Volume XIII, Issue 2 November 2019
Danny Dye: the coach behind one of the most successful teams in Paly history. Infamous for his brutal swim sets and Viking spirit, heâ€™s made waves throughout the Paly community. p 24
would like to thank our sponsors... Bob and Phyllis Ambrose
The Erickson family
David and Tara Schwarz-
Sandy and John Gifford
Viki and Jim Anderson
Russ and Liz Jones
The Shah Family
Rebecca and John Bara
Fred and Kate Smith
Bob k. Bliss
Tom Kemp and Suman Gupta
The Soulodre family
Carrie and Chris Daniel
Kathy and Doug Lusk
Joe and Stella Passarello
The Turgut family
Landscape Group Inc. Custom landscape design, build and maintenance! landscapegroup-inc.com
231 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301 (650) 326-1649
Interested in sponsoring or subscribing? Go to vikingsportsmag.com E-mail us at email@example.com 2
Psyched for Spike
Dye Hard [cover photo by Jenna Hickey]
Students of the Game
Pac-12 Mascot Fight Bracket
Viking Tries: Volleyball
Final Word: Transfixed by Politics
“My favorite part about being on the football team is being around all of my friend and being a leader on the team. Touching the field is like no other.” -Junacio Henley (‘20) Photo by Jenna Hickey
“Outside of cheer, I enjoy eating pizza in Khushi’s movie theater and watching movies until 1 a.m. (and then only getting four hours of sleep, because we have to be at the competition four hours before we perform).” - Nicki Loewy (‘22) Photo by Jenna Hickey
“My favorite parts about Water Polo are getting to spend time with my amazing teamates and the satisfaction of working together towards a common goal.” -Lulu Gaither (‘21) Photo by Conner Lusk
Viking Editors-in-Chief Summer Daniel Dexter Gormley Yael Sarig
Volume XIII, Issue 2 November 2019
Web Director Will DeAndre
Head Columnists Sam Cleasby Kevin Cullen
Staff Writers Sofia Bliss-Carrascosa Jackson Bundy Justin Byer Jack Elarde Hana Erickson James Fetter Jenna Hickey Vijay Homan Hayden Jung-Goldberg Sophie Kadifa Matt Marzano Liam Nagesh Adar Schwarzbach Annika Shah Victoria Soulodre Tyler Stoen Luke Thieman Elif Turgut
Senior Staff Writer Ryan Stanley
Adviser Brian Wilson
Social Media Manager Sofie Vogel
Managing Editors Sanaz Ebrahimi Joey Passarello
Photo Director Conner Lusk
Creative Director Ella Jones
Copy Editors Tina Lagerblad
Multimedia Managers Griffin Kemp Josh Lai
Video Directors Sam Cleasby Kevin Cullen
Business Manager Alana Abeyta Beat Editors Ryan Bara Lincoln Bloom
Viking Magazine Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 650-329-3837 Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising and Sponsorship Contact: email@example.com Viking, a sports magazine published by the students in Palo Alto High School’s Advanced Magazine Journalism class, is an open forum for student expression and the discussion of issues of concern to its readership. The Viking is distributed to its readers and the student body at no cost. The staff welcomes letters to the editor, but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length, grammar, potential libel, invasion of privacy and obscenity. Advertising in Viking The staff publishes advertisements with signed contracts providing they are not deemed by the staff inappropriate for the magazine’s audience. For more information about advertising with The Viking, please contact the The Viking by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Printing Services 2,500 copies of The Viking are printed, six times a year by Folger Graphics in Hayward, Calif. Logo Font Courtesy of Måns Grebäck
All photos taken from Creative Commons unless noted
From the EDITORS Hi Vikings! We’re excited to present to you our second issue of the year. The Viking staff has been hard at work putting it together! Ella Jones (‘20), Sophie Kadifa (‘21), Liam Nagesh (‘21), and Tyler Stoen (‘21) have dived into the history behind the swim program at Paly and its coach Danny
Dye. As the sport with the most league titles in Paly history, Coach Dye knows how to run a team. Athletic Powerhouses, on page 36, written by Sofia BlissCarrascosa (‘20), James Fetter (‘21), Vijay Homan (‘21), and Tina Lagerblad (‘20) covers the high expectations of the high school athletic programs at schools such as La Salle or IMG Academy. If you’re a Spikeball fanatic, turn to page 20 for an exclusive interview with Chris Ruder, the CEO of Spikeball. Written by Ryan Bara (‘20), Hana Erickson (‘21), and Victoria Soulodre (‘21), they also look into the budding world of televised
Spikeball. On a more serious note, Alana Abeyta (‘20), Sam Cleasby (‘20), and Hayden Jung-Goldberg (‘21) break down the debate for equal pay between male and female athletes, a debate recently reignited by the championship US Women’s National Soccer Team. We hope you enjoy our latest issue of Paly’s sports magazine, the Viking!
Summer Daniel Dexter Gormley Yael Sarig
Staff View: The Paly Weight Room
pwards of $36 million dollars. State-of-the-art power racks – ten of them, to be exact – surrounded by custom greenand-white machinery built to target every inch of the athlete’s body. Even obscure equipment that’s more often found in a top-tier powerlifting gym than in a high school weight room has been provided: chains that hang off of barbells, clinking rhythmically as they hit the ground at the bottom of a squat; not just standard power bars, but the 35-pound barbells that Olympic female weightlifting competitors use, too; a glute-ham raise and hex bars line the interior wall of the weight room, and a full room is dedicated to cardio: tens of bikes, treadmills, and rowing machines as far as the eye can see. It’s a far cry from Paly’s old dilapidated weight room, and from the weight rooms most public schools call home. Indeed, the Peery Center rivals that of Stanford’s own weight room just across campus in size and stature. This is a weight room that was not designed strictly for use by a limited roster of varsity athletes after school; for that purpose, the old weight room, while still meager in size and actual equipment, could have served well enough. But the new weight room is built to service the entire student population, should they choose to take advantage of it. Which is exactly why the new limitations imposed on access to the weight room make such little sense. This year, the weight room remains shuttered during sixth and seventh periods, prime
prep periods that many students had previously utilized to get a workout in before the after-school influx of gymgoers. Now, those same students are met with locked doors, and a sense that their prep, ideally used to tick off some of the day’s to-do list items, has been wasted. Why the change? Liability. “It has always been an issue, it’s an issue that has to do with responsibility with the district, liability with the district,” Jason Fung said. “Ever since we’ve been here, it has been more of a popular space. We’re getting lots of people that want to workout; the problem is not within the students. The focus for the admin isn’t the weight room, it gets put to the back end of importance.” Viking understands that the school is looking out for the best interest of its students – and mostly, its own best interest – when it refuses to allow unsupervised workouts. A catastrophic injury will be bad enough for the student, but Paly administration has to consider the ramifications (read: lawsuits) that could come from a miffed parent hearing their child got injured hitting heavy weights with no adult present. But for a school that’s been entrenched in continued controversy over its treatment of mental health, an outlet for students to get their blood flowing, commit to progress in a non-academic pursuit, and chase endorphins cannot be seen as anything other than a worthwhile commitment. The Performing Arts Center has not been brushed off in the same way –
Fung notes that it has a facility manager, while the weight room does not. It’s commendable that Paly has committed itself to the arts in this way, but should this not be an indicator that the weight room problem is easily solved? How difficult can it be to hire a facility manager who is responsible for keeping the weight room open, say, from after lunch to early evening? As of now, hiring someone for this purpose is not in the school’s discretionary budget. The point is, the weight room is a great resource for the students of this school, and being limited to barely any access to the weight room just makes no sense. To spend the amount of money that the school did and not let us take full advantage of the final product confuses Viking and all the students at Paly. Even though Paly has made an effort to hire a part-time employee to look after the weight room after school, many of the students tend to be annoyed that they are not able to use it during preps. Paly needs to hire the right person for the job, someone who is willing to look after it the whole day, before school, and after. We feel that we are wasting the good opportunities to use the weight room because many students are busy with extracurricular activities and aren’t able to work out right after school, which is the only time the weight room is actually being supervised. Until something is changed, this incredible resource is nothing but dead space. The weight room system needs to change, and change quickly.
Pop Culture Grid Fav team to play?
Who is the GOAT?
Best Halloween candy
Best Spirit Week Day?
AL Lee (‘20)
Gunn and Los Altos
Swimsuit because it’s gameday!
Lexi Gwyn (‘21)
My coach Jote
Zander Darby (‘22)
Jurgen Dittrich (‘20)
The day we miss spirit week for a tournament
By the Numbers
State ranking of the Girls Volleyball Team, according to MaxPreps 12
Miles typically run a week by the cross country team
Number of graduating seniors on the boys water polo team
Paly Polls The people have spoken.
