Jake Force
Rants by Jake

Tom Brady’s greatest plays and his epic snub of the Patriots

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What is the Tom Brady moment you’ll always look back on? 

Is it the young kid leading an improbable game-winning drive against the big, bad St. Louis Rams with less than two minutes to play in Super Bowl 36? Or is it the famous snow bowl against the Raiders several weeks prior? Or maybe the iconic comeback from down 28-3 with 2:10 to play in the third quarter of Super Bowl 51? I know that one takes the cake for me. 

Brady’s most exciting moments span far beyond the Super Bowls that allowed him to shine on the global stage. 

This has always been one of the best parts about growing up a Boston sports fan — the victories that led to the championship titles. The ‘04 Red Sox didn’t win their first World Series in 86 years without first making a miraculous comeback against the Yankees in the playoffs. The 2011 Bruins claimed their Stanley Cup title only after a tumultuous first-round playoff series with their sworn enemies of almost a century, the Montreal Canadiens.

 Everyone remembers the championships. But what surrounded them was pretty awesome too. So, in that spirit, here are just three of my favorite Tom Brady moments that weren’t in the Super Bowl. 

Click here to continue reading Jake’s story from the Boston University News Service.

Curry and Covid: A Tale of Survival

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In this three-part story, The Currier Times will examine the effect the pandemic and the financial struggles have had on the college. In this first installment, we’ll look at the current state of higher education in the area and how those issues have applied to Curry. The second part will examine the retrenchment process and how the college decided what—and who—had to be cut. The third part will look to the future and what it holds for the institution.

Read the three part article:

Part One: https://curriertimes.net/2021/05/19/curry-and-covid-a-tale-of-survival/
Part Two: https://curriertimes.net/2021/05/20/part-two-retrenchment-takes-hold-but-questions-remain/
Part Three: https://curriertimes.net/2021/05/21/as-pandemic-wanes-where-does-curry-go-next-part-three/

Boston University Graduate School Entrance Essay

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Attention Deficit Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Processing Speed Disorder… All that disorder made for an uphill battle while chasing a lifelong goal of working in sports media. In order to achieve that goal, I always knew I had to stay in school no matter how difficult it might get—and school was extremely challenging for me from the beginning. IEPs, meetings, emails and responses to intervention, my parents and I had it all. After fifth grade, I was inexplicably “graduated” off the IEP that was keeping me afloat in school. With the challenges of middle school looming, my doctor prescribed Concerta, which instantly changed my life. Concerta made it possible for me to focus on my schoolwork and helped me control the impulse to act out in class. My classroom performance increased as did my self-confidence. As I grew, so did the dosage, but with the higher dosage came more noticeable side effects. The meds killed my appetite to the point where I was often hungry and tired at hockey practice every day after school. I wasn’t eating enough to produce the energy needed to perform at practice.

By junior year, I’d had enough of Concerta’s side effects. Five years on the meds had provided a blueprint of how I could do better in school. And while I made the decision to no longer take it, I still consider Concerta a critical part of how I made it to college. By acting, behaving and studying the same way I did when I was on it, I applied what worked without the pill doing it for me. 

Senior year, my parents were concerned about whether I should play hockey, because my grades had slipped a bit since I’d been off the meds. I had to make it work, because giving up hockey simply wasn’t an option. I was determined to prove everyone wrong, to show them that yes, I can finish senior project and get an A on it. Yes, I can get into college. And yes, maybe I can even get better college grades than anyone in my immediate family ever did. Determination kicked in along with maturity.

With the goal of successfully completing college, I was tested by Curry College’s PAL Program to determine whether I qualified. PAL is designed to help students with conditions such as ADHD, Dyslexia and other learning challenges to navigate college. Their testing found I had a Processing Speed Disorder, something copious other tests had missed. They were shocked that I’d successfully completed high school without any significant support. Knowing I needed the kind of help PAL provided, I applied early-action to one school—Curry College. They sent a big envelope a few months later, and the rest is history. The PAL Program was exactly what I needed—someone in my corner. I didn’t need everyday homework help and usually didn’t request extended time on exams, which is one of PAL’s biggest selling points. However, I would go to my PAL Professor, Dr. Webber, for things like picking my classes, advice about communicating with professors and tips on time management, which was my greatest challenge. I’m perfectly capable of finishing assignments, but my ADD can make concentrating a major struggle. Meeting weekly with Dr. Webber helped remind me that school is the main reason I’m there. She taught me to advocate for myself, which might be the most important factor in getting through college. We often talked about how participating in classroom discussions goes miles further than the gradebook indicates. Even if you aren’t caught up on material, “Try your best to participate,” she’d say. “It doesn’t go unnoticed.” Dr. Webber and PAL gave me tools and strategies that put graduate school within reach. 

