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Columbia Spectator Staff

Welcome to the ranting and raving of Roar Ryan Roar. As my first column, this will basically be the equivalent of one of those epic UWriting exploratory drafts, with the main exception being I'm not throwing this column together at the last minute. I am pretty much like any sports fan that is a life-long New Yorker—with my year being mostly divided into baseball and football seasons, as my Mets and Jets always find new ways to torment me. In fact, none of my favorite teams have ever won a championship in my lifetime. So you can imagine, by coming to Columbia to support the Lions, I feel right at home even if my home is less than an hour away anyway. Last year as a freshman, I was able to follow many Columbia teams as a sports associate for Spec and a commentator for WKCR, covering almost every Ivy game for the football, basketball, and baseball teams. Unfortunately, they all seemed to follow the all too familiar pattern of raising hope early and then fizzling out in the heart of the season. Clearly this is nothing new for me—at least nobody blew a seven game lead with seventeen games to play. However I can see a glimmer of hope for every team, and this is why I am excited to be able continue to watch their progress for the next few years and see if they can maintain success for more than just the beginning of the season. In football, Sean Brackett is fun to watch and it will be interesting to see if he has enough pieces around him on offense to take a step forward this year. The most exciting game may even be Columbia's season opener against Fordham in the tenth annual Liberty Cup, which serves to commemorate the events of 9/11. Thus the game will have special meaning for the two rivals, since it will be played during the week of the tenth anniversary of that tragic day, and both sides are highly anticipating the matchup. But with a soft schedule for the following few weeks, the Light Blue should get off to a promising start once again, so the challenge will come in the next four home games starting with homecoming against Penn. Can the Lions beat the best the league has to offer and stir up some much needed excitement inside Wien Stadium? In basketball, the big pieces—Noruwa Agho and Brian Barbour—are still in place, so if the team can improve on its rather dismal shooting from a year ago, maybe they can shoot for a league record over .500. The grind of the long schedule seemed to catch up to the Lions last year, so more experience with the long, arduous schedule should only help the team try to sustain success going forward. Nevertheless, I don't see a November win at defending champion UConn helping to push the Lions off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament come March. As for baseball, I was able to attend most of the games last year as a beat writer and they were and still are a good team. They were just victimized by a couple of close losses early in the Ivy season, which at only twenty games can get out of hand quickly, so I would expect a rebound in 2012. Seeing the great success that junior outfielder Dario Pizzano had in his summer league makes me excited to see the gaudy numbers he can put up to carry the Columbia offense this spring. And even though the more minor sports may not bring as much satisfaction to us Columbians, there will be several other teams contending for championships this year after a year which was admittedly a disappointment for Columbia athletics in terms of championships. I won't deny that no matter the results of Columbia sporting events, the experiences I had last year and will continue to embark on are a lot of fun. And I hope to share with you why this is so in this column. (This is where things get all exploratory.) Here are some other goals I have for Roar Ryan Roar: I will… • Never remind you about the invaluable experiences and free stuff you are missing out on by not heading to Columbia sporting events…consider this your notification. • Find a way to make "Lions, Tigers, and Bears Oh my," a lede for my column or I will brag about how I was able to lead an article with it. • Win Pixbox every semester all due to my prognostication skills. But if I happen to lose…it was all bad luck. • Give an honest, maybe even controversial take on the state of certain Columbia teams. • Celebrate some Light Blue championships to prove that my optimism in my first column was not completely off base. (Everyone's allowed to be hopeful at the start of a new year…I'd rather wait until at least midterms before getting cynical.)

Roar Ryan Roar
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