Quick Slant: Bowlers on center stage

April 19, 2013

Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.

Ryan Lipman plays No. 1 singles on our Top 20 tennis team. He is also one of the most popular Commodores among the student-athletes we’ve had in some time. Anyone attending a tennis match would be struck by how many other athletes—especially football players—are there and how vocal they support the Nashville, Tenn., junior. At the recent Black and Gold Banquet, each team traditionally produces a light-hearted video intended to depict their sport in a fun and creative way. This year men’s tennis and football joined forces for a hilarious video that was voted best by the student-athletes.

Nice crowds for last weekend’s Black and Gold Game and baseball game with Missouri. Give Mother Nature an assist for the first time this spring. We will certainly consider a similar doubleheader in the future if the schedules can align.

A few words about our tremendous bowling program. First, we think some would be surprised to know that many Vanderbilt students, faculty, alumni and friends watched the bowlers finish second nationally on ESPNU Saturday night. Our fans pull for the Commodores regardless of whether they closely follow a team or not. Secondly, we wish this freshman-sophomore dominated team could have had the same mojo in the finals it had in the quarters and semis. When live television enters the scene, the competitive environment for a sport such as bowling changes significantly. High quality bowling can be tremendously exciting and high pressure, a bit like golfers having to continually make a downhill six-footer to win. Finally, it is crushing to lose the title game even if it appears to outsiders that second place ain’t too bad.

Speaking of bowling, former Commodore star Brittni Hamilton won the prestigious New York State USBC Queens title and the $1,100 first prize Saturday night, averaging 234 in the process. Fans attending that championship could not understand why Brittni was hovering over her iPad between shots when her own game would seem to require full attention. She was watching her beloved Commodores battle Nebraska for the NCAA championship. Once a Commodore, always a Commodore!

You might have done a double-take when you saw or read that Tennessee Tech’s baseball team snapped our 14-game winning streak the other night. It’s really not that surprising, given that in mid-week games coaches typically pitch freshmen or someone trying to work out some kinks and in that situation, anything can happen. We actually have a remarkable record of success during the mid-week over the years.



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