Saturday, April 14, 2007

More classwork?!?

Here's a feature article I wrote for that same COM 201 class on a Winchester, MA celebrity.

(Speaking of that class, a project my group made for it is a finalist in a national competition! Our public service announcement about cultural tolerance is one of eight clips chosen among many. If our clip wins the contest, it will become the basis of a television commercial that will be aired nationally! Our group needs your help to make sure we win! Here's the link:
The link on the bottom left, "Tolerance", is ours. Click on it to watch the 1 minute commercial. To vote, click the link at the bottom of the page, and rank Tolerance #1. The form only requires an email address so you can't vote twice. It won't send you anything. I really appreciate any and every vote I get. On behalf of my whole group, thanks in advance.)

Well, that was a long aside. Anyway, here's the article, which I submitted to the Winchester Star and hope to have published in the near future.

"Ed's Ballgame"

It was a starry night at Fenway Park. The lights blared. Humidity and excitement filled the air. 34,187 fans filled the tiny stadium, anxious for the pre-game ceremonies to begin. It was time for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team to be announced at the 1999 All Star Game. The PA announcer went through the list of players, some Hall-of-Famers, some soon to be: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Roger Clemens, and Jackie Robinson. The last of the twenty-five to be announced was the hometown favorite, the face of Boston Red Sox Baseball. The announcer spoke with a certain swagger in his voice. He too had been consumed by the excitement. “Ladies and gentlemen, here is the last member of the MLB All-Century Team. Please welcome the left fielder, number nine; the greatest hitter who ever lived. Ted Williams!” The crowd went wild as Williams rode down the field in a golf cart. Fenway Park was home to the greatest cast of baseball players ever assembled that night, as current all-stars socialized with all-time greats. Williams was in the middle of it all. Players, fans and broadcasters alike reveled in the heat of the moment. The happiest person in the stadium was not a baseball player, current or former. He was sitting in the press box, forty feet above the action. Ted Williams’ appearance had confirmed the fact that the voice of the Boston Red Sox, Ed Brickley, was living his dream.

Current Winchester resident Edward Brickley was born in Boston in 1936 to a school teacher father and a stay-at-home mother. His brother Christopher was born five years later, and his sister Lois, the baby of the family, came along in 1947.

As a child living in West Roxbury, Ed would leave his house at nine in the morning and come back in the dark after a long day of pickup baseball. He didn’t need anything but a ball to have fun.

Ed joined the military after he graduated from Boston College, and got married soon afterwards. He and Betsy Coady had 3 children together: Beth, Pamela, and Edward, Jr.

Marion Rogers was a neighbor to the Brickley family for eight years while they lived on Tufts Road. Besides praising him for his gentleman attitude, she also was impressed by his effort. “Ed is dedicated to whatever he’s doing. He never goes into anything half way. He worked hard for years to provide for his family, and still had time to spend with them.”

Marion could tell Ed was particularly happy about his jobs with both the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox. “Ed was passionate about his jobs, especially the ones in sports. You could tell he really loved what he did.”

Ed’s favorite athletes have always been those who give their best effort. They play the game the same way Ed did as a kid. That is the reason he liked former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra so much, as well as Ted Williams, his favorite player of all time. He loved Ted Williams so much that his daughter named one of her children after him. The passion Williams and Garciaparra showed and the effort they gave for their job were the same Ed would have for his jobs in sports.

Ed’s first sports-related job was with the New England Patriots. In 1966, Jack Dwyer, a childhood friend of Ed’s was down a man and needed an extra statistician for his team. He asked Ed to join, and Ed happily agreed. When Jack resigned in 1975, Ed became the head statistician. Ed remained in that role until 1985, when he retired. His official title was chief statistician and official scorer. As a statistician, he and his staff had to record all the stats during the game. As the official scorer, he used his knowledge of the rules of football to record stats and other game data such as the distance of field goals and length of penalties. Ed said his time with the Patriots was very enjoyable, but also very time consuming. “I left for church early in the morning, then headed to Foxboro [Stadium] before 10 am. I would finish the stat sheet late, and get home close to midnight after each game,” Ed stated. At the end of each game, the chief statistician had to announce the statistics to the media in the press box. Little did Ed know that the announcing experience from this job would be useful later in his career.

