May 13 / Rob

JMU Softball Headed to Ann Arbor

JMU Softball entered the CAA tournament on a bit of a heater. The Dukes won 16 straight games to close the regular season and were hoping to do enough in the conference tourney, to secure a seed in the big dance. Then they promptly went out and destroyed everyone in their path, winning three games by a combined score of 33-1. To say it they were dominant wouldn’t do it justice. They hit 10 homers and slugged .589. It sure seemed like it was enough to earn them a seed in the NCAA tournament. That’s not how it worked out though. Instead JMU is headed to the Ann Arbor Regional where they’ll compete with host and 15 seed Michigan, in addition to St. Francis and DePaul.

There are plenty of reasons to be upset by the fact that Dukes aren’t seeded. We thought they did enough in the CAA tournament to earn a little more respect. Perhaps they did too much though. They hardly broke a sweat crushing all comers and maybe the committee thought the lopsided victories said more about the quality of the competition than they did about the Dukes prowess. We really have no clue though. This is a committee with a clear perception about conference strength. They put every single SEC team in the tourney. Again. So forgive us if we’re not going to waste our time trying to figure out what an organization like the NCAA is thinking.

In any case, if you can put the outrage over the seed situation aside, you’ll realize JMU got a decent draw. History shows us that it’s very hard to advance as a road team in the Regionals, but the Dukes will have a shot in Ann Arbor. Michigan is a good team, but far from a powerhouse like Oklahoma or UCLA. JMU can beat Michigan. In fact, JMU already beat Michigan once this season. The Dukes beat the Wolverines 3-0 in extra innings back in March at the ASU Invitation in Arizona. Sure it will be harder to beat them in a true road game, but it’s not an impossible task. As for the rest of the region, St. Francis and DePaul are both solid, but not spectacular teams. We don’t want to show the same bias the committee does, but discounting these teams from non-power conferences, but JMU ain’t scared of either of those squads.

In the big picture, JMU is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 7th straight year and the Dukes have a legit shot to advance. It’s disappointing (and a little baffling) that JMU needs to go on the road, but it’s out of our hands. We could rant and rave, but it won’t make a difference. The NCAA does what the NCAA does. Sometimes things make sense. More often than not though, they don’t. It stinks, but all JMU and the other non-P5 programs can do to change thins is go out and win ballgames. The Dukes will have a chance to do just that starting Friday in Ann Arbor. We think they can.

May 7 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: About That CAA Media Deal

We’re down to the final days of the 2018-2019 JMU sports calendar, but there were a surprising number of things to discuss on the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. While we both are thrilled for Jimmy, the team he landed with sparked different emotional reactions. We also talked about softball closing out the regular season and lax getting ready to defend its title in the dance. But really, the episode is all about the new CAA media deal with FloSports. Tune in to hear our full thoughts, but we’re not exactly over the moon about this.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

May 2 / Todd

Jimmy ‘effin Moreland to the Washington Redskins!

HTTR baby! In a heartwarming for Todd, soulcrushing for Rob manner, none other than our all-time favorite JMU player, Dukes DB Jimmy ‘effin Moreland (Rob even gave him his nickname for crying out loud!) was drafted in the 7th Round of the NFL Draft by none other than the Washington Redskins. As you know, Jimmy is from Florida so this isn’t a “hometown” thing for him personally. But for tons of Dukes fans from the DMV, this is stunningly glorious news.
First to the substantive part of this. That JMFM fell to the 7th Round when many of us hoped, and many experts predicted, he could go as high as the 3rd, had started to turn the whole draft process into a letdown. And Jimmy said as much post-draft when he essentially said he’ll be playing with the same chip on his shoulder that carried him to the highest of highs in the ‘Burg. In fact, in true GOAT fashion, when asked how he had so many interceptions (a program record 18 but we see you Rashad) at JMU, Jimmy simply said “I’m a dog!” Damn right! 
But when he ended up being selected by Washington, well that’s when things got personal (more on this momentarily). Despite local radio turds-with-a-microphone like Chad Deuche decrying that “he didn’t play against real competition,” the move, and surprisingly the Skins’ draft as a whole, was hailed as a winner by many who know a whole lot more about this stuff than we do.
So on that personal note. I’m a lifelong Skins fan. Or at least I was. Growing up and well into my 20’s, I was as diehard as they come despite leaving RFK for the shittiest professional stadium experience in American sports, a willingness to live only in the past, and historically, comically bad management by the worst owner in the world. Like a lot of others given the attendance the last five years or so, the Snyder era had ground me down to nothing. Concussions and general assholery by the league didn’t help and neither did my growing devotion to, and appreciation for, college football Saturdays easily trumping any interest I had in devoting Sundays to a boring, distasteful product. But at its core, it was about Snyder and the Skins just sucking. I joked with friends about trying to support another team. And I certainly didn’t watch after September. But deep down, fandom is an emotional decision, and one of the most wildly irrational decisions at that. I knew in my heart of hearts that if the team ever won again, I’d be back. Or maybe, just maybe, if they ever gave me a reason to root. Needless to say, this was a bolt of lightning. It really does say something that two of the three happiest days of Skins fandom in the Snyder era were offseason moves (Gibbs coming back and beating the Cowboys to win the division in the Romo-debacle game being the others). But I know for sure that if Jimmy is healthy, I’ll be watching every minute of the preseason for the first time in twenty years. And heaven help Rob if he makes the roster, much less if he AND Andrew Ankrah make it. I swore a decade ago I’d never buy anything “officially licensed” again that might put even a cent in Snyder’s pocket, but if Jimmy’s on the team Week 1, I have a feeling I’m not the only Dukes fan who will be absolutely making a jersey purchase!
HTTR indeed!