Would you support Paly bringing powderpuff back?
The Girls Golf team just clinched their third consecutive league title, and are about to head into CCS playoffs hot.
Giffen has 467 receiving yards and averages 17 yards a reception for seven touchdowns through seven games.
Girls JV Water Polo
The JV Girls finished undefeated in league with their 12 wins.
What sports team at Paly would win in a Hunger Games?
Girls Field Hockey
In their second season ever, the team has been off to a great start, beating powerhouses such as Presentation.
Football Field Turf
The ripped up field is in need of repair, as players are in danger of staph and injury.
Throughout all sports, there has been a lack of attendance to games. Maybe Gunn is the alternative.
Nobody wants to do them but I guess our parents want us to go to college so...
Students are forced to turn to alternatives for working out as the weight room has been closed by the administration indefinitely.
Cross country/ Track
Who is the hardest hitter on the football team?
Kevin Cullen 43%
Collin Giffen Bundy
10 Questions With
Viking Magazine had the chance to ask Paly boys water polo player Spencer Soohoo (‘21) 10 Questions. We then asked his coach, teammate and friend what they thought he said. Here are their responses...
as told to Lincoln Bloom, Conner Lusk, and Joey Passerrello Friend JP Conrad
Teamate Dante Garetto
Coach Ethan Look
Honey Bunches of Oats
Ritz Crackers with peanut butter
Movie star equivalent?
Courtesy of the Red White and Blue
She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy
Favorite type of sock?
Denver Nuggets socks
White Nike Socks
The Mormon Church
_____ is the next big thing?
People driving shopping carts
Driving a go-cart into a wall
Goalies on offense
Same as height
Always about a foot too short
Teammate most likely to get arrested
On to the Big Stage An inside look at some of Paly’s newest D1commits
FRESNO STATE COMMIT Source: 247sports. com
6’6” Can’t Teach Length!
28 CAREER TDs
4/4 dartmouth commits Years on Varsity
chloe japic Baylor Commit
louis passarello cu boulder commit
U17 Bosnian National Team Topdrawersoccer.com
by KEVIN CU
LLEN, ELIF TU
nd SOFIE VO GEL Sports movie s – they’re the niche genre th gets old. Here at never are Viking’s to p five picks fo movie night in ra .
Coach Carter During the year 1999, Ken Carter goes back to his old high school in Richmond to get the basketball team into shape. He establishes strict rules on both academic and sport life, and by doing so, he is able to create a winning streak. However, when the grades of the athletes start to deteriorate, Carter locks the players out of the gym. Now he has to face the complaints of the players and parents.
Happy Gilmore All his life, Happy Gilmore has wanted to become a professional hockey player; however, he realizes that he might have a talent in a totally different sport, which happens to be golf. Meanwhile, Gilmore’s grandmother finds out that she is about to lose her home due to financial problems. Gilmore then joins a golf tournament in hopes to win enough money to buy the house back for her. With his motivation and rude-mouthed attitude, he becomes a golf hero.
Re me mb er th e Ti ta ns , the football This movie is based on a true story of how Coach Herman Boone y divided team. coach of Williams High School in Virginia, tries to integrate a raciall gets toward In Virginia, high school football is a way of life. The closer the team l. The clashes schoo the hout playoffs, the more intensely football is celebrated throug the local school between football and an African American coach is displayed when school. board is forced to integrate an all-black school with an all-white
The Blind Side
and ael Oher, has drifted in ich M , en te k ac bl ss ele A hom takes Oher m for years. A couple out of the school syste can have home for him where he ing lov a es id ov pr d an in size and life. Oherâ€™s enormous ed ov pr im an r fo ce the a chan intimidating force on an him e ak m cts tin ins protective ial, with the help he realizes his potent football field. Finally, player. a student and football as r, to tu d an ily fam of his
ts h g i L t igh N y a d i Fr all is more hool footb
h sc e of Texas, hig However, when on in n w to a ll . In a sma obsession oobie Miles, suffers n a â€™s it , rt n, all o than a sp all team, B game of the seaso tb o fo e th t n rs Gary the stars o after the fi to the new coach, ry ju in g din up honor. season-en t for the team. It is pect and s e -r lf s e s lo f t sense o hope ge flict a new in to , s e Gain
by ALANA ABEYTA, SAM CLEASBY, and HAYDEN JUNG-GOLDBERG
Players and viewers alike have been fighting against the unequal salaries granted to men and women across the world of professional sports. Is it likely that a change can be made to close this gap?
he Paly girls varsity basketball team is used to their routine. Show up to the gym at 5 p.m., before most people have even sat down to eat dinner, play their hearts out in front of a comparatively thin crowd, exit the gym, and on their way out, see the fans begin to stream in as they prepare for the game that has received the metaphorical prime-time slot of the night: the boys varsity basketball match. A few years ago, this routine was disrupted. There was a massive crowd that came to watch the boys play first, and while the girl’s team waited in the locker room, their coach stood amongst them praising how they had finally gotten a chance to shine in front of the
1991 1999 2015 2019 18
long-desired packed crowd. As the girls walked out onto the court to begin their warmups, a disheartening reality set in: there was no room for them on the court due to a large number of fans who were walking towards the exits after the boy’s game had ended. The girls team was left disappointed at the lack of their classmates’ support. Moments like these are common in the world of women’s sports, and not just in basketball. Is this lack of representation the reason why women in sports have long struggled to bring in the same amount of money as their male counterparts or are there other factors, such as genetics, that make women sports less desirable for fans to watch? In March of 2019, 28 members of the US Women’s National Team filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation for gender discrimination and unequal pay, which was not the first time a complaint like this was made. Three years earlier, in 2016, five players filed a complaint for discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision. The women’s soccer team gets a guaranteed salary of about $100,000 a year, while the men get from $150,000 to $300,000. The reason for this? Men earn much higher bonuses. But here’s the catch – from 2016 to 2018, the women’s national team sold $50.8 million in tickets compared to $49.9 million brought in by the men’s tickets. So why, then, are
women still being paid comparatively less? For soccer, certainly, the argument of women bringing in less revenue is a weak one. The women’s team has four World Cup titles while the men are yet to win one. While it is true that women have brought in more money than men in soccer, in other sports such as women’s basketball, this fact does not hold true. From 201617 The WNBA brought in 28 million dollars compared to the NBA’s colossal 7.4 billion dollars. Many critics are quick to say that that difference in revenue is simply indicative of less interest in women’s basketball. If the games were interesting, people would show up; they would buy the tickets, purchase concessions, support the teams by donning merchandise and tuning into the games if they couldn’t support them locally. Fans do it for the men – if they wanted, they would do it for the women. But the situation isn’t quite that simple. Women’s sports are being covered less now than they was were 1989, according to a study conducted at The University of Southern California. According to the study in 1989 women were framed more as sexual objects instead of focusing on the game. However, now these women are idolized for their ability to cope with the stresses of being a mother or girlfriend while also being a professional athlete. In 1989 TV news shows like ESPN
and SportsCenter devoted 5% of their time to womens sports. Now they only give a mere 2% of time to them and spend less time advertising them. So while it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that women’s sports are simply an inferior brand of entertainment, there are too many external factors at play that are keeping women leagues from reaching their full potential. Should those factors be mitigated, there’s no reason to think that women’s sports
couldn’t achieve the same support as men’s. With more equal representation in the media, and after breaking down some of the stereotypes that have labeled female sports stars as a lessserious brand of athlete, women could be placed on that equal playing field that their talent deserves. But that vision is idealistic. In practice, it’s much harder to convince broadcasting companies to stream a game that is still widely considered inferior – television
networks will only see it as a two-hourlong slot of television that’s losing money. And how long would it take to nullify those degrading attitudes against female athletes? How do you gameplan for changing people’s minds once they’ve already been set? Then, of course, there remains the issue of pay. No matter the original cause, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that many women’s sports simply bring in less money.
