April 2012 Volume 5 Issue V
BACK IN THE
A FALLEN ATHLETE’S REDEMPTION STORY AND HIS JOURNEY BACK TO THE GAME by Jacob Lauing and Sam Borsos
D AN C I V KO O R E U D O IN IN P V KE ST B Y AU
Why Foothill College? 3 3 3 3 3
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Intro/Staff Page Staff List Photo Editor Paige Borsos
Editors-in-Chief Emy Kelty Nathan Norimoto Managing Editors Mira Ahmad Sam Borsos John Dickerson Alan Lamarque Jacob Lauing Copy Editors Peter Dennis Anne Hildebrand Hilda Huang Business Managers Kevin Kannappan Jacob Lauing Columnists Peter Dennis Brennan Miller Shannon Scheel
Staff Anthony Amanoni Scotty Bara Emma Beckstrom Charlotte Biffar Spencer Drazovich Kevin Dukovic Julia Farino Marina Foley Michelle Friedlander Sapir Frozenfar Jonny Glazier Nina Kelty Colin Patterson Austin Poore Rohit Ramkumar Nora Rosati Alana Schwartz Grant Shorin Nikolai Solgaard Sammy Solomon Michael Strong Annie Susco
Adviser Ellen Austin
The Viking Palo Alto High School 50 Embarcadero Road Palo Alto, CA 94301 Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Letters to the editor The 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 The 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 e-mail at vikingeds @gmail.com.
Staff View: Who do you want to be?
When the typical high school athlete quits a sport in order to pursue another passion, few people outside of his or her team tend to really care. But at the professional level, higher stakes are at play. Instead of having to face a few upset teammates, Michael Jordan was questioned by nearly every basketball fan alive when he chose to retire from basketball to play minor league baseball. Jordan’s example has an important message. Straying off a projected path in order to pursue a different passion is a daring maneuver, but one that may nevertheless be necessary for ultimate fulfillment. Baseball player Ozzy Braff (‘12) received the opportunity many Paly athletes can only dream of: playing for a Division I college team. However, Braff came to realize that the intense lifestyle required for Division I sports was not for him, and instead plans to play
Letter from the Editors Dear Readers,
This issue we decided to do a complete overhaul of our design with inspiration from Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine, Oprah and Vanity Fair. From the table of contents to Last Word, you’ll see fresh new designs that pop off the page. The weeks we spent researching, planning, and executing the redesign were dedicated to commemorating the fifth year anniversary of The Viking. We would like to thank every member of The Viking from its founding year in 2007 to the present for their commitment to the magazine. Along with the redesign, we have also
Printing Services The Viking is printed six times a year by FrickeParks Press in Fremont, Calif.
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for a Division III school to better meet his overall goals for personal success. Re-prioritizing that kind of talent may seem ridiculous to some, but in reality what’s ridiculous is assuming talent goes hand in hand with happiness. Those gifted with natural talent are expected to take advantage of it, even when a talent is not a passion. Almost every student at Paly, athlete or not, has felt pressure to meet expectations at some point in high school. Unfortunately, the fine line between motivational pressure and burdensome pressure is often crossed. Expectations often grow out of a public understanding of success. Success is more than a label, a hall of fame reputation, a sweatshirt from a Division I school or meeting an expectation. Success is finding one’s passion and seeking ultimate happiness, a noble goal for everyone to pursue. To accomplish such a lofty objective, there is a
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question to be considered: Who do you want to be? Most of us, when asked, would respond with a title: professional athlete, class president, drama enthusiast, valedictorian -- the list goes on. Together, our qualities define us, but alone they are nothing more than aimless categorizations. Our personal happiness should matter more than the way others define us. We will all find that the road ahead is bumpy and takes surprising turns, but if we pay attention to who we are, and do not allow ourselves to succumb to ‘objective measures of success,’ the high school ending will be a very satisfying and promising one. The Viking believes we should strive to be more than just an objectified label; we should strive to be decent human beings, content with our lives and fulfilling our passions. The first step is simple: stop and reflect. Who do you want to be?
selected the new leadership for next year. We want to congratulate Kevin Dukovic, Alan Lamarque, and Nora Rosati for earning the position of editor-in-chief of the 2012-2013 school year. We wish the best of luck to the incoming management, and have the utmost confidence that they will continue a tradition of excellence. Lastly, working on The Viking as a staff writers junior year, then taking the reigns as editors-in-chief senior year has been one of the most rewarding experiences of both of our high school careers. Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout the school year, we couldn’t have done it without your love.
With Love, Emy and Nathan photography by Paige Borsos
April 2012 Volume 5 Issue V
BACK IN THE BOX
A fallen athlete’s redemption story and his journey back to the game by Sam Borsos and Jacob Lauing
Page 34 photo by Paige Borsos
Sections 14 Intro • • • photo by Emy Kelty
Nathan Liu/Paly Voice
MIND OVER MATTER
ROOTS OF RESILIENCE
How two-sport varsity athlete Alec Wong (‘12) plays to his strengths on and off the court.
A look into Paly’s team’s chemistry and how to improve players’ collaboration on the field.
By Charlotte Biffar and Nora Rosati
Before Linsanity hit the big apple, it was alive and well at its birthplace Palo Alto High School.
By Sammy Solomon
By Kevin Dukovic and Austin Poore
Small Cover Photo by Scotty Bara
photo by Grant Shorin
Cover Design by Emy Kelty
Main Cover Photo by Grant Shorin
10 Questions: Jasmine Tosky Inside the Mind of Terry McDonell Vikings in the Crowd Pop Culture Hot or Not
21 Mid-season Updates 26 Features • • • •
Swimsuit Swag Fans Team Dynamics Scouts at Paly
34 Profiles • • •
Ozzy Braff Alec Wong Jeremy Lin
50 Columns • •
Shannon Says Last Word
ZOOM POURING IT ON Jonny Glazier (â€˜13), navigatges around a Granite Bay opponent on a rainy March 24. Glazier had one goal in the 7-11 loss. photo by Grant Shorin
ZOOM THE EXCHANGE Matt Tolbert (‘13) (right) hands off to Jayshawn GatesMouton (‘13) in a meet against Lynbrook on April 12. The Vikings won the meet 100-27. photo by Anne Hildebrand
ZOOM WIND-UP Danny Erlich (â€˜14) pitches against Evergreen Valley on Feb. 22. Erlich had two hits en route to the 5-1 Viking victory. photo by Scotty Bara
ZOOM FREE FALL Jade Schoenberger (‘15) clears the bar in a meet at Milpitas on March 29. The girls’ won 94-28. photo by Anne Hildebrand
“ ” Inside the Mind
Palo Alto was the most sophisticated place we’d ever heard of. We were a bunch of hillbillies.
The Viking had the opportunity to sit down with Terry McDonell, the editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated. McDonell, a Bay Area native, has also been the editor of magazines such as Rolling Stone, US weekly, Men’s Journal and Newsweek. BY EMMA BECKSTROM photography by Scotty Bara
I’m from Campbell, and then Aptos. When I was in high school, Palo Alto was the most sophisticated place that we’d ever heard of. We were a bunch of hillbillies living out, that’s what Campbell used to look like. We were all very influenced by Stanford. We went to football games [at Stanford] and that’s where Palo Alto was. So Palo Alto was the elite.
ON JEREMY LIN We put Jeremy Lin on the cover two weeks in a row. I had never seen an athlete change a franchise as quickly as he did sort of out of nowhere and all of the sudden he just lit up New York and people who were so fed up with the Knicks and the Garden were suddenly fans. And he was playing lights out basketball. He was really doing some amazing things and so that made it just a phenomenal story. That he was from Palo Alto and I knew something about Palo Alto made him that much more interesting to me and Pablo Torre (a writer here) knew him and covered him in college....he was the only journalist in the world that had Jeremy’s cell phone number, it was good natured and it was funny.
ON PALY SPORTS
Palo Alto was always a very very powerful school, and, I mean, something about being the most important school in the area for so long gave it a kind of swagger, I’d hope it’s still there.
Q uestions 10 with
AS TOLD TO ALANA SCHWARTZ
We went to senior Paly/soon to be Univ. of Southern Calif. swim star and Olympic hopeful Jasmine Tosky to ask her 10 questions about herself. We then asked the same ten questions to her friends/teammates Rollin Lau (‘12) and Laura Cui (‘12), and swim coach Danny Dye to see who knows Jasmine best. Here are their guesses and answers:
Dream Prom Date
Andrew Liang (‘14)
Best Part of Swimming
Getting a Tan
Best Spring Accessory
A Light Summer Dress
Senior Cut Day
Favorite Paly Tradition
Senior Cut Day
Most ‘Swaggy’ Swim Gear
Andrew Liang (‘14)
Best Thing About USC
What You’ll Miss Most About Palo Alto
Eren Kiris (‘13)
The Weather Friends
Alicia Grima (‘12)
Alicia Grima (‘12)
Images taken from
Andrew Liang (‘14)
Alicia Grima (‘12) Fly
Danny Dye Swim Coach
Byron Sanborn (‘12)
Corso Rosati (‘12) Fly
ATHLETE ADVICE FROM TOSKY
Things are always easier to accomplish when you enjoy doing them. A happy athlete is a fast athlete. APRIL 2012
Business of One
Kate Wilson PHP, Ajax, Linux HTML5, Java, MySQL, C++ avg. rating 25 jobs
Featured Viking Athletes Maya Padilla Junior. > Softball
Padilla enters her third year on the varsity softball team, hitting .310 last season and contributing 26 runs. This year the shortstop has improved to .343 batting and has already accumulated 11 runs, 12 hits and a home run with nine games to go.
Senior. > Boys’ swimming At the most recent meet for the varsity swimming team on March 16, against Lynbrook High, Lau won the boys’ 800 free with a time of 1:49.55, finishing ahead of teammate Eren Kiris. In the 100 butterfly, the senior finished second behind fellow Viking, Andrew Liang with time of 57.10 seconds.
Senior> Girls’ Lacrosse Co-captain of the varsity lacrosse team, Flather put in a five-point performance against league opponent Los Gatos on March 28, with three goals and two assists. The San Diego State commit will finish her four year varsity career having made two appearances in the SCVAL title game.
Tremaine Kirkman Senior. > Track
Kirkman has been the No. 1 runner for the Vikings in the 100 meter dash, taking first in his last two meets. In the meet against Los Altos on March 22, Kirkman led a Viking sweep of the 100 meter with a time of 11.39 seconds. The following week, Kirkman improved to 11.2 seconds in another sweep of the 100, this time against Milpitas.
Sophomore. > Girls’ swimming The sophomore swimmer placed first in both her individual events at the Lynbrook meet on March 16. Earning first place points for the 50 yard free and the 100 yard butterfly, Wittenbrink had times of 25.77 and 58.90 seconds respectively. As an underclassman,Wittenbrink will have to help fill the void left by seven graduating seniors.
Skyler Anderson Junior. > Boys’ lacrosse
Anderson has been crucial in big game situations for the varsity lacrosse team, having contributed a six-point performance consisting of four goals and two assists against league opponent Menlo-Atherton. Anderson has scored efficiently this season, netting 12 goals on 16 shots and four assists on the side.
Jeremy Lin’s New York Knicks jersey number and number of points he scored in the 2006 State Championship game against Mater Dei.
Goals scored by Logan Mendenhall (‘13), whose season was ended by a broken ankle.
Number of home runs the softball team has hit so far this season, two more than last year.
1:57.97 The time recorded by the boys’ 200 Yard IM team against Lynbrook.
Outfielder B.J. Boyd’s batting average so far this season. Boyd also has 24 runs this season, just two less than he had all of last year.
Intro/Hot or Not & Pop Culture I remember being in high school and worrying about college and how all that was gonna work out. For me if I could go back I would stress a lot less and understand that everything happens for a reason. JEREMY LIN (‘06)
With 15 wins so far, Paly baseball scorches our thermometer. Despite losing five starters from last year, the current seniors have taken matters into their own hands. 2012’s powerhouse roster is led by B.J. Boyd (‘12) and Austin Braff (‘12). Currently ranked second in league behind Los Altos, the team looks for a strong finish to gain momentum for the playoffs.
College decision time is one of the most stressful parts of high school. Your life is in the hands of a small letter in the mail. After waiting long, treacherous months, your decision has finally arrived. Opening it just to find out you have to wait an extra three months may actually be worse than just getting rejected. The wait continues...
WA I T L I S T S
HOT Prama is back! The 2012 prom dress group appeared on Facebook, and J. Crew fever hit the girls at Paly. April 28th is soon approaching and a plethora of upperclassmen girls are running in their Steve Madden pumps to the classiest designer to dress them on the most important night of high school.
J. CREW Taking after the 2012 Paly girl’s soccer team, the softball team isn’t having much luck. Without the presence of graduated stars Gracie Marshall (‘11) and Mariah Philips (‘11), the team is lacking leadership on the field. The goose eggs on their scoreboard are leading to a less than admirable record.
