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Hughes: Thoughts on Beck, Al Harris

first_imgHave you ever been minding your own business, just you and your thoughts, when all of a sudden a song plays – on the radio or just randomly from a computer – that totally captures your thoughts?At one point Monday night, when I was sitting in The Badger Herald office working with InDesign, the eclectic musical artist known as Beck all of a sudden could be heard emanating from a nearby computer.The tunes were that of “Broken Drum,” off of the easy-listening Guero album. It’s a song about saying goodbye to a friend. Immediately upon hearing Beck sing so slowly, amid the weary guitar and synthesizer, a clear picture was painted in my mind (if you have your iPod or iTunes ready, I highly recommend playing it as you read on).I see you there/Your long black hair/Your eyes just stare/Your mind is turning.When I heard that, it was clear to me and everyone else in that room that for those four minutes and 30 seconds – just that one time – Beck was actually singing about Green Bay Packer fans saying fare-thee-well to Al Harris (and not the girl that Beck’s probably singing about in all other circumstances).Harris, the dreadlocked cornerback caper that every Packer fan loved to love, was released Monday to his and our own amazement – a casualty of roster building. General manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy decided they no longer had a place for Harris, a 35-year-old veteran on the cusp of returning from a devastating knee injury a year ago.Was it necessary? Sure. As Harris treaded the road to recovery, Tramon Williams evolved into a reliable, playmaking defensive back in his stead while rookie Sam Shields burst out of his shell as a nickel back against Dallas.You could make a case that it was a bit rash, though. With Pat Lee, Brandon Underwood, and Jarrett Bush all that’s left to fill in any injury absences that might surface through the rest of the season, you begin to weigh the benefits of keeping around one of the most physical and experienced backs in the game.But sadly, that’s not how life in Green Bay is, and to think the team wouldn’t stick to its guns this time around is just a mistake. Thompson’s always thinking about the future. He wants Lee, Underwood and Bush to develop just as Williams did. Harris would’ve taken away from that.The move makes sense, but this transaction still marks the departure of one of Green Bay’s most beloved players over the last decade. He played a significant role in helping the Packers be a winner for eight years and in shaping the team’s image of the 2000s. Nevertheless, his performance over those years in Wisconsin and the fanfare that came with it will immortalize him in Packers lore.Green Bay acquired Harris from Philadelphia in 2003, a place that, over the last couple years, became known for producing an abundance of excellent pass defenders just like the city produces delicious Philly cheesesteaks.He proved you didn’t have to be a ballhawk in order to be an elite defensive back in the NFL. In eight years with Green Bay he snagged just 14 interceptions, never exceeding three in one year but never short on league-wide respect. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice and also garnered a second-team All-Pro selection.He received those accolades by turning opposing wide receivers into rag dolls. One time I think I remember seeing him carry a limp wide receiver back to the line of scrimmage with his mouth, like a cat catches a mouse. His physicality was unmatched, and Harris was, in my eyes, one of the hardest working players in the league. He probably still is.He terrorized human beings just as the titular creature of the 1979 film “Alien” did. In fact, he looks a lot like the alien too.That abusive style of his landed him more than a fair share of penalties, but it also landed him a team record 28 passes defensed in 2004, and 108 over the course of his Green & Gold career. He made his opponent work for every catch.During the 2007-08 season, in a big road game against Dallas, I remember watching Terrell Owens trying to block Harris as a harmless rushing play went down the other side of the field. Owens quickly glanced at how the play was developing when the 6-foot-1, 190 pound Harris, not but arms length away and with no momentum, hurled his hands into the chest of the 6-foot-3, 224 pound wide receiver. Owens fell harder and faster to the ground than when the anvil met Wile E. Coyote’s head.That’s the kind of player Harris is. Never a moment off.And who could forget the time Harris made Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck say to himself, “Oh, shit,” in that 2004 playoff game? On the heels of Hasselbeck announcing to Lambeau Field that he was going to “take the ball and score” in overtime, Harris jumped the route and ran down the sideline and into the end zone with one arm tucking the ball away and the other pointing one finger skyward. It instantly became one of the most memorable Packer moments in decades.It’s sad that I, and probably many others, can’t even remember Harris’ last game as a Packer. I had to look it up – it was November 22 of last year, when Green Bay hosted San Francisco. Harris gave up a long pass for a touchdown in that game, even though Michael Crabtree clearly pushed off in the end zone.And now, with Harris gone, the only beloved familiar face of the 2000s that remains is Donald Driver and perhaps Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Green Bay truly has a new identity now. There’s no more Favre, Green, Franks, Freeman, Sharper, Rivera, Whale, Gbaja-Biamila or Harris.The Packers have now truly donned a new identity for a new decade behind the faces of Rodgers, Matthews, Jennings and Collins.It’s almost becoming a clich?, but the NFL is indeed a business. So it goes. And here, in some of Beck’s last verses, we again picture Harris – even if we had to slightly change one of the words.Your setting sun/Your broken drum/Your little dreads/Never forget you.Elliot is a junior with an undecided major. How bummed were you to hear Harris was leaving Green Bay? Where did he rank among your favorite Packers? Send your thoughts to ehughes@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

