it stay on top and the numbers show it.

The average sports fan simply does not have the same sort of fervor for baseball that existed in decades past. Take this years world series for example, you had two of the most popular franchise in Major League Baseball history, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. There are two teams with enormous fan bases, from two of the biggest markets in sports, two teams that should carry coast to coast interest. Despite all of this however the MLB saw a 23 percent drop off in average world series game viewership from 2017 and a 38 percent drop off in average viewership from 2016. One could argue that it is unfair to compare 2018 to 2017 or 2016 as both those series lasted seven games as opposed to this year’s world series five. However even when compared to the last five game world series, 2015’s clash between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals, two teams with considerably smaller fan bases and less storied histories, 2018 still saw lower ratings.

Now as mentioned previously television ratings are down across the board, however baseball has seen a far greater dip in ratings than it’s competitors, namely the National Football League. While game five of this years world series did manage to outdo the concurrently airing Monday Night Football broadcast, these sorts of occurrences are the exception to the rule. Even less significant NFL games regularly outperform MLB games of higher importance.

The MLB also makes next to no effort to adapt to a modern audience. As consumers attention spans get shorter baseball games become inexplicably longer. Not only this but the games themselves have become less action packed. Year after year less and less balls are put into play leading to the state of affairs today, a game focused primarily on ether homeruns or strike outs. These shifts in the way the game is played lead to a less appealing for the more casual baseball fan, the sort of fan any professional sport needs to thrive.

The hardcore baseball fan will always exist, people like myself will always delight in pouring over the statistics and nuances of the game. However if baseball wants to avoid going the way of horseracing or boxing, sports once considered institutions in America that have devolved into niche events major changes in the product the MLB presents must be made. For the time being though the football and the NFL reign supreme as the sport that draws both the highest ratings and level of national interest and until that changes baseball is far from America’s sport.

What mass shootings teach us about divisiveness

Angela DaSilva – Assistant Copy Editor

As mass shootings have become normalized in our country, so too have the people who continuously deny politics’ stake in gun violence. They have said that shootings can only be blamed on the shooter, which is true in the sense that no one tells a gunman to go out and murder innocent people in presumably safe places. I am not denying this. However, I am saying that it is convenient to suggest that politics are not responsible for these events.

It is convenient because placing sole blame on the shooter lets us offer up our thoughts and prayers as means of pacifying the shock, because “it’s only the shooter’s fault and there’s nothing we can do about terrible people.”

These thoughts and prayers dismiss our country’s divisiveness. They forget that our daily rhetoric inspired by divisive politics fuels the violence in our culture. They forget that it is political when a man yells “All Jews must die!” before he kills 11 people in a synagogue, and that it is political when a homophobe kills 49 people in a gay nightclub. Even when there is no demographic in mind, these are all political events because they capitalize on the hatred that is boiling in our country.

This country’s weapon of choice is the gun, because the gun itself is political. It is in our constitution under the second amendment and it is used as partisan selling points for campaigns. Removed from these violent acts, the gun still remains political because we talk about it in terms of politics.

The result of our negligent refusals about political involvement is this: 17 in Parkland, 10 in Santa Fe, 11 in Pittsburgh, and 12 in Thousand Oaks. These are just a few of the mass shootings with the greatest casualties that have occurred in the US this year. Thousand Oaks was our country’s latest tragedy, in which 12 people were murdered by a lone gunman at a popular country bar in California. These tragedies have occurred so frequently in the past year––307 times, to be specific––that “latest” is an appropriate term to use because it does not stand out the way it should in our newscycle. Rather, it adds to the scary reality that has become our culture.

I do not distinguish culture from “gun culture,” because at this point there is no difference. As a product of incessant gun violence, our country has become one in which its citizens cannot be sure that they won’t be shot in a school or a church or a bar. This is the culture we have grown into: a culture encased in normalized fear.

We are wrong to think that this does not apply to us; that somehow the confined borders of our tiny little state protects us from what is occurring across the country. But hatred exists in Rhode Island, too.