SOFTBALL Everyone’s favorite hometown hero, Jeremy Lin, tore the meniscus in his left knee against Dallas on April 1st. Lin will not step on the court for the rest of the season, a detrimental blow for the New York Knicks.
JEREMY LIN’S INJURY
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photo provided by Gerrit van Zyll
Varsity soccer player Geraldo Neto (‘12) asked senior Anabel Snow (‘12) during her 6th period AP Psychology class. Neto’s good friend Nikolai Solgaard (‘12) commented, “ballsy!”
photo by Shannon Scheel
Baseball player Christian Lonsky (‘12) asked lacrosse captain Emy Kelty (‘12) to Prom wearing only short shorts, a crown and oiled up abs. He was carried to the senior deck by four friends.
It’s that time of year again upperclassmen... Boys let’s get CREATIVE, it’s your chance to ask your favorite girl out on the CLASSIEST night of the year. Ever wanted to be the stud in the spotlight? Now is your chance, get out there with more than just a bouquet of roses. Above are two model senior athletes doing it right. THEY WON’T BE GOING STAG.
P Culture Grid
The op COLE PLAMBECK (‘13)
LYDIA GUO (‘12)
No, it’s forever!
Is Linsanity over? Favorite Olympic event? Ties or bowties? Dream prom date? Girls’ or boys’ lacrosse?
Gymnastics Bowties I’ll get back to you on that... Neither
1600 m. and 400 m. in track
JUSTIN WANG (‘12) Tennis
Not in my household
Swimming or gymnastics
JUSTIN ROBINSON (‘12) JUSTIN ZHANG (‘13) Badminton
Ties (Mr.Bungarden wears them)
Bowties or skinny ties Rihanna
Justin Bieber. No contest
MID-SEASON UPDATES BOYS’ TRACK Boys’ track and field is off to a promising start to their season with a 3-0 league record against rivals Los Altos, Milpitas and Mountain View High Schools. A fifth place finish at the Saint Francis Invitational on Mar. 17 is also promising for the Vikings, with people in four events finishing in the top three. The 4x100 meter team of Matt Tolbert (‘13),
Jayshawn GatesMouton (‘13), Morris Gates-Mouton (‘12) and Tremaine Kirkman (‘12) finished second with a time of 43.09 seconds. Nikolai Solgaard (‘12) finished second in the 800 meter, Grant Shorin (‘13) placed third in triple jump and the sprint medley team of Tolbert, M. Gates-Mouton, J. Gates-Mouton and Jonathan Alee (‘13) placed third.
Sam Carilli (‘12) photo by Anne Hildebrand
GIRLS’ TRACK Varsity girls’ track started its season with a 2-1 record with wins against Los Altos and Milpitas, losing only to undefeated Mountain View. The team is lead by captains Lydia Guo (‘12), Anne Hildebrand (‘12), Torie Nielsen (‘12) and Lindsay Black(‘12). The team is supported by underclassman Audrey DeBruine(‘14), Katie Foug(‘15) and Pippa Raffel (‘14). These
three have been rising stars on the team. Foug holds the team’s fastest mile at 5:19, DeBruine with a 2:29 800 meter, and Raffel has been a top scorer in sprints and jumps. With three dual meets remaining against Saratoga, Lynbrook and crosstown rival Gunn, the girls hope to improve their place in league from last year and qualify some athletes for Central Coast Sections.
Danielle Palmer (‘14) 20 | T H E V I K I N G |
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photo by Anne Hildebrand
GIRLS’ SWIMMING The Lady Vikes have dominated in the pool so far this year in league competition. Despite a third place finish in the Steven Yamamoto Invitational hosted by Saint Francis, the girls’ swim team has maintained an undefeated league record led by captains Margaret Wenzlau (‘12), Rachelle Holmgren (‘12), Alex Lin (‘12) and Laura
Cui (‘12). Another Olympic hopeful Jasmine Tosky (‘12) will clearly be a huge asset to the girls’ lineup, and is likely to win the title of each event she swims at both the League and CCS championships. This year’s toughest competition for the Lady Vikes will be found in cross-town rival Gunn, Saint Francis and Archbishop Mitty.
Laura Cui (‘12) photo by Hilda Huang
BOYS’ SWIMMING Boys’ swimming has gone undefeated in both league and invitational meets. Standout Byron Sanborn (‘12) won both the 200 I.M. with a time of 1:58.50 and 100 breaststroke events at the Los Gatos meet on Mar. 30. Sanborn, an Olympic hopeful in the 200 breaststroke, has been consistent all year in both re-
lays and individual events. Captains Rollin Lau (‘12) and Corso Rosati (‘12) have both performed well in distance freestyle events, while the sprint events have been largely dependent on Andrew Liang (‘14). The biggest challenge for the boys’ team this year will be defending their second place title in CCS.
Byron Sanborn (‘12) photo by Hilda Huang
BOYS’ LACROSSE The boys’ varsity lacrosse team started its season strong this year, boasting a 7-3-0 record good for second place in leagues. The Vikings are lead by co-captains Kris Hoglund (‘12), Johnny Glazier (‘13), Gabe Landa(‘12) and Walker Mees (‘13). Goalie Andre Kouchekey (‘13) has stepped up to fill the shoes of Josh Chin (‘11) and the
rest of the team has followed his example, effectively rising to the occasion after graduating 12 seniors from the 2011 season. A key moment in the season came when the Vikings played Menlo High School, winning 1615 in overtime when Logan Mendenhall (‘13) scored the game winning goal in the first 30 seconds of overtime. Kris Hoglund (‘12) photo by Grant Shorin
GIRLS’ LACROSSE The varsity girls’ lacrosse team has had a momentous start to the 2012 season, with a league record of 4-0-0 and an overall record of 6-2-0. The Lady Vikes are lead by team captains Emy Kelty (‘12) and Kimmie Flather (‘12), along with five other returning seniors. The team’s 2011 season ended with a winning league record of
11-2-0 and overall record of 16-8-0. Despite the loss of nine senior players at the end of the 20102011 season, the Lady Vikes have a strong team of returning juniors, including leading scorers Charlotte Biffar (‘13) and Nina Kelty (‘13). The team looks to maintain its winning records and win the league tournament at the end of the season.
Kimmie Flather (‘12) 22 | T H E V I K I N G |
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photo by Grant Shorin
BASEBALL The varsity Viking baseball team holds second place in league with a 7-1-1 record. The team found its pace early on in the Spring and went on a five game winning streak, ending with a tie against Wilcox High School. B.J. Boyd (‘12) has led the Vikings with 24 runs, 25 hits and a .481 batting average. The baseball team’s most impressive victory was an
11-0 shutout against Homestead High School with Boyd having three runs and over one third of the team scoring runs. With eight games remaining before the playoffs, the team hopes to follow up last year’s first ever Central Coast Section championship season with another strong finish. The team will graduate 12 seniors this year.
Christian Lonsky (‘12)
photo by Scotty Bara
SOFTBALL Varsity softball has had a rough start to its season with four losses in league and 11 overall. However, the team has had four big wins overall against Terra Nova, Mercy, Burlingame, Milpitas and Fremont, which includes one win in league over Fremont. According to captain Caitlin Wa r m a c k - T i r a d o r (‘12), new head coach John Saucedo has
been a great inspiration and has supported the team throughout the season so far. With nine games left the Lady Vikes hope to win a few more games, and according to outfielder Anna Rizza (‘13), the team plans to keep working and hopes for a spot in Central Coast Section playoffs. The team will only be graduating two seniors at the end of the 2012 season.
Rachel Day (‘13) photo by Sammy Solomon
GYMNASTICS After canceling its first meet at Lowell High School due to insufficient equipment and the delayed arrival of team leotards, Gymnastics looks to begin its third season strong with Gunn, Mercy, Lowell and St. Francis against Burlingame at Gymtowne on Apr. 18. Gymnasts Sophie Jorasch (‘12) and Sarah Miller (‘12) will still be the lone two Varsity competitors at the beginning of the season,
but head coach Ericka Fusilero and assistant coaches Suzie Hackestedde and Michaela Guillory hope to have some JV gymnasts qualify for Central Coast Section Championships on individual apparatuses. Jorasch, who placed 13th at the 2011 CCS on all-around and 5th on the floor exercise, and Miller, who finished 31st on beam, will continue to hold the floor for Varsity gymnastics.
Shiri Arnon (‘14) photo by Hilda Huang
BOYS’ TENNIS The boy’s tennis team started league play by squeaking out a close 4-3 win over cross-town rival, Gunn on Feb. 28. Harvard-bound Nicky Hu (‘12) has been consistent for the Vikings all season, contributing wins for the team with his wins. Underclassmen Blake Smith (‘14), Austin Leung (‘14), have stepped up for the
team so far in singles play as both won their matches against Gunn. Doubles partners Mason Haverstock (‘13) and Jack Paladin (‘14) have also contributed strong performances for the Vikings. Recent rain delays have canceled a couple games for the Vikings in between losses to Monta Vista and Saratoga.
Mason Haverstock (‘13) 24 | T H E V I K I N G |
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photo by Hilda Huang
The boys’ golf team has had a strong start to its season and is currently ranked first in league, with a record of 10-0. The team is well prepared. The Vikings are anchored by a strong crop of underclassmen with no seniors on the roster. Team captains Sam Niethammer (‘14) and Grant Raffel (‘13) both placed highly in the last tournament. Another consistent player has been fresh-
man Alex Hwang who has showed a lot of potential. “Alex is a great player who has shown a lot of potential both mentally and physically on the course,” Schmutz said. “He was a great addition to the team this year, and we look forward to his progression in future years” Moving forward the team is looking to conquer cross town rival Gunn in a dual tournament.
Grant Raffel (‘13) photo by Brandon Dukovic
BADMINTON Badminton looks to continue its season undefeated, with strong players like Gavin Chan (‘13), nationally-ranked player Karine Hsu (‘12), Linda Li (‘12) and Oliver Wang (‘13) leading the team in the El Camino Division in the Santa Clara Valley Athletics League. After being moved to a lower league two years ago, new head
coach Charlie Yang wants to bring the team back up into the De Anza Division. The team’s next important game is against Mountain View, and if the Vikings win this match against their last competitor in their division, they will take first again and hopefully move up into the De Anza Division.
photo by Hilda Huang
Andrew Liu (‘12) photo by Brandon Dukovic
S Paly swimmers talk about the do’s and don’ts of pool apparel BY EMMA BECKSTROM photography by Grant Shorin
I “Jolyn cross-back tie suits are perfect to even out the swimsuit tan!” Alex Lin (‘12)
“rep goggle and cap tans with pride” Margaret Wenzlau (‘12)
“say goodbye to makeup during swim season”
Skylar Dorosin (‘12)
“it’s not uncommon to have a full on
conversation with someone while they’re naked under their towel. If you don’t know how to change under
flashing someone you should quit”
your towel without
Olivia Scola (‘15)
Margaret Wenzlau (‘12)
“Rainbow flip-flops” Quitterie Collignon (’12)
Alex Lin (‘12) 26 | T H E V I K I N G |
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on what Quinn says is in his swim bag:
“there’s not much room
for swag since we don’t
“we’re not supposed to
change in public but we just
Quinn Rockwell (‘13)
Corso Rosati (‘12)
Maddie Berger (‘12)
“I don’t wanna go into detail...”
“it’s pretty bare-bones... we’re basic”
“jammers are a no-go”
“any foreign goggles
and suits are generally way
love taking off the clothes and getting into our speedos... specifically in front of the ladies” Rollin Lau (‘12)
Byron Sanborn (‘12)
“speedos give you a hell of a tan... they show curves and definition” Will Conner (‘12)
Byron Sanborn (‘12)
“take as long as possible to put on your sunscreen so you don’t have to get in the water” Margaret Wenzlau (‘12)
“take stretch breaks on the wall during long, boring sets” Shannon Scheel (‘12)
“if you’re wearing a cap to practice you look like a fool” Will Conner (‘13)
“LZRs at dual meets” Byron Sanborn (‘12)
Shannon Scheel (‘12)
in the stands The impact of Paly’s diminishing fan base
BY MICHELLE FRIEDLANDER
hen varsity football and lacrosse player Gabe Landa (‘12) runs onto the football field, the adrenaline and excitement kick in as he sees students, parents and staff members in the stands. Four months later, as lacrosse starts, Landa runs onto the field and looks at the stands. They are almost empty. Some parents and a few students sit to watch, but the numbers barely compare to the amount of football fans. “It’s a lot easier to get pumped in football,” Landa said. “Running onto the field
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photo by Grant Shorin
with fans cheering is a great feeling, but in lacrosse I definitely don’t get that. It never really happens.” Landa is not the only Paly athlete who wishes more students would come support his games. Varsity lacrosse player Kimmie Flather (‘12) also believes that having students at her games creates a higher level of intensity. “When I see my friends out there I just get really excited and it really changes my mentality because I want to play hard for them,” Flather said. Landa realizes that getting support for sports that are not too well-known, such as lacrosse, is difficult, but hopes to get the same rush of excitement from lacrosse fans as he does from football fans.
