Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 — Houston, TX

Casey Michel

NEWS 5/16/10 7:00pm

Commentary: Pre-graduation bucket list around Rice athletics

I don't have many regrets from my college days, but one sticks out like Brian Cushing in a banned-substance test. It was three-and-a-half years ago, my greenness showing loudly on my University of Oregon shirt as I climbed the steps of Autry Court to watch a men's basketball game against the Ducks. I hadn't shaken my original love for UO, and it was only after hours of ribbing that I'd realized my fois gras, er, faux pas. Not that you needed a glimpse into my collegiate journal - here are your requisite Ken Griffey Jr. and "One Tree Hill" name-drops - but I bring up this embarrassment to illustrate the fact that there are a few things about Rice sports, and college sports in general, that you need to know. For starters, always, always root for Rice. I don't care if your name is Rudy Ruettiger or if you literally bleed Longhorn orange (Longhorange?) - this is your school, and these are your teams. But more than that, these are your classmates, so for the sake not merely of victory but for the ties that bind us to one another, for the blanket that covers all of us in the Rice community, root them on. They not only appreciate it, they thrive on it, and you'll find that you've made some friends along the way.

NEWS 5/16/10 7:00pm

Men's tennis is going dancin'

t's not that perfection doesn't exist in sports. Disney feasts on it, and children can't help but imagine it. But when the grind of a season corrodes those attempts at perfection, when faults and walks and bricks remind you of perfection's impossibility, it's easy to think that those childhood thoughts are only meant for disappointment. That perfection is lost with the drop of a point. And then there's the 2010 season of the men's tennis team. Then you have a team swarming center court, a black-and-glass trophy held high, a coach dripping from a Gatorade dousing. You have a reminder that perfection can still peek out from its hiding spot, beneath a crystal blue sky, often when you least expect it.

NEWS 4/22/10 7:00pm

Commentary: Thresher tenure inspired men's tennis appreciation

It was late 2006, a few weeks into classes at Rice, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was crisping on the metal seats at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium, the courts splayed in front of me, empty. I was a freshman, out on my first assignment. Men's tennis beat reporter. Old-fashioned and metallic gray tape recorder in my pocket, my notebook on my lap and 20-odd questions scribbled in the margins: "Biggest surprise last year? Toughest match this season? Postseason predictions?" All that was missing was my fedora and a tweed jacket. Also missing was any semblance of what my job entailed.

NEWS 4/15/10 7:00pm

Commentary: Online streaming: one worthwhile innovation

No matter the march of time, the game of baseball will always be stuck in 1930. Grandstands, newsreels, games of pepper - the game has an old soul, an ingrained essence that taps into a different era, a different mentality. Through the waxing and waning of exploding scoreboards, cookie-cutter stadiums and uniforms with shorts - White Sox, I'm looking at you - the game has always had a streak of staidness run through it. It was of our fathers, and it will be of our children; this much is certain. So when a new technology is introduced, or some type of change swirls around the sport, a pushback is inevitable. Look no further than the QuesTech debacle of 2003 or the debate over video replays in last year's playoffs. (Full disclosure: As a lifelong baseball fan, this conservative streak runs through me - only three years ago I wrote that "instant replay belongs in baseball just about as much as Mick Jagger needs to lose weight."

NEWS 4/15/10 7:00pm

Men's and women's tennis win one, lose one over weekend

Oscar Podlewski was struggling. He was hammering through the third set against the University of Tulsa's Alastair Barnes, trying to break him to no avail. The Tulsa players hung over the fence behind him, pricking him with not-so-friendly banter. Rice (11-10) was up 3-2 against its Conference USA rival, but sophomore Christian Saravia, battling a rough cold, was running on fumes at No. 6 and about to fall. All hopes of a victory lay at court No. 3, where Podlewski looked tired, shirt sweated through, Barnes snarling across the net. A 4-3 loss wouldn't have been the team's first, and it certainly wouldn't have been an upset - when the two teams met last Friday, Rice was 11 spots lower in the rankings than No. 31 Tulsa (14-8). But a loss here might have been the most disheartening of the year. At the home match, Rice was in a position to finally beat a higher-ranked team for the first time in more than two months. But Tulsa is the team that has kept the Owls from the C-USA crown four years in a row. In fact, Rice hadn't beaten the Golden Hurricane since the end of the 2006 season - before anyone on the current team was in the program.

NEWS 4/8/10 7:00pm

Men's tennis finds winning ways, downs TCU, Texas A&M

Just as spring turns, just as the baseball team revamps, so too does the men's tennis team. Two weeks ago, the season was in the dumps. But with a 5-2 thumping of then-No. 58 Texas Christian University March 27 and a to-the-limit 4-3 loss against No. 12 Texas A&M University four days later, the season now appears a bit rosier for the 42nd-ranked Owls (10-9). The turnaround took long enough to arrive, but it's not easy to see just what caused it. The team's losses have almost all been handy, with very few of the 4-3 heartbreakers the team ran into in 2009. And while there is a prominent number of underclassmen, with sophomores generally comprising two-thirds of the singles starting lineup, all of them gained hefty experience in their first-year campaigns. The team was simply sputtering, underperforming, losing one too many tiebreakers, double-faults and set points.

NEWS 4/8/10 7:00pm

Commentary: Opening week ushers hope for golden age

We've survived it. "The Decade from Hell," as Time called it. The 2000s - or Aughts, or Double-O's, or whatever you want to call them - were not for the faint of heart. Sparkling towers felled by manned missiles; a pair of wars foisted with thought to neither fiscal or physical costs; a hurricane turning America's soul, New Orleans, into a watery, ransacked shell. No, it wasn't for the faint. And it sure as hell took long enough.

NEWS 3/25/10 7:00pm

Commentary: Hopes of student body pressure baseball team

The baseball team knows pressure. They know the feeling of impossible expectations, the weight of heady predecessors and a legendary legacy. They've been beaten and broken and embarrassed, and had to dealt with the ramifications in kind. But they've never known pressure like this.

NEWS 3/25/10 7:00pm

Rain no deterrent for men's tennis in three-match sweep

After a season of more valleys than peaks, more struggles and strains than growth and gains, last weekend may have been a sign of changing times for the men's tennis team. Playing host at the 52nd Annual Rice Intercollegiate Tournament, the Owls (9-8) swept the three-match weekend to right a season that had wobbled to the brink. Before the weekend began, Assistant Coach Efe Ustundag (Baker '99) had said he wouldn't be pleased with anything but a sweep. With his wish granted, Ustundag was as satisfied as expected.

NEWS 3/18/10 7:00pm

Commentary: Focus on leaderboard, not on Tiger's wrongdoings

Last week, I was tasked with preparing a speech on why America may or may not be in moral decline. Pondering my options, I figured I could cite homicide rates, marijuana decriminalization and same-sex marriage - all the sociological strictures that comprise the glut of this nation's moral conversation. That is to say, all the points people are expecting me to discuss. And then I realized I didn't have to do any of this. Instead, I could just talk about Tiger Woods.