The Independent

Victory for NEIU Soccer

Katie Kelly

October 31, 2012

The excitement in the gym was heard throughout the entire P.E. complex for NEIU’s men’s and women’s soccer clubs. On Saturday night, October 20, campus was empty except for the P.E complex that was full of loud fans cheering on the Golden Eagles as they played other clubs from Chicago. The gym was full of family and friends as the teams played their hearts out to win. The games start at 8p.m. for men and 9p.m. for women. Both teams had an exciting victory. This is an opportunity for culturally diverse students to show off their skills and make NEIU proud. The men’s and women’s soccer teams don’t play traditional soccer because that is done outdoors. What they play is called futsal, a version of indoor soccer. Futsal is played in a 6 on 6 format, with only five players on each team and a goalie. Traditional soccer is 11 on 11, where each team has 10 players and a goalie. For futsal, there are two 20-minute halves that make up the game, whereas traditional soccer is two 45- minute halves. The goals are much smaller than traditional soccer goals, and the size of the field is much smaller as well. Futsal is played with much more finesse and better ball control than is generally required in traditional soccer, which utilizes more raw power mixed with gentle touches. This also makes the game much more fast paced. It is a constant back and forth game in which players run from goal to goal within seconds to stop or progress the ball toward the other side. Futsal is also played with a much smaller ball then traditional soccer. Standard soccer balls are lighter weight and have significantly more bounce, whereas balls for futsal are much heavier to eliminate the bouncing aspect. Overall, the difference between futsal and traditional soccer is a lot and it takes a very different type of strategy and training to be successful. The players on the NEIU futsal teams practice in these types of conditions so they are able to better prepare for game-time situations. Coming off a loss from the previous week, the men won their game 8-2 over a Chicago-area team named Lucus. This was an opportunity to boost their confidence and keep up the excitement for next Saturday’s game. The women were losing at half 0-2, but pulled it together to win 5-2 over Tasco. Max Guadarrama is the president of the men’s club also coaches both teams. He used to coach in high school and now coaches for NEIU. Diana Perez is the women’s team president and the goalie of her team. Abraham Esparza is the vice president of men’s team and plays midfield. Abraham has been playing soccer for 12 years. Abraham wants students at the university to know that “more than anything, we want to create a soccer culture at the university because it is a renowned sport throughout the world.” The soccer team is closed for participants during these Saturday night game times due to limited space of 15 players, however they encourage students that want to play to come to scrimmage with them on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the P.E complex from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. They allow any student with any ability level to join and play with them. Their season began in October and ends in March so there is still plenty of time to join and have fun!...