Apr 26 / Rob

Friday Ramblings: Part of the Problem

The NFL is largely terrible. It’s corrupt and exploitative, and run by a bunch of curmudgeonly old men who’ll stop at nothing to pry every last dollar out of fans’ pockets. It’s also impossible to avoid. For 12 months a year, it’s in your face. I was in friggin South America last week and couldn’t even get a break. Alerts popping up on my phone about completely worthless NFL crap all day, every day. It’s months until a single game is played and still, try to spend more than 5 minutes on social media without having some NFL story (non-story) shoved in your face. You can’t do it. The league has completely overwhelmed our culture and ruined the joy of football. I know this. There’s no denying it. But of course I love it anyway.

So despite the fact that I can list countless reasons to stay away from the NFL, I just can’t. Which means of course that I’ll be on pins and needles al weekend waiting to see where Jimmy Effin Moreland lands. For the first time in several years, it’s looking incredibly likely that a JMU Duke will be drafted. And the player is JMUSB favorite Jimmy Moreland, which means it’s a pretty big deal in these parts. Love it, hate it, or pretend to hate it, but the NFL is the king of country’s sports culture. And we’re on the verge of seeing one of the most exciting players ever to put on the purple & gold (and chrome, and white, and black) gain admission to it.

Yeah, there are plenty of JMU guys who’ve worked their way onto NFL rosters. We’re incredibly proud of each and every one of them, But there’s something different about the potential to see a guy get drafted. And according to most accounts, we’re probably going to see Jimmy’s name called this weekend. Perhaps as early as the 4th round. So instead of grinding it out in rookie camps to try to earn a shot as UFA, one of our all time favorite Dukes is probably going to head into camp, with reasonable certainty that he’ll end up on the final 53 man roster. And that’s just awesome. Good luck Jimmy. We’re all rooting for you.

And with that said, here’s some other stuff you might have missed from the world of JMU sports.

Since splitting a doubleheader against VA Tech, Softball has been on a heater. The ladies stomped UVA this week, easily sweeping the Cavs.

Jimmy ain’t the only Duke who’s going to move on to play professionally. Caroline Sdanovich was picked 19th in the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League draft by the Baltimore Brave. She’ll join her former teammate Krisen Gaudian, who was already on the roster.

JMU Women’s Tennis secured the first CAA Championship in program history. And they did it in head coach Shelley Jaudon’s first season, defeating four time defending champ and CAA dynasty William & Mary.

And not to be outdone, the other Coach Shelly and the Dukes lacrosse team won another regular season title by defeating William & Mary on senior day. This year’s senior class won the regular season title every single year. They also won a national championship. Pretty good run.

And finally, we dropped another new episode of the JMSB Podcast this week. In it, we touch on several of the stories above. Things also got strangely serious as we discussed some of the good ways campus culture has evolved since our time as undergrads, particularly with regard for mental health and general empathy and acceptance of others. We’ll be back to making Tick jokes and talking D-Hall in the future, but we really hope people tune in for this one and share their thoughts on some of the topics we hit.

Apr 10 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Spring Sports & Things We Didn’t Appreciate As Undergrads

Not the most exciting week in JMU sports history, but there was still plenty to talk about. In the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast, we discuss women’s hoops, a big lacrosse win over Towson, and even a little tennis. And of course we had some March Madness chatter after a pair of outstanding championship games. Then we wrap things up by discussing some of the things we didn’t appreciate as undergrads, but definitely do now.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

Apr 3 / Rob

Listen to Coach O Before the Big Game

JMU Women’s Basketball followed up the big win over VA Tech, with a defeat of Georgetown. And now they’re headed to the WNIT Final Four. The ladies will play Northwestern at home on Wednesday, April 3 in the Convo. Head Coach of the Dukes Sean O’Regan was kind enough to join us on the pod this week to discuss JMU’s run and break down the semifinal game. Despite the sometimes questionable (understatement) quality of our recording, you should really listen to what he has to say. We can’t thank him enough for taking the time to chat with us during this busy week.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

Mar 27 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: WNIT, Pro-Day, and Best NCAA Hoopers

In the latest episode of the JMUSB Pod, we’re talking Women’s NIT. The Dukes have advanced to the third round and now welcome their old pal Kenny Brooks and his Virginia Tech Hokies to the Convo for a big game. We also discuss JMU football’s pro day and how Jimmy Effin Moreland probably did enough to put himself in a position to be drafted. Then we go deep breaking down the best college hoopers we’ve ever seen, before making some World Series predictions.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the fly shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

Mar 22 / Rob

Friday Ramblings: Stand to the Right

Like most people, I tend to think that it’s hard for others to define me. I’m a person of many interests, opinions, quirks, and behaviors. I’m a husband, a father, a Duke, a blogger, and a friend. I don’t think that’s its easy to sum up my personality with a single word or phrase. But if you really had to, it would be fair that I’m a “Stand to the right, walk to the left person.” Yes, I have strongly held beliefs on escalator behavior. Everyone does, right? So when I read this article alleging that it’s better for everyone to simply stand there like morons while riding an escalator, it rocked my world. I don’t think I’ve been this stunned since the gif pronunciation scandal of 2013.

