Category Archives: Entertainment

ESPN Layoffs are Not a Good Sign For Sports Reporting Industry

Trey Lower, Staff Writer

As a sports broadcasting major here at Wingate, my lifelong dream has been to be an announcer for ESPN. Whenever you think of sports, you ultimately think of the channel, and I always had a path in place to get there.

However, as the years have progressed and the broadcasting industry continues to change, my goals have forcibly changed along with it. Last week, ESPN announced that in a cost-cutting maneuver, it would lay off 100 employees, most of whom were seen on ESPN on a regular basis.

The company took a beating on social media because of it, as fans soon realized many familiar faces were leaving the network. Longtime reporters Dr. Jerry Punch, who served ESPN for 30 years, and NFL reporter Ed Werder, who spent over 15 years at the network, were among the major layoffs.

ESPN gutted its entire team of NHL writers in the middle of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and also significantly diminished its analysts and writers for both the NBA and MLB. So, why did the layoffs happen? Simple. People are cutting the cord on cable, plus a change in direction at the company has led to significant money loss and cost-cutting measure had to be taken.

ESPN is one of the most expensive channels you pay for on your cable bill, charging nearly $5 a month by itself. Add in the fact that the programming at the channel has begun to lack significantly in terms of content, and people just are not interested in watching ESPN anymore.

I scrolled through twitter most of the day when these layoffs were happening, gauging reaction from the average viewer, as well as from the ESPN employees. The average fan appeared disgruntled with not only the cost of paying for ESPN, but that lack of content as well.

Shows like First Take and Around The Horn have become mainstays on the network, and the greatest show in the history of the planet, Sportscenter has drifted away from highlights and become more of a news show, similar to what you would find on CNN or FOX. This aggravated the viewers and turned them away.

ESPN2’s midday viewership was so bad, that the company resorted to re-runs of shows from earlier in the day and even earlier in the week. In addition, most tweeters were mentioning that they usually only watch ESPN for the live sports; and because of the change in content they simply didn’t need to watch the other programming anymore.

In addition, technological advances have also begun as the Worldwide Leader’s downfall. As more and more people begin streaming events on their phone or tablet, the less a television is needed.

The addition of WatchESPN several years ago, an app that allows you to watch ESPN wherever you may please, has been among the catalysts in the rise of streaming sports events. In 2016, Twitter teamed up with the NFL to live-stream Thursday Night Football, and in 2017 Amazon will take over this service.

Additionally, ESPN has since combined the WatchESPN and the ESPN apps, into one app, to make it simpler for the avid sports fans to keep up. It’s because of this shift in technology that ESPN simply doesn’t need some of the same employees around anymore.

The journalism industry continues to change, and many believe that these layoffs by ESPN are simply just the beginning. It is believed that ESPN will eventually turn into a service similar to HBOgo, where there is a certain price to pay each month to watch the channel’s content. As for me, I still have my dreams of being a great sports broadcaster, but the changing industry has certainly cast a darker cloud over my future, and all aspiring sports broadcasters futures.

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Edited by: Brea Childs

Gary Hamill Reaches 25 Years as Head Coach for Wingate University

Maggie Smith, Staff Writer

At 24 years old, most people are still figuring out what they want to do in life. At 24 years old most people have big dreams that seem impossible. However, for some 24 year olds, like Gary Hamill, a career is put before them and they go with it.

Credit by Wingate University Athletics

25 years ago, Gary Hamill, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, came to the United States to attend the College of Charleston on a soccer scholarship. Hamill’s soccer career as a player was cut short after three years due to an injury. Thanks to some connections, Gary Hamill was offered a position at Wingate University as an assistant coach, where he would finish up his degree while coaching.

Throughout his 25 years here, Gary Hamill has held many positions. In his earlier years, he ran intramural’s, then later served a couple years as an Assistant Athletic Director. He also oversaw the compliance and all the Olympic sports. In the 90’s he spent three seasons as both the head men and women’s soccer coach.

Hamill said at one point he was even named the Head Tennis coach at Wingate, although he had never actually played a match in his life.“I actually read about it in the U.S.A. Today London Edition that I was named head coach.” said Hamill. He said he was only the coach for three weeks until they hired someone else. “I’m undefeated as a Tennis Coach.” Hamill jokingly said.

