video of Decker’s penalty shot goal. Badgers up 5-2 http://twitter.yfrog.com/9edldvyinnxtadavezvpjdncz
Not everything you are destined to do is what you meant to do. This is the case with Lindenwood senior KJ Stubbs.
A native of The Bahamas, Stubbs was a sprinter in what he called, “the number one sport in my country,” track and field. Because of his success in his home country, Lindenwood University took an interest in him. He recalled, “Some of the track coaches actually flew down to come see me and then soon after I was offered a scholarship.”
Everything seemed to be going smoothly. Stubbs was on his way to America’s heartland to compete in the sport his homeland loves above all others. However, a roadblock was awaiting him. “I just kept getting injured. My hamstring and groin were always hurting it seemed like, and the rehab was wearing on me,” Stubbs said.
In addition to the injuries, Stubbs was getting burnt out with track. “Track wasn’t fun, ” he said. ” I didn’t like how the team was being coached or ran. The team was segregated with only small groups talking to one another, which made the practices and all that something I would not look forward to at all.”
Although his interest in track was waning, Stubbs had to keep going because a significant amount of his tuition was paid through a track scholarship. Stubbs said, “There wasn’t a way I could just quit track or I couldn’t afford school.” However, another sport soon caught his eye – rugby.
Stubbs said, “I had never played rugby before, but some guys on the team and Coach Ron would mention it to me about once a month, so that was always in the back of my mind.” Rugby coach Ron Laszewski recalled, “KJ would come and watch the games and showed an interest in our program.”
However, Stubbs could not just switch his sport from track to rugby and keep a scholarship due to certain restrictions dealing with the NCAA.
During the summer, Stubbs discovered a possible way to switch spots. “A resident director spot opened up in Guffey,” he remembered. “With that paying for full tuition, I told myself if I got the spot I’m going to try rugby and finally quit track.”
The position did end up going to Stubbs. He informed the track staff he was finished.
Laszewski, who also coaches the St. Louis Bombers, had Stubbs join that team for the summer to get used to the game and practice. “He makes a powerful first impression. The speed and athleticism were clear right away. He just kept improving throughout the summer every week,” said Laszewski.
Stubbs said of that experience, “I remember my first game. I didn’t even have the right shoes. Coach Ron had to bring me some. When I scored my first try in that game, it just was so exciting. It was something fun for a change.” Everything switched for Stubbs in terms of his attitude and state of mind
“Rugby was that ‘family feel’ track wasn’t. I finally realized that having fun was actually possible,” Stubbs said.
People took note of the change. Said Laszewski, “KJ has got that glowing personality and smile that make him a joy to have around. His teammates enjoy practice and games more with him around. That attitude and smile make you just feel good.”
The enjoyment that rugby brought into his life was noticed by more than just his teammates and coaches. His mood also was reflected in his relationships with his employees as resident director. Alex Rice, senior and employee of Stubbs said, “He’s easy to get along with and just has an upbeat attitude all the time.”
Rugby is something Stubbs does just for fun because he is not earning tuition money through his participation in this sport. Fun as it is, he still makes an impact on the field. His first try came in the game against Saint Louis University.
There are two types of rugby. Sevens, with seven players on each team and traditional rugby with 15 to a team. The sevens team, of which Stubbs is a player, has qualified for nationals in Dallas later this year.
Coach Laszewski said, “If KJ keeps on improving the way he has all summer and into this season, I envision him as a starter for our team next year definitely. He’s got the work ethic and the attitude to make that a realistic goal.”
Blend the vocabulary and playfulness of Willy Wonka with the business sense and love of sports of Jerry Jones and you can probably get a creation similar to Mike Veeck.
Veeck is the son of infamous baseball owner Bill Veeck, who once put Eddie Gaedel, a man with dwarfism, up to bat wearing the number 1/8. As they say, the apple did not fall far from the tree.
The younger Veeck picked up where his father left off in the family business of baseball ownership. One of his successes is the St. Paul Saints. Veeck discussed the genesis of the team, “The media and everyone thought it was crazy to have a team just seven miles from a major league team (Minnesota Twins).”
Passion is a central focus of his business model. In addition to his belief that, “fun is good,” Veeck noted that passion is vital to success. He advised, “Follow your heart, because if you love it, you’ll be great at it.”
Not much draws attention quicker than something that is unexpected. When it comes to typical baseball owners, typical is exactly what Veeck is not. The image that pops into many people’s minds when a sports owner is mentioned is a stodgy old man, who is set in his ways and often more focused on money than winning. Veeck, however, is far from this type of owner.