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“[With] more fans [I] get more of an arena vibe and that makes me perform better,” Landa said. “It makes me feel like the game is on ESPN and watching it is a big deal. I enjoy it a lot more.” Landa compared this feeling of excitement to the staff-student basketball game and said that even though this game was just for fun, having so many people attend made it a lot more fun to play in, especially because the gym has a different vibe than a field. Like Landa, football and basketball player and track and field athlete Tory Prati (‘12) also prefers to play with a raucous crowd because he finds it more fun and enjoyable. “Parents come and they positively cheer you on and clap, but having students there is fun because they’re usually a little more
Feature Story rowdy,” Prati said. “They can pick on the other team’s players and stuff like that so it makes it a [better] environment.” On top of seeing friends and fellow classmates in the stands, Prati also finds that much of his adrenaline and energy comes from wanting to awe the crowd. Prati finds it especially helpful when his peers come he wants to impress them. “You get more fired up when you look up and there are a lot of people in the stands there to watch you,” Prati said. “It makes you want to put on a good show for the fans.” However, not all players appreciate rowdy fans. Varsity baseball player Justin Grey (‘12) prefers parent fans over student fans because he finds students distracting at times and tries not to pay attention to them while he plays. “Parents are more likely to sit back and watch, whereas students are usually more out-there,” Grey said. “[Students] just say a lot of stupid stuff when you’re playing, which is distracting.” In sports such as track, in which the runners receive much less recognition than they would hope for, athletes learn to find support from other resources. Varsity track athlete and football player Matt Tolbert (‘13) explains that student fans rarely show up to
meets so instead he takes advantage of his many teammates for the boost of energy he needs when on the track. “[There are] a lot of people on a track team, so everyone is always cheering you on there,” Tolbert said. “I guess it makes up for the lack of fans.” Flather, like Tolbert, also finds it difficult to get her peers’ support in lacrosse and feels that other sports undermine her own. However, with a smaller team than in track, Flather’s teammates do not necessarily make up for low number of fans. “For girls’ lacrosse, it’s really hard to get peer support, but it means a lot to me [when people come],” Flather said. “When my friends come, or just people at my school, I want to play hard and show them what [lacrosse] is all about.” Coming from Michigan this year, Tolbert notices a clear difference in the amount of peer support compared to his old school. According to Tolbert, athletics are just as important at Paly as they are at his old school, except not as many Paly fans come to sporting events. “[The amount of fans] here doesn’t even compare to my old school,” Tolbert said. “[Paly fans] are lacking.” Most students find it difficult to make time to come to games during the school
week because of their own extracurricular activities. Football fan Rose Fitzgerald (‘13) explains that most students attend mainly football games because the timing is most obtainable. “[More people] go to the football games because you can hang out with friends,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m not a huge fan of sports, but [football] is more exciting than other sports, which are at inconvenient times.” Tennis player and football fan Harrison Dwight (‘15) agrees with Fitzgerald and explains that he usually only watches sports he is interested in. However, he, along with most fans, says that if more of his peers attended games other than football, he would also attend. “I would go [watch other sports] if people went, but no one goes,” Dwight said. Still, Paly athletes find it difficult to get the support they want from their friends and peers. Landa explains that peer support is especially important because he talks to his friends about athletic events more than anyone else. “[Peers] are the people I talk to about sports,” Landa said. “You don’t get the same feeling from parents. Parents are there for support, [and] obviously they want to be there, but with my peers I think ‘My friend saw [my game].’ It’s really why you play.” <<<
What about our colors?
heerleaders play we learn have to do with changes more often and more [when there aren’t many peo[and basketball],” quickly, which makes it dif- ple in the stands],” Parker an important football said. “Noth- ficult to finish a whole cheer. said. “It feels like we’re not role in games be- Tumminaro According to Parker another cheering at anybody [and] cause they ener- ing is made for other sports.” Cheerleader Sophie Parker aspect of this issue is that most when people don’t respond it gize, not only the athletes, but also the fans. They (‘13) agrees with Tummina- fans do not attend games other just feels like we’re useless.” However, Parker says that create a higher level of energy in ro, but also notes that cheer- than football and basketball, a stadium or arena, which ath- ing at sports besides football and cheering towards empty though it would be difficult letes can feed off of for adrena- and basketball is difficult stands is difficult and unhelpful. because their season only con“It’s not as exciting for us tinues for the duration of fall line. Some sports, however, are because the ball possession and winter, if fans began not as fortunate as footphoto by Paige Borsos to attend other games ball and basketball and on a regular basis and have the disadvantage of wanted the cheerleadnot having cheerleaders. ers’ support, this tradiAccording to Paly tion could be changed. varsity cheerleader “It’s really hard [to Hannah Tumminaro cheer for some sports] (‘13), the main reason because our season ends for cheerleaders only in the spring, which is cheering at football when basketball ends,” and basketball games is Parker said. “If people tradition. She explains were really pushing for that these sports and [cheerleaders] then we cheerleaders naturally would [cheer], but most go hand-in-hand and athletes aren’t dying for the cheers they learn go cheerleaders to come with these sports as well. to their games.” <<< “All the cheers that CHEER Paly cheerleaders perform during the halftime of a football game.
Elements of chemistry Investigate Paly teams’ dynamics and how to improve teammates’ connections on the field. BY SAMMY SOLOMON
TEAMWORK The boys’ lacrosse team huddles up at halftime to get ready for their cheer during a game vs. Woodside t a lacrosse practice last spring, Walker Mees (‘13) watched as two of his teammates hacked at each other with their lacrosse sticks — at first just aggressive play. The checks escalated into hard hits and later, a full on fist fight. The other players just stared at their so-called teammates and let the fighting carry on before the coach stepped in. “[The incident] actually brought some of us closer together because we could joke
about how ridiculous it was that our own teammates were fighting,” Mees said. With talented returning players, and strong rising stars, the 2011 boys’ lacrosse team finished a 7-5 season after an impressive 10-1 league record and Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) Championship win during the previous season. Selflessness and dedication to the team are just as, if not more important than talent. Can this chemistry be manufactured or does it just happen naturally? In the case of the girls’ water polo team, the team’s chemistry was created over time
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and required proactive efforts by the captains in order to unite the team. The captains led team building activities such as bonfires and movie nights which helped the girls connect better in the pool. While pasta feeds can bolster a team’s chemistry, experience and the development of trust in one’s teammates also can have a large impact team chemistry. “Having that experience that you build over high school seasons helps you really get to know the other players and you start to mesh as a team,” girls’ water polo team captain Skylar Dorosin (‘12) said.
High School. The Vikes are 8-3 overall The boys’ lacrosse team had to go a long way to regain their team unity. This year’s team captains have organized more pasta feeds and have given the boys wristbands. During this year’s lacrosse season, if the boys are not wearing their “Paly lacrosse” wristbands at school, their teammates get to decide the punishment, ranging from wearing a skirt to practice to singing in front of the entire team. Even something as small as a wristband can serve to unite a team and create a bond that can be translated into success on the field. “This year everyone really likes being
at practice and getting the opportunity to play,” Mees said. “We all really want to win the league championship and we really like playing together.” Fun team building activities are not out of the ordinary in the Paly athletic community. It’s not uncommon to see a team having lunch on the quad or players dressed up in crazy outfits — the girls’ lacrosse team dresses in preppy attire when they play private schools and the boys’ basketball team always wears suits and ties on game days. Team dinners before games also fire up the collaborative mind-set. This year teams are getting creative about how to incorporate new players — the girls’ lacrosse team organized a Santa Cruz getaway for the whole team at the beginning of the season. Team sports involve players spending ten or more hours together each week and when players bond off the field, they become more comfortable playing together as a teammates. Sports also allow students to relieve the school stresses and other pressures the face. But it can go too far when players bring their external issues and emotions to practice. “Last year when people let their issues into the pool, it created an awkward practice situation which affected games,” Dorosin said. But this year’s team dinners seemed to pay off in an improved 9-4 league record for this year. Another element to team chemistry is dedication to the team and confidence that one’s teammates will be able to carry out their individual jobs on the field. During the 2011 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state championship volleyball game, the Lady Vikes staged an impressive comeback after being down 7-13 against the Marymount High School Sailors. It all came down to the faith that the girls had in their teammates. “Everyone works so hard and you know that everyone wants it just as badly as you which makes you want to push harder yourself so that you can win for your whole team,” libero Shelby Knowles (‘13) said. The girls developed this confidence in each other three years, two of which ended in state championships. The team’s coach recognized how important strong team chemistry was at the start of the season. “Our coach would say that when we would step into practice that we had to go through this imaginary shower that would clear drama and all other problems so that we could focus on volleyball,” Knowles said. “He was a drama free coach that wanted us all to get along.” At Paly, the combination of selflessness and leadership have proved to be the main components in state championship wins. <<<
5 tips to great team chemistry 1. Host team dinners
Holding team dinners can get players in the collaborative mindset before games.
2. Be selfless
Pass to your teammates when they are open. Do not hog the ball just to improve your own stats.
3. Keep issues off the field
Leaving issues off the field allows sports to be an escape from the stresses of school.
4. Respect your team If you respect your teammates they will respect you.
Photo by Grant Shorin
5. Good leadership
When the captains of the team set a strong example, the other players will follow it. APRIL 2012
An inside look on professional baseball scouts who are interested in Paly baseball BY ROHIT RAMKUMAR design by Paige Borsos
alo Alto High School has seen its fair share of professional athletes. From well known athletes like Jeremy Lin and Joc Pederson are turning heads in their respective league, to lesser known professional athletes like soccer star Teresa Noyola, Paly has been prepping more and more athletes for the college level and for a select few the pros. However, something totally unseen on the Paly campus is taking place near the Churchill Parking Lot at the baseball field. On February 25, the Campolindo Cougars baseball team visited Paly for a non league showdown with the Vikings. The Cougars would be at this point the best team the Vikings have faced. In the top of the first inning, Paly center fielder Bijon Boyd (‘12), a potential high draft pick in this year’s MLB draft,
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stepped into the batter’s box and stared down his opponent. His opponent was James Marvel (‘12), who is also a top prospect in the draft. Boyd’s speed, raw power, and defensive abilities make him an exciting prospect. Not to be outdone, Marvel can throw in the upper 80’s and reach the lower 90’s, and like Boyd is looking to be a very high pick in the draft. However, the story was not as much the
witness the confrontation. Camera’s flipped open, the red dot of the recorder turned on, notebooks opened, and as the first pitch popped the mitt, pens furiously scribbled notes and other scouts discussed among themselves what they were watching. These scouts are often area scouts. Every Major League team employs about 30 full time area scouts. These area scouts may have
“As a unit, we try to stay locked in on the task at hand, whether it’s laying down a bunt or pitching for a groundball,” pitcher Ben Sneider said. matchup between Boyd and Marvel, but the groups of adults with clipboards scattered around the field. As Boyd entered the batter’s box for his first at-bat, numerous professional scouts stopped whatever they were doing to
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as many as eight states to cover, depending on the region of the United States they are stationed in. The area scout sees a prospect approximately 10-15 times over a 4 year span. Their primary objective is to report on their
Feature Story share of exposure at Paly. Current Paly starting pitcher Kevin Kannappan (‘12) remembers seeing numerous scouts while watching Pederson play. “When Joc was playing, we used to get the same amount as we do now, if not more,” Kannappan said. Pederson was drafted in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He currently plays for the Great Lakes Loons, a minor league affiliate of the Dodgers. Paly has had many college coaches come over to watch players play, but the great number of professional scouts that have visited the Paly campus is something that has not been documented before. Only now are people starting to recognize the men that represent big league teams. Boyd tries to ignore the scouts and play his own game.