The 15 out of the 25 years that he’s been here, he has served as the Associate Athletic Director. Throughout his career he’s held multiple positions while coaching, but for the last 5 years he has only held the position as head coach of the men’s soccer team. “Like a lot of people, in the early days you do what you need to do to be an ultimate team player.” said Hamill about the many responsibilities he’s had.

When Hamill first arrived at Wingate he was the assistant coach of the men’s team for only three short weeks. After just three weeks he moved up from assistant coach, and was named the Head Coach of the Wingate University men’s soccer team, at the young age of 24. Not only was he beginning his coaching career, but was a full time student as well, as he was finishing up his degree. “It was extremely difficult.” said Hamill.

In 1994, Hamill lead the team to their first Conference Championship title and graduated in the same year…talk about a good year. Hamill said his transition from being a player to becoming a head coach at the young age of 24 was “quite difficult.” Hamill also said, “it helped me learn how to build relationships, and the importance of players.”

Hamill said the transition from player to coach was tough because he was only 24 years old and had players only three years younger than him on the team. Although some were younger than him, he said that they respected him. “People respect somebody if you have a knowledge of something. If I would’ve had no knowledge of the sport and was winging it, they wouldn’t of respected me.” Hamill said.

He had aspirations to become a coach before coming to the United States, and took coaching courses in Ireland. “I thought that that was a good career choice for me at 16 or 17” said Hamill. When offered the opportunity as head coach, Hamill said he “saw it as an opportunity to first and foremost build a successful program.”

On December 3,  2016 Gary Hamill’s 25 years of building a successful soccer program paid off. Hamill and the Wingate University men’s soccer team won the DII National Championship. Hamill described his feeling after winning the national championship as “a feeling of excitement that a lot of years and a lot of hard work was right in front of me.”

Hamill said the excitement and jubilation of being national champs hit him a month later, and he finally had the same reaction of excitement as his players did right after the win.“I obviously have so many years of dedicating myself and trying to get them to that point, that once it had all settled down, it took a month before the realization that we actually did pull that off” said Hamill.

Hamill said that for the last decade he has believed the national championship was a possibility. “In the course of a decade, we’ve lost six times to either the national champions or the runner up, but the ultimate goal was always to win the national championship.” said Hamill. He also said that in the last four to five years they have came very close.

Hamill credits the University as factoring role in helping the men’s soccer team make it to the national championship. “I think we have all the resources that we need, like the institutional support scholarship wise, the facilities, and the school itself.” said Hamill.

Hamill has witnessed the growth of Wingate University over the last 25 years.“The University as a whole has grown so much and that has helped us recruit students” said Hamill.

When it comes to recruiting players that fit the successful program Hamill has built, he said his recruiting philosophy is to recruit players based on personal characteristics. “I truly believe you can’t honestly coach a team unless you know their individual linkup,” said Hamill, “I like to think that I know every single player as a person and then I know how to put them together as a team.”Some important personal characteristics that Hamill looks for is work ethic, confidence, and good academics.

Although winning a national championship seems like one of the biggest accomplishments a coach could dream of, Hamill said one of the biggest aspects he’s obtained through coaching is “the stupid satisfaction of seeing people grow and develop from young teenagers into nice young men.”

Hamill said that he doesn’t know his winning percentage, nor does he care. “I think that having an impact on people’s lives is massively important…that’s what I want to be remembered by…the impact I’ve had in helping people” said Hamill.

Edited by: Brea Childs

Video Game Review: Battlefield

Students takes an in depth look at a Video Game

Danny Stueber, Staff Writer

              The last two Battlefield games, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline, were missteps in the franchise with shoty online play and bugs galore that really left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans. Then, earlier this year, EA announced the next game would be Battlefield 1, a war game taking place during World War 1 respectively.

Many people were skeptical if something considered to be the worst war in history could be made into a game with respect and dignity while still being fun. After many hours with the single player and the multiplayer, I can say that the people over at Dice who made this game did an excellent job on all those fronts.

The campaign, while short, really shows the respect the war deserves. You play as five different people all living out different situations throughout the war. It shows how normal everyday people were thrown into this horrible event and how they had to cope with it.