The Halloween Blackout

Christos Liardakis

October 31, 2012

Halloween is the perfect holiday for overindulgence with treats of many kinds being freely distributed. While children are going door to door to ask for candy this Halloween, adults and college students will be “Trick or Drinking” and getting drunk. Donning a costume protects the wearer’s identity and the added anonymity helps lower inhibitions against overindulgence in a social psychology mechanism known as “deindividuation,” according to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The advice given by experts such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) takes into account the expectation of alcohol abstinence as unrealistic among young adults. The CDC recommends all people drink in moderation, with the definition of moderate drinking being 1 drink a day or less for women and 2 drinks a day or less for men. More than those amounts is considered heavy drinking by the CDC and can significantly increase the risk of cancer, stroke and liver disease. Consumption of more than 4 or 5 drinks during a period of two hours is considered binge drinking and can cause serious health and social problems. The CDC stresses that all forms, and strengths, of alcohol must be considered a drug; as it is a central nervous system depressant. Dr. Terrence Puryear of  the Biology Department at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU)  described alcohol acting much as a cleaning detergent does, removing stains by dissolving proteins and lipids. A lipid is the scientific way of describing fats such as the membrane around our cells. The myelin sheaths that protect vital parts of our brain cells or neurons are also made of lipids. When a person drinks, the alcohol inside of their body slowly eats away at this sheath, allowing the ions responsible for transferring messages via electrical charge to and from our neurons to move erratically. Puryear described the affect of alcohol akin to damaging the cord to an electrical appliance. The appliance is made vulnerable to surges and malfunctions. These malfunctions due to myelin sheath damage lead to impairment in a person’s cognitive process, and then to disruptions in motor skills, such as difficulty in walking or talking. Continued or binge drinking results in greater impairment, causing losses in memory and blackouts. Excessive amounts of alcohol can even cause a complete breakdown in the signal relay between the brain and vital organs such as the heart and lungs, potentially causing cardiac arrest and respiratory failure because the brain can no longer tell the heart and lungs to keep a person alive. Studies from NCBI also show that chronic alcohol ingestion and acute alcoholic ingestion (drinking alcohol on a regular basis, as well as over consumption of alcohol at any given time) can lead to liver damage, cancer, and muscle deterioration due to the alcohol denaturing the proteins in muscle cells and leading to premature apoptosis. Apoptosis is the body’s natural mechanism of cell death when cells get too old and are simply not efficient or functional anymore. The good news is that the myelin sheath does slowly regenerate, so no one should become a vegetable after a few years of responsible drinking. But the effects should be taken seriously, and can be viewed first-hand by performing a very simple experiment at home. Break an egg (and toss in bacon if you are feeling hungry) into a cup of vodka. The alcohol will cook the proteins in both the egg and bacon to the point of edibility. Just imagine that happening to your neurons and liver, and you should have no problem being responsible with your drinking....

Meet the Man Behind the Boxing Plan

Desiree Dylong

October 31, 2012

Returned student Israel Gonzalez’s 16 years of experience in boxing and seven years of self-defense  kickboxing started with self-determination. It began in his basement when he started training himself by watching videos of his favorite fighters and following their movements. In his twenties, he stepped into a gym and later went on to compete in the Golden Gloves and fought national fighters. Israel had hopes of being a champion, but that changed after being in an accident.  After his accident, Israel realized that his talent could be used to help others, “Before my accident I had the idea and the drive to become the champion of the world. After my accident, I realized that my gift was used to become a champion for the world.” In 2008, Israel joined with campus recreation and later went on to form the NEIU Boxing Club as it is today. The centerpiece of NEIU boxing is Izzy Duz it Fitness (I.D.I.F.), a boxing fitness program that was created by Israel. Today, NEIU campus recreation contracts Izzy Duz it Fitness to lead students toward better health and wellness. Izzy Duz it Fitness is based on group workouts with a strong focus on teamwork. The program is a place where each individual is able to meet their personal goals. Whether those goals are to relieve stress, get toned, or lose weight, I.D.I.F is designed to help people of all levels accomplish success. As for the demographic of fighters, the boxing club is not strictly male. Female students have taken on a strong role, “the trophies you see out there, 70 percent are women who won those fights”, Israel said when talking of the boxing trophies at the P.E. Complex. Besides training in the gym, NEIU boxing is encouraging its members to take their work ethic into the community. Beyond the Walls, a program that promotes leadership and volunteerism teaches students the value of being involved in the community. “We’re not limited to Northeastern just because we’re here,” Israel said. “We spider webbed Northeastern into the community”. NEIU boxing has experienced recent success by becoming a licensed boxing gym and will be able to put on NEIU’s first ever boxing show on Nov. 16th 2012. It will not only be a boxing show, but will also feature comedians and present Spin Box, a program that meshes spin and boxing into one workout. Doors will open at five and the show starts at 6 p.m. As for the future, Israel also has goals of creating a scholarship program that will promote health, wellness and leadership skills. Encouraging these traits in future students and creating leaders that embody healthy living for future generations is part of NEIU boxing’s mission. Israel’s motto “Motivation, Dedication, Graduation” lies at the core of the way he leads the program. For Israel, it’s not only about physical fitness, but also preparing students to take what they’ve learned inside of the gym, and applying it to their everyday lives. Israel is also a part of bike4life, a non -for-profit organization that promotes health through cardio fitness programs. For more information about Izzy Duz it Fitness go to IzzyduzitFitness.com. To purchase tickets for the Nov. 16th show, go to the Northeastern box office or purchase online at bike4lifechicago.org....

