A lot of crazy stuff went down in the world this summer. If I wasn’t writing this column for a university publication, I would probably use a different noun starting with an S than “stuff,” because almost all of this “stuff” was really, really “stuffy.” Sorry, I mean really, really bad.Planes crashed in Ukraine, Taiwan and Mali, killing hundreds of people; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated to new heights, with death tolls estimated in the thousands; instability in Iraq led President Obama to order air strikes in the region — all on the 100th anniversary of World War I, which caused the Second World War, which caused the Cold War, which caused and is still causing plenty of its own wars. Did I mention that the plane crash in Ukraine was caused not by a mechanical failure, but by a missile?Closer to home, an incoming USC student was killed at the beach by a lightning bolt. A USC grad student was viciously murdered just north of campus after a group study session for a summer class. A USC alumnus and U.S. Army general was killed in action in Afghanistan, and a USC medical student who went missing on Aug. 8 still hadn’t been found as of press time.But for a month, everything in the world seemed fine. Maybe that’s because I’m an ignorant sports fan, but the world seemed to have turned everything off for 32 days in June and July.For those precious 32 days, the only thing that mattered was the World Cup.I would talk with my Spanish-speaking gardeners, asking them “¿Ustedes creen que Mexico ganar el partido mañana con Paises Bajos?” (Do you think Mexico will win tomorrow’s game against the Netherlands?) I had totally forgotten if I was supposed to use the subjunctive or infinitive in that context, (sorry Professor Zarazua), but that didn’t matter. I could watch videos of the Men In Blazers breaking down every matchup on YouTube, laughing hysterically the whole time. The best part, however, was driving anywhere in Los Angeles and seeing an American flag hanging out of a car window and knowing that countless drivers around the world were just as emotionally invested in this joyous occasion as I was.So needless to say, I’m very, very excited for the start of another year of USC athletics. I’m not implying that sports can stop all violence in the world — though I do find it to be a very interesting coincidence that the official ground invasion of Gaza, the three plane crashes and the air strike all occurred after the World Cup ended on July 13 — but it has a unique ability to bring people together in times of tragedy.Maybe the losses to the Trojan Family over the summer don’t feel like a collective tragedy, but they absolutely should. Even though I didn’t know any of the four Trojans in the news personally, there’s no cliché I can write here that fully captures the significance of their lives as members of our school. It doesn’t matter how the losses happened, where they happened or who, if anyone, was at fault; what matters is doing what we can to honor the memory of the late Trojans.Regardless of whether or not our community has reason to mourn, we always have a reason to come together in support of the many Trojan student-athletes that represent us. The fact that these talented, hardworking classmates are dedicated to the idea that being a Trojan is something to be proud of is, well, something to be proud of. It’s a little trite, and somewhat hard to rationalize, but nonetheless still very amazing.So here’s to all of the brothers of the Greek system coming together to tailgate on campus for game days. The atmosphere on the front lawns of The Row just doesn’t compare to the atmosphere on Trousdale, where USC’s die-hard alumni prove that the term “Trojan Family” is not just some phony PR term used only by student tour guides.Here’s to coming together as students for the other 20 varsity sports teams, and all the other student organizations on campus. I’m totally guilty myself of focusing on football in my column last year, using the “it’s what people care about” excuse instead of embracing the media’s ability to spark interest in other important activities on campus. I will keep it to USC varsity sports — though I might throw in one or two shoutouts to my teammates on the club lacrosse team — but I promise to write about teams other than football as often as I can.You probably have the first tailgate of the year against Fresno State on Aug. 30 already on your calendar, but here’s a list of other home openers worth checking out: Men’s and women’s swimming have their first home meet at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center on Sept. 3 at 2 p.m. Women’s soccer opens at McAlister Field on Sept. 5 against UC Riverside at 4 p.m. Women’s volleyball hosts Texas A&M at 8 p.m. on Sept. 11 in the Galen Center. And the six-time defending national champion men’s water polo team’s first home game at the Uytengsu pool is Oct. 4 against UC Santa Barbara (time TBA). Unfortunately, the men’s and women’s golf teams don’t have any matches on campus, but they both begin their quests for national championships this fall, as do the Trojan tennis teams.And here’s to what should be another great school year. I’m honored that I’ll get the chance to share my thoughts on it once a week. Welcome back, UCLA sucks and fight on! Luke Holthouse is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism and policy, planning and development. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs Wednesdays.
Syracuse (11-7, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) picked up its first conference win of the season with a 62-40 drubbing of lowly Boston College (7-9, 0-3) on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome. Here are three quick observations from the Orange’s blowout win.Back on TrackMichael Gbinije had struggled to find himself at the outset of conference play. He scored a season-low 10 points against Miami, which he matched against then-No. 6 North Carolina. Boston College provided a reprieve for the starting point guard. He had 12 in the first half alone and had gotten to the basket with ease on two occasions.On the first play of the game, Syracuse got possession and he cut to the left side of the basket and laid it in with his right hand.He wasn’t as much of a factor in the second half. But his one bucket looked as easy as the rest, a seemingly uncontested run to the hoop to keep the wheels moving in the onslaught. He scored 14 points total.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textO-ZoneSyracuse held Boston College scoreless for a stretch of seven minutes and 28 seconds in the first half and it propelled a 21-2 run that separated the Orange for good.When Boston College’s Darryl Hicks found himself open for a 3-pointer on the left wing, he double-clutched before misfiring.When the Eagles did score, it took an average of 24 seconds, which served as a reflection of how difficult the makes were to find. The Eagles went on a 9-0 run to cut the Syracuse lead to seven in the second half, but two baskets in the paint from Dajuan Coleman brought the Orange back on track, as the lead ballooned to as many as 25.What does it mean?Boston College is not only one of the worst teams in the ACC, it’s arguably the worst power-conference team in college basketball. Dennis Clifford, the 7-foot center, was all around the rim but had no offensive ability. He missed several layups en route to an 0-for-4 night. All night, the BC offense let the shot clock get down to the final seconds before firing up a contested jumper.The Eagles are a team that lost to UC Irvine and Santa Clara by a combined 30 points and looked the part. SU, a team normally challenged offensively on the interior, outscored BC in the paint, 34-14. The Eagles, a team that lives by 3, died by it on Wednesday shooting just 6-of-26 from behind the arc.Getting a win for Syracuse improves the conference record, but pretty much every other win on the schedule is better. Comments Published on January 13, 2016 at 9:06 pm Facebook Twitter Google+