You see the struggles of a man who used to be a chauffeur now being made to drive tanks, an experimental technology at the time and you play as a woman trying to stop the invasion of her home by enemy forces wanting to drill for oil in the first time in history for all their war machines.

You never feel like the time period is being disrespected or if anything is a joke. You feel for the characters and the situation they are all thrown into. The campaign also serves as a tutorial of sorts for the main attraction, the multiplayer.

You learn how to drive the tanks, fly the planes, wear the body armor, ride the horses, shoot, and stealth all from the different stories and with how demanding some of those things are it was a smart way of doing so.

My one complaint is that it was really short. Each story is only around an hour long and as a result you never can get to invested with any of the characters. When each story ended I was left wanting more and to know what happened to them which is never a good feeling, especially 5 times in a row.

The multiplayer is as strategic and fun as ever for the battlefield series and unlike Battlefields that came before it, this one had no bugs and bad connections through my hours of play. The massive maps all feel different and allow you to try any of the classes till you know what fits you best.

The old weapons of World War 1 are still fun to use compared to today’s and because a lot of them were experimental it shows even more strategy along the lines of not being sure if you should try to reload now or not, if you should throw the mustard gas to run the enemy out of hiding, etc. it is fun while being true to what I feel the battles were like at the time.

My one complaint for the multiplayer function is the unlock and progression system is just bad. Sometimes when you level up you get some war bonds which can be used to buy new weapons and equipment but it’s never enough from one or two levels. Even after you buy a weapon, you have to make sure your class is a high enough level to use it which is separate from your player level.

I was level 5 and bought a shotgun to use with the assault class but I needed that class to be level 3. Because I like all four classes even after many hours of play, the assault class was not even level 2 yet so I was stuck with wasted money and the same weapons for even longer. It’s very disheartening and does not feel like you are accomplishing anything as a result.

Battlefield 1 is my favorite in the series. The gameplay is fun, it feels good to play, the stories are a great learning tool as well as appropriate for the time period the game portrays, etc.

I will mention however, that if you buy this game on an Xbox One, it is slightly darker for some reason than the PS4 version. I tried it on a 1080p tv and a 4K monitor and it was always darker than the other console for some reason. The PS4 version looks better but the online components handle better on the Xbox so, whichever is more important to you should help in your purchasing decision.

Battlefield 1 is not my favorite shooter this year but it was my biggest surprise. If you’re sick of every shooter being the same these days, pick this game up and I promise you will have fun.

Top 5 games of 2015

Danny Stueber, Staff Writter

2015 was a great year for games. It was so great, in fact that I have had to think about this list for quite some time. Now, this list is just, in my opinion, the best games of 2015 and includes only games I have played.

Therefore, Halo 5, Madden 2016, etc. have had much critical praise but since I never touched them they will not find themselves on this list along with many others. So with no more explanations needed, here are my top 5 games of 2015.

  1. Rocket League

As a child I loved soccer, I played all the way through middle school. Then I got tired of it and soon dropped it. It wasn’t until 2015 when soccer was reinvented through the game Rocket League, that my interest came back.

Rocket League hit the gaming world hard with it’s easy to learn controls, fun overall progression and matches, and its imaginative take on the sport. Months and months later this game is still popular and it’s the first sport game to get my attention in a very long time.

  1. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

In my opinion, The Witcher 2 was not a good game. I did not find all the systems and the gameplay fun at all and was done with it day. However, years later I did enjoy Witcher 3. I picked it up based on the overall love for it in the game community, hoping that I would like it more than its predecessor.

Now being over 50 hours in and still nowhere near done, it is one of the best open world games I have ever played. The side stories are engaging and I care for the characters. It’s as if I didn’t even need to know what occurred in past games to understand the plot. I love this game and will probably be playing it as you read this.

  1. Splatoon

When Nintendo, the family friendly game company every child grew up with, announced a shooter everybody was skeptical. Not only is it the best shooter of the entire year, it is also my favorite shooter of all time.

The point is not to kill others but to cover the battlefield with as much ink as possible with weapons ranging from guns to paintbrushes and that is enough of a change to reinvigorate the shooter genre. Also the music is like nothing you have heard before, the gameplay is addictive. Yet, I am still playing it over six months later, whereas I dropped Star Wars Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 within a month. Splatoon ruined them for me.