Conference considers significance of religious spaces

first_imgVarious keynote speakers and panels discussed the importance of sacred spaces like mosques, churches and temples, as well as the role of traditional elements such as clothing, on campus Thursday.The event was hosted by the John A. Widtsoe Foundation, a Mormon religious and scholarly organization, and included opening remarks by USC Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni. During a panel discussion on the importance of sacred clothing, Aziza Hasan, the Founding Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, explained that clothing often serves as an agency of protection and safety, but can be turned into a barrier.“One of the five pillars of Islam is to perform a pilgrimage, known as the hajj,” Hasan said. “Men and women are required to wear very specific clothing. Everyone is equal as the other, rich and poor, man and woman. It’s a leveler of society and a reminder that in the eyes of the almighty we are all the same.” Hasan also said that often, religious ceremony combines with the acquisition of finer goods. “During Ramadan, there is fasting sundown to sunset,” Hasan said. “You are not allowed to eat or drink anything. Coffee helps a lot, even more so do lavender and incense. During Ramadan you can see more individuals seeking lavender and pretty smells, so that they can focus on prayer at end of the day.” According to Hasan, therefore, obtaining decadent clothing or objects is a tradition that makes it possible for Muslims to partake in the experience. “All this access to beautiful resources comes down to relationships,” Hasan said.“When you think about buildings textiles, you want to think of how this is made and how it affects people and has big social impacts.”Lori Meeks, an associate professor and chair of the School of Religion at USC, said that the creation of the physical parts interacted with during religious ceremony showcase how practitioners make faith a personal journey. “One thing that really struck me is that if we put sacred materials in context, we notice the contributions of others that don’t appear in the orthodox doctrinal texts,” Meeks said. “We can see the importance when we think about material aspects, how fabrics were made and so on.” Vinayak Bharne, an associate professor at the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture, said that the idea of making faith personal can transcend tradition, making religion practical in the 21st century. “Hinduism has its own canons and rules and places for rules,” Bharne said. “What is beautiful is the more I encounter the entity, the more that I see they broke every single rule. Sacredness is very personal.”For Hasan, this is why sacred spaces have become an important part of developing the faith of the individual, rather than just the select religious scholar. “It’s about ordinary people coming together to convene in sacred spaces,” Hasan said. “It’s very special. Sometimes, we defer to experts and to the elite, but creating spaces where everyone is an equal is important. It helps to build connection and support in the community, and is an important part of what people of faith can do together.” Bharne explained that individual sacred spaces can often manifest in what he called the “unintentional monument,” and that it is not necessarily religious. “If someone has passed away, the spot is marked with flowers and it becomes monumental for the family but not monumental,” Bharne said. “You feel so much for that place when you mark it. All the places I’ve visited that are converted to formal temples are designed to announce its presence, to let people know they are there. They are not personal all.” With the modern era offering more chances for interconnectivity and understanding, Bharne said that it is important to continue to investigate other belief systems in order to comprehend how religion defines perspectives. “The danger of not going behind the scenes is that we always tend to be outsiders,” Bharne said. “We look at the phenomenon from the outside, make our own experiences, tend to draw conclusions, and go away. We need to not be hasty, but take time to change our angle and take time to understand where they are coming from and how they perceive phenomenon.”last_img read more

BiH dominated in Zurich: The Dragons defeated Switzerland with 2:0!