Injuries to key players could decide fate of certain teams

Greg Adler, Staff Writer

October 31, 2012

“Are you hurt or are you injured?” Anyone who has ever played a sport, any sport, has probably heard this at one time or another. It is simple, injured means medically unable to continue playing, while hurt means rub some dirt on it and get that butt back in the game. At this point in the NFL season coaches of every team in every division are frantically asking this question, with their hopes of hoisting the Lombardi trophy slowly getting closer and further away at the same time. Heading into week eight, it’s that time to take a look at where players and coaches stand on injuries that could very well make or break a season. But before we take on this task let’s go through a breakdown of the terminology of an injury report. The levels are quite simple: “Out” means there is a 0% chance that the player will return, “doubtful” indicates a 25% chance of the player returning to the field, “questionable” means the odds are fifty/fifty for the player’s return, and “probable” shows a 75% chance a favorite or key player will be suiting up to bring their special set of skills to the turf. The Green Bay Packers have suffered the loss of defensive tackle B.J. Raji to an ankle injury while on the other side of the line wide receiver Greg Jennings is out with a groin injury and is scheduled to have surgery. Nothing has been more of an agent of change to the “GO PACK GO” chant to “STOP PACK STOP” than the injury to safety Charles Woodson in the week seven match-up against the St. Louis Rams. Woodson suffered a broken collarbone which will keep him out for six weeks and has definitely hindered the Packers defensively. The defining downside of losing Woodson was that he’s consistently known as a player that can rally the Pack to victory. Players that play are one thing, but players that clearly motivate their teammates to perform better and dig deeper are another. A perfect example of this type of player is the Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. No. 52 has been with the team since their super bowl win a few years back and is clearly a driving force on and off the field. Add to that big loss cornerback Darius Webb tearing his ACL and the fate of the Ravens no longer lies with their infamous defense, but in the hands of quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been inconsistent at best. With a current record of 5-2 and one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, it is unclear what the final weeks of the season will hold for the Ravens. With the Monsters of the Midway currently having the best defense in the NFL, it is critical that the Chicago Bears stay fit and ready to tackle any opposition in order to maintain their impressive 5-1 record. That being said, it is important that wide receiver and special team dynamo Devin Hester gets back into the swing of things as soon as possible since suffering a strained quad. Quarterback Jay Cutler is also under scrutiny after suffering a debilitating hit to his ribs in the week seven match-up against the Detroit Lions. As if the Bears slowing down weren’t bad enough, it seems that Coach Lovie Smith has made a decision to pull Linebacker Brian Urlacher from practice. With one their defensive leaders out of the mix it is uncertain if the Bears can growl their way to a solid season. The question is simple, “Are you injured or are you hurt?” No matter what team you root for, it can be guaranteed that fans across the country are hoping for the lesser of two evils, and have the response simply be “hurt.”...