You asked me to write about a moment of truth in my life, and I can honestly say my proudest moment thus far was making the Dean’s List my sophomore year. What a thrill that was for me and my parents. Of course, I wondered if it was a one-off. Then it happened again and again. I’ve made the Dean’s List five times now, each time a victory more than seventeen years in the making. My greatest accomplishment will be finishing college in May with an excellent GPA, an expanded worldview and a passion for writing and reporting that I hope to perfect in graduate school. My second greatest accomplishment would be acceptance into your esteemed Master’s of Journalism program. 

Through The Ups and Downs, Zach White Remains Focused on the Work Ahead

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As Curry hockey and lacrosse standout Zach White closes in on his final days before graduation, he reflects on his time here at Curry as well as future expectations as a professional hockey player.

He’s come a long way since having only six points in 22 games his sophomore hockey season, but the challenges and successes along the way have helped him become fixture on the Curry campus.

“There was one point where I was on the verge of tears because I had twenty-something breakaways and scored on like one of them,” said White.

His numbers greatly improved over the next two seasons with 32 points and 39 points, respectively. Tying for second place nationally for division III with 23 goals this year also added depth to his resume. The decorated two-sport captain has recently joined Hockey Club Cholet, a professional team from the French Ice Hockey Federation.

But to get the full Zach White picture, you need to go beyond the nationally recognized scoring numbers, being a two-sport captain and of course, beyond signing pro contracts. Do some digging, and you’ll find a guy whose raw passion to compete is unparalleled.

“When you have your captain, the nation-leading scorer out on the ice a half hour before practice working on things by himself, and then you have a freshman walk into the rink while Zach White is already out there, think about how that impacts your team culture and the message it sends that freshman,” said Curry head hockey coach TJ Manastersky.

“Zach White works hard and puts in all this extra time, but I don’t think Zach thinks of it as working. He’s just doing what he likes to do. This is who he is.”

At White’s last junior hockey showcase tournament for the New York Apple Core (Eastern Hockey League), Manastersky and White had to re-introduce themselves due to the Colonel coach forgetting their first encounter a year prior at Curry’s 2014 Accepted Students Day. Impressed with what he saw, Manastersky offered White a spot on the Curry hockey roster. White began as a nursing major the following fall.

“It was huge just to get college coaches to look at me,” White said, “because kids come out of high school and play three or four years of juniors, and I’d only played one year.”

It was indeed huge. At five-foot-seven-inches tall and a hundred and fifty pounds, White is used to having to impress with his skill and raw passion, and he has experienced heavy skepticism before.

“I would be the first one on and last one off the ice ever since I started here,” White said, “and I knew what I had to do to get to this level, because everybody said ‘you’re not good enough,’ ‘you’re too small,’ ‘you’re this and that,’ and I just said ‘whatever’. So I knew I needed to stand out in some way.”

But hockey wasn’t enough. In the summer of 2015, Zach attended a prospects’ day for Curry lacrosse. After talking with head lacrosse coach Tim Murphy and showing his game film from high school, White landed a spot as a face-off man on the 2016 squad, cementing his role as a two-sport Colonel.

He talks of an amazing four years here at Curry, and his resume speaks for itself: a seasoned leader on two teams with amazing stats and an involvement in the community. He also managed to set up a floor hockey tournament this year with kids in the Miller gym, the mission being to spread bullying awareness.

“My goal in life is always to help people and I figured this was the best way to do it,” said White.

However, the fruits of being a revered captain across two sports and a well-liked person around campus have certainly come with struggles.

Aside from a sophomore scoring drought, he’s also experienced chronic back pain for the majority of his Curry tenure. His main job on the lacrosse field was face-offs, a position that can cause pain in a multitude of areas. That, along with doing the full workout regiments for both hockey and lacrosse, contributed to his pain. However, he was fortunate to have trainers guide him through a tailored workout regiment, which several multi-sport Colonels now use.

“When I would be returning to hockey workouts, the trainers would help me make a regiment where I’m not really lifting as much, I’m just strengthening my core and my back so that I wouldn’t be injured throughout the lacrosse season and then have to recover through another whole year.”

He refuses to let the pain stop him, and he remains poised to compete at a high level.