Lacrosse, and Track and Field have had college coaches in the stands for events this year. “I think that just shows how athletic this school really is”, baseball player Ozzie Braff (‘12) said. “We just don’t have a couple athletes that excel, everyone is doing well in many different sports whether they are playing at the pros or in college”, he said. Braff himself has also attracted some attention from pro scouts. After a practice on April 9, Braff along with Boyd were asked to take extra batting practice in front of a couple of scouts. Being a scouted athlete at the professional level brings its perks, but also touches on the issues of ethics and morality in the handling of young athletes. Sports media has been bombarded lately with stories of athletes taking money and help from outside sources at the college level and photo by Allie Shorin
photo by Grant Shorin
assigned player’s skills. A scouting report on individual hitting prospects includes some of the following skills (sometimes known as five tools): arm strength, hitting power, batting average, foot speed, and fielding. According to numerous scouts, Boyd grades out well in foot speed, fielding, and batting average. Professional baseball scouts are now commonplace at the Paly baseball field. Obviously they come here to see Boyd play, as he hopes to be drafted by a major league team before the 15th round. For the game against Campolindo, scouts flooded the Paly field as upward of 30 of them came to watch the prospective draft picks compete. Even for regular games one can expect to see four to five scouts. Paly baseball players are not completely taken aback by the plentifulness of scouts for their games. Joc Pederson (‘10) got his fair
MINOR MAN Joc Pederson (‘10) was drafted in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He currently plays for the Great Lakes Loons in Midland, Michigan. “I have to tell myself to slow the game down to my pace,” Boyd said. “I just play the game like I know how and just be myself.” However Boyd does take something positive out of the scouts that watch his games. “When scouts watch it is just a boost to do well” Boyd said. An aspect of major league scouts attending games that is sometimes overlooked is the fact that it may or may not affect team dynamics. Senior pitcher Ben Sneider dispelled the fact that scouts affect his or any of his teammates play. “Who’s watching me play does not bother me,” Sneider said. “I go out and do my job and don’t focus on that and I think I can speak for the team on that.” However, other sports at Paly are seeing their fair share of scouts, whether they are from the professional or college ranks. Girls and Boys
breaking NCAA regulations as a result. These regulations are that stringent to clamp down on such offenses, whether they are done unknowingly or on purpose. However, professional scouts are not held to such regulations. For Boyd, free gear and bats is commonplace. Not to mention the signing bonuses that players recieve when drafted. Signing Bonuses are usually determined by the round that the player was drafted in. Players drafted in the first couple of rounds usually recieve signing bonuses of a couple million of dollars. As the rounds become higher, the amount of the signing bonus goes down. Leaving all else aside, it is an experience that Boyd will probably never forget. Only about 5% of players drafted actually make it to the big leagues. Boyd will have a tough road ahead of him, but you might be surprised to see him on your television in the near future. <<<
BACK in the
BOX by Jacob Lauing and Sam Borsos design by Sam Borsos
photo by Scotty Bara
A fallen athleteâ€™s journey back to the game
Baseball is a game of adjustments. A flyout teaches a hitter to stay on top of the ball. A walk does not discourage a pitcher from pounding the strike zone on the next at-bat, it drives him to try even harder. A baseball player is considered great for getting a hit just thirty percent of the time. Even though perfection is unreachable, every athlete from a backyard Little-Leaguer to a Hall-of-Famer strives to have a perfect season, an undefeated record and to be the best on the squad. So what happens when players step off the field? The same idea of perfection applies. The pressure to be right, the expectations to practice morality, the assumption that to be the best you canâ€™t make mistakes. Whether itâ€™s on or off the field, perfection is impossible. Just as an baseball player can strike out during a game, he can strike out in life. What separates a good athlete from a great athlete is not the strikeout itself, but how he reacts to it.
alo Alto High School varsity football and baseball player Ozzy Braff (‘12) is no stranger to pressure. Sure, lots of young athletes and students deal with stress, but Ozzy has not had the typical high school experience. As most sophomores and juniors worry about SAT scores and college applications, Ozzy has dealt with a little more. Choices he made a couple years ago led him on a journey that changed his life. Ozzy is 5’ 10”, with a hulking muscular frame, a 2011 All-League Co-Outstanding Tight End in football, and a 2011 First Team all-league shortstop in baseball. But he’s not your typical two-sport athlete. “He’s one of the best players around in his age group, but real shy,” childhood club coach and family friend Donny Kadokawa said. “Usually the best athletes are real outgoing, cocky, but he’s far from that. You tell him he’s good and he’s like ‘Nah, I’m not that good.’” His soft-spoken nature can come across as intimidating, but he’s a jokester when you get to know him. You won’t see him on Facebook late into the night, because he doesn’t have one. He prefers face-to-face communication and only recently got a cell phone. He loves nature, adventure, and a good country song. While most Paly students drive off with their friends during lunch, Ozzy goes home every day. He doesn’t like crowds. Ozzy’s parents, Jon and Colleen, began to notice their son’s unique personality develop at an early age. “He was the most conservative kid growing up,” Jon said. “Very cautious. Conservative. Rule follower. Kind of a perfectionist. If he was doing art in class that didn’t turn out quite the way he wanted to, he’d crumple it up and throw it out and start all over.” As a young athlete in elementary and middle school, Ozzy was more physical than most kids his age. At age nine, he played on Little League Majors team, PASCO, with his older brother, former Paly first baseman T.J. Braff (‘11). “In Little League, he was incredible,” Little League teammate, next-door neighbor and current Paly baseball teammate Rowan Thompson (‘13) said. “For other teams, when you had to face Ozzy, you had two choices: you could either walk him, or he would hit a homerun. He averaged probably two home runs a game. We used to say, ‘Oz is going to the pros. Get his autograph now while you can.’” But in seventh grade at Jordan Middle School, Ozzy had surgery on his shoulder to repair a torn labrum after a sporting injury. He
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was unable to play football or baseball, and for the first time in his life, he had a schedule without athletics. “I think so much of his identity and who he saw himself as involved sports, and it was taken away,” Jon said. “He was looking for other ways to fill that void.” As Ozzy began to fill this emptiness, frequently acting up with his friends, others started to see changes in his attitude and behavior on and off the field. “We were hitting one day at Paly, and he’s the one that’s normally hitting the ball over the fence, and he wasn’t even close,” Kadokawa said. “I knew right away something wasn’t right. You could just tell.” Jon wanted both his boys to attend a high school like the one he had attended, a private Christian school, but Ozzy and T.J. chose different paths. T.J. came to Paly, while Ozzy settled on St. Francis High School a private
“I think so much of his identity and who he saw himself as involved sports, and it was taken away,” Jon said. “He was looking for other ways to fill that void.” Catholic high school, and one of the Bay Area’s biggest athletic powerhouses, as his new school. From the school’s establishment in 1954 until June of 2009, the “Lancer” athletic program has accumulated 16 State Championships, 21 Northern California Championships, 124 Central Coast Section (CCS) Championships, and over 200 League Championships. All have been in the ultra-competitive West Catholic Athletic League, which has produced many professional athletes, including baseball home run king Barry Bonds and New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. Upon Ozzy’s arrival, however, things did not mesh, and he began to fall off track. As a sophomore, he became one of the few underclassmen to play on the St. Francis varsity baseball team, which is currently ranked third on the Maxpreps Xcellent 25 National rankings. He quickly felt out of place, feeling the need to conform in order to fit in. “When I got there, it was fake in a way,” he said. “I was trying to be someone who I
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wasn’t meant to be. [Everything was] all out of whack.” This feeling of disconnection carried from the baseball field to home. Ozzy became detached from his family. With a different schedule from T.J., the brothers barely saw each other. “It was really hard because we were so close always growing up, being one year apart, and it was a big change,” T.J. said. School revolved around baseball, and baseball became a job, consuming all of his time and energy. “[Baseball] was his life,” Jon said. “Ever since he started doing more competitive baseball, he lost the fun in it. It was just like every game and practice, man, you had to perform. He’d go into his room after a tough game, shut the door and that’d be it.” Off the field, Ozzy felt the need to escape. He continued to spend weekend nights with the same friends from middle school that he got into trouble with. Eventually he began to associate himself with those who drank alcohol and did drugs not only for social use, but to escape their problems. “I really think even if Ozzy had gone to Paly his freshman year, he would’ve gotten in trouble with the same problem,” Jon said. “He still would’ve had a lot of those same pressures.” Ozzy and his friends shared the same outlook: Life in Palo Alto was unsatisfying. This perception, along with their search for freedom, resulted in a plan to get away. “We were talking [how] in future, it’d be like a year, we’d be out of here in a whole different place,” Ozzy said. “Things would be a lot better [with] this image that life is peaceful for once.” The idea of leaving seemed more appealing to Ozzy every day. Even though he was only 16, he felt the need to get away from the pressure and daily expectations to perform. Late at night on March 27, 2010, with his parents asleep and unaware of his plan, Ozzy’s desire to escape turned into action. Just seven games into his baseball season at St. Francis, Ozzy and his friend ran away to L.A., leaving their troubles behind. “[I] went home, got all my stuff, hopped in the car, picked [my friend] up, and we were off,” Ozzy said.
zzy felt no regret. “At that time when I was driving, a bunch of weight was just coming off me and I couldn’t stop,” Ozzy said. “We were laughing and feeling amazing, which I hadn’t felt in a while.” The weekend he left, Ozzy was scheduled
“The closest thing I can compare [the drive home] to was like a dream,” Ozzy said. “A dream filled with bad emotions.”
photo by Grant Shorin
PRESSURE POINT Overwhelmed by the stresses of varsity baseball, Ozzy formulated a plan to escape them. to go on a baseball recruiting trip at the University of Washington (UW). But with Palo Alto in the rear-view mirror, baseball was the last thing on his mind. “The hardest part is just to know how unhappy he was,” Jon said. “ I had no idea it was coming. No idea. I could tell he was unhappy for the past year, but I just did not know the depth of the unhappiness.” The Braffs received snippets of their son’s whereabouts, and were quick to react. Jon jumped on a plane and flew down to L.A. the morning they found Ozzy’s room empty. In L.A., Ozzy was staying with an old
friend he knew through St. Francis, looking for a job, and trying to start a new life for himself. His plan was to stay there permanently; he had even brought his birth certificate with him. Although the friend welcomed Ozzy to stay in his home, he promptly called the Braffs, without Ozzy knowing, to notify them of their son’s exact location. After searching the area for three days, Jon successfully located Ozzy, and showed up at the house unannounced. “I can’t even describe what I felt,” Ozzy said. “It just sunk in. From that moment I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ It brought me
back.” Jon gave Ozzy two options: either a severe punishment, possibly jail, or a chance to discuss the next step with his family back in Palo Alto. Ozzy chose the latter, and like a baseball player walking back to the dugout after a strikeout, he drove up the California coast, left alone with the feeling of failure, his mistake repeating over and over in his head. “[I] just [felt] that shame feeling, like ‘I can’t believe I did this’,” Ozzy said. “The closest thing I can compare [the drive home] to was like a dream. A dream filled with bad emotions.”
ost athletes know the feeling. After a failed opportunity or strikeout, baseball players will sometimes throw a helmet or let out a curse, but eventually calm down and find a quiet place in the dugout. Without the distractions of his teammates and coaches, the player can mentally bring himself out of the game for just a moment, analyze what went wrong, and figure out how to succeed on the next play. Months before Ozzy left for L.A., the Braffs had been preparing for something like this. The family had been meeting with a therapist, who directed them to Paly alumnus Douglas Bodin (‘83), an Educational and Treatment Consultant at The Bodin Group consultant company which helps guide families in picking the right therapy program for their kids. “We had a sense of what options we would be looking at and then when [Ozzy] ran away
“We turn on our radios, we have our things so that we don’t actually have That’s a big part of what the wilderness things and kind of expose we had to quickly decide,” Bodin said. “It was actually really complicated based on what his needs were academically, socially and emotionally. [I picked the program based on his] interest in sports, vivacious and fun-loving personality, and his involved and very intelligent family.” Only eight hours after arriving home from L.A., Ozzy had no idea what Colleen and Jon had planned for him. The following night he was woken up unexpectedly by three large men who transported him directly to the airport. With two of them in the front seat of a car, Ozzy sat in the back with the child lock on. “They told him, ‘Don’t think about running: we will catch you,” Colleen said. “‘Don’t think about fighting us: we will fight you.’” Ozzy was sent to the wilderness of Kanab, Utah, just North of the Grand Canyon. Bodin had assigned him to Wingate Wilderness Therapy, a six to eight week program designed to help struggling teens find a new direction and purpose in life. For the equivalent of almost an entire baseball season, Ozzy was surrounded only by nature. He drove out on a bumpy unpaved road, and with just rocks and sand beneath the car, he had no idea of his exact whereabouts. “I wasn’t feeling anything,” Ozzy said. “When they dropped me off I felt like all my emotions had been taken, dead. It took me a day or two to be like, ‘Damn’, and all this shame was brought on me.”