Ed did not work in sports again for another decade, but he continued to be the avid fan he always had been. He retired from his job at Polaroid in 1996, and got an important phone call just months later. In March of 1997, he received a call from another friend of his. His friend (who shall remain anonymous) worked in the Boston Red Sox front office. Ed had been trying for years to get a job with the Red Sox. Finally there was an opening. He was not told much about the job. Ed’s friend asked him to come in for an interview, in which the details of the job would be explained. That one interview turned into a series of sessions with various members of the Red Sox front office. At one of the later meetings, the interviewer asked Ed, “Have you ever considered a public address job?”

At first, Ed thought he was kidding. “My voice isn’t good enough,” he replied with a smirk.

Many other people were auditioning for the job, including a handful of radio broadcasters. The interviewer told Ed to read the script that had been prepared for all of the candidates. After frantically searching for a few minutes, the interviewer could not find the script.

Ed looked at the interviewer and asked, “Can I just give the 1949 Boston Red Sox starting lineup?” The interviewer allowed it, and Ed announced the lineup for a team that hadn’t played together in forty-eight years. His reason for choosing the 1949 squad was that “it has Ted Williams in it”.

Ed came back a few more times for follow up interviews. The Red Sox had found their man. Ed got a call in late March that determined his fate with the Red Sox Organization. His friend greeted him, then proclaimed, “I have good news and bad news.”

Ed answered, “I’ll take the good news first.” He waited for the caller’s response, anxious to hear the result.

“The good news is that you’ve got the job. You’re going to be our Public Address Announcer,” his friend replied.

“There can’t be any bad news then,” Ed joked.

“The bad news is that the pay stinks.”

“You’re going to pay me too?” Ed asked, chuckling.

Just weeks before the start of the 1997 season, Ed Brickley had a new job. He was working for his favorite sports team, something he had always wanted. On Ed’s first day as the Public Address Announcer, the Red Sox played the Seattle Mariners. It was opening day, 1997, and Nomar Garciaparra was the Sox’ leadoff hitter. Nomar was first Sox player he introduced, and he soon became his favorite. “Now batting for the Red Sox: the shortstop, number five, Nomar Garciaparrrrra!” Ed shouted, smiling. As the words left his mouth, he knew this was the job for him.

The greatest moment of Ed’s PA career came at the 1999 Major League Baseball All Star Game, the aforementioned scene that he will never forget. “That night was beyond description. It was great for me, but also for anybody that liked baseball and followed the Red Sox and the story of Ted Williams,” Ed recalled. “The pre-game ceremony was one of the greatest moments in Boston baseball history. After the introduction of Williams, it was fantastic. The control room was loaded with Fox TV and MLB executives, and when Ted came on the field, the whole room was wiping their eyes. I still get goose bumps when I hear the introduction.”

In 2002, the Boston Red Sox were sold to a group of investors led by John Henry and Tom Werner. With new ownership came new employees. Luckily for Ed, he was not laid off. However, he lost his position as the PA announcer. When Ed spoke of the PA job, he had nothing to say but positive remarks. “I loved everything about my job with the Red Sox. I had another three letter word for it: joy. The people I worked with-- I use “work” euphemistically-- were wonderful. It was a delightful atmosphere to be in. Some of the greatest moments of my life happened in the Fenway Park press box.”

Ed now works in the Legends Suite, which has many famous visitors. Since he got his new job, Ed has been able to talk to some of the Red Sox greats like Luis Tiant, Jim Rice, and Dennis Eckersley. He may not still have his favorite job, but he also loves the one he currently has. “It’s quite an honor to speak with those men. I really enjoy being in their company.”

One of Ed’s favorite aspects of the game of baseball and his job is the unpredictability involved in both. “That’s one thing that makes baseball so great because you never know. On a given day, anything could happen.” That unpredictability, the magic of baseball fuels Ed’s passion for the game. That magic was on the field that summer night in 1999. It was there at Ed’s first game as PA announcer. Ed Brickley truly enjoys what he does. Because of his passion and determination, Ed Brickley has experienced that magic, and got to live his dream.

