Sports

BG thanks rugby team for putting city in national spotlight

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The BGSU rugby team fought its way to the top – triumphing over St. Joseph University over the weekend for the national championship and putting Bowling Green in the national spotlight. Mayor Dick Edwards noted the last time a Falcon athletic team won a national championship was in 1984 when the hockey team won after four overtimes. Edwards recognized Roger Mazzarella, director of the BGSU Rugby Club, for keeping the program alive. “What you’ve done with this club …” the mayor said during the City Council meeting on Monday. “It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears.” The rugby club has had to scrape for funding and “fight for your space over there,” Edwards said, recognizing Mazzarella and his son, Tony, who coaches the team. Tony Mazzarella said the championship was the end to an “amazing season” for the team. “We didn’t have our best overall season this year,” Roger Mazzarella said. But the senior-laden team was determined. “The guys were so committed this year.” His dad commented on the St. Joseph team, saying “They weren’t very Jesuit on the field there yesterday.” Council President Mike Aspacher complimented the team’s success. “You certainly made Bowling Green proud,” he said. Also at the meeting, City Attorney Mike Marsh praised the city’s police and fire services. About six months ago, the furnace at his sister’s home blew up, creating a large fire. The firefighters performed heroically, and police stood with his sister in her front yard, in the rain, for five hours. On Sunday, his sister moved back into her home. “I think sometimes we take them for granted,” Marsh said of the accredited police and fire divisions. Also at Monday’s meeting, Edwards read a proclamation declaring December as “general aviation appreciation month.” “I have enormous respect for what you all do there,” for the city, county and BGSU, Edwards said to Wood County Regional Airport manager Mark Black. The airport has been in Bowling Green since the 1940s, helping with economic development and training young pilots at BGSU. Black voiced his appreciation to the city for its support, and said that when pilots land at the airport, he points out local restaurants and businesses for them to visit. Black talked about the expansion of the BGSU Flight Center, which is responding to the national pilot shortage. In other business at Monday’s meeting:…

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Baseball is a numbers game for BGSU Distinguished Professor Jim Albert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Life is becoming more like baseball, at least when it comes to numbers. “This is really the best time to be a statistician,” said Jim Albert, of the Bowling Green State University faculty. “Data is so much a part of our lives. It’s affecting every part of our lives,” just like baseball, the most statistically dense sports, and Albert’s passion. The book he wrote with Jay Bennett “Curve Ball: Baseball, Statistics, and the Role of Chance in the Game” is baseball by the numbers. It applies advanced statistical metrics to all aspects of the game. In February the university board of trustees named Albert a Distinguished University Professor. Trustee James Bailey said the university is lucky some major league team hasn’t snapped Albert up as a team statistician. Albert’s love of baseball goes back to his upbringing in Philadelphia. He is a Phillies fan. He played youth baseball, but concedes he wasn’t good. His game is tennis. “I grew up on baseball and collected baseball cards and playing baseball simulation gams like Strat-O-Matic,” he said. He had an aptitude for numbers. He was on the math club in high school and took part in math competitions. ­Decades later he devoted the first chapter of “Curve Ball” to the various statistical models used by baseball simulation games. With a natural inclination toward numbers, Albert went on to study mathematics at Bucknell University and then earned his graduate degrees from Purdue. BGSU wasn’t really much on his radar. That statistics was lumped in with math was a bit of a concern. Statistics usually does better in an area like business, sociology, or medicine “because they need that application.” Still he took the job in 1979, and has stayed ever since. His wife, Anne Albert, was hired to teach mathematics at the University of Findlay. “We were hired and got tenure at the same time,” he said. She retired two years ago. So the decision to stay was easy. Also, Albert has an interest in education, so being at a university with a strong education program was attractive. And baseball and sports can be a useful way to hook students on statistics, he said. He’s written a textbook “Teaching Statistics Using Baseball.” At Purdue he studied with some of the leading lights of Bayesian economics. Unlike classic economics which focuses on frequency, Bayesian economics focuses on probability,…


BGSU fires women’s basketball coach

Bowling Green State University Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger has announced that Jennifer Roos will not return as head women’s basketball coach for the 2018-19 season. “I want to thank Coach Roos for the 17 years she has given to our women’s basketball program. She was a part of tremendous success within the program and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.” Roos spent 17 years within the program, including the last six as head coach. Her teams went 92-97 overall, including a 30-5 record in 2013-14 that included a regular season Mid-American Conference Championship. Roos is owed her prorated salary of $209,100 through May 1, 2019. The University could recoup some of that money if she finds other employment. Moosbrugger will begin the search for a new head coach immediately. “BGSU strives for excellence in all we do, whether in academics or athletics,” added Moosbrugger. “Our women’s basketball program has been a source of pride for our alumni and fans. We are committed to success in the classroom and on the court.”