This past January, my friends and I were at the Providence Place Mall when a man pulled out a gun on another man in Nordstrom. We heard the evacuation announcement on the intercom and we went through the collective motions of confusion, fear, and more confusion when we reached the exit and learned we still had to pay our parking fee at the kiosk. My friends and I had to wait in a line while a man was loose with a gun.

There is violence in this state because there is hatred in this state. This can happen to us because it has happened to me, already.

We are not immune to gun violence, and we are frighteningly not equipped to deal with it. Instead, we wait in lines to pay parking tickets because we believe it can’t happen to us, so we are never prepared. And to distant cities, we send our thoughts and prayers because we forget that blanket statements about peace cannot bandage a country scarred by political hate.

It’s time for America to treat veterans with reverence

Catherine Enos – Opinions editor

Military men and women volunteer knowing that, at the very least, serving our country will take its toll on them physically, emotionally, and financially. What they give us– their life– is not proportionate to what we, as a society, give to them.

Whether you agree with military intervention or you don’t, it is important that we support veterans. We do a particularly bad job at this– in many ways. Arguably one of the most important dimensions of how we treat veterans is respect. Respect determines everything else– if we don’t have respect for them, will we give them the care they need?

A clear example of how we treat veterans is through the way public figures treat veterans. Earlier this month Pete Davidson, during the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, mocked GOP-candidate Dan Crenshaw (now representative-elect) for wearing an eye patch. Pete Davidson is obviously a comedian who jokes about controversial things, but this crossed a line. In addition, this joke was not only said by Davidson, but it presumably passed through some script-writing process, implying that others also thought it was okay to say.

Pete Davidson is not the only person to say something controversial about veterans. A man with much more power, Donald Trump, famously said that the late senator John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured and that he “like[s] people that weren’t captured.”

The common thread between Davidson and Trump is that they’re criticizing men that have served based off of the veteran’s personal political ideals. In polarized times, we criticize the “other side”. But there’s no reason as to why either of them had to mock something that happened as a direct result of combat.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be able to criticize people that happen to be war vets but there’s a civil way to disagree with someone. The 2008 presidential election is a good example of civility. Though Barack Obama and John McCain clearly disagreed on many things, Obama never resorted to petty comments about McCain’s service to the country.

As we become more polarized as a country, it is important that we try not to politicize the military or veterans. And it’s important that we keep in mind the fact that veterans volunteered to keep all Americans safe– even those that disagree with them.

On the eve of an election

Mike Dwyer – Anchor Staff

The sun had already set when I left home and drove up Broadway and out the main road past the humming lights of shopping plazas and car lots. I drove past the cathedral and economy motels, then hooked a left on Brown’s Lane where the road snakes its way down the hill.

At the bottom I pass through the cemetery gates. My friends are already there. We’ve grown apart, but every year we gather here on Nov. 5– to drink, to laugh, and to share with each other the memory of a man buried beneath our feet. This day marks nine years since he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Every time I hook that left and drive down the hill, I remember how emotional and painful it was to bury him and recall certain images that are seared into my memory– the hundreds of people lining the road, the enormous wind-swept flag suspended between two ladder trucks from the local fire department, the backward-facing boots hung in the stirrups of a riderless horse, the meticulous folding of the flag and the way his widow clutched it as her knees buckled during the salute.

I remember: at the bottom of that hill, a man I had never seen before standing outside his truck at the gates of the cemetery. He was holding a flag pole in one hand and at his feet, propped against the side of his pickup, was a hand written sign that read: “I try to be worth dying for”. When I saw this, I burst into tears and felt a mix of sadness and anger– sadness for a life cut short and for the children who would have to grow up without their father, and then anger over the war, at my own country and at the stranger with that sign.

It’s been nine years and those memories are still vivid. I look out over the graveyard and can see the silhouettes of headstones. I join my circle of friends to catch up. We poke fun at each other and laugh and it feels like old times. The conversation is light and amicable. No one brings up the election. No one crosses that line here. Even though my friends and I have gotten older and drifted apart, now wasn’t the time to hash out our differences.