A Real Tear Jerker

If you're looking for a boring writer that only covers one form of writing or one topic of discussion, then you're on the wrong page. Here's a sample of what separates me from the blah-de-blah blogs out there. This was a memoir I wrote for my COM 201 class last semester. It's a little lengthy compared to my previous posts, but I like to think my intelligent readers can handle it. It's a nice change of pace from my sarcasm and sports talk.

"Uncle Nick"

I grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts. It is a rich town in a rich state in one of the richest countries in the world. I was brought up having a summer house, and I never had to worry about having enough food or money. I knew that life was hard for billions of people, but could not truly comprehend the hardship so many people had to go through. The biggest struggle in my life was doing well in school, and that was not much of a struggle at all. I was immature and ignorant, and didn’t necessarily care to be informed of what life was really like. If somebody had explained to me what I was about to experience, I would not believe them.

All forty high schoolers cram into the tiny bus, feeling like sardines. The bus is almost full now, with all of us “ready” to take the journey across the city of Washington, D.C. From the difference in the environment, it will seem like it’s across the world. Being uncomfortable is unfamiliar to most of us. We are used to spacious cars with air conditioning, not cramped buses. The stale, humid air makes the ride unpleasant, to say the least. The temperature is unbearable, especially when the bus is stopped. The sun pierces through the roof and walls like a spear through a whale’s blubber. Nothing can distract us from these conditions. The bus starts moving, driving away from Georgetown University, our home for the week. The ivy covered buildings seem like a mirage as we leave the school and head closer to the center of the city. The area is now more commercialized, with a Starbucks at every corner. I could certainly go for a nice cold frappuccino right now. Those five dollar money sinks are the official drink of the people on our trip. The bus ride goes on and on, and time passes slowly, if at all; we cannot get there soon enough. This city is only ten square miles, but it feels like it never actually ends. We turn onto Maryland Avenue, and there’s an abrupt change in the city’s appearance. It’s so hot that I don’t really care or even notice the changes. Not that I would have anyway. I was oblivious and immature. There are no more rich neighborhoods, no businesses in sight. Large, elegant homes have been replaced by cold brick buildings. Nice shops have turned into crummy convenience stores and run down restaurants. We eventually reach a collection of blocks with bars over the windows and triple locks on the doors. It’s still so hot! The street lights are broken, and the sewers are filled with litter. The sidewalk is lumpy and crooked, and the lawns have only patches of green grass. We finally turn onto Carver Terrace, after what seemed like hours in the bus. Our physical voyage is complete, but our emotional one is just beginning. Had I been paying attention during the drive, I would have been intimidated by my surroundings. Instead, I just walk casually off the bus like everyone else, unaffected by the harsh environment. Little do I know that I am walking away from all that is familiar to me; my experience will hit me like a brick wall.

“Welcome to Carver Terrace Day Camp,” one of the leaders says formally. “There aren’t too many rules here, other than no fighting and no swearing. Sharing is a must. Have fun with the kids. That’s why we’re all here”. Coach Cliff coughs as he finishes his statement. He may have meant what he said, but not too many people believe him. The kids are here to have fun. We are here to make sure they have fun, and don’t hurt each other. Who said that would be fun for us? They’re so different from us. They’re a bunch of whiny little poor kids who argue and get hurt. They won’t even want us around. Luckily, I am very wrong, and I am about to find that out.

Most of us visitors are standing around, waiting for something to happen. The kids are running amok, screaming and yelling with delight. I don’t really know what to do. I’m not the most mature person. Apparently, this is easier than I thought. A few kids grab my hands and ask me to play as if they had known me since they were born. They pull me over to the street and start to play tag. All the running around is hard, but the children move like cheetahs on the prowl. They smile all the while, and a small feeling of happiness enters me.

I have been playing tag for a while now, running and screaming and yelling with the kids. After a long game, I decide to take a break. One boy, Maurice, decides to sit down with me. I had talked with him briefly during the game, and found out a little bit about him. He is nine, and his favorite baseball team is the Baltimore Orioles. He grabs a piece of chalk and starts drawing on the street. The object he is drawing looks eerily like a tombstone. He starts to write letters in pairs inside the shape. He’s done drawing, and I’m almost afraid to ask what it is.