“It’s a grind for sure. My back is killing me now, but it’s just adversity. I want to win so bad, and I want our team to do so well. All the pain kind of goes away when you step on the field.”

But back pain is just part of the challenge his workload has brought. Time management becomes much trickier when you play on one team, never mind being the leader of two. He would eventually have to switch his major from the time-and-work-consuming nursing to criminal justice, which was a better fit for his athletic schedule.

“I’ve gone through struggles that a lot of people who haven’t played sports won’t understand,” White said. “Things like schoolwork and trying to make time for friends and family. Like I haven’t been able to really go see my family, so that’s very strenuous on me because my mom is very close with me. [My girlfriend] is definitely a motivator for me as well. She’s helped me with a lot of struggles.”

Along with the burden of a time-consuming schedule, there have also been deeper struggles. One of which was losing friend and former lacrosse teammate, Wade Prajer, who took his own life after withdrawing from Curry following his and White’s sophomore year.

“It was really hard on all of us,” White said, “especially because he was such a good guy, and nobody really saw it coming because that type of thing you don’t really notice, ever. So it definitely was hard hearing that.”

Aside from losing a friend and former teammate, the death of both his grandmother two summers ago from cancer and his grandfather just two months ago from a stroke have weighed heavy on the ever-so-resilient White.

“It definitely sucks because they were my number one fans,” White said. “It chokes me up a little bit, because they’re the people who want to see you graduate. They want to see you play pro hockey, and it just sucks not having them be able to see that because they put so much energy into seeing it, they were at almost every game.”

Through it all, he stands strong and ready to embark on his pro career. And as Manastersky put it, he is definitely reaping the fruits of his labor. He will step into a significant role for his new Cholet club, which brings pressure, but like any challenge, he’s embracing it, because that’s what Zach White does.

“Zach is a game breaker,” Manastersky said, “a guy who at a moment’s notice can go down and score… He’s going to do great [in France].”

Red Sox vs. Cubs at Fenway Park

Rants, Written

Last night when me, my friend and my cousin realized we had gone to the wrong part of the stadium looking for our seats, we turned around and started to head back the other way. When I turned around to start walking, I saw a man standing there talking to a couple of fans. But this wasn’t just any man, it was a man who goes by the name of Theo Epstein. Thats right, we saw the curse breaker at the game last night.

I could see that Theo was a bit aggrevated when we asked him to get a picture with him but I knew as soon as I saw him that I would have missed out if we hadn’t gotten a picture with him

The Red Sox got the win 5-4. My dad was raised a Cubs fan so this was a cool experience for both of us to see the Red Sox and Cubs play at Fenway for a second time after also seeing it several years ago.

Message for Lavar Ball

Rants, Written

Okay let’s get one thing straight, there’s no doubt that UCLA’s (now former) point guard Lonzo Ball is very talented and very exciting to watch on the court. He will also probably be a very valuable asset to an NBA team in the near future. Just like his two younger brothers (LiAngelo, age 18 and Lamelo, age 15) it’s looking like his future with basketball is very promising. That being said, their father is setting them up for failure. Now listen, I’m all about wanting to see your kids succeed, and if they say they want to pursue something, then you should absolutely try to push them to achieve their goals. But once you start taking shots at NBA MVP’s and hall-of-famers, you’re going overboard.

 

Now keep in mind that the problem doesn’t lie with how hard Lavar Ball is pushing his kids, but rather it lies with how much praise he gives to his sons. I understand that your kids are supposed to be your pride and joy as a parent, but when you start telling people that your son is a better basketball player than other peoples’ kids and better than the best players in the NBA, you are making it so your son has to live up to an unbelievable amount of hype. Lavar Ball said recently that he believes his sons will end up being better than LeBron James’s kids because of the pedigree that Lebron’s sons will have to live up to. But doesn’t he realize that he is creating the same type of situation for his boys with all of the praise he’s giving them? Yes LeBron’s kids will have to live up to a lot of hype simply because of who their dad is (especially since one of them shares the same name as his father, LeBron Jr.). But what Lavar Ball doesn’t realize is that his sons will basically have to do the same thing because of all the praise he has given them.