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A typical day in the program would start around 6 a.m. After spending a night sleeping under the stars, Ozzy and the boys would wake up, get a fire started and cook their own breakfast. Without knowing the distance or destination ahead of them, they would be led on hikes anywhere from two to 10 miles. The walks mirrored the lives of these struggling teens, who were taught to take their recoveries one step at a time. “They have to learn to focus on the here and now, instead of, ‘When are we going to stop?’” Wingate owner and clinical director Scott Hess said. Hess also served as Ozzy’s therapist during his time in Utah. “If you’re going to run a marathon, you know that after 26.2 miles you’re going to stop,” he said. “They don’t know that in the program. It’s a whole other mental area to get what that feels like.” Ozzy’s new daily routine was near opposite of his schedule before. Baseball practices were replaced with long hikes. Homework time was swapped for journal entries. They told time by the sun and only had their thoughts at night. No showers, technology or outside communication. “We turn on radios, we have our TVs on,” Hess said. “We do a lot of things so that we don’t actually have to stop and think about who we are. That’s a big part of what the wilderness is about, you remove a lot of those things and kind of expose the self to the person.” Without society’s disturbances, Ozzy
TVs on,” Hess said. We do a lot of to stop and think about who we are. is about, you remove a lot of those the self to the person.” could freely reflect on his mistakes and begin his path towards recovery. As things settled down in the lives of the Braff family back in Palo Alto, Ozzy was nearing the end of his time in Utah. He felt ready to graduate from Wingate, but not quite ready to come home. With all of the introspection Ozzy endured, there had to be a middle ground between the remote wilderness of Kanab, Utah and the structured, often hectic life of Palo Alto. “[I still had to work on] taking all that stuff I learned out there and bringing it back,” Ozzy said. He was not yet ready to come home, but he was ready for the next step on his journey there.
n June 5, 2010, just a couple months before Ozzy’s 17th birthday, the Braffs took another one of Bodin’s suggestions to send him to Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, a town with a population, not much more than Paly. Thirty miles South of the Canadian border lies Northwoods Academy, an all-boys community house which became Ozzy’s home for the next seven months. Over the summer, Ozzy took five online classes to make up for the class he had missed in the spring, and then enrolled at Bonner’s Ferry High School in the fall. He still had limited communication with those outside of Bonner’s Ferry, was able to send emails once a week, and even had his
family visit a couple times. “Going to Idaho was more about developing independence,” Ozzy said. “In Utah, when you went to the bathroom you would have to yell your name every ten seconds. You wouldn’t be able to hold a knife unless you asked them. [There was] zero freedom at all.” In Palo Alto, Ozzy was almost always surrounded by athletes. In Idaho, however, the boys at Northwoods came from different backgrounds, each with varying talents and skills. “I wanted to expand my life,” Ozzy said. “Going there I saw people’s talents. We just got a chance to do everything.” He got to do things he had never experienced before: cliff jumping, playing guitar, cycling, hiking, and sailing. Bonner’s Ferry had no school on Fridays, so Ozzy and his friends would go snowboarding in the backyard. A year prior, these experiences would’ve been unexpected of Ozzy. But now, with sports no longer the priority, they became a part of his character. “When he was here [in California], everything related to sports and being an optimal athlete,” Colleen said. “In Idaho, all of that was let go. Sports were only part of the experience.” Often, athletes revolve their lives around sports schedules instead of the other way around. But even with Ozzy’s new interests, his natural passion for sports could not be ignored. He joined the varsity football team at Bonner’s Ferry, where he played for head coach and physical education teacher Ed De-
photos provided by Ozzy Braff
priest. “The opportunity to play sports, football in particular, helped a great deal just for that opportunity to do something that [Ozzy] enjoyed and not [having to] be locked into anything,” Depriest said. Not only did this mark Ozzy’s first time in competitive sports since baseball back in California, but playing football in Bonner’s Ferry showed Ozzy varsity sports without the varsity pressure. “It made that football season more fun than any other season I’ve had in the past,” Ozzy said. “After the football game was over, the next Saturday we’d be out cliff jumping or something. There wasn’t a sole focus on sports.” The biggest test to Ozzy’s new pressurefree sports mentality came after the quarter-finals of the class 3A Idaho state playoffs. It was a big game against a high caliber team. Ozzy’s family flew out to watch. Bonner’s Ferry lost
5 PHOTOS: 1) After six weeks in the wilderness, Ozzy reunites with his parents in Kanab, Utah. 2) Ozzy backpacking in Utah at the Wingate Therapy program. 3) Ozzy looks out at the nature at Northwoods Academy in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, a community house for troubled teens. 4) Ozzy playing tight end for the Bonner’s Ferry Badgers in Idaho. 5) Completely isolated in the desert, Ozzy warms up in the snow. The boys cooked their own meals every day and had no outside communication or technology. APRIL 2012
54-8. Jon, who could still remember Ozzy’s frustration and disappointment after losses in the past, saw a new side of his son. “He was bummed that they lost, but he came home and was still smiling,” Jon said. Ozzy’s transformation on the field mirrored his attitude towards other aspects of his life. With T.J.’s final semester at Paly approaching, the Braffs brought up the idea of Ozzy returning to be with his brother for the remainder of the school year. The staff at Bonner’s Ferry agreed that he was prematurely ready to leave. “After a certain amount of time in Idaho, I felt that I had worked on everything that I needed to,” Ozzy said. “The most important things were done.” Bonner’s Ferry became Ozzy’s on-deck circle. After returning to the dugout and taking a moment to collect himself, Ozzy worked a new approach, all with his next at-bat in mind. He was ready to come home.
an. 21, 2011 marked the day of Ozzy’s return to Palo Alto, where he arrived at the start of his second semester junior year at Paly. The same town, but a completely different person. Ozzy had spent 10 months total away from home, reflecting on his mistakes and growing. His return allowed a closer connection to T.J., who partly chose to attend Santa Clara University, a 15 minute drive from Palo Alto, to remain close with his brother. “I can come and visit him, and he can come
to the games [next year],” T.J. said. “That definitely played a big role in that.” Ozzy was ready for his return to Palo Alto, but based on the state of his departure, the Braffs remained skeptical as to whether Palo Alto would be ready for him. “We weren’t really sure how people would react,” Jon said. “I didn’t know how people were going to treat him, if they were going to give him grief about [what had happened].” But the community embraced him, including old friends who knew what he had gone through. “At first it was bit forced,” Ozzy’s childhood friend Nate Bills (‘12) said. “We didn’t know how to react to each other because we hadn’t seen in each other in a while. You don’t act like it didn’t happen, but now you just move along with things.” As spring sports commenced, Ozzy would have an even bigger extended family to welcome him home: the baseball team. “I think that was a good time to come back for me because I had an immediate group of friends,” Ozzy said. “Just starting up baseball and having people to support me. They’re a good group of guys.” With his teammates supporting him, Ozzy had some of the best offensive numbers on the team, finishing the season with a .413 batting average, a .640 slugging percentage and a .510 on-base percentage. Not only did he perform well on the field, but he finally felt at home. “Honestly, it feels like we’re 12 years old going to an All-Star game,” Jack Witte (‘12), second baseman, Ozzy’s childhood friend and neighbor said. “It’s that kind of same exact feeling, as if nothing really changed at all.”
y the season’s end, Ozzy found himself on a team competing for Paly baseball’s first CCS championship title on May 28, 2011. In the bottom of the seventh with the scored tied at four against San Benito High School, Ozzy stepped up to the plate with a man on second — and a chance to lock up the CCS title. But this at-bat marked more than just the opportunity for a walk-off victory. It was Ozzy’s chance to complete his redemption story. In just a year, he’d been everywhere from L.A. to Utah to Idaho and back to Palo Alto. Now, with his teammates watching from the dugout, with his brother in the on deck circle, and with his family watching from the stands, Ozzy took one swing of the bat. He sent a base hit into centerfield, scoring centerfielder B.J. Boyd (‘12), and sending Palo Alto baseball players and fans alike into a frenzy with their first CCS championship. Everyone knew that nothing had changed. “That moment was just surreal,” one of Ozzy’s teammates said. “After everything he had been through, it just seemed so appropriate that he would be the one at the plate in that situation. The kid that everyone in the Palo Alto baseball community knew was great since we were like six. It was perfect.” Even after stepping off the field for over a year, Ozzy proved he was still the same, remarkable athlete that he’d always been. But if you ask him about it today, Ozzy will not even acknowledge the significance of his gamewinning hit, responding with his typical over-
“He’s so appreciative of everything, even if it’s just a hot meal after a game,” Colleen the-top said. modesty.
photos by Sam Borsos
MAN’S BEST FRIEND Ozzy plays with his dog, Sierra, in his living room. 40 | T H E V I K I N G |
MILK AND COOKIES Ozzy and his mom Colleen share a hug in the kitchen.
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“No comment,” Ozzy said of the hit. “I don’t know. It felt good.” After ending the baseball season on the highest note possible, summer passed, football season began and senior year commenced, along with the college admission process. And now, it’s late April and graduation is just around the corner. Upon first glance, one might see Ozzy as the ideal Division I athlete. He even had options to attend big, Division I athletic powerhouses, such as UW. But instead, Ozzy applied to only three schools. “He’s going to go to a DIII school, and all the scouts and coaches, they don’t understand why he’s going to play at that level,” Kadokawa said. “And to be honest, I’m still questioning him.” He recently committed to play baseball at
“I chose my ideal path I want to follow,” Ozzy said. “I’m not stuck in sports. There’s a say in what I can do. I learned my freedoms and learned to be grateful for what I have.”
photo by Paige Borsos
A NEW PERSPECTIVE Now back in Palo Alto on the Paly baseball team, Ozzy has been to L.A., Utah, and Idaho. Whitman College, a school with 1,500 undergraduates in Walla Walla, Washington. As of April 16, 2012, Whitman’s baseball team has a record of 5-28, putting them second to last in the Division III Northwest Conference. “I just feel like [going to Whitman] will be more relaxing with not as many people and less drama,” Ozzy said. “Their team isn’t that great, but it will still be fun. It’s a whole new group of guys so that will be exciting.”
zzy’s journey marked the new beginnings of what his life is now. He prefers face-to-face interactions because in the wilderness of Utah that
was all he knew. He avoids crowds, and finds peace in isolation because he learned what is was like to be away from his family, his team, his past while in Idaho. “It happens to the best of kids,” Kadokawa said. “When something like this happens, everybody portrays them as bad kids, but that’s just a bad choice.” The places he’s been and the people he met along the way have made Ozzy realize the importance of being well-rounded. Now, he is more than just a baseball player and more than just an athlete. He is not defined by the green dri-fit jersey he wears on the field, the bat he holds in his hands or the cleats he laces up before every game.
And although he plays for Paly’s varsity baseball team, shortstop is only his position, not his identity. “I chose my ideal path I want to follow,” Ozzy said. “I’m not stuck in sports. There’s a say in what I can do. I learned my freedoms and learned to be grateful for what I have.” With any athlete who makes a mistake comes choices: the choice to put your head down and replay the error over and over, or the choice to keep your head up and focus on the next play. To Ozzy, his journey is not about dwelling on his mistakes. Instead, it is about picking up his bat, getting back in the box, and preparing for the next swing.
Mind over Matter Baseball and basketball star Alec Wong (‘12) plays his mental game just as much as his physical by Nora Rosati and Charlotte Biffar design by Paige Borsos
photo by Emy Kelty
rom a chess champion in fourth grade to a two sport varsity athlete, Alec Wong (‘12) brings another element to the athletic arena. For many, the ideal “male varsity athlete” fits a preconceived physical image. Yet a look at the various Paly varsity athletes suggests that this image does not always exist. Wong is one of these athletes; his work ethic and ability to utilize the mental side of the game proved to be more enduring qualities than his raw physical build. “I’m not exactly the most physically gifted, I think that’s pretty obvious,” Wong said. Wong began his Paly varsity career as a sophomore for the baseball team. Just one game into the season, he was selected to fill a temporary gap for the team in the infield. He impressed the coaching staff with his perfor-
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mance enough to stay for the remainder of the season. “We were struggling a bit so we said, ‘Wong, get in there,’” head coach Eric Raich remembered. “He goes in, gets two rocket hits and plays like he’s been doing it his entire life. We looked at him and said, ‘He’s not going back down.’” From that point forward, Wong remained on the varsity team and proved to be a valuable asset. Following his sophomore season on baseball, Wong also joined the varsity basketball team as a junior, which he captained for the 2011-2012 season. Wong’s success in his sports was not effortless. Instead, he relied on the mental aspect of competition. “I’m not the biggest or strongest guy,” Wong said of his 5-foot-9 inch frame. “I have to use the mental aspect of the game a lot more. Baseball is more of a mental game; you have to think through situations before
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they happen. Basketball is a lot of quick thinking.” Wong called on a quality he discovered as a mere ten-year-old and learned to transform it into a critical device. “In fourth grade, there was a chess club after school. A lot of my friends did it … I adopted it pretty quickly,” Wong said. Throughout his years playing basketball and baseball, Wong found useful similarities between the chess board and the court and field. “There are definitely comparisons that can be made [between the mental side of sports and chess],” Wong said. “There’s a lot of deeper thinking. You can’t really only see on the surface of the game, you really have to think out each move if you’re going to set something up.” As the starting point guard on the basketball team, Wong relies on his canny decision making to control the pace of the game.