It is not exactly clear where Veeck fits in when it comes to owners. He holds outrageous team promotions, and as he said, “the Twin Cities’ humane society loved Mike Vick chew dog-toy night.” Veeck holds media attention as a key to success. He mentioned, “I’m guilty of everything they said I said.”
Disco Demolition Night was a creation of Veeck’s. He said, “My father told me we have a doubleheader and if you don’t come up with some idea for it, you’re fired.” Veeck later did come up with an idea; he wanted to blow up disco records in center field before the second of the two games in the double header.
In his words, “Sixty thousand people packed the place. The mayor called me and said we have gridlock. The city is handcuffed.” Comiskey Park had 10,000 more people inside than it had capacity for, with countless others waiting outside. The fans jumped onto the field and the second game had to be cancelled. Veeck recalled the ending, “It was only the fourth forfeit in Major League history. I was fired the next day.”
Veeck had a smile on his face while telling this story. He values the people around him and lets creativity thrive. Why? It is fun for him, that’s why. Veeck agreed he’s got a dream situation, doing what he has a passion for and getting paid to do it.
He described how he encourages risk, “every idea has the yin and the yang. The good and the bad come with everything.” In laymen’s terms, he believes that without risking for the good, you almost certainly can bank on the bad.
Summer of 1999, one of the most memorable celebrations in sports history took place. More than 90,000 fans packed Rose Bowl Stadium as millions around the world watched the World Cup penalty kick shootout. Brandi Chastain scored the winning goal for Team USA and ripped off her jersey in triumph. This all could have been fairy tale, had it not been for Title IX.
Forty years ago, an initiative was passed that brought about the rise of women’s athletics. Title IX was a portion of the education amendments of 1972 calling for females to have equal representation in both high school and collegiate athletics.
Now relate the passage of Title IX to sports at Lindenwood. This university has one of the largest, perhaps the largest, athletics programs in the nation. More than 20 sports have made the jump into NCAA competition. There is a pending question. How do Title IX and gender equity affect the school as they move into the NCAA?
For one, women’s athletics have more types of sports represented. Jason O’Dell, a Lindenwood staff member involved with athletics said, “It seems to me that there has been an increase both in participation and skill level by female athletes over the last two decades. At Lindenwood, there has been tremendous overall growth.”
Dr. Richard Boyle said, “The reason is we (Lindenwood) provide more opportunities for females is, in part, because of the large football roster.” Basically, there is no counter-balanced sport for football. On the other hand, there are both women’s and men’s soccer teams. Therefore, those rosters are balanced.
Larry Graham, a university teacher and former women’s basketball coach explained, “Cheerleading usually is the counter to the larger roster football has in high schools. However, here cheerleading is not an NCAA sport, so we adjust.”
Management of the numbers is a thorough process. Boyle explained the process, “There is a Gender Equity Committee that oversees to make sure that all female sports are treated equally with the male sports programs.” Lindenwood has a Senior Women’s Athletic Administrator in charge of overseeing the numbers.
That administrator, Chanda Jackson, commented, “Title IX is not limited to just an NCAA environment and several factors weighed into the decision of which sports to transition into the NCAA.”
Gender equity could be one of those factors. Ice hockey is one example. If Lindenwood would have made both men’s and women’s hockey an NCAA sport, the numbers may not have worked. As a result, ice hockey for men was kept a student life sport. Women’s hockey went NCAA.
Water polo is one of the sports that is NCAA eligible but remains unassociated. Senior Mike Rimkus explained, “The water polo team competes in the Collegiate Water Polo Association, which has nothing to do with NCAA or NAIA. It’s basically its own organization.” NCAA does have water polo; Lindenwood’s, however, just is a club sport.
The gender equity question affects the women’s programs as well. Women’s wrestling is currently in the student life sports category with its male counterpart competing in the NCAA.
NCAA does not have women’s wrestling as an official sport, so there was no choice to change the status of women’s wrestling. Jackson added that the university has an “equity plan in place to assist in the overall achievement of a gender-equitable environment.”
While wrestling remains non-NCAA affiliated, other sports are experiencing growth. Gymnastics was just added to the NCAA lineup for the university. Boyle mentioned, “It was the first gymnastics program added in the last 10 years in the USA. The last gymnastics program added prior to LU was at the University of Arkansas.”