Average Yearly Salary for WNBA vs NBA Players
Average Yearly Revenue for the WNBA vs NBA
$7.4B Counter: Equal Pay, for now, is an Impossibility
NBA players should not be paid as much as NBA players for one simple reason: they bring in significantly less revenue. The reasoning behind this lower revenue is not too complicated. The WNBA is not as entertaining to the vast majority of basketball fans. Women are physically not as athletic as men due to genetic differences, which prevents them from performing the extraordinary athletic feats that many men are able to do, such as dunking. Women’s games are slower. They’re not as flashy. Watching those games, the players don’t seem superhuman. We can’t marvel at their feats, knowing we could never do the same – for men, certainly, watching the WNBA will not inspire the same awe that watching the NBA does. The most exhilarating athletic ability in the WNBA is shown in Brittney Griner, a 6’9 phenom who has dunks as routine as Russell Westbrook’s. But
Westbrook’s savage attacks on the rim electrify the stadium. For Griner, while her feat is undoubtedly impressive, the elevation is not the same – nor is the crowd reaction. The difference in athleticism is impossible to ignore. For example, in 2017 the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team lost to a boys 15 and under club soccer team in a scrimmage. While the national team was not necessarily trying to win — rather practice and build chemistry — the boys team was capable of defeating them despite their young age. This displays how women’s genetic differences cause them to be physically disadvantaged to men in terms of athleticism, as most people would expect a national team to beat a youth team even if they weren’t giving it their all. Because of the athletic
differences fans tend to watch more men’s games than women’s games. This proves to be true when looking at the average viewership from games in 2015. Women’s games get an average of 63,000 views per game while the men’s games get an average of 240,000 views. Critics of female athletics are not advocating against gender equality, they are just pointing out the fact that female athletes rarely bring in as much viewership and revenue as their male counterparts. Does that mean women shouldn’t earn the same salary? Maybe – the money has to come from somewhere, and if money isn’t being brought in, it cannot be redistributed. But does that mean women don’t deserve the same salary for equal work? No.
by RYAN BARA, HANA ERICKSON, and VICTORIA SOULODRE
Over the last five years, Spikeball has developed from a previously abandoned game known as Roundnet, into a ESPN televised sport, all thanks to Spikeball’s CEO, Chris Ruder.
hat started as an eclectic, offbrand version of backyard volleyball — abandoned so quickly that its creator didn’t even bother to patent it — has now become not only a wildly popular name-brand game, but also a staple everywhere from ESPN’s homepage to NFL practices. The neon yellow net and ball duo that’s instantly recognizable today hadn’t always been so popular. It was thought up by Jeff Knurek in the 1980s, with the decidedly less-lively name “Roundnet.” Much of the premises remained the same: the game was meant to be a fun, portable, twoon-two variation of volleyball that could be played nearly everywhere. It didn’t require athletic prowess or the fancy materials that a full game of volleyball demanded, and it didn’t have complicated rules. Roundnet wasn’t quite a sport, but it wasn’t quite a recreational game, either. But despite its seeming appeal, Roundnet was only on the market for two
years, hardly known and hardly played save for a few scattered lawn and beach games. That is, until its potential started to dawn on Chris Ruder. He’d been one of the early consumers of the game, having purchased it in its earliest days in a 1989 toy store, and loved it. “Sports weren’t a huge part of my life growing up,” Ruder said. “But Spikeball was this thing that… something just clicked, and I absolutely loved it.” He found the game had the magnetic appeal that Knurek had perhaps envisioned.
could be big, much bigger than dusty toy store shelves and unkempt lawns. This could be a global phenomenon. That realization conveniently aligned with Ruder’s discontent with his office job. Ruder made the riskiest decision of his career when he decided to abandon a secure job position to pursue what amounted to a trampoline net and a ball. But that genuine love for the product propelled him to trust that the potential he saw in the product was real. So he did what any budding entrepreneur does: he rebranded the game, gave it a “Caterpillar tractor” blackand-yellow look meant to emulate toughness, and he went on Shark Tank. The experience was, in a word, “nerve-wracking.” One of the main components of the show is a pitch that entrepreneurs must deliver. In not much more than a minute, they must detail all of the reasons why their project should receive hundreds of thousands of dollars funding, and why it deserves that
"Sports weren't a huge part of my life growing up, but Spikeball was this thing that… something just clicked, and I absolutely loved it." -Chris Ruder Throughout his childhood and teenage years, strangers had consistently approached him, asking what exactly the game was, and — more importantly — where they could buy it. At some point, a light bulb went off in Ruder’s brain. This was a game that
money more than any other project. No pressure. “I was incredibly nervous going in,” Ruder said. “The part that I was most nervous about was the memorized pitch… you have to give that memorized pitch that’s maybe 90 seconds, two minutes long. Memorization has never been my strong suit. My high school and college GPA will definitely align with that.” Selling a business idea, though, is an entirely different realm than that of college classrooms. For one, the intimidation factor of the Sharks is considerably more than that of even the strictest professor. “So [there’s] five of [the Sharks] just staring at you, and they tell you, ‘You have to stand there for a minute or two in complete silence before you can begin your pitch,’” Ruder said. “That minute or two feels like about six weeks. And you’re just standing there staring at Mark Cuban, just [thinking] this is really uncomfortable.” Cuban was one of the investors Ruder most wanted to get a deal done with. So when he was one of the first to drop out, Ruder was understandably disappointed. But he’s gotten the last laugh — Cuban has said himself that Spikeball was the one that got away, that he’s kicking himself for passing on it. He isn’t wrong. Passing on Spikeball
may not have seemed consequential at the time, but the game has exploded into a national phenomenon. Spikeball made
In its early days, Ruder had always kept a personal touch on the company, determining exactly where and how people had heard about the product. But as the growth continued with little signs of stopping, that became impossible. “I’d go, ‘Hey, Susie, thanks for the order. I’m actually heading to the post office later tonight, I’ll drop it off. I see you live in San Francisco. I used to live there. Absolutely love that city. By the way – if you don’t mind me asking, how’d you hear about Spikeball?’” That natural charisma paid off for Ruder. He’d heard from three main groups originally — PE teachers, Ultimate Frisbee players, and faith-based youth groups all made up much of the consumer base. Hearing from youth groups was revelatory, but not because of the religious aspect: this was simply a game that transported people back to their adolescence. It’s that unadulterated childlike joy that has allowed Spikeball to take off as it has. Plenty of young people are dedicated fans, but Spikeball’s edge comes from its ability to make anyone feel like they did when they were young again. It’s what’s made the game such a staple at Paly, a school where the students rely on those bursts of time when the overwhelming stress of school
“"I get much more satisfaction out of hearing stories of how Spikeball has affected someone's life" - Chris Ruder $4,000 in “pity money” from friends and family in the first month of sales; it was earning $1 million by 2013. And while the deal that Ruder did strike on Shark Tank — $500,000 from Daymond John — ultimately fell apart, the setback didn’t set Ruder back for long. The element that had elevated the product for so long, the human interest that was naturally piqued from watching other people play the game, carried over to the show. With seven million viewers gaining exposure to Ruder’s idea, the popularity of Spikeball skyrocketed. “There’s a viral element built into the product,” Ruder said. “When [people] go play, they’re probably going to play in a public area, whether that be the yard at a high school, college campus, public beach, or whatever it may be. So the product travels on its own fairly well.”
Tournament Major consumers
can melt away, and all they have to worry about is not letting that ball hit the ground. A lunch period without a Spikeball net appearing somewhere on the quad is a rare occurrence, and last spring, ASB held an intramural spike ball tournament in which over 100 students participated. And that’s been the life-force of the game: community. “I get much more satisfaction out of hearing stories of how Spikeball has affected someone’s life,” Ruder said. “I’ve seen numerous photos of brides in their beautiful wedding dresses, playing Spikeball…there is no higher compliment to the work you’re doing than to see that somebody wants to take your product, something that you and all 27 of our employees have been building and they want to include it in some of life’s most special moments.” And those moments have taken to the global stage. Spikeball is now being televised on ESPN; its national tournament attracts competitive players from all reaches of the country. There are tiers of players that culminate in the Spikeball Elite, a level of glory that only eight men’s teams and four women’s teams belong to each year. And there are cash prizes involved, careers stemming from the game; one pro player skipped his college graduation ceremony in order to compete in a tournament at
Lancaster. Those tournaments now span the entire nation. A national tournament took place on October 5 in Richmond, Virginia with over 200 teams competing across seven divisions. For the pro division, the Cisek/ Showalter team beat out 15 other teams and took home a cash prize of $4,000.
Photo by Jenna Hickey 49ers went so far as to hold a Spikeball tournament in June of 2017. Per the official Spikeball website, NFL trainers believe Spike Ball works on players’ “agility, lateral movement, and hand eye coordination.” And Connor McDavid, one of the NHL’s youngest stars, is a fan: “You’re just moving around, get your hand-eye going, competitive juices flowing too,” McDavid said. “It’s a lot of fun.” So what’s next for the nontraditional sport that’s become a traditional pastime in millions of American homes? Keep fanning the flames of a game that’s caught fire. “The mission of the company is to create the next great global sport,” Ruder said. “Hearing the activity that’s going on here at Paly just warms my heart. So how can we make sure that we’re giving the community members the tools and the help they need to grow their own communities?” That sense of togetherness is at the core of Spikeball. It’s what they’ll keep at the core of their product’s mission, even as the game itself grows faster and goes further than its inventor — and reinventor — could have ever imagined. “Yes, we make a plastic net and we have a rubber ball,” Ruder said. That’s not what makes us special, though. It’s the brand and what makes the brand special is the community.”