  1. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

I have always loved the Metal Gear series and knowing that this is supposed to be the last game in the main series, I couldn’t have asked for more. There are game changing open world setups where you can accomplish your missions in any way you can think of.

This game was everything I wanted and probably made me the saddest of any piece of media this year when those credits rolled and I knew it was something I could never experience for the first time again. It’s probably the best controlling game I have ever handled.

  1. Bloodborne

156 hours. 4 different plays. Hundreds of enemies slain and thousands of gallons of blood spilled. I have not been able to put the game down yet. The gothic London setting, the intense combat, the cool weapons and enemy design.

I have never seen a game like this before and it surprises me how much I love this game, because I usually don’t like Dark Souls games from the same developers. I have spent many late nights enveloped in this game world and this might be the first game in my life where I forgot to breathe at times from how intense the battles would become. Not only is this my top game for all of 2015, it is in my top list of games for all time.

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)

  • Guitar Hero Live (loved the reinvention of the franchise compared to Rock Band 4 taking the safe route)
  • Tales From the Borderlands (best Telltale game since The Walking Dead)
  • Fallout 4 (very fun but was just to similar to Fallout 3 to me to make the list)
  • Mortal Combat X (my favorite fighting game besides Super Smash Brothers)
  • Until Dawn (best choose your own adventure/horror game in years)
  • Undertale (an amazing game)

 StUeBs13 = Xbox Live ID

StUeBs_13 = PlayStation ID

Edited by Brea Childs and Shea Murray


Donald Trump hosted SNL?

Hope Rogers, Staff Writer

Donald Trump, the current front-running Republican presidential candidate, has made the news several times for his blunt statements. He is best known for his desire to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to secure the country’s borders.

During a speech in June, he announced, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… they’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Since that statement was made, many protest groups, mostly comprised of minorities, have attempted to silence Mr. Trump when he appears for campaign speeches or talk shows. Saturday night was no exception when the presidential candidate hosted Saturday Night Live.

On November 7th, a group called Deport Racism offered to pay $5,000 to anyone who was willing to interrupt the live broadcast. The group’s offer was taken by one of the show’s cast members – Larry David, who impersonates Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Luke Montgomery, the group’s campaign director, announced following the broadcast, “We are excited to reward Larry David with $5,000 cash for ‘standing up’ to Donald Trump on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and speaking the truth about his anti-Latino racism, even though he was joking.” Indeed, David’s “racist” comment was met with laughter from fellow cast members and the audience after he explained himself.

Despite the criticism from groups such as Deport Racism, Saturday Night Live received its highest overnight ratings since 2012. Joseph Ellis, a Wingate University political science professor, commented on why the ratings were so high. “Saturday Night Live has long included political figures in their programs (Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama). What separated Trump is that is he isn’t a career politician. Even though he fancies himself a businessman, he is an entertainer above all.”

Although Trump is not widely considered to be a ‘career politician’, other serious Republican candidates such as John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Huckabee have all written to NBC to request the same amount of air time, which is approximately twelve minutes out of the show’s 90.

Nick Corasaniti from The New York Times speculated why Trump’s time was so limited. “Mr. Trump’s screen time was very limited for a typical host of “S.N.L.” Both Amy Schumer and Miley Cyrus, who hosted episodes in October, were on screen for more than 20 minutes, evidence that NBC was aware of, and perhaps expecting, some requests for equal time.” Despite these requests, Saturday Night Live is not likely to have another presidential candidate host the show before the election next November.

As to whether or not the show itself was enjoyable, those opinions differed greatly. Although Dr. Ellis enjoyed the skits that he watched, he noted, “The problem with political comedy is that no one wants to make fun of their own candidate or views, and therefore only about half your audience will ever buy in.”

Based on the online reviews, it seemed that Trump political supporters and opposers were unable to separate their personal biases regarding his performance; they either loved it or hated it based on how they viewed his political stances. NBC, alongside the initial protests to cancel Trump’s appearance, continues to face criticism as groups such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus demand an apology for letting Trump host the popular live sitcom.

After a failed meeting with NBC executives, the group members admitted that it was not likely to happen. Until then, group representative Gutiérrez noted that “members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other members of Congress and Senators will find it hard to take anything you (NBC) say about diversity and Hispanic representation seriously until this is addressed.”

Edited by Jenna Turner and Brea Childs