We can’t agree on what it means to be American, the symbolic value of that flag, the meaning or reasons underlying our friend’s death or the righteousness of the war that claimed his life– a war his sons are now almost old enough to serve in. We can’t agree on what he died for, if anything.

No one mentions the elephant in the room. For a time, it feels as though all those differences have melted away. We build a neutral ground from our frustrations, our powerlessness and vulnerability and the nagging feeling of loss and uncertainty. We can all agree on this: that things are not as they should be.

Democracy is more than a vote

Alison Macbeth – Anchor Staff

The talk of voting has been ubiquitous this past week with midterm elections. Although voting is extremely important, it is not the only way to be involved in creating change in our communities and government.

As a democracy, the United States operates with popular sovereignty. This means that the power to make legislation lies with the people rather than one sovereign, such as a king. Voting is one way to determine the opinions of the majority.

As we saw this past week, voting is an important part of democracy. Our structure would not work without people casting their ballots. However, voting is not the only means of being an involved citizens. In fact, spending a few minutes at the poles to fill out a ballot hardly captures the nuances of the political system.

Who introduces the ideas that turn into ballot measures? Who does the research? Who organized protests and interacts with the public to change their thinking?

While Americans should gladly vote, it is important to exercise the freedoms we have to raise awareness on issues, contact our local representatives, be aware of town and local elections, as well as become part of organizations that represent our causes.

CNN Politics noted 25 ways to be involved politically some of which included reading up on American history and civics, being part of a campaign, attend town halls, and volunteer with an organization that benefits your community.

If you were disappointed nor thrilled with the results of the midterms this past week, remember that your vote is not the be-all end-all. Don’t get bogged down with your pessimism or optimism. Local and national issues still need your involvement. And this exceeds just a post on Facebook that all your similarly-minded friends will like. Be a leader in your community and work hands on with the issues you are passionate about.

So, yes, please vote. But also, recognize that a democracy not only rests on the freedom of voting but also the participation, the voice, the pressure and interaction of the people.

Red Dead Redemption 2’s tutorial: a fistful of hours

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

In a game where you can spend a majority of your time ether murdering or robbing people, the most criminal thing in “Red Dead Redemption 2” may be the way the tutorial is handled.

“Red Dead Redemption 2,” the sequel to the highly acclaimed “Red Dead Redemption,” promises the player an open-world wild west adventure. One where you are free to roam and explore any cowboy fantasies you may have, be they riding your horse at breakneck speeds to elude bounty hunters, stealing and driving a turn of the century steam engine or dominating a fist fight in the local saloon. Yet, the path Rockstar Games forces you to take to get to this level of freedom is bizarre.

“Red Dead Redemption 2” insists on forcing the player through an arduous three to four hour tutorial, ripe with slow moving dull missions and admittedly beautiful but overly long cinematics that cumulatively make the player feel like they are doing little more than watching a barely interactive movie.

The intentions of this section of the game is to both familiarize the player with “Red Dead Redemption 2”’s controls and mechanics as well as to begin to invest the player in the story of the game’s protagonist Arthur Morgan and the various members of his gang. In execution, however, the tutorial holds the players hand in an iron death grip while repeatedly forcing story beats down the players throat in a fashion that starts to make one envy the members of the gang that were lost and left behind.

All of this may be forgivable if the whole enterprise was at least entertaining, but alas, slowly following a non-playable character around a mountain side and, in a moment that feels like an actual joke, driving a horse drawn cart down an uneventful road are disappointing to the player that came in expecting an exhilarating sandbox from the get go.

In the grand scheme, the issues with this tutorial are two-fold. First, the controls for these sorts of open world games have become fairly ubiquitous in recent times. The modern gamer will usually assume the bumpers are used to shoot in much the same way a platformer player understands that the A button is used to jump without being told so. Secondly, other open world games such as Bethesda’s “Fallout 4” or more recently, Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” pull off what “Red Dead Redemption 2” attempted to do in its tutorial far better.