"Yes, we make a plastic net and we have a rubber ball. Thats not what makes us special, though. Its the brand and what makes the brand special is the community." -Chris Ruder
The duo debuted in Summer Smash 2015, where they played under the team name “Moist.” Now, and since 2017, they’re ranked first in the nation. Spikeball has established itself firmly in the mainstream — there’s little doubt about that. But even behind the scenes, its use is far more expansive than its diminutive appearance would suggest. A variety of sports have begun using Spikeball games as a form of crosstraining. Water polo players have used it to strengthen their legs by putting the net into the pool and treading. Wrestlers have used it as a form of active recovery. Hockey players have utilized the game to improve their overall mobility on the ice. Football players have used it to help them with their hand-eye coordination. The
231 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Interested in sponsoring or subscribing?
THE BAY AREAâ€™S PREMIER PROVIDER OF INHOME CARE SERVICES
Go to vikingsportsmag.com E-mail us at email@example.com
COMPASSIONATE & DIGNIFIED IN-HOME CARE, LOCALLY-OWNED, SERVING PALO ALTO & SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES.
WWW.AVIVAINHOMECARE.COM (415) 463-1400
Dye Hard by Ella Jones, Sophie Kadifa, Liam Nagesh, Annika Shah, and Tyler Stoen
With 16 years as the Palo Alto High School swim team coach, Danny Dye has become a familiar sight on the pool deck. Countless students have benefited from Dyeâ€™s hard work, some without even knowing it. His reach is felt from the immense effort he has put into the team and into helping players achieve their full potential, but extends past just Paly Swimmers. Whether it is working with his youth group, teaching P.E., or keeping score for football games, Dye gives back to the community he loves. This is his story.
reat spikes of pool water rise into the air as the energetic hands of the Palo Alto High School Swim team catapult their beloved coach, Danny Dye, into the home waters of their pool. The buzz of celebration is not without cause–— it’s Dye’s 200th win at Paly. But the exuberant support of his swimmers honors more than just the win. It represents a deeprooted appreciation for a coach who has dedicated countless hours and immeasurable effort over 16 years to the betterment of the students who are lucky enough to know him. During his time at Paly, Dye has garnered a reputation of being a passionate and enthusiastic coach. In fact, enthusiastic may be an understatement. Every athlete has vivid memories of Dye running around on the deck, pointing exaggeratively at his timer, and gesticulating wildly to encourage his kids to give everything they have. Coach Dye’s intensity has translated into countless wins and league titles. Dye has received two honors coaching awards for CCS and a California State Coaches Award for girls swimming. Since Dye started coaching at Paly, the girls team has won three CCS titles and the girls and boys teams have combined for 11 runner-up CCS titles and 24 league titles. He has dedicated many years to improving the Palo Alto swimming and diving teams, as well as coaching the sport throughout his entire adult life. But how did he start on this life-long aquatic journey? At just four years old, a young Dye found himself in a life or death situation: a family pool outing took a turn when Dye fell into the water and, unable to swim, almost drowned. Thankfully, he was saved and, unlike many who confront such terrifying circumstances, got right back in the water – this time with the conviction to master it. Dye’s family enrolled him in swim classes so that he would not chance another experience similar to this one. Little did they know that Dye’s life
would soon revolve around the sport that he was exposed to by accident. Dye’s love for swimming grew as he did, and he began to see it as more than just a sport. “I love swimming because it is you against water, which is considered the most powerful force on earth,” Dye said. After swimming throughout his childhood years, Dye attended Bakersfield Junior College and swam for the team there. Dye then transferred to Coe College in Iowa and continued his swimming career there. But after his four years of collegiate eligibility came to an end, Dye was lost: how could he leave the sport he loved and had dedicated so much time to? Thus, he started to volunteer as a coach for his past team. He was prepared for this experience by his years acting in a similar role while he was still swimming on the team, remarking that the athletes basically coached themselves. After his experiences in Iowa, Dye decided to coach diving at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. In search of another new experience, Dye came to California to coach at Los Altos. He stayed at Los Altos for eight years, then switched to Paly, where he found a home. Even though he received other offers throughout the years, “It never felt right to leave,” Dye said. His early days of coaching were stressful for Dye: when he first arrived at Paly, many swimmers on the team did not have the same passion for swimming that Dye immediately brought to the pool deck. The serious reputation of today’s swim team had not yet been established. Many swimmers viewed the sport more as conditioning than as an art form to be perfected. However, Dye’s investment to the team did not stop at the pool. His older swimmers recall how he spent sleepless nights calculating the points and times the swimmers would need to win the upcoming meets. He often says that he can’t sleep until he has checked – even
“I love swimming because it is you against water, which is considered the most powerful force on earth.” -Coach Dye 26
Dexter Gormley (‘20) and Harrison Williams (‘22) place first and second to help Paly boys win league finals in the 100 free. Photo by Jenna Hickey. double checked – his math. This behavior is a norm for Dye who routinely jokes about his ADHD, making it a part of his personality. His disorder causes him to develop a near obsession with his coaching like making calculations so often. Due to his labors, Dye had high hopes for his early teams, only to be disregarded by his swimmers, who did not see the team in the same light. Dye, seeing that his swimmers lacked the motivation and belief that he needed from them to keep their championship hopes alive, tried to instill a culture of hard work and high attendance by appealing to the team’s emotions to get his swimmers invested in their performance. Despite his good intentions, many students did not receive Dye’s intense emotion and difficult swim sets as he would have hoped. Instead, they began to see him in a negative manner and thus, the legend of “Death by Danny Dye” was created. This alliteration served to describe the intense workouts that Dye would subject his swimmers to, a phrase that gained notoriety while former student Evan Nagesh (‘17) was swimming for Paly. Dye was known to be intense with not only his workouts, but intense outside of the pool, too. Nagesh had been swimming competitively for local powerhouse club team Palo Alto
Stanford Aquatics prior to his freshman highest level of excellence. year. He met his future coach for the first “He expected a lot from me from the time at a club swim meet in November, very beginning,” Nagesh said. “After the a full 2 months before the school swim first few days of practice, he sat me down season started. and told me I could accomplish x, y and z “He was just there watching the by the end of the season. I was surprised athletes who were going to be swimming by how quickly and how assertively he for him in the high school season,” had set his ambitions for me.” Nagesh said. “I was really impressed with Although Nagesh knew Dye was a his dedication P.E. coach and as a coach for an avid Iowa coming out fan, he found during the that it was offseason on difficult to talk his own time to Dye about to see how his his life outside players were of swimming, developing in especially the offseason, before Dye to see the new had “mellowed players in the out”. spring and to “Even if our scope out the conversations competition.” would try to Nagesh, stray away from like most other swimming, swimmers under Dye, were quick to they would inevitably come right back to notice his intense focus on the sport and it,” Nagesh said. on winning CCS every year, a lofty goal for Despite, or perhaps because of Dye’s any public school when competing with intense workouts and intensity towards private swimming powerhouse schools his swimmer, Nagesh and Paly enjoyed like Bellarmine. Dye, with his habit of a lot of competitive success. Although calculating the exact times needed to win there were ups and downs throughout before the season starts, has a reputation the years, overall the Paly team has for pushing his swimmers to strive for the historically been very successful. Dye has @vikingsportsmag | NOVEMBER 2019 | 27
“I look at the accomplishments the team has and I do not consider them my accomplishments.” -Coach Dye
taken on the mantle of continuing this legacy of success for the team and his athletes. “To be able to add to what other coaches have accomplished here, it humbles you,” Dye said. Although the Paly program has been extremely successful under Dye’s coaching, he credits his athletes for their team achievements. “I look at the accomplishments the team has and I do not consider them my accomplishments,” Dye said. Even with all of his success as a high school swim coach, Dye wants his athletes to feel supported and motivated to accomplish their swimming dreams. Dye knows the pressures that student athletes are under and he wants every athlete to know that they belong on this team. “I think it always comes down to empowering the student-athlete and making them feel like they have these abilities and gifts,” Dye said. Dye’s greatest joy in coaching is seeing the growth of his swimmers and what they are able to accomplish over the years. Dye makes sure that his personality shines through with his coaching style. Even with all the hard core training, Dye strives to connect with his athletes on a personal and professional level. Dye is all about being himself and making sure that his athletes see him for who he is. “I just bring Danny Dye,” Dye said. The sport of swimming has changed over the years in terms of training and technique, and Dye also has adjusted his coaching style to match how swimming is evolving. He admits that he was an aggressive coach with an extreme coaching philosophy in his earlier years, but has gradually adapted to modern swimming. “Just in the last four or five years I’ve really placed it on the athletes rather than me feeling like I have to do all the work for the athletes,” Dye said. Notably, he has allowed more swimmer led practices and individual practices, where instead of quarterbacking the training, the swimmers are now held accountable by their teammates and not as much by Dye himself. He believes that you have to “empower the athletes to realize they have the answers.” When asked how such a drastic switch in coaching philosophy came about, Dye paused. He recalled that he started the switch a little after the passing of his nephew. Dye emerged from this
seeing the importance of emphasizing growth, support, and community. He began to see the role of coach as more of a supporter and mentor. “I’ve mellowed,” Dye said, now placing more emphasis on building his swimmers up not only as athletes, but as people too. He also brings authenticity to the deck: “It is important that athletes see you for who you are.” Unsurprisingly, as a philosophy major, Dye is very intentional about his method of coaching. He relates his coaching philosophy back to that of the Ancient Greeks; they believed that the purpose of life is to improve society and those within that society, which in turn leads to your own internal improvement. Seeing the countless athletes changed by Dye’s aid, there’s no question to the effectiveness of his coaching beliefs. “It’s all about the growth of a young person,” Dye said. His interest in philosophy exceeds coaching, however, as it leads to his work as a youth group leader and volunteer pastor for his church. “I’ve always been more philosophical than religious,” Dye said. Early in life, Dye suffered the passing of his brother. Struck by this tragedy, Dye turned to a youth group who supported him through it. Here started a lifelong relationship with the church as he has “always been involved with the ministry.” Dye started to preach to help his local preacher out by balancing his schedule and has now been preaching for about seven years. He helps out with the youth group and at spiritual growth events. Dye goes down to Mexico every summer with his youth group to help build houses.