“Something that really separates [Wong] from the rest is his knowledge of the sport,” basketball teammate Aldis Petriceks (‘13) said. “He’s a really good student of the game.” Wong learned to appreciate the benefits of understanding the intellectual qualities of a game, as opposed to relying solely on skills. “To be a great player you have to be well rounded in all aspects of the game,” Wong said. “A basketball IQ is knowing what to do in certain situations, especially when there is high pressure.” Wong committed himself to fully consider the suggestions of basketball head coach Adam Sax and spent hours analyzing film. “My coach picks on the little things a lot,” Wong said. “I know a lot of the other players wouldn’t really appreciate it as much as I do, [but] I think I really understand. Those little things add up.” This attention to detail reflects Wong’s relentless work ethic; that, when paired with his natural ability, creates quite the varsity athlete. “He really embodies what an athlete should be,” Petriceks said. Though perhaps not physically, Wong stands out as a player. “He wasn’t the biggest guy on the court but he was very physical and his desire to succeed made him bigger than everyone else,” Sax said. Baseball teammate Jack Witte (‘12) addressed how this quality impacts Wong’s performance on the playing field. “[Wong is] a really smart player, he always knows where to go with the ball on the field,” Witte said. According to baseball teammate and friend Jacob Lauing (‘12), Wong attained a keen understanding of the strategies behind the plays. Like in basketball, Wong was able to channel what physical abilities he did have, his quick reflexes, to become an esteemed varsity player. photo by Paige Borsos
“He’s not the biggest, he’s not the strongest, he’s not even the fastest, but his quickness sets him apart,” Lauing said. Wong’s commitment to the basketball team throughout his high school career
Whether on the basketball court or on the baseball field, Wong is a reliable worker. “He always tries his hardest and never gives up. He’s a great teammate,” baseball player Justin Grey (‘12) said.
“He wasn’t the biggest guy on the court but he was very physical and his desire to succeed made him bigger than everyone else,” basketball coach Adam Sax said. earned him the position as the sole captain of the season. Wong’s character as a relentless worker has had a significant impact on his teammates. “[Wong] inspires us all to play better,” basketball teammate Kenny Jones (‘13) said. “He’s a really good captain because he was probably the hardest worker on the team and pushes everyone to go harder.” Wong embraced the leading role and achieved the appropriate balance between being a friend and being a leader. “He was a great captain and a very vocal leader,” Petriceks said. “He’s actually a pretty quiet guy but when he needed to be loud he would be loud. He would tell you what you’re doing wrong.”
photo by Scotty Bara
Some encourage their teammates verbally, but Wong takes his own approach to it. “He doesn’t really have to speak a lot, it’s more leader by example,” Raich said. Motivated by what may have appeared to be physical disadvantages and perhaps even low expectations, Wong developed a strong mental edge over his competitors and teammates, and rose as a compelling leader. Even when Wong found success, he continued to develop both his mental and physical game. He honed an overlooked quality into a sharp tool. Sax put it best when addressing Wong’s transformation. “Little things become big things.” <<<
HUSTLIN’ Paly third baseman Alec Wong (‘12) goes in for the catch on the Paly baseball field. He joined varsity baseball team his sophomore year, and has also played varsity basketball for three years. APRIL 2012
ROOTS OF RESILIENCE What’s next for Jeremy Lin? Clues from where “the guy who came from nowhere” came from.
BY KEVIN DUKOVIC AND AUSTIN POORE design by Emy Kelty
PAST IS PROLOGUE
Jeremy Lin drives to the basket during a game against Idiana on March 15. The untold story of Lin’s high school days foreshadows his future in the NBA. photo by Scotty Bara
t the beginning of February, Jeremy Lin (‘06) was just another NBA benchwarmer, toiling in the depths of the New York Knicks roster and unknown to all but the most loyal of fans. His claim to fame at the time was limited
to his status as the first American player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. Still, he had such a low profile that Madison Square Garden security guards regularly confused him for one of the team’s athletic trainers, as Lin humorously pointed out on his Twitter feed in early January.
photo provided by Paly Voice/...Nathan Liu
Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, desperate for a spark of offense that would ignite his underachieving team, inserted the unheralded Lin into a game against the New Jersey Nets, where he proceeded to drop 25 points and lead the Knicks to a 99-92 victory. Lin took advantage of his chance to start the next few games, scoring more points in his first five starts than any player in NBA history, including his first career double-double. The highlight of Lin’s rapid ascent came with a career-high 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on national television. A star was undeniably born. Almost overnight, Lin became the hottest sports story of the year, eclipsing even the ever-present Tim Tebow in the headlines. As his fame continued to grow, media stories began to spring up about Lin, covering nearly every angle imaginable, though most of them had one element in common: The kid came out of nowhere. Then, just as suddenly as Linsanity swept the nation off its feet, it began to die down. D’Antoni resigned on March 14, and Lin became yesterday’s news, his strong performances no longer meriting excessive attention. Linsanity then suffered its biggest blow yet when Lin went down with a knee in-
jury in a game against the Detroit Pistons on March 24. As more details emerged, his prospects for the rest of the 2012 season appeared more and more uncertain. It seemed that maybe Lin would be unable to save the Knicks after all. “You can fall as fast as you rise,” Lin told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols during an interview in February when his popularity first erupted. Three weeks ago, Lin had surgery to repair a slightly torn meniscus in his left knee, which, much to the dismay of Knicks fans, will likely put an end to his season. But those who have followed Lin’s career since high school may have a slightly different outlook: they realize that Lin did not come “out of nowhere.” And they may also notice some striking similarities between this season and one seven years ago, when the thought of playing in the NBA was just a pipe dream for Lin. He was not a Knick back then. He was a Viking.
t was Tuesday, and the score was
12-8 when junior point guard Jeremy Lin took over the game. The year was 2005, and Lin’s Palo Alto High School Vikings were trailing an athletic Sequoia High School
team from Redwood City in a CCS semifinal game in Santa Clara. “The game was supposed to be a big test for us,” Lin’s former teammate Kevin Trimble (‘06) wrote in an e-mail. “I remember they had two guards, the Stewart brothers, who were supposed to be really good offensive players, and more athletic than anyone we had.” Halfway through the first quarter the tide turned, thanks in large part to the efforts of Lin. “I think [the Sequoia game] was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen here,” Paly English teacher and basketball aficionado Mike McNulty said. The next 12 minutes of the game could more aptly be described as “the Jeremy Lin Show.” Lin racked up points, steals, assists and more. When the defense collapsed on his drives, he found Steven Brown (‘06) spotting up at the three-point line. He stole the ball and took it coast-to-coast. At one point, he even threw down the first dunk of his career, an emphatic two-handed slam that teammates vividly remember to this day. “He had literally never dunked in practice,” ex-teammate Brian Baskauskas (‘05) said. “I don’t think I’d ever seen him dunk, but he gets a fast break in that game and easily dunks with two hands, and we were all
photo provided by Paly Voice/Nathan Liu
photos provided by Madrono
1.) Lin shoots a layup in a game against Mitty 2.) Lin’s yearbook photo his senior year 3.) Lin dresses up as someone from the 80s for Spirit Week 4.) Lin (top left) dons his toga during Spirit Week
[really surprised]. That was pretty crazy.” The Vikings cruised to a 30-point victory and were set to take on the Archbishop Mitty Monarchs for the CCS Championship. Coming off this stellar performance, Lin was on the top of the world. He was only a junior and, still growing, had yet to reach his full potential on the court. If not cocky, he could be described as supremely confident in his basketball abilities. So what if he didn’t always practice with the utmost effort he exhibited in games like this? It is now Thursday, and the Paly basketball team has just finished practicing. It is their last day to prepare for Friday night’s showdown with Mitty, and the workout was intense, as usual. Unlike many of his teammates’, however, Lin’s basketball appetite was not sufficiently satisfied with the multihour practice, so he headed over to the local YMCA to get some more shots up before the big game. By late Thursday evening, Lin has been shooting for a while. He is then invited to join a pick-up game with other players in the gym. Lin accepts, not knowing it will be the last basketball he is going to play for nearly two months. SNAP! Lin goes down. The short-term result of his decision is painfully clear, but an understanding of the long-term effect requires a trip back to the very beginning, even before Lin first donned the Paly green and white.
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insanity almost wasn’t born in the Lin household, and Lin’s ability to bal-
here at Palo Alto High School. In fact, if it weren’t for a last-second decision, one of Paly’s greatest and most beloved athletes might have belonged to the archrival; up until his last year at Jane Lathrop Stanford (JLS) Middle School, Jeremy Lin was set to attend Gunn High School and follow in the footsteps of his older brother Josh. However, the possibility of attending cross-town sports powerhouse Palo Alto High became an option when Lin began attending Paly basketball camps run by coach Peter Diepenbrock. “Jeremy came to my camps when he was in fifth or sixth grade,” Diepenbrock said. “Then one year I was refereeing a game he was playing in at the camp, and I made some calls he didn’t agree with. He did not handle it well, and I got very upset with him. He got really mad at me, and so he left and didn’t come back to camp the next couple years and started doing the Gunn scorebook [keeping stats], and was all set to go to Gunn. [At] the last second, he had a change of heart and decided to come here.” That change of heart, as Lin later admitted to the Paly Voice in an interview done his senior year, can be attributed not to Paly’s renowned athletic reputation, but to its academics. “It’s pretty simple why I transferred [to Paly after attending JLS],” Lin said. “The science department here [at Paly] is ridiculously good.” In addition to taking Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science, Lin also took several other AP classes at Paly, including U.S. History, BC Calculus, and Psychology, among others. Academics have always taken precedent
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ance school and basketball contributed to his immediate easygoing and gregarious reputation at school. “He can get along with almost anybody on campus because he was an athlete and because he also believed in academics,” Paly math teacher Arne Lim, who also advised the Christian Club to which Lin belonged for all four years of high school, said. “He believed he was a student-athlete, not an athlete-student. He got the direction correct. That’s one thing that young folks need to figure out, and the sooner the better.” As a high schooler, Lin is also remembered by teammates and teachers alike as being a soft-spoken, humble guy. But all of that changed when he stepped on the basketball court. Lin’s first season as a Viking came on the JV squad, under the coaching of Trons Grimes. Lin had to repair his relationship with Diepenbrock quickly as he entered the Palo Alto basketball program. “At some point he admitted that he didn’t have the best attitude and had a hard time dealing with [it] when calls did not go his way,” Diepenbrock said. “Obviously him deciding to go to Paly gave me the idea that all was forgiven.” Lin had such a strong season with the JV team that he received a late-season call-up to varsity, an uncommon honor for a freshman. The players on the varsity team that year still remember one occasion when Lin entered a game early in the state playoffs, getting some minutes in the fourth quarter of a first-round matchup with Sacramento High School. “He was tiny back then,” Baskauskas, a sophomore at the time, said. “I do remember him coming in and being this tiny little
Asian-American kid who randomly hit a few threes, so we were all surprised.” McNulty remembers Lin not only hitting a few three pointers, but him connecting from behind the arc on three straight possessions, an uncommon feat for any basketball player, let alone a freshman playing in a postseason varsity game. But as Lin would continue to prove time in and time out, no moment was too big for him. Lin finished out the season with the varsity team, earning respect from older players and observers alike with his precocious play. “[Jeremy’s] vision and creativity with deception was unreal when he was a freshman in high school,” Lin’s shooting coach Doc Scheppler, who is also the current Pinewood girls’ varsity basketball coach, wrote in an e-mail interview. Come sophomore year, Lin became a permanent member of the squad. He competed with Robert Anderson (‘04), a senior, for the job of starting point guard, and the constant competition at practice took a bit of a toll on the young Lin. “I was the guy that had to [guard him] every day in practice those first two years, and you know, it was a little tough on him,” Anderson said. “It was tough, but it was good for him in the end.” Lin ended up winning the position by the end of the year, but he still did not always give his full effort at every practice. If drills were not competitive, Lin was simply not motivated to perform at a high level. “When it was a more non-competitive drill like defensive fundamentals, his performance would be lower because he just wasn’t excited about it, wasn’t motivated to do it and didn’t see how it could help him,” Diepenbrock said. Nonetheless, even with Lin’s occasionally lackadaisical practice effort, he still had a fairly good season as an underclassman starting for the varsity team. “Sophomore year was OK as a starting point guard on varsity, but not super,” Diepenbrock said. “[Jeremy] was on a very talented team but he really had not grown much physically, so he was still pretty small and not real strong. He was a nice point guard on a very good team, but he was in no way a dominant player.” While Lin continued to impress with his mature play, certain aspects of his game could have benefited from a better practice effort. As a sophomore, Lin struggled with turnovers all season, as he too often relied on his natural ability to bail him out. “He always turned the ball over more than any of our other guards,” Drew Durham (‘04) said. “I think that was because he was younger and a little less experienced than some of our other guards, and his athleticism was beyond his basketball I.Q.” Baskauskas also remembers that Lin could occasionally be headstrong on the court. “When he was a freshman and sophomore, he was a great player and great kid off the
court but sometimes he could be a little difficult to deal with on the court,” Baskauskas said. The 2003-2004 team won its league but, as Diepenbrock recalls, “ended up losing in the quarterfinals of CCS on a tip-in at the buzzer.” Lin carried the momentum of his reasonably successful sophomore campaign into his junior year, when, in Diepenbrock’s eyes, he made the biggest improvement of any season in his career. That did not mean, however, that his practice attitude had improved much. His stubbornness, one manifestation of the difficulties to which Baskauskas referred, also remained an issue moving forward. “I remember him refusing to, for an entire season, shoot a set shot versus a jump shot,” Baskauskas said. “He was way better at shooting a set shot because he wasn’t strong enough to shoot a jump shot yet, but he just insisted on shooting one. And myself, and Coach Diepenbrock and everyone was telling him: ‘Stop shooting that stupid jump shot -- you never make it. Shoot a set shot.’ But he just refused and was just being stubborn.” Moreover, it was not only obstinance that afflicted him that year. In practices, Lin still