“Fallout 4”  introduces the player to the basic controls of the game in a brief opening mission. After this is completed, the player is essentially given free reign to explore the game’s world with other mechanics being explained when they become important. “Breath of the Wild” meanwhile throws the player right into things from the get go with anything that resembles a tutorial coming naturally in the game’s opening missions in a way that feels seamless in its integration. Additionally, the player is given the option to learn more about the game’s world and story through various side quests in a fashion that makes finding out this information feel like a goal as opposed to required reading.

It is important to note that after one completes the tutorial, “Red Dead Redemption 2” is the exciting, open-ended, detailed 19th century jaunt fans were expecting. However, while being forced to slog through a bloated tutorial, it’s easy to question if Rockstar Games should get off so easily for an opening act that would have made me walk out on a game I had lower expectations for.

RI Comic Con returns for its seventh year

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Assistant Graphics Editor

The epitome of geek and media fandom returned to Providence for its seventh year with a bang. Starring headliners like Zachary Levi, David Harbour and Tom Felton, the convention was nothing less than extraordinary.

In the past, the convention has faced problems due to the masses of people attending, but this year was different. Along with using the Dunkin Donut Center and the Convention Center, the panels were moved to the Omni Hotel. This allowed there to be more panels, which helped cover everything that attendees wanted. Despite some issues directing people to the panels, it was the best move to help ease the amount of people on the show floor.

There wasn’t a time during the three days of the event that found people with nothing to do. Guests were the main feature, as you could take a picture, get autographs or just say hi to some of your favorite TV/movie stars. Along with “Stranger Things” stars, an abundance of “The Walking Dead” characters were there, including Steven Ogg, Laurie Holden and Cooper Andrews.

This has been the best run RI Comic Con so far, and hopefully it will keep this up in the years to come. My hope is that they include bigger stars from more current media, because a decent chunk of the stars that attend are from TV and movies from long ago.

From “Francis of the Filth” to “Joji” with the jams

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Assistant Graphics Editor

George Miller, aka Joji, aka Filthy Frank, has had an evolution unlike any artist out there. From starting his own YouTube channel in 2008, making outlandish public pranks faking seizures, creating his own universe and cast of characters, and cooking rap videos, he has constantly evolved. Despite being king of the internet memeverse, it was time to move from the YouTube realm and do what he truly loved, which was music making.

Hinting that he wanted to do more music, he created comedic music videos that garnered a lot of love. Before his departure, he created “Pink Season” under the alias Pink Guy/Omega, an album with several satirical songs and meme-worthy music. After starting to release videos more sparingly, he announced his departure from the character and world of Filthy Frank to focus on his music.

Signing with 88 Rising, the first Asian-American record label to gain high praise, he finally created his debut EP as “Joji.” Joji is also a nickname that George has had throughout the years, once having a vlog channel with the same name. In the past, he had made sad sounding, R&B/lofi hip-hop music under this name, including songs like “You Suck Charlie” and “Thom” before officially focusing on music.

Since then, Joji has released an EP and an album, titled “In Tongues” and “Ballads 1,” respectively. After releasing “In Tongues” in 2017, the short 16 minute EP left most fans wanting more, while gathering new ones. With the release of “Ballads 1,” Joji reached a new high at the top spot in the R&B Billboard chart.

Most of his music is smooth and quiet, though his new album takes risks in attempting to break out of the same cycle. Despite its attempts, a couple songs can be repetitive, but the variation overall of the album keeps the listener engaged and enthralled with where he’ll take a song next. From bass-boosting a song, to focusing on its quiet piano, or relying on guitar licks, the tracks always try to bring something new to the table.

As he evolves, his music will continually evolve, as well as his risks. “Slow Dancing in the Dark” has Joji out of his vocal comfort zone, providing strong lyrics and an even stronger vocal performance of belted out intense, long notes. It is arguably one of the strongest songs on the record because of his ability to take his voice to a new place. Meanwhile, switching his pitches in “Can’t Get Over You” with its catchy beat leaves me always putting the song on repeat. Finally, “XNXX” has a beat that is similar, grabbing you and pulling you in, but it is so short that it forces you to play it again.

Once Joji is fully comfortable with his voice, and takes more musical risks, there is no doubt that his music will only continue to get better.