“I think it always comes down to empowering the student-athlete.” -Coach Dye
“It’s the best week of the year,” Dye said. He describes it as rejuvenating and serene. He loves being around children that are so dedicated to service that they give up a full week of summer for the greater good. When it comes to his typical daily routine, Dye defines it as “open wire in a rainstorm,” because he finds himself going everywhere. He starts off the morning by coming to Paly to coach the varsity team at 7 a.m.. He then heads off to teach elementary P.E. in the Cupertino District and attend to his duties at his church. Finally, he heads back to Paly for his teams’ practices or meets, and manages to be home for dinner at around 7 p.m.. Even with his busy schedule of back to back (to back to back) jobs, Dye wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Dye said. “It helps me, as a person, to be more balanced.” Outside of coaching, teaching, and preaching, Dye enjoys playing golf, working out, and reading. Although Dye has many other obligations outside of Paly, he has formed a community there through forming relationships with other staff and students. Stacey Koffman, current P.E. teacher at Paly, has known Dye since he came to Paly 15 years ago. Back then, both of them had different jobs. Koffman was the head athletic trainer and a teacher, while Dye was a P.E. substitute still trying to find a full time job. Over the years, Koffman and Dye have learned from each other and have grown together as people. “He’s one of the coaches that I still have a good relationship with,” Koffman said. Whether it is in the classroom or on the deck, patience is the most important skill they have both learned. Koffman recognizes his desire to watch the kids improve and push them to reach limits they never thought they could. “He is very passionate about
what he does with the kids that he works with,” Koffman said. Dye’s passion is evident to Chesnie Cheung (‘20), who started swimming with Dye her freshman year of high school. Cheung has witnessed Dye’s change of pace throughout the years and is excited for what is to come during her senior season as swim team captain. C h e u n g credits Dye for being an understanding coach who reaches out to his athletes and cares about their well being. “I think that he is one of the best allaround people,” Cheung said. Although Dye has many years of experience with athletes and students, he acknowledges that everybody makes mistakes and his coaching career is no perfect fairytale. Dye strives to learn from his mistakes and continue working to improve his life and career. “If each day and season I can learn and grow from my own shortcomings, then hopefully that makes me a better teacher and coach for the athletes,” Dye said. Dye’s influence on his athletes has left him with a legacy that will always be remembered in Paly history. “I hope they are pushing him into the pool every season,” Nagesh said.
“I think he’s one of the best all around people.” -Chesnie Cheung (‘20)
Dye coaching his swimmers during a 2018 CCS finals race. Photo by Jenna Hickey.
by JACKSON BUNDY, WILL DEANDRE and MATTHEW MARZANO
Highlighting the careers of family powerhouses, both in professional sports and Paly’s history.
The Manning Brothers
Lebron and Bronny
Peyton and Eli Manning are considered to be some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time – perhaps it runs in the family. Peyton, the older brother of the two, was selected with the first pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton ended up winning two Super Bowls in his career, one with the Colts, and one with the Broncos later in his career. Peyton also holds the record for touchdown passes at 539 and has five MVP trophies to his name. Eli, the younger brother, is not too shabby himself, despite generally being considered the inferior player of the two brothers. Eli was also drafted with the No. 1 overall pick to the San Diego Chargers but was immediately traded to the New York Giants. Like Peyton, Eli is a two time champion, including a legendary win in Super Bowl XLII against the previously undefeated Patriots and Tom Brady.
LeBron James started his basketball career at the top, being named “The Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated. He even went so far as to get that very phrase tattooed on his back. Many believed that he would not be able to live up to his hype, but he proved them wrong. He is currently a 15-time All-Star, a four-time MVP, and is arguably the most famous athlete and best player in the NBA. Now it’s his son’s turn to shine. LeBron James Jr. is currently a freshman in highschool who is starting to gather national attention for his play on the court. Fans can’t help but wonder whether Bronny will follow in his dads footsteps and become one of the best NBA players of all time, or whether the pressure from having such a talented father will cause him to fizzle out and fall out of the spotlight.
Ken Griffey was a solid baseball three time All Star, and a two-time World Series champion. But he pales in comparison to his son Ken Griffey Jr. who won an MVP, was a 13-time All Star, and ended his career in the Hall of Fame. Ken Griffey, by all standards, was not a bad player during his tenure, and batted a respectable .296 on his career. Ken Griffey paved the way for a hard career for his son to surpass. Only a truly legendary career could make Ken Griffey Jr. a household name. And that’s exactly what he had. Ken Griffey Jr. hit 630 home runs and had 1836 RBIs through his career, numbers that blew his own father’s accomplishments out of the water. Ultimately, he’s widely recognized as one of the best players of all time, better known for his namesake than his own father.
The Chryst Brothers
After transferring to Paly as a sophomore, Keller Chryst was given the starting job in his first season. His 6-4, 235 pound frame and tremendous arm strength made him highly recruited by many major D1 programs. After a stellar career at Paly, passing for 7,326 yards and 84 touchdowns, Keller was ranked 46th overall in the nation and took his talents across the street to Stanford. Three years later, the offense was given to Keller’s younger brother Jackson. Although he had started as a sophomore, Jackson began to fully shine as a senior. In his senior campaign he threw for 2,285 yards and 31 touchdowns with only six interceptions. This stellar season earned him an offer to Oregon State, where he currently plays.
Ties The Bonos
Steve Bono is one of the few pro fathers ever at Palo Alto High School. He played college ball down south over at UCLA. He was eventually drafted into the NFL in 1985 by the Minnesota Vikings. Steve had one exceptional season with the Kansas City Chiefs where he led them to a 13-3 season and was elected to the Pro Bowl in 1996. Bono ultimately retired from the NFL in 1999, capping his NFL career. Bono’s son Christoph is also a legend in the football community, specifically here at Paly. Christoph was the starting quarterback at Paly for the 2010 season. He was able to lead the Vikings to a perfect 14-0 season and their first ever football state championship.
The Schultz Brothers The Schultz brothers may be the most accomplished athletes to come through Palo Alto athletics. Dave Schultz, the older brother, is considered by many to be the GOAT wrestler. Throughout his career Dave accumulated over 16 major awards in tournaments, including a gold metal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. However, his career was cut short when he was shot and killed. His younger brother Mark was also an accomplished wrestler who also was a 2-time Olympic champion and also a 7-time national champion. Even though Dave’s career ended too soon, the two brothers have more NCAA, U.S. Open, World, and Olympic titles than any other duo in wrestling.