Gigantic Winnings for the San Francisco Giants

Ari Guttman, Staff Writer

October 31, 2012

The San Francisco Giants did something that would “knock the guts out of a baseball”. Like the Boston Red Sox in 2006, the Giants beat the odds and won a spot to compete in the 2012 World Series. The Giants came from behind in a game that was for the makings. Who would know that the Giants would beat the Cardinals in game seven of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) and make it to the World Series?  This is how it all started and ended folks. In game one, the Cardinals beat the Giants 6-4. The save went to Cardinals pitcher, Jason Motte. The Cardinals’ winning pitcher was Edward Mujica and the losing pitcher for the Giants was Madison Bumgarner. The game went to the Cardinals, starting the series record at 0-1. Game two went to the Giants where the score was 7-1. The winning pitcher for the Giants was Ryan Vogelson, and the losing pitcher was the ace for the Cardinals, Chris Carpenter.  The Giant’s win evened the record at 1-1. Game three went to the Cardinals with a score of 3-1. The winning pitcher was the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse and the losing pitcher was Giant’s pitcher Matt Cain.  The save went to Jason Motte which was his second save against the Giants, leaving the series record at 1-2. Game four went to the Cardinals with the score 8-3. The winning pitcher was Adam Wainwright and the losing pitcher was the Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum. (1-3). People thought the series was going to be over, with the Cardinals only needing one more win to send themselves to the World Series and face the Detroit Tigers. In a surprising turn of events, during the NLCS both aces of the Cardinals and the Giants lost their games. This offered some drama and suspense for baseball fans, since ace pitchers are supposed to be superior weapons for their teams. Things started to change in game five when the Giants slaughtered the Cardinals 5-0. The winning pitcher was Barry Zito and the losing pitcher was Lance Lynn. The series was now at 2-3. In game six the Giants won again 6-1. Ryan Vogelson (2-0) won his second game of the NLCS. The losing pitcher went to the Cardinals’ ace pitcher Chris Carpenter (0-2). The giants had tied the series at 3-3 and forced a high-stakes game seven. The NLCS came down to the final game:  which team was going to make it to the World Series? After their rough start, would the Giants be able to prevail like the Boston Red Sox did in 2006? Or would the Cardinals emerge victorious since they already beat out the Washington Nationals, who were the number one team in the National League going into the playoffs. Game seven went to the Giants who slaughtered the Cardinals 9-0. Yes, slaughtered, 9-0. The winning pitcher was Matt Cain (1-1) and the losing pitcher was Kyle Lohse (1-1), making Matt Cain the MVP for game seven and crowning the Giants the champions of the National League with a 4-3 series spread over the Cardinals. Now the Giants and the Detroit Tigers battle for the World Series Crown....

Suspense for Chicago in Postseason

Desiree Dylong, Copy Editor

October 3, 2012

For baseball fans, October means the postseason. The standings are pretty solid in the National League with the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants already clinching their division. Both the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves have gained a playoff berth, but it’s still uncertain who will win the NL East. The team that doesn’t win may end up being the wild card. The race in the American League is a tighter one, with the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles fighting to see who will win the AL East. In Texas, the Rangers are counting down their wins and losses against the Oakland A’s to see who will win the AL West. In the Central Division, the race is even tighter with the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers battling for first place and a playoff berth. The White Sox and Tigers are almost identical in wins and losses. This makes it even more unclear as to who will be the victor of the AL Central. Since winning the World Series in 2005, the White Sox have been in the postseason only once in 2008. During that year, the Minnesota Twins and the White Sox had to play a tie breaker game since their records were identical. The White Sox ended up winning the AL Central by beating the Twins 1-0. The Sox didn’t go too far in the 2008 postseason, losing in the first round to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Philadelphia Phillies went on to be the World Series champs that year. With Detroit and Chicago being so close in the standings this year, there is a strong chance that the White Sox will need to win another tie breaker if they want get to the postseason in October. If the White Sox make it to postseason this year season it will be under leadership of rookie manager Robin Ventura. This year, the Sox have had some standout games, the most prevalent being the  perfect game earlier this spring on April 21, pitched by Phillip Humber. The last time a White Sox player pitched a perfect game was Mark Buehrle on July 23, 2009. Humber’s perfect game this year stands out due to the rarity of perfect games in baseball. A perfect game happens when a pitcher faces twenty seven batters and none of them get on base. According to MLB.com, there have been only 23 pitchers in major league history to have pitched a perfect game. Captain Paul Konerko, outfielder Alex Rios, and designated hitter Adam Dunn have made strides for the Sox this year. Dunn ranks third in home runs in the American League, and Rios leads the White Sox with 173 hits this season. If the White Sox want to make it to post season, Konerko, Rios and Dunn will have to stay consistent. Since there is no wild card option for the A.L Central, the winner of the division will continue on to the postseason, while the other team will go home and wait for a chance next year.  With the race between the White Sox and the Tigers being so close, fans may not know who moves on until the final game of the season. It’s a race that White Sox fans will watch with anticipation and sweaty palms....

