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Happy feet: Toes are only truly happy when you let them out to play. The return of spring has brought out the footwear of freedom, seen here outside the TSC. / Photo by Josh Russell
Today's word on

Friday, April 8, 2005

"Once you have learned how to ask questions, you have learned how to learn."

--Neil Postman, journalism scholar (1931-2003)

USU JCOM NEWS NOTE: THE JCOM Department celebrates the Class of 2005 Friday with JDay, showcasing the best of student work in print and
broadcast journalism, the Web, photo, and public relations. Followed by the annual JCOM Awards Banquet--student awards, 2005-06 scholarship winner, speaker Robert Kirby of the Salt Lake Tribune, all with fine dining. For information or reservations, contact the USU JCOM Department at or 435-797-3292.

How to survive the NFL offseason -- for the average fan

By Derrick Trujillo

March 9, 2005 | For many sports fans the Super Bowl is a bittersweet ending to an exciting season. The sweet part of the Super Bowl is obvious: you have an excuse to party and wager on sports. The bitter part is often overlooked, however, because people don't want to cope with the end of the season. What can fans, do to deal with the gap in weekends (other than study of course)?

"The first Sunday after the Super Bowl is hard when you wake up and there is no football, what the heck is that about?" said freshman Michael Martinez, who like so many others finds the first couple of weeks without the NFL a little awkward.

Despite the darkness that surrounds football fans during the summer, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Many sporting events are going on in the summer, including football, that can hold you over until training camp begins in July.

2005 NFL Draft

The 2005 NFL draft is the place where losers come to dream. Perhaps as over-hyped as any "sporting event" can be, the draft April 19-20 is just as important to some fans as the first kickoff in September. Did your favorite team not do as well as you hoped? Did they lack a quarterback that knew which way was up? Or did your team need that tough guy to give the defense an attitude? This is the place where you can hope your team finds a Tom Brady or a Terrell Davis buried deep in the sixth round who can lead you from last place in the division to a Super Bowl victory.

There are already hundreds of sites with 2005 mock drafts.'s draft started in December. Go ahead, submerge yourself in college statistics and "expert" projections or write up your own mock draft.

Just be careful about what you yell at your television when your team doesn't draft who you expected. You could be jeering the next Donovan McNabb.


If you're a fan of no defense, style over substance and superstar names, the NBA All-Star weekend should fit you nicely. Never have more egos filled one building than when NBA converges for its All-Star game on February 20. When the regular season starts back up again there should be a lot of excitement in the Western Conference. Only half a game separates the top two seeds and only five games separate five teams for the last three seeds.

The Eastern Conference is weak again, but it will be exciting to see if the Indiana Pacers can survive the suspensions that came from the infamous brawl that took place in Detroit on November 19. If you're aUtah Jazz fan you might proclaim your undying love for the Phoenix Suns when they make the playoffs while the Jazz players watch the games from their couches. If you don't follow the NBA until the playoffs start, you only have to wait until April to pay attention to the action.

March Madness

March Madness is a time where sport continues to live in its purest form. If you're looking for untainted sportsmanship, great athletes and nothing but excitement, then March Madness is for you. This tournament of 65 college basketball teams gets just about every state in the nation jumping for their local favorite. Each round is the same thing: one game, win or go home. The pattern continues into the Final Four, where the nation watches as four teams of student athletes compete for the National Championship. Savor the final four because the standouts that you see will be comparing shoe contracts and reaping the benefits of their athletic gifts in a few short months.

Last year the Aggies were not invited to the "big dance," but if they continue to play strong and win the Big West Conference, the NCAA will have no choice but to invite them to the tournament this year. Even if the NCAA overlooks the Aggies again, there is still a way to get involved. Root for the team that represents the Big West Conference. Thebetter that team does, the more likely it is that the conference will get more than one invitation the next time around.

Major League Baseball

Ah baseball, America's pastime. Nothing can taint the image and integrity of a sport so rich with American history. Well, except the steroids controversy of course. With BALCO Labs and Barry Bonds' "cream and clear" becoming household names, Major League Baseball has had its image tarnished. If baseball commissioner Bud Selig fails to fix this problem, baseball could lose its grace and mystique.

Throughout the league's struggles, fans still support baseball. After the Super Bowl when asked the question, "So what now?" 32.5percent of 71,748 fans responded with "When do pitchers and catchers report?" referring to the start of training camp in a week. Fans will probably still gear up for a season of 182 games to watch the New YorkYankees and Boston Red Sox out bid each other for the World Series.

If you watch the playoffs, some of the smaller market teams put up exciting efforts. Last year, the National League Championship Series between The St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros went the full seven games and provided some of the most exciting baseball in years.

By the time baseball is starting to run its last legs, the NFL should be getting ready for another season, capped off by partying and friendly wagers, oh yeah, and that Super Bowl thing.


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