Event Recap: Dallas Cowboys vs. Detroit Lions (9/30/2018)

What a game. From the opening kick to the dying minutes of the game, there was intensity– enough to keep anyone on the edge of their seats. Bouncing back from an absolutely horrendous stretch of play, Quarterback Dak Prescott did just enough to push the Cowboys to a victory of 26-24. However, there is no question that the best player in the stadium was Runningback Ezekiel Elliot of the Dallas Cowboys. Leading the Cowboys in both rushing (152 yards off 25 carries) and receiving (88 yards off four receptions and one touchdown), Elliot was the engine that breathed life into an offense that has seemed dead the past couple of weeks. Though QB Prescott did help the Cowboys with timely throws and solid decision-making, there should be no doubt that the Cowboys would have been going home with their third loss of the year without a career day from Elliot.

On the other side of the field, the biggest question coming into this game was if the Cowboys could manage the loss of Sean Lee. The answer? They could. Though RB Kerryon Johnson of the Lions made his presence felt on a couple of big runs, the Cowboys mostly bottled him up on the ground (55 yards off 9 carries and one touchdown) thanks to solid days by linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Esch. A bigger concern, however, was WR Golden Tate’s field day. Though the defense has been playing well this year (ranked at 3rd entering this year), the secondary seemed to be unable to do much to stop Tate (132 yards off eight receptions and two touchdowns). A catch-and-run specialist, Tate slipped coverage and tackles all day, and would’ve been the most impressive player had Elliot not had an amazing day himself. In the coming weeks, it remains to be seen whether or not Dak could do enough to put the Cowboys in position to win once again, and whether this defense is more of their Week 2 performance against the Giants or their Week 4 performance against the Lions.

-Kobe L.

Film Review: Pele, Birth of a Legend

This movie follows the story of Edson “Dico” Nascimento, better known as the football legend Pele. This movie shows Pele’s life before his illustrious soccer career, back during his childhood in Brazil and eventual lead up to the 1958 World Cup. It shows the trials and obstacles Pele had to overcome before even playing for the National team.

Whether it be because of his mother discouraging him from playing soccer to eventually losing interest in playing soccer at all, Pele’s path to football stardom seemed all but lost. However, and as can be seen in various moments throughout the movie, Pele refused to give up. Determination and undying hope would follow him everywhere he went and would be the fuel pushing him to pursue a career in professional football.

This movie was a heartwarmer, showing his family life as a child, and showing who Pele was. Rather than just knowing him as a really good football player, it showed all the struggles he would face and just how difficult his journey truly was. What can be taken away from this movie is that you should always stay true to yourself and never once doubt in yourself and what you are able to do. Never give up in whatever happens, and no challenge is impossible to overcome.

-Kobe L.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Set during the Great Depression, this novel follows the story of the Joad family on their journey from Oklahoma to California. We as the readers are able to truly see the hardships that many farmers faced during this time, both with difficulty in growing crops and in difficulty moving westward. Steinbeck narrates this novel in an interesting way, with every chapter about the Joad family being followed by “interlude” chapters that offer somewhat of a broader perspective of events happening throughout the nation. Though these interlude chapters do not directly have any relation to the story of the Joads, they are still quite important as they are Steinbeck’s way of voicing some of his opinions with what he saw in society during that time.

Throughout the Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck really develops the theme of community and togetherness. Whether it be family, friends, or the nation as a whole, Steinbeck shows throughout the novel that people are better and stronger together, and that family is one of the most important things of one’s life. The loyalty of the Joads to one another, and friendship gained along the way help display this point that Steinbeck is trying to get across. Though the novel was highly controversial around the time it came out, it is an extremely important novel that gives an in-depth perspective of the Great Depression, and strongly pushes forward the importance of togetherness.

-Kobe L.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

October Sky

This movie follows Homer Hickam and friends in the town of Coalwood, West Virginia around 1957. His father, John Hickam, wants Homer to join him in the mines. However, after seeing Sputnik 1 shoot across the sky, Homer becomes determined to build a rocket of his own. Homer and his friends Quentin, Roy, and O’Dell set off on building this rocket. Though their first couple of rockets are utter failures, they continue trying to build and test out these rockets with the support of their teacher Miss Riley. However, their rocket building endeavors hit a snag when local authorities blame them for causing a forest fire, leading to the group of boys tearing down their launch site and ending further rocket testing. Undeterred, Homer is able to prove through calculations that he and his friends were not the cause of the forest fire and resume building rockets, eventually getting to the state science fair.