NFL vs. NFLRA: Rules of the Replacement Refs

Matthew Greenberg, Sports Editor

October 3, 2012

  Anyone watching football this season is well-versed in the antics taking place around the league. Coaches are shouting and trying to intimidate officials. Players are taking cheap shots at each other. Penalties are being missed, miscounted, misused, and at times, it seems they are plainly being invented. So what’s the cause of the ruckus? In June of this year, the NFL locked out the members of the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) over contract disputes. Some of the key topics on the debate platform include: The NFL wanting to rescind an apparent guarantee made to current league officials of a defined benefit pension package. The NFL also wants all members of the NFLRA to become full-time employees of the NFL. They are currently part-time employees, and many of these officials work other jobs during the NFL season and do not wish to lose this source of income. Also, the NFL wants to increase the number of officiating crews, which would thereby limit the amount of games per year current officials would be assigned. Finally, The NFLRA wants substantial increases to their pay grades. While there are other issues at play in this debate, the argument over the pensions is at the forefront.  Mike Florio of NBC Sports writes that, “In an open letter written by NFLRA executive director Tim Millis, the locked-out officials urge the NFL to compromise on the pension issue by continuing to provide all current officials with a defined benefit pension plan (which puts the investment risk on the employer), and converting all new officials to a defined contribution pension plan (which puts the investment risk on the employee).” Basically, if the NFL is going to increase the ranks of referees, the current officials want their money guaranteed and couldn’t care less about the new hires. The NFL and NFLRA have met with each other on multiple occasions to discuss the issues at hand, with little ground being gained by either side. Currently, the NFL has put crews of replacement officials in place to take over the officiating responsibilities of all NFL games. While the locked-out officials remain as such, these replacement refs have an itinerary mapped out through week five of the regular season. The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has sent a letter to the NFL demanding the return of the locked-out officials, citing player safety as their primary concern. The NFL has maintained their stance that the replacement refs are doing a fine job of officiating, and that there is no overwhelming concern for player safety based on the performance level these crews are providing. Unfortunately, this is false. There have already been multiple cases of players getting injured and no penalties being called, but the most severe example would be in the week three matchup of the Oakland Raiders against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was injured while attempting to catch a pass in the end zone when Steelers safety Ryan Mundy delivered a debilitating shot to Heyward-Bey’s head. With the replacement refs in place, the officiating has been so inconsistent that players are taking advantage of the refs’ inexperience and inability to control the game. The head referee in the San Francisco 49ers versus the Minnesota Vikings matchup stated after the game that he made some drastic mistakes during the game, admitting that he didn’t know the rules. Nothing should be more scrutinized than the debacle that ended the Monday night matchup of the Green Bay Packers against the Seattle Seahawks. It finally happened: a wrong call by the replacement refs cost a winning team the game. As long as the NFL keeps the officials locked out, they are making the statement that proper officiating, player safety, and the integrity of the NFL does not matter, so long as their profit margins remain unaffected. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young gave the best explanation of the entire situation when he said, “Everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand. There's nothing they can do to hurt the demand for the game. So the bottom line is they don't care. Bring in the Division III officials–doesn't matter. Because in the end, you're still going to watch the game, we're going to all complain and moan and gripe and say there's all these problems, all the coaches say it, the players say it—doesn't matter. So just go ahead, gripe all you want. … There's nothing that changes the demand for the NFL ... It doesn't affect the desire for the game. If it affected the desire for the game, they'd come up with a few million dollars.” On Wednesday, September 26, the NFL and NFLRA reached an eight-year agreement to end the lockout. According to the NFL, the terms of the agreement are that the current defined benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season (or until the official earns 20 years of service). The defined benefit plan then will be frozen. Beginning in 2017 retirement benefits will be provided for all officials through a defined contribution arrangement through 401(k) accounts. Game officials' compensation will increase from an average of $149,000 per year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019. Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option of hiring officials on a full-time basis to work year-round, including on the field. The NFL will have the option to retain additional officials for training and development purposes and can assign those additional officials to work NFL games. The number of additional officials will be determined by the NFL....

