As New Orleans, a town of many seasons, heads into the fall and we pretend that the weather is getting cooler, one’s mind naturally begins to think about Super Bowl runs and College Playoff Championships. It’s a beautiful time of year. The colors. The pageantry. All of the NFL games that will be ruined by referees making bad calls.
It’s just good fun, folks. And while football definitely puts the F into fall sports, there are plenty of other student-athletes who are on campus and lacing up their sneakers to go out and be true to their school.
Let’s check out what else is heading our way on the New Orleans’ sport scene.
You have to give props to SUNO and Dillard’s volleyball teams’ performance over the years. Both schools usually put impressive clubs on the floor but, unfortunately the two teams share one unfortunate trait — they play in the same conference as the Xavier Gold Nuggets.
Xavier volleyball is arguably the most dominant local sports program. The Gold Nuggets, in only their 11th season of play, are looking to defend their conference and tournament titles for the eighth season in a row.
Sophomore outside hitter, and preseason GCAC Player of the Year, Kayla Black leads a team that has had plenty of conference success but are hungry to break through on the national scene, a year after watching their NAIA tournament first round match against Marian University slip through their fingers. To that end, the school and coach Pat Kendrick have scheduled an impressive season of matches that will have this team tourney-tested by November.
The Gold Nuggets will play seven NAIA tournament teams from last year including reigning champion Lindsey Wilson College, who went perfect at 35-0 last year. Lindsey Wilson has been on a tear through the NAIA. Over the last three seasons, the team has gone 107-6 with a final four appearance and a championship. Good luck, Xula!
On St. Charles Avenue, the Loyola University women’s cross country team was picked to finish second behind Bradley in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Loyola Ramblers will be led by the Valley’s 2017 Cross Country Athlete of the Year, Lindsey Brewis.
The Ramblers face an uphill battle in catching Bradley, who have won four out of the past five championships. On the men’s side, Bradley is going for its fourth consecutive title. What in the hell is going on up at Bradley? What are they running from?
You might be surprised to know that I was once on my high school’s cross country team. Without a doubt running hellish distances made me a better athlete but it was just so far.
So, I gave it my best high school try, which is less than the old college try, and one day after stretching, as our team ran off into another sunny afternoon in Kentucky, I cut right and ran back into our locker room, grabbed my car keys and left. Within minutes, I knew I had made one of the best decisions in my life. Thus, ending my storied cross country career.
*Photo by the Associated Press
I would be remiss not to give a shout out to all of the local dance and cheerleading squads out there kicking much tail as well. Growing up I was always reminded that the University of Kentucky’s cheerleading squad was the best in the world and always won the championship. So naturally, in a state that thirsts for championships, we started paying attention and as a young kid I thought, “Yep. I cannot do a triple back flip, super-twisty-thing like she just did.”
Speaking of our fair city’s favorite new cheerleader, Jesse Hernandez, it was awesome watching my Facebook and Twitter feeds blow up with video of Jesse’s first on-field performance with the Saintsations. Cool stuff all around and I definitely got a kick out of everyone wondering why in the hell doesn’t Jesse have pompoms?
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: R.I.P. to Cajun Brewing. Y’all made good beer.
Playlist Recommendation: Incredible Bongo Band – “Apache”
Around the Way
Do you remember the movie “Breakin’” and other 80’s flicks in which the kids were always seemingly having to save the community center? The bad guy was usually some evil developer with eyes on making millions off of selling condos.
Either way, I couldn’t help but think about such good flicks when we attended the 5th annual Tropical Blood Drive held at Tipitina's this Sunday. Soul Brass band put on a great show but then, and I didn’t see it coming, the night (even though it was about 3 p.m.) got LIT.
Ladies and gentlemen, there was a Mardi Gras dance krewe dance off.
If you have been to Tipitina’s for a show you can imagine how the floor setup was perfect. The dance krewes, on the ground floor, not the stage, were surrounded by fans 10 rows thick and the balcony was packed with onlookers. If Turbo or Ozone from “Breakin’,” had moonwalked out onto the dance floor I wouldn’t have been surprised. It was just that awesome.
Every team put on a superb show in what I kept calling The Dance-Off Super Bowl. My two peeps thought the Camel Toe Lady Steppers (who looked straight out of 1982 with their punked-up hair and purple sequins) were the best but, yours truly casted his vote for The Cherry Bombs. Props to Roux La-La as well.
It’s an event and cause that deserves bigger crowds so come on out next year!
*Photo by Melanie Warner Spencer