Students Of Behind every touchdown catch or third-down stop, there is a level of mental preparation that fans don’t see. Many people believe that physical practice is the most prominent cause for on-field success, but one of the most important aspects of preparation takes place not on the field, but in front of a screen. Watching film is instrumental in team improvement, and can give players who watch—students of the game—a competitive edge.
n Tuesday afternoons during plays, which the coach breaks down. The the fall sports season, the Paly team meticulously analyzes the other football field, normally the site team’s offensive schemes and defensive of an intense football practice with strategies, in order to develop a game focused coaches, sweating players, plan for the upcoming week specific to high-level competition, and hard work, the other team’s style of play. is empty. No footballs fly through the Film is vitally important for air to streaking receivers. No lineman improvement and preparation, and practice blocking for their quarterback though spectators often think that and running back. There are no on-field practice and physical tackling drills, and no players preparation are the main factors running sprints for conditioning. for success, studying film is The team is in a classroom often the key to victory. The in the gymnasium, and mental aspect of sports and though no football is strategic preparation are being played, this is the true foundations of where the real work on field success. Fans and gets done. spectators often neglect the There, players importance of game film as an sit facing a largeaspect of mental preparation, s c r e e n since all they see are highlight television, reel plays and dominating with Head scores. Coach However, Nelson i t s Gifford at importance the front to the success of the of teams is room. On immeasurable, and the screen, the complex nature of g a m e game film analysis makes footage from all players, regardless the upcoming of stature, talent, or opponent is athleticism, students of the being played. game. They watch One of the main uses of one of the game film is to improve opponents’ on past mistakes. Every games and Saturday, the football pause at team watches the Photo courtesy of Jenna Hickey important previous night’s game in 32
order to analyze what areas they could improve in and what positives they can build on going forward. This is highly important to the development of players, teamwork, and strategy. According to Coach Nelson Gifford, the coaches meet for three hours determining a practice plan for the upcoming week based on what they can improve on heading into the next week. The players understand the importance of watching game film in order to improve, even though it reopens the wounds created by tough losses. “When you lose, it sucks but it’s a big learning moment and it helps you get back,” varsity quarterback Daniel Peters (‘22) said. It can often be painful to see yourself make a bad play or miss an opportunity that could have potentially changed the outcome of a loss. Players can’t help but feel like they let the team down or our responsible for the loss. Thoughts of what if may echo through the heads of players watching film. It especially hurts because players usually know what they did wrong without seeing it again. However, these experiences, though painful in the short term, are essential for growth and deep pain can inspire players to work harder to improve and ensure they don’t have to watch themselves fail again. “If I make one play, or have a footwork error, I’m going to make sure that I’m going to correct that during practice,” Peters said. The ultimate goal is to improve, and this stays the same whether team loses by 10 or wins by 40. “We always treat film the same” varsity
The Game by JENNA HICKEY, ADAR SCHWARZBACH, and LUKE THIEMAN football player Colin Giffen (‘20) said. “After a win or lose we talk about what we did good, but most importantly we talk about what we can do to get better.” The team does not only watch film to review themselves, but also to look at upcoming opponents to prepare for games. On Tuesday afternoon film sessions, the Vikes football team watches footage from their upcoming opponents. By watching opponents, the team is able to develop a game plan the week before the game in practice, which makes them more prepared for the competition. When watching their opponents, they figure out favorable matchups and the techniques they might use based on the situation. They also try to look out for patterns the other team might use, which filter into their practice plan. “Film translates to practice because what we learn in film, we practice on the field,” Giffen said. The coaches play an instrumental role in using film to develop specific pratice plans based on the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent. “A lot of the focus comes down to how we want to align, how we
want to adjust against particular sets, and individual players watch film specific to where we think we might be able to have their positions. a schematic or personal advantage” “Film is important to every single Gifford said. position and if one position doesn’t Film sessions on Tuesdays and watch film, it’s selfish and can mess up Saturdays are both designed for the game for us so that is why they call improvement and success, but the football a team sport” Giffen said. mindset that players have going into Coach Gifford agrees with Giffen and each session—either self-watching or believes that everyone should watch opponent scouting—is different. film regardless of their position. If you “A n a l y z i n g don’t have an ourselves is opportunity to different than reflect on how doing it to you play, there “When you lose, it opponents is no room for sucks but it’s a big because when improvement. learning moment and watching our Football is a it helps you get self [sic], we team sport and learn from our if one person back” mistakes and is slacking -Daniel Peters (‘22) learn what we and doesn’t can do better contribute, the but watching whole team other people, fails. we have to Giffen says watch them and learn what we have to he watches film on his own for about do to beat them,” Giffen said. 30 minutes per day in order to prepare In addition to team individually. film sessions, “As a receiver, I pay attention to how the safety plays and what h e
d o e s when he lines up in a certain spot” Giffen said. “On defense, I read the guards and what they are going to do and what plays they run based on what the guards do.” Although film is commonly associated with high school sports, it is an even more important to professional sports. NFL teams constantly watch film in order to specifically game plan for individual teams week to week. The entire core of a teams game plan can vary drastically from week to week. Elite players use game film and intense mental preparation to elevate their talent and physical abilities to play at the highest level. Hall of Fame Safety Ed Reed studied film to give his defense an advantage in games on top of their cooperation and talent. Reed consistently spent hours dissecting the tape. Reed started the practice week
“Watching other people, we have to watch them and learn what we have to do to beat them,” -Colin Giffen (‘20)
leading up to a game by studying all the passing plays his opponents normally ran on first and second down. He would then watch plays from third down, the redzone, and every other possible scenario. Then, he might re-watch the entire game. His coaches would give him a DVD of their next opponent and by the start of practice, Reed was ready. Reed’s level of preparation transcended the tape. In one account, Reed intentionally misplayed a certain coverage early in the season, when the stakes were low. Reed knew that one of the game’s best quarterbacks— Peyton Manning—watched film voraciously.
Inevitably, Manning recognized Reed’s misplay, identifying it as a weakness. When Reed’s team faced Manning’s team later in the season. Reed pretended to misplay the coverage. This was just what Manning was looking for. He threw the pass to his receiver and...interception. Reed played the coverage correctly, but ricked Manning into throwing the ball so he could intercept it. This anecdote shows the level of mental preparation that goes into sports and illustrates the importance of game film. Reed’s dedicated process of film watching helped him become one of the greatest defensive players of all-time, and watching film helps countless players elevate their performance. The level of preparation that rises from game film allows players to become highly analytical and intelligent when it comes to opponents offenses and weaknesses. During the 2019 NFL season, Deshaun Watson was able to describe in detail why the Texans lost to the Panthers 16-10. When asked what they Texans could do to create more opportunities down field, Watson responded with a complete breakdown of a Cover 4 defense complete with hand gestures. LeBron James is another athlete who was
able t o remember parts of a game. James was able to recall two minutes of the 2018 NBA Playoffs almost perfectly. Because of game film, players become highly educated in their individual sports and positions. Even though it acts as an unseen force, games are won because of the countless hours spent in the film room. Athletes always work to improve by watching film, and are truly students of the game.
Photo courtesy of Jenna Hickey
Swim Instructors and Lifeguards
USA Swimming 2019 National Champions Alto offers something for everyone, from the beginner swimmer to the Olympian. Visit our team at www.altoswimclub.com @vikingsportsmag
by SOFIA BLISS-CARRASCOSA, JAMES FETTER, TINA LAGERBLAD, and VIJAY HOMAN
Athletics has long been a staple of the high school experience. Some schools are known for having dominant sports teams, and other teams are known for their mediocrity. But what drives this disparity? The answer lies at the heart of a fundamental but under-recognized truism in sports: winning teams perpetuate their success by being magnets for talented athletes.
n a September night in 2004 before the watchful eyes of 25,000 fans, a football game was underway between elite high schools De La Salle and Bellevue High. For the fair-weather fan, this game was like any other match up. But for the hard-core fan, the game had the potential to rewrite history. The outcome of this game would either end or extend the longest winning streak in football history: 151 straight wins for De La Salle High School. On De La Salle’s first drive of the game, a 45-yard touchdown run had fans hopeful for yet another win. But much to their dismay, Bellevue High dominated the rest of the game and went on to win, 39-20. This marked the end to a feat so prolonged it seemed like it would last forever. The magnitude of De La Salle’s achievement had people wondering: How had they managed to dominate the game for so long? The reason is because De La Salle’s winning tradition attracts more gifted y o u n g athletes seeking to be part of a
reputable program, thus perpetuating their success. This pattern is circular: A successful high school athletics program continues to dominate because of their previous achievements. Conversely, a school sports team that has a reputation of being bad will perpetuate inferiority by failing to attract top athletes. Few good athletes would want to waste their prime being stuck on a losing team. Current Paly track and cross country coach Michael Davidson reasons that the image of a team is a significant determinant for success. “Reputation has the ability to have a tremendous influence on the future because it sets the precedent; it sets the culture, whether it is positive or negative,” Davidson said. While interviewing Davidson, he was 38
finishing up packing equipment after coming back from a cross-country at Crystal Springs. At the meet, Paly crosscountry athletes dominated the field. They placed in the top three for all six races, including four races where Paly won outright. When talking about the culture of a team, Davdison’s eyes light up at the prospect of being in charge of a program with a fearsome reputation. This is his goal as a coach: He knows that building a successful team culture inspires future athletes to step up and continue the legacy of the program.