NEIU’s Cross Club Classic 2012

Sam Aguirre, Contributing Writer

October 3, 2012

  The first annual NEIU Cross Club Classic was held this past Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. was born in the Honors Society when the current president, Ashley Beyer, proposed a flag-football tournament that would allow different clubs and organizations from Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) to face each other. Registration for NEIU’s Cross Club Classic officially opened on July 10, 2012 with an ice cream social that served as an information session where NEIU students learned details about the Cross Club Classic and the fun that was to come. Participating organizations had to pay a fifty dollar fee. Twenty percent of the fee was put aside for a scholarship being developed with help of the Student Government Association. The remaining 80 percent was placed into a pool for the top three organizations in the Dodge-ball tournament. The air was thick with tension during the Cross Club Classic’s Uno Tournament.Four players at each of five tables fought for one of five finalists’ seats and the chance to contend for the championship. The players in the final round competed in near silence. Cathie Anderson made her final discard and became the first Cross Club Classic Uno Tournament Champion, winning a gift certificate, generously donated by Beck’s Books. The Dodge-ball tournament had teams representing nine different organizations face each other in a pyramid-style competition. After a few rounds, Omega Delta and the Earth Science Club faced one another in the final game. Omega Delta triumphed as the Grand Champion of the Cross Club Classic’s Dodge-ball tournament. The Earth Science Club received second place and the third spot was claimed by a group made up of members from the Student Government Association and the Veteran’s Club. After the lunch break, eight teams of five faced each other in a Four-Way Tug-of-War competition. In the first round, the SGA/Veteran’s Club and LGBTQA teams beat out the other two teams, moving on to the final. During the second round, Omega Delta and the Earth Science Teams were once again in the finals. The top four groups then faced each other in the final Tug-of-War game. All of the players were tired and most of their energy had been drained during the first round of the competition, but no one was about to give in. Finally, the Earth Science Club earned the title of Champion of the Four-Way Tug-of-War Competition. Apart from the three major competitions of the day, there were numerous other activities for students to enjoy. There was an obstacle course in the University Commons, inflatable jousting, a dunk tank and a couple of beanbag toss games. The dunk tank, sponsored by the NEIU Alumni Association (NEIUAA) caused quite a stir among the attendees of the Cross Club Classic.  Melissa Thompson from the NEIUAA whipped participants into a flurry and raised almost $100. Cathie Anderson, President of Alpha Chi was the first victim to get dunked. She was soon followed by Ashley Beyer, President of Honors Society; Diana Perez, President of SGA; and Al Cordero, Student Union Events Manager. Later in the day, Dr. Jin Kim of the Social Work Department was dunked by students. Towards the conclusion of the day, three other students took on the role of representing the student body and fearlessly sat in the dunk tank. The inflatable obstacle course, sponsored by the Veteran’s Club, was also a big attraction. Students were eager to get on the obstacle course and race their friends to the finish line. Climbing the wall seemed to be the major energy drainer for participants, but it led to a smooth slide down to the conclusion of the obstacle course. The Inflatable Jousting Arena sponsored by Omega Delta was the big attention grabber of the smaller games. Students jousted one another with padded sticks, and  the strongest and most balanced people remained unbeaten. Monica Ochoa, member of the Northeastern Programming Board, proved herself to be the ultimate champion of jousting with a record of no loses for fifteen consecutive rounds. Aside from the games, the NEIU Golden Eaglettes performed twice for students, and really showed off their skills. They will be performing again at the upcoming Student Talent Show later this semester. The day came to a close with the Awards Ceremony around 4 p.m. The Earth Science Club was presented with an award certificate and various gift certificates to venues around the city for their triumph in the Four-Way Tug-of-War Competition. The Grand Prize Winners of the Dodge-ball tournament and first place champion of the Cross Club Classic 2012, Omega Delta, was awarded $180, while the Second and Third place winners, the Earth Science Club and the SGA/Veteran’s Club were awarded $108 and $72 respectively. Each of the winning organizations received a certificate for their accomplishments during the First Annual Cross Club Classic, and the money will be sent directly to the charity organization of their choice. With the participation of student clubs/organizations, faculty, staff and alumni, the Cross Club Classic 2012 made history at Northeastern Illinois University....

