By Cheval John
What comes to your mind when you hear the word, challenge?
Does it produce the mentality of fear of failure or does it energizes you to say, ”This is nothing.”
Challenges are there to see what we are made off.
For example, the Sam Houston State baseball team participated in the Houston College Classic this past weekend against three nationally-ranked teams in Texas Christian (TCU), Texas Tech and Texas at Minute Maid Park.
As a result. they defeated Texas Christian 9-4 on Friday, Texas Tech 10-6 on Saturday and lost narrowly to Texas 3-2 on Sunday.
What would have happened if they had said when they got the invitation to participate that “Oh, I don’t think we can compete with these teams because of their prominence in college baseball and that we have achieved consecutive at-large bids to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament?”
Well, Sam Houston would not have achieved national rankings in four collegiate baseball polls; No.20 in Baseball America
Left fielder Luke Plucheck would not have had the opportunity to make acrobatic catches against TCU
and then against Texas Tech that made it on SportsCenter Top 10 plays.*
And Sam Houston would not have had the opportunity to take their baseball program to another stratosphere.
So the question is: “How long will you allow fear to hinder you from achieving your dreams?”
As Jen Groover put it when she launched her successful product, “The Butler Bag” in her book, “What If And Why Not?:
“Regret is Much Worse Than Failure.”
So do not let the fear of failure prevent you from achieving your dreams.
*Videos courtesy of the Southland Conference via CSN Houston
By Cheval John
When you are a sports writer, you have one of the best jobs in the world.
Anything can happen in a sporting event that makes you go wow.
The Sam Houston State baseball team, who took the series from Northern Colorado on Sunday afternoon with a 5-0 victory, knows how to have a little fun.
Junior transfer Jake McWilliam, who started the five-run 6th inning, with an RBI single, had the opportunity to do his first post game interview as a Bearkat.
What he didn’t know was his teammates had a little surprise for him.
Welcome to the Bearkat family, Mr. McWilliam.
By Cheval John
The Sam Houston State baseball team started the 2014 season on the right foot.
The back-to-back Southland Conference regular season champions defeated the University of Northern Colorado 5-3 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.
This was the first time that the Bearkats have won an opening season game under head coach David Pierce.
Hayden Simerly went 2 for 3 with two runs batted in.
Colt Atwood got two hits out of four at-bats with an RBI.
Though starting pitcher Chris Hammer shut down the Bearkats’ offense for the first three innings, Tyler Eppler equaled his counter part with four shut out innings.
That allowed Sam Houston to strike first in the bottom of the fourth with two runs to give them a 2-0 lead.
The Bearkats played small ball and got some offensive production from the veterans on the squad at the right time in the fourth.
Atwood jump started it with a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a ground out by Anthony Azar.
Simerly’s sacrifice fly scored Colt Atwood from third that made it 1-0.
After Carter Burgess hit a long double to left field, he scored from second on a single by Ryan O’Hearn.
The Bears cut the lead to 2-1 on a RBI single up the middle by Jake Ekman.
Sam Houston created some cushion after scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
Ryan Farney started the party after reaching first on an error by Brandon Vaughn.
He advanced to second on a single by Corey Toups.
Atwood’s RBI single scored Farney from second base while Toups advanced to third and Atwood advanced to second on the throw home to the plate.
Then Toups scored from third on Azar’s RBI ground out.
It appeared as if the Bearkats were in control when they brought in reliever Alan Scott in place of Eppler in the sixth inning.
After getting the first two outs, the Bears strung together some runners and then
Ben Netzel hit a two out, two-run triple to pull them within 4-3.
The Bearkats didn’t panicked and increased their lead to 5-3 on an RBI single by Simerly.
Scott settled down and shut down the Bears in the final three innings to get the save.
Eppler went five innings and got the win.
Scott was only supposed to pitch up to the eighth inning, but he told his coach that he was responsible for giving up those two runs and wanted to make it up to the team.
That alone shows that they understand that they are playing for each other and are determined to start the season off right.
Game 2 of the four game series will be tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.
By Cheval John
Nobody expected Oklahoma State to lose to Texas Tech 65-61 on Saturday night.
The reason was because coming into this matchup, the Red Raiders were 3-6 in the Big 12 and 11-11 overall while the Cowboys held the No.19 position in the Associate Press poll.
It’s bad that they lost.
It’s even worst in the way that they lost.
You see, with 06.2 seconds left and the Cowboys still trailing by a possession, sophomore Marcus Smart fell into the stands after defending a dunk.
After a fan jabbed his mouth at him, Mr. Smart did the most unthinkable thing: He shoved the fan which resulted in a technical foul.
It resulted in him getting a technical foul that put the Red Raiders at the line.
I honestly think that Mr. Smart’s actions were uncalled for because he thought about himself instead of his team.
Yeah, the obnoxious fan said something to him that may have offended him and even crossed the line.
That is no excuse for him to retaliate at him because he not only represent the team, but is an ambassador to the entire student body, alumni, teachers, etc. of Oklahoma State University.
What Mr. Smart demonstrated is that he can’t handle the pressure of being a student-athlete at the moment.
Sure, he still young and will mature.
But the truth of the matter is that when he graduates and is possibly looking for a job or even decides to go to the NBA, many representatives will ask him about that incident and want to know if he will be able to handle his cool in any given situation.
They will look at the video of the game that was televised on ESPNU and see the disgraceful display in front of a national viewing audience.
This is Mr. Smart’s black mark for the rest of his life.
By Cheval John
Sam Houston State Bearkats pummeled the Lamar Cardinals 84-70 on Saturday night at Johnson Coliseum.
With the win, Sam Houston hold sole possession of second place in the Southland Conference with a 9-2 record and are 17-6 overall.
The Bearkats shot 48.2 percent from the field and went 47.1 percent from the arc.
Though Sam Houston had strong showings throughout their games, it has always been difficult for them to keep the intensity going.
It wasn’t that long ago when Sam Houston had built a 48-31 lead against the McNeese State Cowboys.
The Cowboys kept themselves in the matchup and chipped away at the lead.
It got to the point that McNeese State almost stole that game away from the Bearkats.
However, Sam Houston was able to hold on for the 86-81 win over the Cowboys.
Though this wasn’t as dramatic, it helped that Sam Houston had built a 48-27 lead at halftime.
The reason was because Sam Houston was outscored by Lamar 43-36 in the second half.
Bearkat coach Jason Hooten understands that his team still have to make improvements, especially with finishing out opponents.
“That part is kind of disappointing,” Hooten said. “We talked about it at halftime of not getting sloppy and not doing the things we need to do. You just hope that kind of stuff don’t come back to bite you.”
I definitely agree with coach Hooten because with seven games remaining that includes a re-match with league leader and arch-rival, Stephen F. Austin, they got to play their best basketball if they want to keep their momentum going before the Southland Conference Tournament begins.