“This is a tombstone,” he says nonchalantly. “It’s for all the people that died in my family”. I look down at the sets of initials, and count eight of them. He tells me about all his relatives that died: his grandmother, who died of a heart attack, and his uncle, who died from cancer. He tells me about his cousin, who got caught in crossfire. When he is finished, he whispers a prayer for them under his breath. I put my hand on his shoulder and say I’m sorry for his losses. “That’s very nice of you to say a prayer for them,” I tell him. He smiles at me, and asks a question. “Ki ride on yo neck?” He asks. I am confused, but he speaks more clearly this time. “Can I ride on your neck?

“Sure,” I reply, and I bend down to let him on my back. He jumps on, and rides around for a few minutes. “I’m so tall!” he exclaimed, as we ran around the block. This is only the beginning of my friendship with Maurice.

For the rest of the week, we play kickball together. We play tag together. We play Spongebob Squarepants after he decides I have the best Patrick Starfish impression in the whole world. Some of the other kids see how much fun we’re having, and they join in too.

After we’re done, Maurice and I walk back from the park to the block where the camp is. “I wish you were my dad,” he says calmly.

“But you said you love your dad, and that he’s great,” I reply. My heart pounds in my chest as I fumble for a good response.

“Well, then I wish you were my uncle. I’m gonna call you Uncle Nick from now on, okay?” He answered.


“Hey Uncle Nick, you wanna go grab a drink?”

“Sure,” I answered. We got some Kool Aid, and before we knew it the day was over.

Leaving Maurice at the end of the week is one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do. Unlike most kids working there, I live four hundred miles away. I cannot come back and visit sometime. I tell him this, but he doesn’t understand.

“Will you be back on Monday?” He asks. I tell him no, but that does not bother him. “What about Tuesday?” He says.

“Maurice, I’m sorry. But I don’t know when I’ll be back next. It might not be for a really long time,” I say sadly.

“But I don’t want you to leave,” he whimpered.

“I know. I don’t want to leave. But I have to.”

“I’ll miss you,” he says.

“I’ll miss you too buddy,” I answer. I give him a big hug as tears trickle down our faces. “Promise me you’ll try hard in school, okay? Don’t get into trouble, either. You’re a great boy.”

“Here,” he says, as he grabs a napkin. He writes his address on it and hands it to me.

“I’ll write to you soon,” I tell him. “Goodbye.” I hug him again, and slowly walk to the bus. He grabs my leg and won’t let go. One of the adults with our group comes over and gently pulls him off. As the bus drives away, I wave goodbye, and Maurice chases the bus down the street, waving and yelling.

I notice for the first time the terrible conditions on Maryland Ave as we head back to the school. How did I not see this before? Maurice was so trusting, and it cost me no effort to become a great friend to him. I no longer am immature. It amazes me to conceive how important I am to Maurice. Maurice showed me that everyone is the same, no matter where you are from. We all need to love, and need people to love us. Both Maurice and I needed that connection. I was a random person who had no connection to him, and he treated me like family. When I left, I felt like I lost someone important in my life. That relationship helped me mature. I now see how tough the world really is, and notice my problems are nothing compared to that of millions of people in my own country.

For days afterwards, I feel depressed. The journey back to Massachusetts is infinitely longer than from Georgetown to Carver Terrace, both in miles and in emotional difficulty. I still think of Maurice, and the great times we had. I now understand how lucky I am to live where I do, and to have the opportunities I have. For seventeen years, I had been sleeping; I was living in a dream world. Maurice opened my eyes, and showed me the truth. I needed to grow up, and that is exactly what Maurice helped me do.

I will write back to Maurice a month later, but he will not respond.

I was right... sort of

The next article was the last of three articles I sent to the Freep in hopes of landing that weekly column. It didn't have the jokes of Mack Simms or the arguments of BU Hockey, but it certainly was clever. The ultimatum of my Super Bowl prediction was right. The score, not so much. The game would have been a lot better had it followed my plan. Check this out.