 

Now, Lavar has also said that he wants that target on his sons’ backs because it will make their opponents want to stop them that much more. However, this may do more than just that, it could end up making other players not even want to play with them due to how much hatred has been aimed at them because of their Dad. After UCLA’s Sweet Sixteen loss a few days ago, I think Lavar Ball endured the humbling experience that he’s had coming for quite some time now. This is obvious because of the modest comments he made after the game: “They came up short, but one game doesn’t define his (Lonzo) season,” “No one is going to take De’Aaron Fox over him because of one game. It’s about your body of work, and people know what he can do,” “When I talked to him after the game, I told him, ‘You’re going to win. You’re going to lose. It’s OK. No one goes undefeated.’ They went 15-17 last year and went to the Sweet 16. This won’t be his legacy. It’s just a step to get to the ultimate goal — the NBA.” You’ll notice that these comments are very toned down compared his previous ones. Whatever Lavar Ball decides to do now that Lonzo is done at UCLA and headed to the NBA, I would like to see Lonzo and his two brothers have successful basketball careers and I think they will all deliver in that regard. But the moral of the story here, Lavar Ball will be setting his kids up for nothing but failure if he keeps portraying them the way he has.

Bracketology

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Bracketology

Here is my bracket for this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This year in the NBA

Rants, Written

At the beginning of this basketball season, everyone predicted that the NBA Finals was going to be a rematch of last year’s epic Warriors vs. Cavaliers series. And with the addition of Kevin Durant, everyone, myself included said that the Warriors were going to be the stronger team and come away victorious this time. However, since the Warriors have already exceeded the amount of losses they had last year, and that the Cavs seem to be on somewhat of a skid over the past month, this goes to prove that the NBA is anyone’s league right now (accept for the bottom dwellers). Also, with how good of a year my Celtics are having, I would not recommend sleeping on them in the Eastern Conference down the stretch. The Celtics have the star power with Isaiah Thomas along with quality role players with a very good coach in Brad Stevens. To be honest, I don’t watch a lot of NBA Basketball but I think the end of the regular season and into the playoffs is going to be some fun basketball to watch.

Bruins Coaching Change

Rants, Written

Ok, I know that a some coaches can only last so long with one team, but I have to say I was a little disappointed when I heard that the Bruins fired Coach Claude Julien. First of all, I thought the timing was very un-ethical to say the least. If they were planning on firing him, they could have at least done it before or after the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory parade. The fact that they thought no one would hear about it until later in the day is just down-right stupid to me. The parade started around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, so the Bruins decide to make the announcement at 9:30 a.m., just two hours before the parade. Then on top of that, they held the presser at 11:30, when just about every sports reporter in Boston was focussed on the parade. Even though it wasn’t the main event of the day, that kind of stuff still gets out very quickly, especially in this day and age.

Secondly, I don’t think that Julien was the center of the problem. Although the Bruins have been playing very well since he left, I think the problem was a more than just coaching. I could be wrong, and frankly I hope I am because I would love nothing more then to see this team have a great second half of their season. But I ever since the Bruins fell out of playoff contention two years ago, I never thought the Bruins had the depth and skill that they had in those Stanley Cup runs. But hopefully this coaching change puts a spark under this team because they could really use it right now. And even though I was a fan of Claude Julien, I am excited to see what Coach Bruce Cassidy has to offer.

Super Bowl LI Review

Rants, Written

Well…I think we can all agree that that was one of the craziest games of all time. I’m still trying to process everything that went down but I don’t think this one is going to sink in for a while. I also think that after a second half comeback as big as that, Tom Brady is the undisputed greatest quarterback to ever play the game. His biggest comeback previous to the Super Bowl was 24 points, and last night he passed it. Of course that is not the only thing he passed last night, he is now the winningest QB in NFL history (in regard to Super Bowls), he has won 4 Super Bowl MVP’s and is now tied for the most rings of any player ever.

Although the Patriots came out on top, I do have to give credit to the Atlanta Falcons. This is a team that is going to be right in the mix at the end of every season for the foreseeable future. Matt Ryan is a beyond special player who, if he keeps the numbers he has, is looking at a hall of fame career. Dan Quinn has a young team that definitely has a bright future.

Being a young team is quite possibly what did the Falcons in towards the end of this game. Being up by 25 points, many teams would probably sit back on a lead like that. But I think that is what separates good from great. The Patriots knew this game wasn’t over at 28-3 in the third quarter, they knew that they had a while to go before time expired. If we have learned one thing about the Pats over the past fifteen years it is that you never count them out. Now I understand that, because last night in the third quarter, I thought to myself “Oh well…they’ll lose this game, they’ll be back next year”. Well not only did they prove me wrong and win the game, they will certainly be back next year!!! #PatsNation

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