didn’t always play his hardest because he expected to be able to turn it on come game time. “When he went into games he basically did what he wanted and was able to be successful, so he didn’t quite get why he needed to work on the things we were working on,” Diepenbrock said. Lin’s competitiveness remained though, and could be observed even in practice settings when he felt motivated to perform. “If we did a competitive drill, like if it was five-on-five [where] if you lose you have to run, then his performance would be much better,” Diepenbrock said. Part of the reason Lin had more of an affinity toward competition than toward practicing the fundamentals of the game may have been because he thought he had already mastered them. Under the tutelage of his longtime Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel team coach Jim Sutter, who coached him from fifth grade through the end of high school, Lin had already put in extensive work on fundamentals. “I’m more of a fundamental basketball coach,” Sutter said. “I’ll go through a twohour practice now and literally do no sprints, no liners, and no scrimmage at all. And all we do is go from one drill to the next. I make
SUNDAY MORNINGS WITH JEREMY first person BY MICHAEL STRONG
ome might remember Jeremy Lin as the kid who led the Palo Alto varsity boys’ basketball team to a state title back in 2006. Or maybe they remember him as the man who scored an impressive 30 points against the 13th ranked UConn Huskies in 2009. Now, everyone knows Jeremy Lin as an NBA star. Despite Jeremy Lin’s recent accolades in the NBA, I simply remember Jeremy Lin as the humble and fun Sunday pick-up basketball player. About four years ago, my friend, his father, and I headed to Paly to play some pick-up basketball with coach Peter Diepenbrock. There were about 15 guys shooting baskets and warming up. I kept to myself, trying to avoid everyone. Eventually, I made
my way over to the group. I quickly noticed that one of the players in the group was none other than the then Harvard basketball player Jeremy Lin. The game finally began, and I found myself playing against Jeremy. I wasn’t even guarding him, in fact, I was doing just about everything possible to stay away from him. But about 15 or 20 minutes into the game, my man set a screen for Jeremy, and I was left guarding him at the top of the key. Jeremy stepped back, knowing I was not much of a force. He took one hard dribble right, then cut across with a smooth crossover, gliding all the way to the hoop for an easy score. The second Jeremy crossed over, I fell to the floor. In a typical high school game, I could expect the player to laugh at me, but not Jeremy. Jeremy
simply put his head down, and headed immediately back on defense, ready for the next play. I could hear chuckles and whispering from some of the players around me, but I kept my eyes locked on Jeremy. Never once did he laugh or speak. He was ready for the next play, not worried about schooling some 8th grade kid. Often, stars get caught up in the spotlight and forget how to be nice, respectable characters. But not Jeremy. I had always thought of Jeremy Lin as the quiet, contained, and confident Paly basketball star. But people with as much talent as Jeremy often lose sight of how to treat others around them. After playing against Jeremy, I’m happy to say that he was just the kind of player and person I expected him to be. <<<
an effort to develop the foundations of my players’ success by drilling them with fundamentals. Jeremy would then take the stuff he learned, turn it around, and head over to the Palo Alto YMCA to work on it with his dad and two brothers. [One reason why he didn’t take Diepenbrock’s drills as seriously] was because he was further developed than the other players on that team and that stuff was easy for him.” Despite Lin’s practice attitude, he continued to excite in games. Throughout his junior year, Lin found success running the offense for an extremely talented Vikings team. Led by Lin and Baskauskas, the two best high school players Diepenbrock ever coached, it was on paper the strongest Paly team Lin was a part of. “The 2004-2005 team was the most dominant team I’ve ever coached,” Diepenbrock said. The Vikings cruised to a stellar regular season record, suffering only one loss before the playoffs. The squad easily handled Evergreen Valley in the CCS quarterfinals, pulling off a 20-point victory. Then came Sequoia. Lin’s paramount performance in the Sequoia game set up a showdown with Mitty for the CCS Championship. But then, on the eve of one of the biggest games of his life, Lin made the fateful decision to head over to the Ross Road YMCA for some additional practice.
Everything was going well, until, according to McNulty, an opposing player in a pickup game Lin joined accidentally stepped on Lin’s foot from behind and injured his ankle. Lin, unsure of the severity of the injury, immediately called both of his trusted coaches, Diepenbrock and Sutter. “He called me the night of [the injury] and we thought it was a really bad sprain, not a break,” Sutter said. Diepenbrock immediately tried to determine whether he would be without his starting point guard against Mitty. “On Friday we spent a lot of time going to a couple doctors and physical therapists and went over to Stanford and talked to their trainer and got confirmation that it was broken,” Diepenbrock said. “So we did play without him in [the Mitty] game.” Little did Lin know that this would prove to be a defining moment in his career. Forced to watch his teammates play without him, Lin had an epiphany. “That made me realize that basketball could be done at any minute, and that one injury could end your career,” Lin said. Other players also noticed the change in Lin, especially those who had watched him in the preceding years. “I think that’s when sort of a light when off in his brain, where he was like: ‘This is about more than me. I’m not going to be selfish anymore,’” Baskauskas said. “As he had to watch that playoff run from the bench, that
has made him such a better person and player and teammate and leader.” The playoff run that Baskauskas referereces came in the Northern California playoffs, where the Vikings won multiple games before losing to the eventual State Champions, Oak Ridge. Lin recovered from his broken ankle to play AAU basketball for Sutter in the summer. Sutter’s Metro Mirage team was primarily made up of Paly varsity players, and according to Sutter was loaded with talent. In one tournament, Lin and Metro took on a team that starred current NBA superstar Kevin Durant and former North Carolina Tar Heel and current Denver Nugget Ty Lawson. Jeremy had the task of guarding Lawson. “Jeremy without a doubt held his own against Tywon Lawson,” Sutter recalled. “Tywon Lawson didn’t go off on him, and as far as I’m concerned, Jeremy went off on Lawson.” The Metro Mirage at one point erased a 12-point deficit to garner a two-point lead. However, the unstoppable play of Durant proved too much. Metro lost by five. Among other opponents, another team Lin’s Mirage took on and beat that same summer was a squad loaded with players from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., in a game that turned out to be prophetic. By his senior year, Lin had grown to 6’1”
WORKING OUT WITH AN NBA STAR first person BY KEVIN KANNAPPAN
photos provided by Madrono
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alking through t h e doors of Sparta Performance Science in Menlo Park, you taste the remnants of protein shake powder floating through the air, you smell the foul scent of sweat, you feel the cool air that sweeps through the room. Jeremy works out at Sparta and embodies the Spartan way of life in that he never swerves off his path toward his goal of success. Everyone can go “Linsane” for the underdog and appreciate Jeremy’s path to glory, but not everyone appreciates what it took
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mentally and physically to put him in the position to succeed. It was the voice inside Jeremy, his motto of dedication and the drive to succeed that put him in that position. I had the opportunity to work out with Jeremy this past summer while he was still with the Warriors. The only reason I knew of him was because I used to play in the Palo Alto Basketball camps as a kid. No one in the facility knew that Jeremy had the potential to be a star in the NBA. I don’t even think that people realized that he was in the NBA. He didn’t carry himself
like a lot of the professional athletes and he didn’t act like he was above anyone; he didn’t try to show off how much he was lifting and he kept asking questions about how he could get better. While I spent the entirety of the workout sessions struggling to stay alive, Jeremy kept going, calm and collected, taking each lift, each jump and each sprint as if it was his last. The way Jeremy worked out made me want to work harder. Jeremy worked out the same way all summer, even with his knee problems and his questionable status in the NBA season. He did
what he could to make himself better, and for him, that meant giving everything into each and every day. Jeremy’s ethic should be an example to everybody: Maybe everyone doesn’t get into the NBA, but if you stick with your goals and work to your best ability, you can succeed. Coming off his injury, I am sure that Jeremy will do everything in his power to get back to playing and improving. There will certainly be a buzz about him working out this summer at Sparta, but I can expect the same dedicated player to be there. <<<
and filled out to about 170 pounds, according to Diepenbrock. Besides growing physically, he had also made strides as a leader. Lin made it clear to all of his teammates that their ultimate goal was a State Championship. However, when the opportunity arose to add a piece to that championship puzzle, Lin made one thing clear: If they were going to win it, they were going to do it with the team they already had. Diepenbrock recalls that the Vikings had a chance to have a center transfer to Paly, which would fill one of the team’s major holes: height. Although Lin knew and liked the player, his current teammates came first. “Jeremy just made the comment: ‘Of course it would help us, but that means that one of our guys right here is going to lose a spot and not be able to start,’” Diepenbrock said. “I was definitely taken aback from that and was pretty impressed and surprised that he would have that take on it, considering we had no idea what type of team we were going to have. So, [Jeremy] is a very loyal guy and he has matured a lot.” In addition to his loyalty and harder work at practice, Lin’s maturity began to manifest itself in other ways. He realized his value as a creator for his teammates. He no longer felt he had to score all the time, and looked to distribute the ball more, to the benefit of the team. Although this year’s squad was not as talented as the group the year before, the 2005-2006 team equaled the one-loss regular season of the previous year. “Senior year was more of [Jeremy] just being a leader and controlling the game with not nearly as talented a team,” Diepenbrock said. In the playoffs, the Vikings reeled off win after win, including two victories over Archbishop Mitty, and made it all the way to the State Championship game against heavily favored Mater Dei. Led by the 6’7” Taylor King (‘06), who averaged over 26 points per game, and featuring a 7’1” center named Alex Jacobson (‘07), the Monarchs were ranked sixth in the nation according to MaxPreps. Unfortunately for Mater Dei, however, the outcome was the same as in the AAU game the previous summer. Lin grabbed eight boards and scored 17 points in the game, burying crucial baskets down the stretch to seal the 51-47 Viking victory. Having achieved his ultimate high school goal of winning a State Championship, Lin next set his sights on the future. He graduated with a 4.2 GPA and wanted to play basketball in college. According to a Dec. 2009 article written by ESPN’s Dana O’Neil, despite being widely regarded as “the runaway choice for player of the year by virtually every California publication,” Lin oddly received little interest from UCLA, Stanford University or the University of California at Berkeley, the schools where he most desired to play. Instead of choosing to walk on at either Cal or Stanford, Lin opted to take his talents to Cambridge to
photo provided by Paly Voice/...Nathan Liu
LINNING Lin celebrates after beating Mater Dei in the State Championship. play for the Harvard Crimson. At Harvard, Lin saw significant playing time even as a freshman, averaging over 18 minutes per game in his first year. For the next three years, Lin’s role expanded to the point where he averaged over 30 minutes per game. In each of those three seasons, Lin received All-Ivy League honors and was a finalist for the John Wooden and Bob Cousy Awards his senior year. Among the other highlights of Lin’s senior season was a 30-point performance against the Big East powerhouse Connecticut Huskies. Despite Lin’s impressive college career, however, professional teams did not show much interest in him. In what was becoming a recurring theme in Lin’s life, teams at the next level continued to doubt his ability and fall for flashier, more athletic players. He went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, although a few teams did pursue signing the enigmatic Lin. Among them were the Dallas Mavericks and hometown Golden State Warriors, where Lin eventually landed in July 2010. After a disappointing 2010-2011 season in which Lin did not receive much playing time, the Warriors decided to cut him loose at the end of the NBA lockout. The Houston Rockets quickly picked him up, but then released him after just 15 days. Finally, Lin signed with the New York Knicks in December, where he sat on the bench for several games before he finally got his chance that February 4 less than three months ago. Linsanity then entered the collective vocabulary of the United States. or all of Lin’s fans who are distraught after the recent news of his injured knee, this voyage to the past ought to offer some consolation. When Lin went down with a broken ankle in
2005, it turned parts of his career around, and helped mold him into the scrappy, gutsy, whatever-it-takes-to-win type of player that he is today. And while it might seem greedy for Knicks fans to request yet another “miracle” from Lin this season, they can rest assured that he will be back on the court as soon as he’s able, giving everything for his team and taking nothing for granted. “[After breaking my ankle, I told myself] I’m going to make sure if I [pursue basketball], I’m going to do it working as hard as I possibly can and giving it my 100 percent so that when I look back and when I’m done playing I won’t have any regrets,” Lin told The Viking in New York after the Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers on March 16. Although this injury puts Linsanity on hold for now, Sports Illustrated writer Pablo Torre, who wrote consecutive cover stories about Lin in mid-February, does not view him as a passing phenomenon as others in the media have. “I think anybody who doubts Jeremy Lin does so at some peril,” Torre told The Viking in an interview last month. “Everyone said he was dead. The New York Post ran a back page cover of a tombstone that said ‘R.I.P. Linsanity’ last week [March 16]. And now the Knicks have won five in a row [as of March 21] and he’s been arguably their best player again. Anybody who thinks this guy’s a flash in the pan needs to get their eyes checked. It’s ridiculous that people are still doubting him. He could not have had a better start to his [NBA] career.” The past can often be a telling indicator of what’s to come. And those who remember Lin’s past are certain of one thing: his current injury will not hold him back in the future. If anything, it may even have a positive impact. It has before. <<<
Columns: Boys’ vs. Girls’ Lax
Boys are boss
Why boys’ lacrosse trumps girls’ lacrosse in every way
BROMANCE Matt Lam (‘12) and Jordan Gans (‘14) embrace.