An Eerie Comparison

It was the scenario that all of us in New England thought was impossible.The Indianapolis Colts defeated the New England Patriots for the AFC title, and are headed to Super Bowl XLI.

I’ve been a Pats fan since the days of Bill Parcells, Drew Bledsoe, and Ben Coates. Not seeing my team make it to another Super Bowl made me mad, but maybe I’m just spoiled. I was looking forward to a Pats-Saints match-up that would make me happy either way it turned out.

If the Pats won, they’d have four Super Bowls in six years. If the Saints won, it’d be a great story the entire country would enjoy. How could you not root for a team that had been through so much? It was a win-win situation for any Pats fan that truly loves football. Unfortunately, neither the Pats nor the Saints won their game.

To tell the truth, I would have been happy to see either of the NFC teams in the Super Bowl. If the Chicago Bears beat the Saints (like they did), then it would be a rematch of Super Bowl XX. The Pats had beaten the Bears earlier this season, so another championship was a reasonable expectation. They could finally avenge their 36 point loss in January of 1986. As long as the Pats beat the Colts like they always did in the playoffs, I would be happy. The problem with that was the Pats didn’t beat the Colts.

The Patriots had beaten Manning countless times before in the regular season, and both times they faced him in the playoffs. This time was different. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady had a role reversal in Sunday’s game. Manning came through in the clutch, and Brady threw an interception late that ended the Patriots’ season.

The Bears’ defense will be a formidable opponent for Manning and the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. The Bears had the best opponents’ points per game average in the NFC. Middle linebacker and team leader Brian Urlacher had 142 tackles, which was 5th in the NFL, and fellow linebacker Lance Briggs wasn’t far behind with 134.

The AFC’s best offense will face the NFC’s best defense on February 4th, but don’t expect the result to be similar to Super Bowl XXXVII, when the NFC’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the Oakland Raiders of the AFC, 48-21. This time around, the AFC team has a much better coach and the smartest quarterback in the game.

Super Bowl XLI won’t be like the Bucs’ blowout, but someone still has to win. I say that someone is the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Peyton Manning leaped a big hurdle in his playoff career, guiding his team back from an 18 point deficit to win. The Colts defense in the post season has been exponentially better than it was in the regular season. Manning can dissect defenses better than a neurologist can a brain, and coach Tony Dungy has given his players plenty of reasons to believe they’re a complete team. They also have the most clutch kicker of all time in Adam Vinatieri. The Colts have the momentum of beating their rivals where they had faltered before, and they will have the backing of countless fans in the country. Manning is the league’s most marketable player, and a world championship will only increase his value and ensure he doesn’t become the Alex Rodriguez of football.

The Bears may have a great defense, but it won’t be enough to stop the Colts. Chicago’s defense has been mediocre at best the last half of the regular season and throughout the playoffs. It gave up less than 300 yards per game the first 10 games of the season, but has given up 300 or more in the last eight. They beat the Saints, but quarterback Drew Brees still managed 354 yards passing.

The Colts are on a tear, and the Bears are doing just enough to get by. Barring a key injury for Indianapolis, the Colts have all the momentum. The Bears were underdogs last week against New Orleans, and they are currently cast in that same role for the championship. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a re-energized Bears team out there that proves it belongs in the NFL’s title game, but it won’t be enough to defeat a quarterback determined to change his big-game reputation. Now that Manning has slain Goliath, what is left but a celebration?

As a Pats fan, I’d hate to see it. Our enemy finally beating us, and winning a championship with our former kicker. It’s a nightmare. Unfortunately, it’s probably going to happen. I’ll still root for the Bears, but I wouldn’t put any money on ‘em. The “storybook” ending this season could be the quarterback winning the Super Bowl MVP after he led his team down the field. Vinatieri would hit a long field goal as time expired, and Bill Bel-- I mean Tony Dungy would run onto the field with delight. I guess the dream is right, but it’s got the wrong team.

Until next season, GO BEARS!


Well maybe that article didn't get me anywhere on the Daily Free Press staff, but I certainly had some people entertained. If you don't like jokes, you're pretty messed up. If you're pretty messed up, stinks for you. Hopefully you like numbers. If you do, you're in luck. This next article has a lot of them. Some of them shiny like goals and assists, some not so much. They're all pretty important I don't know what you do or do not like. What I do know is that this next article makes a great point.