This movie was amazing in that it shows the power of passion for whatever may interest you. By putting in their all and never giving up in the face of failure, Homer and his friends were able to completely change the path of their future that washeld for them. The audience may ask themselves, “How is this even reasonable? There’s no way simple interest in rockets and entering a science fair can alter someone’s future this greatly!” However, this was in fact based off of a real story! This movie teaches a great story of following one’s dreams and the importance of family in one’s success. It is a great movie to watch, with an even greater lesson behind it.

-Kobe L.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

The word “effort” shows up often and is used quite often as the main point of a success story. There is often much emphasis on efforts and hard work, but our attitude in accepting good efforts needs a bit of change. Instead, we should also focus on the limitations that were faced. Grit is instead good enough and able to surpass this hollow and overused shell of effort.

This book took a scientific approach from the beginning to the end. I preferred this approach as it is based on research and experimentation. Furthermore, it can be applied for to most part to many peoples’ lives. It is a great and hopeful message that grit is much more important than talent to ordinary people like you and me. This book clarifies that we can develop and improve grit, and proves that our efforts in doing so are important.

This books also opens the discussion about grit and broadens its scope from personal territory to the surrounding environment. If everyone supports and encourages and never gives up and instead chooses to teach others and the next generation about the importance of grit, it will give them a chance to experience its importance in developing more grit in one’s life. The future of society would be brighter.

-Kobe L.

Grit by Angela Duckworth is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Cowboys Draft Plan

On Friday, April 13th, the Dallas Cowboys formally parted ways with star WR Dez Bryant. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has come out and stated that the Cowboys do not believe they have a receiver that can come in and completely take over the “WR1” mantle previously held by Dez. This is a sound assumption as there are no real wide receiver prospects in the 2018 draft that look as though they would be home-run picks like Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones. However, there are many receivers that look to be solid WR2 receivers that have the potential to turn into WR1 caliber receivers. The release of Dez Bryant has led to many tying the Cowboys with drafting a WR in the first round. However, the timing of this release seems to state otherwise.

As many teams do not want to give any hints as to what their draft plans may be, the timing of Dez’s release seems intriguing. If the Cowboys really were planning on drafting a receiver at 19 or potentially even trading up in the draft, keeping Dez– business wise– may have been the best move to hide a lack of star receiver power. As a result, it seems as though the Cowboys are not planning on actively pursuing a receiver, but may instead be pointed to drafting a defensive player in the first round to add to their lineup. Furthermore, the signings of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson seem to indicate they are fine with drafting a receiver in some of the later rounds of the draft, as this receiver class, though lacking in star power, has solid options that can be selected in the second and third rounds. With Sean Lee getting a year older and David Irving potentially being suspended to start the season, the Cowboys have more pressing needs at linebacker and defensive tackle and would be in their best interests selecting one of those positions over WR.

-Kobe L.

LA Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings

On Monday, April 1st, the Los Angeles Lakers played the Sacramento Kings in the Staples Center, with the Kings coming away with an 84-83 victory. Attending the game in person, I was able to feel the intensity of the atmosphere in the stadium, making the whole experience much more enjoyable. Being able to rejoice with fans over the Lakers making a three-point shot and feeling frustrated at bad calls by the referee, I could feel my general interest in the game much higher than when I usually watch basketball games at home.

First driving up to the stadium, I was taken aback by the sheer number of fans present at the stadium. Though I did expect there to be a lot of people, I was surprised at just how many Lakers fans were in attendance. Entering the stadium, I saw a lot of purple and gold, as well as memorabilia all over. As my family and I settled into our seats, I looked around as saw many different types of fans present at the game. There was anywhere from little babies to more elderly fans, some dressed in normal streetwear, others decked out with Lakers gear. I also saw some Sacramento Kings fans, though they were much less in size than the amount of Lakers fans.

Throughout the game, I cheered with the fans and shouted and clapped along to the songs playing during the game. I eagerly watched the players run up and down the court, taking shots and dunking on others. It was an overall great experience, and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you are a basketball fan or not.

-Kobe L