According to this tragic little escalator theory, if everyone simply stands in line, it reduces the jostling and maximizes the space per person. Or some such nonsense. I really was too upset to comprehend it. I always walk to the left. It’s what any normal person does. If these “human systems engineers” behind the study think they’ve cracked the code for maximizing benefit for the masses, I’ve got some bad news for them. They’re dead wrong.

These fools claim that everyone will get to their destination faster, if we all just sit there like idiots and stand on the escalator. No! That’s a completely selfish perspective. People who stand on escalators by definition do not want to get to the top, or anywhere else, faster. They don’t care. They’re proudly telling the entire world that they don’t have effs to give and they’ll take their damn time getting wherever it is they need to be. And the great thing about that, is it affords people like ME, the chance to move to the left and scoot on buy them. It’s a win-win. Don’t try to impress your terrible views upon the masses human systems engineers. The escalator riding public has a social contract that we’re all good with. Don’t mess with it nerds.

And now that I got that out of my system, here’s some stuff you might have missed this week.

The entire JMU community stepped in a big way for JMU Giving Day 2019. 5,227 gifts and $1,142,945 of donations. We’re always proud to be Dukes, but especially so today. Great job everyone!

Your defending National Champion JMU Dukes lacrosse team fell to UVA at home. It was a tough game, but the Dukes have a chance to right the ship with a huge home game against Maryland this weekend.

The Diamond Dukes took 2 of 3 on the road against Cal State Fullerton, but then dropped one to Fairfield. Bad loss, but no reason to panic because the Dukes finally appear to have the arms needed to contend in the CAA.

Coach O and the Dukes got hit with the injury bug at the worst possible time, which sent them tumbling out of the CAA tourney. Then they were one of the “First Four Out” for March Madness, which sort of flattered us, while also twisting the knife. In any case, there’s a game tonight to help fans move on. The women host North Carolina A&T in the first round of the WNIT on Friday.

Dukes softball is rolling and Kate Gordon is hitting dingers. Lots of them. She’s slugging .900, which is pretty remarkable. The Dukes get CAA play going this weekend with a home series against Elon.

JMU junior Bonnie Zhang made it to nationals for two swimming events. She already swam in the 50 Freestyle and is competing in the 200 Freestyle today. You can tune into the meet via the University of Texas streaming site.

Finally, you probably saw this, but it’s worth sharing again. There’s a lot to be upset about nowadays, but we like to remind you that most people are good. Like this kid.

Mar 21 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Giving Day Guests and Squads We Wish We Ran With

In the latest episode of the JMUSB Pod, we welcome Justin Jannuzzi and Scooter Rankin from the JMU Duke Club to talk about JMU Giving Day. They discuss all the ways you can contribute and how your contributions help JMU athletics. We also chat about the heartbreaking way the JMU women’s CAA tourney ended early and finish things up talking about the JMU teams we wish we got to be a part of.

As always, thanks to our wonderful sponsors, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and Pale Fire Brewing. JMUSB Podcast listeners can swing by the shop on 480 East Market Street and mention the pod to get a free sticker. And then swing by our other loverly sponsor Pale Fire Brewing for a cold one. Mention the pod and you’ll get a free pint glass to take home after you finish your beer.

Mar 10 / Rob

Dukes Go Down Swinging in CAA Tournament

That’s a wrap on the 2018-2019 JMU Basketballs season. The Dukes are done after day 2 of the CAA Tournament. After a beating Towson 74-73 in the opening (Dean Keener) round, JMU fell to top seeded Hofstra by the score of 76-67. JMU battled all day and definitely made a game of it against the Pride. Matt Lewis lead the way with 23 points and Darius Banks had a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. Both guys went the full 40 minutes. This came after Lewis hit a clutch three in the closing seconds to defeat Towson. Stuckey Mosley chipped in 9 points in his final game as a Duke. It was revealed after the game that he’s been battling a shoulder injury for the past few games and was unable to lift his arm without pain.

While it would have been nice to see JMU go on a Cinderella run, we can’t say we’re disappointed in the way the Dukes played in the tournament. They battled hard both games and ultimately just fell to a more experienced and deserving #1 seed. The regular season on the other hand? Yeah, there were some moments of disappointment. But rather than dwell on the negative, or dwell on the employment status of Coach Rowe, let’s take a look at two reasons to be excited for the future of JMU hoops, and maybe one to be concerned. read more…