BU Hockey Needs a Scorer

The BU Terriers hockey team was ranked number one in the nation at the end of last season. Despite an early exit in the NCAA Tournament, they had a great year. They won the Hockey East Regular Season and Tournament Championships, the Beanpot, and beat Boston College four of the six times they faced them. Their 26-10-4 record was the best they’d had in years.

In that successful 2005-2006 season, the Terriers averaged 3.5 goals per game. They spread the puck around efficiently, and had many accurate shots that tired their opponents’ out quickly. This season, they’re number seven in the nation. They have only four losses so far, more than halfway into the schedule. They have six ties already, which can be seen as a good or a bad thing. However, their scoring is down to 2.6 goals per game, almost an entire goal less than last year. If that average were just a bit higher, the Terriers could have a few more wins under their belts.

The Terriers need to pass and shoot the puck more often, and they need those shots and passes to be more efficient in order to succeed on offense. The best way for them to achieve all this is for someone to step up and become a big scorer. Take a team like the University of New Hampshire, for example. UNH is the number two team in the nation, and it has five players with more total points than games played. Boston University has none.

BU’s shot percentage is also down from 11 percent last year 10 percent now. This season, they are taking 26 shots a game, which is significantly less than last year, when they took an average of 31.8 shots a contest. In 22 games so far this year (compared to 40 last year), the Terriers have less than half the assists they did. Last season, they had 230 assists, and this year that number is down to 94. In other words, they’re worse at puck control than they were last year.

If the Terriers want to realistically compete for a national championship, then they need an improved offensive presence in their game. Whether it’s one player carrying on the team on his back or a few players feeding more off of each other doesn’t matter. They simply need to work better together as a team when controlling the puck.

The Terriers are on pace for 104 goals this season, and last year they had 140. The departures of co-captains Brad Zancanaro and David Van der Gulik, as well as John Laliberte and Dan Spang left the Terriers with 121 less points this year, and many of those points have not yet been replaced by other team members. Not too many teams can bounce back from losing four of their top eight scorers, including three of the top five like BU did. Whether or not they do relies on their effort and determination.

Jack Parker has been a great coach for years, and his basic offensive strategy certainly doesn’t need any changing. Tweaking a few minor details (such as more stress on puck control fundamentals) might get the most out of the players on the team this year though. The passing on the team has not been pretty, and it has led to many problems in the offensive zone.

The Terriers haven’t been able to set the offense up well on many occasions. They have been shut out twice this season, and scored only one goal four times. Their passing needs to be more accurate to set up better shots. With better shots (and more of them certainly wouldn’t hurt, either), BU’s scoring would go up significantly.

Parker’s defensive strategy has worked like a charm for his team this season. The team defense has improved since last year, even though so many key players were lost. Defenseman Dan Spang even signed a deal with the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Yip has been out most of the year due to injuries. The team’s goals per game allowed is down to 1.7 from 2.4 last year. Opponents’ shot percentage is down, as is the number of assists.

The team also has improved its penalty killing in terms of opponents’ goals and their shot percentage. Simply put, if the Terriers combined last year’s offense with this year’s defense, they’d be unstoppable. The only problem with that is they don’t have a flux capacitor, a Plutonium source, or a DeLorean.

The most likely solution for the team is to spend more time on offense in practice, because it doesn’t seem like any transfer students or walk-ons will help the team now. The return of Brandon Yip could also be a good source of momentum for the Terriers. Last year, they improved phenomenally when co-captain David Van der Gulik returned mid-season from an injury. Getting their number six scorer from last year back could certainly jump start the offense. I’m sure Jack Parker has a few tricks up his sleeve as well, and with any luck, the Terriers will contend for an NCAA Title once again.

