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Tuition Tuesday: Wednesday Edition.




All year long, I've been postponing this feature. Back in the era, I wrote this:

"So, one time, I had an IM soccer game at the field hockey fields, or, as they're better known, "that gigantic piece of concrete with a carpet of artificial grass over it behind SPAC that varsity athletes are somehow supposed to compete on without getting violently injured." And I was trying to direct my friend to said field.

"I think we're on the field hockey field."
"Not the soccer/lacrosse field. The one behind it."
"Why is that the field hockey field?"
"I think it's where the field hockey team plays."
"We have a field hockey team?"
"Not sure."
"I had no idea my tuition money was going towards subsidizing a women's field hockey team."

So, this is a segment I'ma call Tuition Tuesday. During football and basketball season, I'm not going to let our varsity athletes who don't participating in sports they make into video games go by the wayside. At least once a week, I will delve into the goings on of our other 17 varsity sports.
It's pretty clear why we have a football and basketball team. There's a good amount of school spirit for those sports, it allows us to be a part of the Big Ten conference, and we probably make a good deal of money.
But what about the other 17? As you saw, when my friend asked, I wasn't sure. I figure these sports are a major whirlpool of school resources, and they generally attract few spectators. And to be honest, I'm still not sure why we have them from the viewpoint of a university attempting to make money and educate students.

What I am sure about is that I'm perpetually impressed by my schoolmates who participate in these sports. Some, like our lacrosse team, are the best at what they do in the world, others are average, others are a little below average. But all of them spend their lives training year-in, year-out, to get as good as they can at their sports, while managing to maintain better GPA's then me, and considering the lack of pro prospects in these sports, with no more reward than a degree and those cool sweatpants and sweatshirts that all varsity athletes get issued. (They make up for it by wearing those sweatpants and sweatshirts literally everywhere they go. Question to athletes: do you get multiples, or do you just wash them a lot?)"

Well, I pretty much forgot about that feature. Let's start doing it Tuesdays next week, but for now, forget the fact that it's Wednesday, and let's rock this mofo. It's like, but with jokes. I don't consider myself an expert on any of these teams - haven't been to any of their games - so if you want analysis, read about what their beat writer in the Daily has to say. I just thought it would be cool to keep you up-to-date on goings-on with purple ballers in random sports without having to flip through a bunch of pages. And with jokes. 

Lacrosse: You heard about what happened to them folks last time out - let's just say my favorite rapper is Big L - so I don't really need to talk about it that much. However, it should be noted that that doesn't quite ruin their season, considering they've won five national championships, and two of those national championship seasons did feature losses. So it ain't the end of the world. Anyways, they play Vanderbilt this Saturday, and the ALC - American Lacrosse Conference, I always assume when reading articles about it - regular season champ will be one of those teams, so, that makes it THE SHOWDOWN OF THE SEASON. (Besides the last showdown.) It's at home, as are the Cats last 5 games, because lacrosse people aren't very good at scheduling.

Baseball: I made a crack earlier about how I wasn't going to bother checking into the baseball team because they managed to lose 25-2 to George Mason in their first game of the year. (I further gave up on the team after they a nine-game stretch in which they went 1-8, losing to Bucknell, two against Cornell, to Dartmouth, losing three of four against Stetson (Go Hatters!), and dropping a road game to UIC. Unless giving positive reinforcement to mid-majors is a major tenet of your program, that's generally not part of the strategy.)  Well, they're only 13-22, but I probably should go ahead and eat my words. The Cats are looking pretty damn good - they've won two of three Big Ten series, currently 5-4 in conference, putting them in a big tie for third. This past weekend saw them take two of three from Minnesota, and today, they gave up only three hits in a 3-1 win against Illinois State, which is saying something, considering the fact that they have pitchers who were capable of giving up 25 runs in a 9 inning game against George Mason. It's a sort of impressive turnaround - they're on a three-game win streak, won six of their last eight. NU should hypothetically be gunning for a spot in the Big Ten tournament. That sounds like low expectations, but I'll put it this way: the tournament takes six of ten teams in the conference, and NU hasn't qualified since 2006. We're generally not good. They have three games at Purdue starting Friday. 

Softball: Unlike their male bat/ball counterparts, our softball team is generally pretty sick. They were up to No. 2 in the nation last year, and they've made the College Softball World Series in recent years. But this year, nah. They started out at No. 15, but had dropped out of the rankings by the beginning of March, and now they're 20-18 with a 6-5 record in conference, which is pretty decidedly average. Before today, they had lost seven of nine, including two games at Alabama that ended in five innings with a mercy rule and a 15-0 loss to Michigan. That's not what we in the business refer to as "good." However, they showed signs of turning that around today in a double-header at Michigan State, combining to beat the living bejeesus out of the Spartans 24-0 over the course of two mercy rule victories. Those are George Mason level offensive numbers right there, and they also only gave up two hits over the two games, which, is, like, really, really good. Michigan State is 4-8 in conference, so it's not like they're a bunch of illiterate eight-year-old lepers or something like that. Any type of 24-0 victory in anything is generally good (unless you're playing in a league for prepubescent lepers, I guess), so, not bad at all in terms of getting back on track. They host Loyola-Chicago tomorrow afternoon, and play a two-game set at Indiana this weekend.

Women's Tennis: Our racket-wielding ladies have a tradition of carrying on NU's tendency of being extraordinarily successful in only the least revenue-generating of sports, having won 10 consecutive Big Ten championships, which is sorta mind-blowing if you think about it. This year, they're having a bad year by their own preposterous standards, as they lost their first Big Ten game in five years and ended up losing two straight matches to Baylor and Texas, which is probably just about cause for seppuku round the women's tennis offices. Anyway, I guess that's why they decided to get their HULK SMASH on this past weekend, winning 13 of 14 matches in meetings with No. 21 Iowa and Minnesota. They'll try to stay all green and shirt-rippy on the road against some States, Penn and Ohio, this weekend.

Men's Tennis: This post is long enough as is, so, suffice it to say they don't win many games. 

That's every spring sport that you could conceivably see in Evanston - there's also the golf teams, which I'll keep you updated on if anything interesting comes up, but suffice it to say, neither team plays any tournaments within a two hour radius of Evanston this season. 

In future, these posts will be more focused on individual teams and players, but for now I just wanted to get y'all caught up. I got multiple posts planned for tomorrow, considering I have a paper due tomorrow and will need to procrastinate. Till then, one love.