first_imgThe national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated Switzerland with the result of 2:0 in a friendly match played in Zurich.BiH dominated during the entire match at Letzigrund stadium. Already in the first eight minutes, the Dragons performed eight corner kicks. However, the Sommer’s net did not shake.In the 14th minute, Džeko took BiH into advantage. Another opportunity to increase the result occurred in the 24th minute. Pjanić made a great center shot from the corner, Zukanović was all free and he shot right into Sommer from nine meters of distance. The Swiss national team had an opportunity to tie, but Seferović sent the ball to the center of the goal, which was an easy catch for Begović. Until the end of the first half, there were no greater chances.In the 51st minute, Zukanović shot the ball that Sommer easily defended. On the other side, Steffen came to Begović’s left all alone, but Begović fantastically defended his shot.In the 57th minute, Miralem Pjanić scored an amazing goal from some 20 meters of distance, for the advantage of the BiH national team with a result of 2:0.Haris Seferović had a one hundred percent chance in the 83rd minute. He was one on one with Burić who substituted Begović 20 minutes earlier. Seferović sent the ball over the goal.Four minutes before the end of the match, Daniel Graovac debuted for the Dragons. He replaced Zukanović.Muhamed Bešić had the last chance in the match. He approached Sommer all by himself, but Sommer defended and the ball ended in the corner.This was the seventh victory for Mehmed Baždarević on the bench of the BiH national team in the 11th match. The popular Meša recorded two draws and two defeats on the bench of the Dragons.(Source: klix.ba/ photo sportsport)last_img read more

XFL power rankings: Roughnecks, Defenders established at the top entering Week 2

first_imgWho is the best team in the XFL?It’s way too early to have a true answer; the league just completed a fun-filled debut that might have surprised the casual viewer. The football looked like, well, competitive football. Now it’s on the league to keep that momentum going. 6. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1)  Despite the loss to the Guardians, there is reason to believe this team should be fine. As mentioned, Tampa Bay out-gained New York handily. Aaron Murray threw two interceptions and the line allowed five sacks. Tampa Bay still averaged 5.5 yards per play and Daniel Williams flashed big-play ability with six catches for 123 yards. The mistakes are correctable.  7. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-1)  Former Princeton quarterback Charles Kanoff fired 40 passes, and the Wildcats had a 17-12 lead before the P.J. Walker show started. Nelson Spruce had an outstanding game with 11 catches on 15 targets for 103 yards, and Elijah Hood added 43 yards rushing. The problem was that LA took five sacks. 8. Dallas Renegades (0-1)  The Renegades had to settle for three field goals in the loss to the BattleHawks. The running game sputtered with just 58 yards. Philip Nelson completed 33 passes but they amounted to just 209 yards. Four sacks got in the way of the offense establishing a rhythm. It was a not the best debut for Bob Stoops’ team, but the defense showed life with Tegray Scales, who had five tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss. Now with a full weekend of games as a reference, we’re able to put together a power ranking ahead of Week 2.XFL WEEK 1 REVIEW: Tweaked rules, surprising fun make new league worth watchingXFL power rankings: Week 21. Houston Roughnecks (1-0)  P.J. Walker emerged as the first XFL breakout star after finishing 23 of 39 for 272 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-17 victory over Los Angeles. Walker connected on TD passes of 4, 16, 39 and 50 yards, and the Roughnecks scored 25 unanswered points beginning late in the second quarter. LaTroy Lewis had two sacks on defense. June Jones’ team looked the best in Week 1, so it gets the top spot.  2. D.C. Defenders (1-0)  Former Ohio State star Cardale Jones still hasn’t lost as a starter. He passed for 235 yards and two TDs in his team’s 31-19 victory against Seattle. Jones hit Rashad Ross for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:51 left in the third quarter and flashed that big arm that made him a cult hero with the Buckeyes. The Defenders scored touchdowns on defense and special teams. D.C. had just 68 rushing yards, so that will need to improve in Week 2.  3. St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0)  Jordan Ta’amu and Matt Jones gave the offense balance in a 15-9 victory against Dallas. Ta’amu passed for 209 yards and a TD; Jones had 85 yards rushing. Keith Ford had a touchdown run and the defense limited the Renegades to three field goals. Former Wisconsin defensive back Darius Hilary led the defense with eight tackles.  4. New York Guardians (1-0)  The Guardians were opportunistic in a 23-3 victory over Tampa Bay where they were outgained 394-226. Former Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin threw for a touchdown and rushed for another, but the running game sputtered with just 44 yards. Bunmi Rotimi led the defense with seven tackles and two tackles for loss. MORE XFL:• XFL salary breakdown• XFL names you’ll recognize• What does the XFL stand for?5. Seattle Dragons (0-1)  The Dragons had their chances in the opener at D.C., but Bradley Sylve’s pick-six of a Brandon Silvers pass was the dagger. Silvers’ play was a mixed bag; he had three TD passes and two interceptions. Austin Proehl had five catches for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Seattle converted just 4 of 15 on third down. That won’t get it done on the road.  last_img read more