The Beginning of the End

For my first post in this blog, I figured I'd start off with a bang. I wish I knew what that bang was at this point. I was always more of a late bloomer. Anyway, here's some stuff I had written before that will be a great intro to my style. Who am I kidding? These articles are all over the place in style, and some of my later ones will vary in the topic too. That's the way it should be. I consider myself a renaissance man of writing, whether it be sports, comedy, drama, memoirs, or haikus. As most of you (hopepfully) know, I'm an avid Boston sports fan, and I tend to have some radical (though often logical) opinions of our teams. Whether it's proposing the Celtics dump Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge or the Sox NOT trade Manny, they don't seem too ridiculous to me. Maybe I'm not so crazy after all. I wrote a few articles in January to submit to Boston University's Daily Free Press for my application as a weekly columnist. Here's article 1.a. from my application packet:

Mack Simms: Rucker Extraordinaire

(NOTE: Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Mack Simms is not your typical BU freshman. Mack used his amazing cunning and smooth moves to land himself a spot in a suite at 1019 Comm. Ave. as just a first year student. It is there that he has dominated the competition in every sport he plays, whether it’s in-suite wiffle ball, dorm soccer, or the eternal sign of greatness, Sweet Tart Basketball. Don’t let his charming looks fool you. He’s athletic. He’s smart. He’s strong. He’s manly. He’s an aspiring student in the College of Arts and Sciences, and an inspiration to millions. Mack Simms is the real deal.

The first thing Mack did when he came to Boston University was sign up for FYSOP. During the week before classes, Mack helped protect the environment in Massachusetts. “Giving back to the community is good stuff,” Simms said. “It really pumps me up and makes me feel good inside.”

Mack was named by his parents for the incredible macking skills he had out of the womb. He claims it’s a lot easier to attract girls than you’d think. “The ladies really can’t resist ‘Enter Sandman’. It’s a great way to show them that you’re not afraid of the dark,” Simms said.

Renaissance man Mack Simms is great with words, music, and schoolwork. However, his forte is anything that involves raised levels of adrenaline. Simms is an avid snowboarder, frequent gym-goer, Sweet Tart Basketball Challenge winner, and a forward on the BU Rugby team. He is also an exclusive member of the Cote Invitational Football Tournament, where he displays his athletic prowess on the gridiron.

“I like playing everywhere on the field,” Simms said. “I enjoy playing any and every position because it’s good to share responsibility and the ball. I’m a pretty sick player, so I help the team out a lot.”

In the beginning of the school year, Mack introduced himself and was immediately loved by all. “Living with him is an inspiration,” current roommate Payton Young said. “He opened my heart to the sport of rugby. Mack makes me a better person.”

Mack is one of the few freshmen to have a shot at making the A team for rugby, after an impressive fall season. He is a forward for the team, also known as a rucker. (When a team member has the ball but is on the ground, the ruckers make sure the ball is not taken from them.) He is also a jumper on line-outs (the rugby version of a free kick). He had zero points last season, and looks to improve on that total in the spring.

“I’m kind of a big shot,” Simms said of himself on the field. “I love working with my team too though, if they’re sick at rugby. Points aren’t really important to me, mostly because I didn’t get any.”

When he’s not practicing rugby or working out to train for it, you can catch Mack on the ski slopes if you’re lucky. “I’m a big snowboarder. Nothing’s better than shredding some powder, whether it be at Mount Okemo or Mount Vesuvius,” Mack said.

Of Mack’s incredible boarding skills, his friend, Xander Livestrong said, “He may not be Shaun White, but he’s the face of snowboarding to me.” Xander has never seen Mack snowboard.

Another testament to Simms’ versatility is his dominance of the Sweet Tart Basketball Challenge. In the aforementioned challenge, one has to throw packages of sweet tarts into a small candy cauldron from five feet away. Mack dominated the competition, winning five of the 14 rounds in a group of four fierce competitors. “I really couldn’t take it. He got in my head,” suitemate Craig Hinkle recalled. “He’s the best in his sport, and every sport is his sport.”

What’s the secret to Mack’s success, you may ask?

Peanut butter sandwiches. Those tasty treats are a simple solution to achieve Simmsean excellence.

“I love peanut butter sandwiches. They’re pretty much a staple to my diet. The protein helps me when I work out, and they’re totally delicious! I probably eat three or four everyday,” Simms said.

So there you have it. Eating just a few sandwiches with Jiff, the choosy moms’ brand of peanut butter and some Canadian white bread, you can be just like my hero, Mack Simms.