latter commentary and not the former. His grueling 7 a.m. Saturday practices and the successes of his team reflect this goal. These differences in a team’s reputation significantly affect the decisions that many athletes make when deciding where to attend high school. Take swimming sensation Jackson Picard, a freshman at Sacred Heart Preparatory, who recently had to grapple with a multitude of different options when deciding where to apply for high school. Picard is coming off a particularly outstanding summer of swimming. At Speedo Sectionals in Santa Clarita he qualified for USA Swimming F u t u r e s Championships in the 200 meter butterfly. After careful deliberation, Picard chose to attend Sacred Heart Prep, which has developed a reputation for being one of the top schools in the nation for water polo. This success in water polo has translated to swimming—the boys swim team finished second behind Bellarmine in the Boys 2019 Central Coast Section swimming championships. This, along with dominance in the West Bay Athletic League, has cemented the boys swim team as serious
“Reputation has the
ability to have a tremendous influence on the future because it sets the precedent; it sets the culture, whether it is positive or negative” Michael Davidson In other words, Davidson figures that an athlete considering where to play in high school will say: “Oh, man, that program’s garbage man. Those guys, they go horse around. Or, hey, man, if you go for that team, they work hard and practice every day, right? They’re going to have sessions six days a week, you’ve got to
b e re a l l y serious a n d focused.” Davidson wants to make sure that the rumors surrounding the Paly team resemble the
contenders. T h i s reputation is what drove Picard to choose Sacred Heart. He wanted to join a program where his talent would be on display. “I wanted a school that had a lot of potential to be dominant in swimming for the next few seasons,” Picard said.
Picard’s experience illustrates how success perpetuates success. Sacred Heart’s notable achievements in swimming helped convince Picard to join, and his bright future will likely lead the team to many triumphs in the years to come. Sacred Heart’s ability to dominate in several sports is in part due to the increased funding available to private schools, allowing them to improve other aspects of a program that lead to success. This includes the coaching staff, the facilities, the equipment, and so on. The ability to fund their athletic programs more extensively allows private schools the upper hand compared to public institutions. Further emphasizing this divide, private schools have access to resources that allow them to recruit better players into their programs, which helps them keep a consistent influx of talent. This gives them an advantage over public schools, which are regulated more tightly and have no power to actively recruit young athletes. Simply put, a team is only as good as the sum of its parts; these components tend to heavily depend on the aforementioned factors. Some high schools take athletic recruitment to a whole new level. Schools such as Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida have revolutionized the high school recruitment process through the implementation of their unique strategy: recruiting while players are in high school. While most schools attempt to attract players straight out of middle school and develop them for four years, IMG has found it beneficial to encourage players to transfer to their school during their junior or senior years of high school. In utilizing this strategy, their team is usually comprised of players who have already proven themselves in high school, creating a football super-team. Montverde boasts notable alumni D ’A n g e l o Russell, Ben Simmons,
and RJ Barrett, while IMG alumni include Dylan Moses, Shea Patterson and Deandre Francois. What attracts players to IMG, and why
those of most Division I colleges. They boast a 5,000 seat stadium, state of the art locker rooms, multiple practice fields and a virtual reality training center. The best athletes are offered scholarships to attend the school, however those without are required to pay the lofty tuition of $72,500. The school’s recruiting model is incomparable because of its initial capital investment. IMG is an acronym for International Management Group, which is a talent management company based in New York City. They have been growing the high school and its sports programs since 1987. Public schools don’t have the luxury of being backed by a corporation, and thus their facilities are typically lackluster. At the end of the day, money makes an impact. The difference in funding results in a difference in talent, and the split only becomes more drastic as time progresses. However, this type of school solely focused on producing recruits and not wins is more rare; most high schools yearn to be successful in the moment, not 10 years down the road. A local high school that has been known for recruiting middle-school aged players to ensure the success of their high school teams is Saint Francis High School, a private school in Mountain View. This approach has proven to be successful: the Saint Francis baseball team has consistently been one of the best in California, and even reached a top ten national ranking in 2015. Despite efforts from many administrations to curb the practice of scouting young athletes, coaches tend to find loopholes to such rules, typically holding informal meetings to keep an eye on local talent. Ryan Degregorio, a former baseball player for St. Francis and the current varsity pitching coach for Paly, has had first-hand experience with this
“The coaches won’t tell you they were recruiting people to go there because that’s against the rules, but they were” Ryan Degregorio don’t other schools employ a similar strategy? Top athletes are drawn to IMG in part because they have some of the best facilities in the nation, comparable to
process. “The [Saint Francis] baseball team organization every winter ran a one to two week baseball camp for seventh and eighth graders,” Degregorio said. “That was part of their recruitment process in order to figure out which [athletes] were the best, which ones were good, and [those] that were not meant to play baseball. The coaches won’t tell you they were recruiting people to go there because that’s against the rules, but they were.” When so many factors come together to produce excellent teams, the players on the field know the implications of their success. “We’re better than you, we know we are, and were going to prove it.” Degregorio said of the attitudes of players on winning teams. “Just having that swagger, that feeling that you’re better than everyone is a feeling that just about every player on that team has.” The “swagger” that private schools boast helps create a reputation that recruit players, like Jackson Picard, to their schools. This creates the circular pattern that helps schools, like De La Salle, maintain superiority. This gap in talent is so wide that a single team can go on winning for 12 years straight. 40
You might be thinking to yourself, “How is it fair for public schools and private schools to compete against one another when the odds are so heavily stacked in the private s c h o o l ’ s favor?” And you’re right: it’s not. But this is where the magical essence of high school sports is found—that moment when an underdog breaks a 12 year winning streak in single game—and is a favorite theme of many sports books and movies.
schools are entirely fictional. Despite being characterized as the powerhouse in McFarland USA, Paly competes locally with schools like Bellarmine, S a c r e d Heart, and Saint Francis. These private schools tend to dominate Paly in certain sports. T a k e Bellarmine, which won the boys Central Coast Section swimming championships 31 years in a row. Thirty-one consecutive years! That’s the longest championship streak of any sport in CCS history. Bellarmine was taken down by none other than (you guessed it!) Palo Alto High School. Just kidding. It was actually Gunn, which in 2016 brought an end to a streak that seemed infallible. The best part about the win was that it all came down to the final race: the 400-meter Freestyle Relay, an event that the Bells traditionally excel at. But thanks to an outstanding effort by both Palo Alto high schools (Gunn finished 1st in the race, followed by Paly in 2nd and Bellarmine in 3rd), Gunn was crowned champion and the streak was over. The following year, in 2017, Bellarmine went right back to winning. The 2018 and 2019 section titles were also both claimed by Bellarmine. But as the 2020 swim season approaches, maybe this three year streak will be brought to an end by Jackson Picard and Sacred Heart Prep. Or maybe even by Paly, which has high hopes with seniors Dexter Gormley and Jack Hogan returning for their last year. Reputation and money drive the repeat success of many winning sports teams. But the enduring appeal of sports will always be that on game day anyone can win. There’s nothing quite as sweet as the triumph of the underdog. Sko Vikes!
“We’re better than you, we know we are, and were going to prove it.” Ryan Degregorio
T h i s includes McFarland USA, a film about a central valley high s c h o o l c r o s s country team that beats the odds and wins against more prestigious schools. Interestingly enough, the stereotypical prestigious school featured in the movie happens to be our very own Palo Alto High School. However, given that Paly is nearly 250 miles away from McFarland and is not even in the same section, the interactions between the two
Pac 12 mascot by JACK ELARDE, GRIFFIN KEMP, and JOSH LAI CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND: The unknown capabilities of the Sun Devil show themselves, as its whirlwind and sun powers are the ultimate difference.
3 WASHINGTON A tree can’t do much against a husky.
3 WASHINGTON The Cougar’s claws take down the Husky.
2 WASHINGTON STATE Just look at the Cal mascot!
2 WASHINGTON STATE 2 WASHINGTON STATE 1 CAL 4 OREGON STATE The Duck pecks out the Beaver’s eyes.
Bears eat ducks for lunch.
5 OREGON 42
FIGHT bracket Recently, Washington State football coach Mike Leach was interviewed about what would happen in a hypothetical fight between all of the Pac12 mascots in real life, and gave a fascinating response. Viking explored this situation in a tournament-style, with several riveting upsets and a surprise champion being crowned.