Looking Forward: Team Profile of the Chicago Bears

Ashor Jajou, Assistant Sports Editor

October 3, 2012

  Trying to predict the future of the Chicago Bears is not a simple task. If their history of early offensive struggles repeats itself, the Bears will be in trouble to start the season. After an impressive performance in the season opener versus the Indianapolis Colts, the Bears offense is doing their best to avoid one of those early season slumps. In the game versus the Colts, the Bears put up 41 points, but in the next two games combined they managed to put up only 33 points. Bears head coach Lovie Smith believes that his team is making progress. Given the past years, offensive slumps for the Bears seem to come in spurts, and history suggests that the Bears offense will find their rhythm and begin to put up above strong offensive numbers in the next few weeks. This will be accomplished on the shoulders of the Bears’ offensive stars: quarterback Jay Cutler, receiver Brandon Marshall, running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush. Cutler and Marshall are reconnecting from their time together on the Denver Broncos, and are expected to put up big numbers together. Forte will see his role diminished with the acquisition of Bush from the Oakland Raiders, but the one-two punch combo they provide makes the Bears running game even more of a threat than it already was. The Bears defense has played well so far. Cornerback Tim Jennings has been a pleasant surprise, leading the league with four interceptions through the first three games. After week three, the Bears were leading the league with 14 sacks. Their defense finished with 33 total sacks through 16 games in 2011, and are on pace to surpass that number this year. The attractiveness of the defense is that everyone contributes. Eight defensive players account for the 14 sacks (through week three). Since the preseason, there were questions about Brian Urlacher’s ability to perform and if he would be impacted due to his knee injury, but it doesn’t seem to be a major concern due to the team’s strong defensive performance. Through week three, Urlacher is third on the defense with 14 combined tackles. The defense even performed well against one of the most explosive offenses in the league in their loss to the Packers. The Bears’ special teams are outperforming their opponents in kick and punt return yardage, but are yet to score a touchdown (through week three). The true measure of a team is the ability to find ways to win even in tough situations. So far, they have done just that. During the Bears second game versus the Green Bay Packers, an altercation occurred when Cutler exchanged hostile words with left tackle J’Marcus Webb. The offensive line has not been up to par with regard to protecting Cutler, but Cutler must come to grips with his role as the team leader and be able to better communicate with his teammates who protect him. The lack of blocking cannot be blamed on one person. Football is a team sport, and until Cutler can embrace his role as a leader he will not get past his childlike demeanor and arrogant attitude. The main issue that needs to be immediately addressed is the offensive line. It was apparent during the Packers game that J’Marcus Webb was getting beat off the ball on multiple snaps. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice should have pinpointed the problem immediately and added a tight end to assist the tackle. There is no problem with adding an extra tight end for pass protection to make sure the best quarterback the team has had in decades is not eating dirt on every play. It is simple, watch a game and make adjustments from the couch, but some changes can be easily made. The Bears have a tough schedule coming up to show what they’re made of, but there shouldn’t be any concerns about their playoff chances. The Bears will make the playoffs, but how well they do there will depend on how healthy they stay, whether their stars step up and deliver star performances and how quickly they acclimate to tough situations during games....