n the history of sports, there have been some incredibly heated and fervently debated rivalries. Red Sox vs. Yankees, Duke vs. North Carolina and Barcelona vs. Real Madrid to name a few. However, that leaves the question, what makes a rivalry great? Many factors play into the situation, though one constant remains: It is nearly impossible to discern the superior side in nearly all hotly contested rivalries. When it comes to lacrosse, there is simply no debate nor rivalry to be had between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse due to the girls’ game’s toned-down skill, absence of any form of physicality and mind-boggling rule changes. In the girls’ game, the shallow pocketed sticks prevent quick stick tricks and intricate dodges, while the boys’ stick allows for moves such as the toe drag and fake pass. In addition to the dodging and tricks, the absence of a pocket makes it so that shots barely rub up against the 80 mile-per-hour mark, whereas in the boys game, shots frequently nestle up against 100mph.
BY JONNY GLAZIER photography by Grant Shorin When one looks at the boys’ game, the brutal body checks and numbing stick checks add an element of physicality which is simply absent in the girls’ game. The absence of any form of physical contact results in a less skilled and less interesting sport for both players and spectators. Finally, rules such as those which prevent one from shooting through a defender completely undermine of the validity of girls’ lacrosse as a sport. The notion that one can’t run through a defender nor take a shot over or through them makes girls’ lacrosse seem to be a watered-down imitation of boys’ lacrosse, similar to what G2 is to Gatorade. What it really comes down to are the accommodations made for the girls’ game. While I recognize that certain concessions need to be made due to the physical disparity between boys and girls, but the girls’ game has become shallow and vapid due to the excessive reactionary changes. Say what you may about the preppy culture and vibe around the sport, but boys’ lacrosse is an infinitely superior game than girls’ lacrosse in every way, shape and form. <<<
In an anonymous survey
said they respect boys’ lacrosse more CRANK Captain Kris Hoglund (‘12) steps in to shoot.
thought boys’ lacrosse has more swag
said boys’ lacrosse takes more strength
63% thought boys’ lacrosse players had a bigger attitude DRAW Andrew Frick (‘14) prepares to take a face-off.
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BY NINA KELTY photography by Grant Shorin
Girls got it great Why girls’ lacrosse deserves your utmost respect
omposure, skill, patience and teamwork are the traits that create the foundation upon which girls’ lacrosse is built, in contrast to the selfish and egotistical play of boys’ lacrosse. Many people jump to the conclusion that we shouldn’t be respected as athletes because girls’ lacrosse is technically not a “contact” sport. Since brute force cannot be used like in boys’ lacrosse, agility, speed and explosive movements are essential to the girls’ game. Also, deeper pockets on boys’ sticks allow them to control the ball through contact. Meanwhile, we have shallower pockets and minimal protective gear, making it impossible to check like the boys, forcing us to play a game based upon finesse and teamwork. Due to the rules in girls’ lacrosse, we are forced to look for passing options in order to find an open scoring opportunity. To score, we must run plays that move the ball quickly enough to catch the defense off guard. As a result, we encourage everybody
to score, allowing us to distribute our stats throughout the roster. This kind of teamwork and selflessness contrasts drastically with the ball-hogging cockiness and brutal hitting in boys’ lacrosse. On the offensive end, boys’ lacrosse turns into a one-man-show that takes the team element away from the sport. Players consistently drive to the goal blindly flinging the ball through defenders, hoping their sheer power will allow them to score a goal. When watching a Paly boys’ lacrosse HUDDLE Head coach Jamie Nesbitt reviews plays. game, I saw players taking one shot after another, one of whom missed the goal eight times in a row. So far this season, two players account for 46% of their goals. Any player with this kind of ball hogging mentality wouldn’t last one game on a girls’ team. Although boys’ lacrosse must be respected for the power and strength needed to be a good player, the boys’ game also breeds selfishness and demands less skill than the girls’ game. Therefore, I would just like some respect from my peers for the composure, skill, patience and teamwork me and my teammates require. <<<
of 100 Paly students...
said girls’ lacrosse takes more skill
thought girls’ lacrosse players work harder
TRANSITION Annemarie Drez (‘14) cradles the ball.
thought girls’ lacrosse players are more dedicated
66% would rather hang out with the girls’ lacrosse team on a saturday night DRAW Charlotte Biffar (‘13) takes the draw.
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Columns: Shannon Says
Tackle the Transition BY SHANNON SCHEEL photo by Paige Borsos
o Peyton Manning, my number one, funny, sarcastic, mass of football godliness and southern charm, is finally back in the NFL. But there’s something missing. Is it his...jersey number? No, no. That’s still number 18. We’re still good there. Maybe...the mascot? Nope, still a horse. Wait...the Indianapolis Colts are definitely not navy blue. Nor are they orange... Then it hit me. The fear, the truth, and the severe anxiety sank in: Peyton Manning was no longer an Indianapolis Colt. After an inactive 2011 season due to neck surgery last May, and with the Colts looking to pick up Andrew Luck in the upcom-
o GO BLUE(S) Shannon shows the biggest transitions of her school year, college and professional.
ing draft after an atrocious season, Manning did the unthinkable and parted ways with the boys in blue. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve suffered quite a lot this past season as a devoted fan of the Indianapolis Colts franchise. The record, which goes without saying, was pathetic, and yet I sat there loyally on my couch, munching on comfort foods to numb my pain. And now Peyton is leaving me? Stop it, Shannon. This isn’t about you. That’s what I’ve had to tell myself lately. Because, although I am still somewhat devastated, I think I finally understand where my man is coming from. Though this is not ideal, Peyton knows he must make a transition in order to salvage the
our futures. In a sense, I can relate to Peyton: In my career as a student, I was faced with a serious decision about where and what I wanted to study. I had to make a very tough decision, consider both sides and weigh all the pros and cons, as I’m sure he did. However, I came out the other end a Michigan Wolverine and stoked out of my mind about it (Ironically, Tom Brady’s alma mater...but let’s not get into that). Next year, I won’t be wearing Paly green. It’s a shocking realization that is just now starting to sink in. A new chapter in our lives is beginning, but that doesn’t take away from my school spirit that will always stay loyal to the Palo Alto Vikings. Career paths change, life happens, people
career and game he loves. He was at a crossroads in both his life and his athletic career not too long ago: He could have pulled the plug or kept on fighting. His passion for football, and frankly his sense of humor for doing commercials about it, led him to continue his career, even if it’s not in the most optimum location (for him or Tim Tebow. Sorry bud...pray a little harder next time, I’m sure Jesus still loves you.) I suppose I am especially reflective about “crossroads” because of the time in my life, and many of The Viking readers’ lives. This doesn’t only apply to seniors such as myself, but all grades: High school in itself is a crossroads in one’s life (this is yet another example of sports as a segway into life lessons). As students, we are faced with choices that will completely influence and dictate
drift apart, but as corny as it sounds, what matters sticks with you. I know that my experience and time as a student athlete at Paly will influence every crossroad in my life, as I’m sure Peyton’s time with the Colts will influence his. We can’t all be Superbowl quarterbacks, but we sure can relate to his current predicament. I guess what I’m trying to say is...I get you, Peyton. These decisions don’t always come easy, and sacrifices are necessary in order to obtain the desired result. But as the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make a whole lot of lemonade. I hope you do well with the Denver Broncos (even though I’ll be very conflicted), and I know the Paly community, current students and alums (and soon to be alums...AAHH!) will do the same. Until next time...Scheel is out. <<<
“A new chapter in our lives is beginning, but that doesn’t take away from my school spirit that will always stay loyal to the Palo Alto Vikings.”
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Columns: Last Word
March of the Boredom
BY SPENCER DRAZOVICH photo by Scotty Bara arch Madness has ended and school will now drag on into April, highlighted by students playing fourth quarter “catch up.” Normally with NCAA March Madness ending, I spend spring break trying to catch my breath and comprehend all that happened in the year’s most eventful tournament. This year however, I found myself thoroughly disappointed with the outcomes, especially the lack of upsets and overall boring nature. If it weren’t for Kansas State coach Frank Martin, crying after his Sweet 16 loss this year’s tournament would not have been worth watching. Going into the tournament, Kentucky was the overwhelming favorite, at least according to ESPN’s “expert” analysts, Digger Phelps and Joe Lunardi. Led by freshman phenom Anthony Davis, the one man SWAT team with an egregious unibrow, Kentucky breezed through the tournament. It’s entertaining to watch five incredibly athletic men run up and down a court and “throw down” like pros, but it sure took the fun out once they “busted” my bracket. Wasn’t Kentucky aware that they
were supposed to lose in the Sweet 16 to a mid-major (aka an untalented team)? Guess Coach Cal missed my memo. But this Kentucky team deserved to win. A group of “one and done” underclassmen united under a common goal of playing unselfish basketball and dominated the competition. All five of their starters are projected first round draft picks, and Davis and teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are projected to go in the top three. Although watching Kentucky’s frenetic style of play can be entertaining, the rest of the tournament was as boring as watching a high school junior varsity football game. In the first round Duke and Missouri embarrassed themselves on national television with losses to 15 seeds. These losses screwed up every bracket in America unless you happenned to be a librarian who filled out their bracket using an ingenious algorithm consisting of mascots and school colors. After these promising first round upsets America was primed for another roller coaster tournament featuring Cinderella stories and Shaka Smart’s bald head in the Final Four. None of this happened and the rest of the tournament went along with few real upsets and not one single Cinderella story. Instead the Final Four was made up of four major conference schools: Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas and Ohio State, all with
KENTUCKY dominated this year’s tournament. This angered me to no end.
histories of successful programs. One semi-final game featured two criticized and questionable coaches: Rick Pitino and John Calipari (both of whom have been hit with NCAA sanctions or had teams forced to forfeit victories). The worst part of this year is that we cannot even blame the NCAA for ruining the tournament. They did their best to make things interesting by suspending Syracuse big man, Fab Melo, and setting the Orange up for the first 16-1 upset of all time. Too bad poor officiating ruined their first round game. The refs did everything they could (pretty much every call made in the last two minutes of the UNC- Asheville - Syracuse game was complete crap) to prevent Syracuse from becoming the first seed to lose to a 16. They then proceeded to call 45 and 48 fouls in later games, both atrociously high numbers. I would now like to congratulate the refs for taking every ounce of fun out of the tournament. Despite my problems with the mens’ tournament they do not compare to the animosity I feel towards the womens’ tournament. The woman’s NCAA tournament went along predictably. The four No. 1 seeds and 2 seeds made the elite eight just as everyone expected and Stanford executed their perennial Final Four choke-fest to perfection (five straight Final Fours but zero championships to show for it). The Stanford- Baylor Final Four match-up was almost comical in the sense that Baylor is utterly despicable when Griner (Baylor’s 6’8” horse) doesn’t touch the ball every possession. Stanford gave wide open jump shots to anyone on the court besides Griner and they continually missed. In the second half the Beast began to get her touches and Baylor dominated. There was some very good fundamental basketball played, but the minute SportsCenter made Griner dunking a “Top Ten” play I had to draw the line. I apologize if I offended any of you Kentucky bandwagon fans out there (Jack Anderson (‘14) cough, cough) or Brittany Griner advocates, but it is an undisputed fact that this year’s tournament was underwhelming for both genders. No one likes to watch favorites win; unfortunately for America that is exactly what happened. Hopefully, next year we can see Shaka and the boys reload to make another run for the title. Otherwise, I don’t know how I am going to survive March math lectur es. <<<
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Baseball player Ozzy Braff's journey back into the batter's box.