3 USC 1 UCLA
The Bruin mauls the Trojan before getting stabbed.
3 USC The Trojan uses its sword to slay the Wildcat.
1 UCLA 5 ARIZONA STATE Forks Up!
5 ARIZONA STATE
5 ARIZONA STATE
5 ARIZONA STATE @vikingsportsmag
VIKING TRIES INTRAMURAL VOLLEYBALL AGAINST PUBLICATIONS This Edition:
by SANAZ EBRAHIMI and RYAN STANLEY Photos by JENNA HICKEY
Pre-game preview: aly publications have faced off, competing for the top dog spot on campus, since practically the dawn of time. However, Viking has really stepped it up in the last year, winning its first Gold Crown award. Some could say our main rivals now are The Campanile, who hold a lot of prestige around campus for their newspaper-style publication. In the last couple of weeks, our heads have clashed a lot in the classroom, exacerbating the competitive spirit. Some may know about the Campanile meme wall. For those who don’t, it is a portion of the MAC laboratory where The Campanile hand crafts their own memes and pastes them on the wall. As of last week, Viking decided to join the fun and add to their meme wall with a series of images that added fuel to the fire of our rivalry. My co-writer and I decided that the only way to settle this madness once and for all was to carry it out on the field in true Viking fashion. On October 21, 2019, Viking will face off with The Campanile in one game of intramural volleyball on the quad. Whoever wins will walk off with nothing but the feeling of a hard-earned win. Our team is carefully selected, consisting of Ella Jones (‘20), Summer Daniel (‘20), Ryan Stanley (‘20), Lincoln Bloom (‘20), and Dexter Gormley (‘20). Don’t be fooled. This may not seem like
the ideal team, but everyone here was picked for a specific reason. Jones may be known for her skill on the softball field, but one thing you might not know is that she used to be a volleyball star back in her day. Jones will be the center of our team; she acts as the de-facto leader who will keep everyone else in check. Daniel, similar to Jones, is known for her skills in soccer; she has been playing since she could practically walk. However, she used to be quite
“I don’t know who’s on my team yet, but I am predicting we’ll get a height advantage and then rack up the aces.”
the volleyball star, and played on Red Rock back in her heyday. She, alongside Jones, will keep our team in order. Stanley doesn’t seem agile at first, but his sport of choice is basically underwater volleyball. His skills in water polo, combined with his upper body strength will surely help us get some great serves and spikes. Although Gormely and Stanley look pretty similar and play the same sport, they come with different skill
sets. Gormley’s height and experience in water polo will likely result in some great blocks on whatever The Campanile throws our way. Last, but certainly not least, we have Bloom who is our secret weapon. Not usually known to many for his athletic abilities, Bloom hides all his athletic talent unless he really needs it (to keep his opponents on their toes). As a former track athlete his speed will ensure some risky saves we will see in the game. We don’t know what The Campanile will throw our way, but with our excellence and skill we are ready to overcome any challenge that comes in our direction. “Sunday was leg day because Monday we are going hard on arms,” Jones said. “I don’t know who’s on my team yet, but I am predicting we’ll get a height advantage and then rack up the aces. Volleyball is my career and I will let that be known on game day.” Game day results: Viking was anticipating a very heated game coming their way on October 21, 2019. However, we were met by a forfeit as The Campanile failed to come our match. They say that they were busy, but maybe they just weren’t ready. But we weren’t ready to leave after a long and grueling process of setting up the net – Viking was ready to game, regardless of who we played. As most people would do, we decided to warm up, having no idea what was coming our way.
As our talent was practicing against each other, we were gathering an idea of who our best starting lineup was, just in case we were met with some competition. Instead of the first five we initially picked, in a last-minute decision we choose to go with Gormley, Bloom, Conner Lusk (‘20) and Matthew Marzano (‘20). Our new additions to the team did not come up short. Standing at a whopping 6’3, Marzano is a star basketball player for Paly. His height brought us the perfect middle we were looking for, blocking almost anything that came his way. Marzano’s basketball teammate Lusk, standing at 6’0, was another huge
contributor, putting away multiple spike shots in critical moments. With our team assembled, we were finally challenged by Verde Magazine, who stepped up to play us in the last second before we cleaned up our setup. Being naive, we thought we had it in the bag because of our immense athletic talent. We were far from correct, however, because Verde brought guest player Elijah Steiner (‘20), who plays on Paly’s varsity volleyball team. Steiner’s talent, along with that of teammates Abe Tow (‘20), Prahalad Mitra (‘20), and Miles Breen (‘20) brought the real challenge we were craving. Their technique proved superior to ours, but our spontaneity and strength to push past adversity kept us on the scoreboard. The sole reason behind the massive score differential of 21-15 was Tow and Steiner’s impossibleto-reciprocate spikes. All in all, we learned that we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt because there is always hidden potential everywhere. There is always someone like Bloom who hides his talents for special occasions and the best way to have fun is to
All Viking Teams
allow everyone to have an equal chance of playing and revealing their talents. This experience deserves a 9/10 rating for a good time. Just based off of everyone’s smiles we can see that this fun game of intramural volleyball only brought us joy. Viking recommends trying this at home if you are having a boring day or just want to bond with people. Make sure you remember it is only fun if you play with fair serves, otherwise the game gets too testy. Viking tested, Viking approved.
Verde & Steiner
Junior Lexi Gwyn shoots against Westmont High School. Photo by Jenna Hickey
WORD In recent years, professional athletes have been targeted by the media for their political views. Should we judge athletes based on their political stance?
Transfixed by Politics by SAM CLEASBY and KEVIN CULLEN
Head Columnists and Video Directors
he year is 1936. The world is in political turmoil and the Summer Olympics are being held in Nazi Germany. Jesse Owens stands poised on the highest pedestal, four medals around his neck, accompanying the national anthem with a salute. His performance was a direct affront to Hitler’s attempt to have an Aryan-dominated Games. This moment in sports history will be remembered for decades as a clash between athletics and politics. In today’s world, athletes continue to admirably use their platforms to push for political change. While those who choose to do so should be respected for their attempts to improve society, those who don’t shouldn’t be politically significant. For example, finding a “MAGA” hat in Tom Brady’s locker should not be of concern to anyone, rather society should focus solely on his athletic abilities. Contemporary sports society has a hard time separating professional athletes’ talents from their political views. It’s as if sports stars are expected to act like Supreme Court justices who are unable to favor any political side. However, unlike Supreme Court justices, the role of professional athletes in society has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Yet many players such as Tom Brady and Nick Bosa have been openly criticized for seemingly supporting President Trump or Republican ideals, but are they even? While professional athletes are role models who many people look up to, it is not their obligation to keep their political
views from the public. These people are in the position that they are in for their talent and athleticism, not for their stance in the political world. Odds are that they did not major in political science; in fact, they probably didn’t even show up to the majority of their classes because they were too busy tearing apart their opposition (unless they were Ryan Fitzpatrick, what a nerd). What’s even more absurd is that many of these athletes who get charged in the court of public opinion for their opposing views don’t even openly express their opinions. In Tom Brady’s case, a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in his locker by the media, leading to an immediate flood of criticism surrounding Brady and his character. Even though Brady was keeping his support of Trump h i d d e n from the public, the media was able to discover his secret and expose him to society. The truth is that professional athletes are humans just like the rest of us, superhuman physical qualities aside, and as such they are entitled to their own opinion. The American fan base fails to
recognize the fact that Trump won the election and therefore, a large portion of this country falls under the category of his supporters. Chances are some of them are going to be present in the professional sports world. And it’s not like these guys are shouting their support from the rooftops, or kneeling like Kaepernick. In fact, the majority of athletes who have had their political beliefs revealed have attempted to cover up their aforementioned political stance. In Nick Bosa’s case, being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round prompted him to delete any of his tweets that appeared to support Republican ideals. Many others have tried to hide or eliminate any traces of their political affiliations, out of fear that public criticism could somehow affect their career. There needs to be a recognition among people in our society that there are varying political beliefs across the United States, and while you may not agree with the opposition, it should never affect your experience as a fan. As long as these players keep their political agenda separate from their professional careers, you shouldn’t be concerned with what that agenda entails.
It is not the obligation of professional athletes to keep their political views from the public.
PALO ALTO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT PALO ALTO HIGH SCHOOL 50 EMBARCADERO ROAD PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA 94301
Non-profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID PALO ALTO, CA Permit #44
“Water polo’s a great sport because everyone comes together to bond while playing a game we all love,” Jack Haney (‘22) said.
Photo by Jenna Hickey 48