Inspire a Generation

Katie Kelly, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

  The Summer Olympics may be over for another four years but the impact they made remains. “Inspire a Generation” was the theme at the 2012 London Games and, in fact, they did just that. Reports are up that children are getting more involved in sports than ever before. In London, where the...

“Bring Papa Home”

Ashor Jajou, Sports Editor

September 19, 2012

Super Bowl talk is already in the air for Chicago Bears fans. The enthusiasm is not without warranty, for the Bears have made some key additions to their team and also have star quarterback Jay Cutler and premiere workhorse running back Matt Forte both back and healthy. The Bears also traded for the...

The “Ab Belt” and the “Perfect Pushup”: Are They Legit?

Nicholas Santana, Assistant News Editor

April 27, 2012

                  Last issue, we covered the merits of a standard gym exercise, the upper body squat. This issue, we’ll review the merits of two well-known and highly advertised pieces of fitness equipment: The “Ab Belt™” and the “Perfect Pushup™.” The “Ab Belt™” is essentially an electric muscle stimulator that wraps around your midsection. The nodes emit mild electric shocks to the abdominal muscles, causing them to contract. By this function, advertisers of the Ab Belt promote it as a “portable” form of abdominal exercise that you can simply “put on” to transform your midsection. Does the “Ab Belt™” work? Yes and no. In terms of providing electrical stimulation to the abdominal muscles, the “Ab Belt’s™” advertisers keep their promise. In terms of providing the requisite stimulus for producing the sculpted six-packs as seen in its commercials, the “Ab Belt™” is an out-and-out fraud. While the muscular contractions caused by electronic muscle stimulators such as the “Ab Belt™” are indeed legitimate, they are nowhere near the level of intensity required to cause a substantial improvement in muscle-tone. The visibility of ab muscles is almost completely an issue of body composition, with body composition being a matter of caloric fuel-economy. What’s an alternative to the “Ab Belt™?” Good old-fashioned hard sit-ups and leg-raises, which involve much more intense muscular contractions, coupled with a balanced, low-calorie diet. There’s no easy way around the hard work you need to put in, and no short cut to stunning abdominals. The “Perfect Pushup™” is a set of rotating metal handles that are suppose to improve upon the standard pushup exercise by means of providing a more natural positioning and movement of the wrists. It’s simple: In a standard pushup, your hands and wrists are flat on the ground and stationary for the duration of the entire movement, while in a “Perfect” pushup, your hands are grasping handles while your wrists rotate for the duration of the movement. Is this alteration, in fact, an improvement upon the pushup? The answer is yes. Standard pushups, while beneficial, are nevertheless “imperfect” for your joints. They exert pressure right where the hand and wrist meet, increasing the likelihood of arthritis down the road. Furthermore, that pressure can worsen at various points in the actual pushup movement, as the extension of the elbows naturally causes the wrists to try to rotate with the movement. The “Perfect Pushup™” fulfills its promise by allowing a large amount of that pressure to be transferred to the thenar region of the hand—the area between the thumb and the index finger—where there is much more elastic flesh and cartilage to absorb it. Also, it allows the wrists to rotate as they are naturally inclined to do. Is the “Perfect Pushup™” an ideal modality for the perfection of one’s chest, shoulders and triceps? Probably not. It does not replace the parallel-bar-dip, which allows for more resistance and variation, but the “Perfect Pushup™” is definitely a legitimate asset. In closing, I give the “Ab Belt™” an F and the “Perfect Pushup™” an A. The “Perfect Pushup™” is worth buying while the “Ab Belt™” is next to useless. The moral here is to exercise caution when watching infomercials on products such as these. There are gems and there are gimmicks. It may seem hard to determine which is which, but when in doubt, refer to anatomical science.    ...

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