Time running out to help BGSU’s Slater Ice Arena earn Hockeyville USA distinction

From SLATER FAMILY ICE ARENA The Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green, OH is making a run for the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018!  The Kraft Hockeyville USA contest is in its fourth season and focuses on the community spirit fostered by participating in the sport of ice hockey, as well as other types of involvement found in ice arenas around the country.  Local arenas participate by initially being nominated by someone from the community. Once nominated, additional community members are encouraged to share their passion for their hometown ice arena through posting stories, pictures, videos, and notes, and include reacting to what has been posted and sharing the content with others. This year’s contest is in the nomination phase until March 10, 2018.  Judging will occur from March 11 – March 16, with the top four finalists being announced on March 31.  The next phase is a national voting period from April 13 at 12:00am ET to April 14 at 11:00am ET. This vote will be open for the entire country to choose the most deserving rink out of the four finalists.  The Grand Prize Winner is scheduled to be announced at an NHL game at 3:00pm ET on April 14. The Grand Prize Winner receives $150,000 in rink upgrades and hosts a future pre-season NHL game. The numerous skaters and fans who have called the Slater Family Ice Arena home for over 50 years strongly believe the local arena embodies the sense of community that is built from the passion of hockey and skating.   The Slater Family Ice Arena is unique in that it is a university ice arena on the campus of Bowling Green State University housing the competitive Division I Falcon Hockey team and activities for BGSU students, while also serving multiple communities through Learn to Skate programs, recreational Public Skates, Youth Hockey, Figure Skating, Adult Hockey, and High School hockey, among others. Winning would help improve the facility for all user groups of the building through updating and adding spaces to allow additional hockey and skating instruction and events, more local high schools to be housed in the arena, and dedicated spaces for women.  In addition, lighting and sound system enhancements are much needed to improve the user experience and save on utility costs. Help the Slater Family Ice Arena share its story with the country by winning the title of Kraft Hockeyville…


Service award helps Mariana Mitova rally support for sports program for kids with special needs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Receiving the Faculty Senate’s Community Involvement award wasn’t just a boost for Mariana Mitova. It was also a boost for the causes she espouses, especially RallyCap Sports. Mitova, who teaches in Bowling Green State University Apparel Merchandising and Product Development Program, said that in addition to being a personal recognition – “the glass plaque is proudly displayed in my office” – being honored last year has greatly benefited RallyCap Sports. The program, which was founded by alumnus Paul Hooker, offers the chance to be active in sports to young people with special needs. BGSU was the first campus to host the program.  (click for related story.) Mitova is the BGSU chapter advisor, and her son, who is blind, is a participant. Mitova told Faculty Senate Tuesday that her recognition has increased awareness about the program, donations have increased to RallyCap, and more faculty became interested. They then promoted it to other families who may benefit. Her receiving the award is being used by this at national headquarters who are trying to find campus advisors at the 12 other RallyCap locations. Mitova said she used the monetary award to host a dinner for 22 core student volunteers. (More than 1,000 students volunteer putting in more than 5,200 volunteer hours.) Those broader effects, said Mitova, are the reason faculty members should take seriously the calls for nominations. If Associate Dean Mary Murray had not nominated Mitova this would not have happened. She conceded faculty get a lot of emails, and it’s easy to delete them. Mitova said she deleted the first two calls for nominations herself. “Guilty as charged,” she admitted But after being asked to address senate, “I started thinking more about what would have happened if Dr. Murray hit the delete button,” she said. “Instead she took the time to solicit support, write the nomination letter, and submit the nomination package.” That time is valuable, Mitova said. “However, she thought this nomination is worth the time.” In addition to RallyCap, Mitova is also active with the Cocoon Shelter, Victim’s Services, the Giving Store, and other charities. She said the deadline is approaching, and urged her colleagues to act. “I would imagine there is at least one person in your immediate unit, your school or college who deserves to be nominated. I am constantly inspired by the most amazing things people on our campus do….


Bubble soccer – blow up suits cushion the blows

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They are like human bumper cars. But rather than rubber bumpers, they are protected by giant plastic bubbles that surround their bodies from the knees up. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department has human-size plastic bubbles for adults interested in trying out the non-traditional sport of “bubble soccer.” The community center recently hosted a game of bubble soccer for those interested in playing a sport from inside a bubble. The bubbles stay on by the player holding handles at chest height. “It’s almost like a backpack you strap on,” said Kristin Otley, director of the city parks and recreation department. The players’ legs are free to run or kick – unconstrained by the bubble. “So your legs are running around outside the bubble,” explained Ivan Kovacevic, city recreation coordinator. The plastic bubbles pay off during some of the more physical plays. “Some of the hits people take are pretty powerful hits,” Kovacevic said. “But the hits don’t hurt.” However, getting back on their feet can be a struggle for bowled over players. “It’s like being a turtle on its back,” Kovacevic said. “It’s awkward at first.” The protective bubbles do allow competitors to try plays they otherwise might not be brave enough to attempt, especially on an indoor court. Players dive to defend the goal, or throw themselves onto their sides to block a ball – completely cushioned with their bumper bubbles, he said. In addition to being fun, bumper soccer is also great exercise, Otley and Kovacevic agreed. “It’s a fantastic workout. You’re getting a really good workout as you are having fun,” Otley said. “It’s definitely a really good workout,” Kovacevic said. The parks and recreation department is hoping that the bubble soccer can become a regular sport offered at the community center, either for drop-in players, a league or special events. “I’m hoping to see if we can make it into some type of reoccurring program,” Kovacevic said. “We’re really trying to get some type of a league for them,” Otley said. Anyone interested in playing bubble soccer may contact Kovacevic 419-354-6224 or ikovacevic@bgohio.org.


Disabilities melt away for Ice Frogs hockey team

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Off the ice, they are kids with autism, cerebral palsy or attention deficit disorders. But once they leave the bench, their disabilities melt away and they become part of a team. They are the Black Swamp Ice Frogs, an ice hockey team for players with disabilities. The team makes room for people to play the sport regardless of their abilities. “It’s really neat to watch the kids play,” said Heather Sayler, whose son, Ethan, plays with the Ice Frogs. “It’s making them fit in.” “No one is looking at you and judging you,” said Ethan’s father, Todd Sayler. The Ice Frogs’ current players range from age 4 to 35. Some of the common disabilities are autism, Down syndrome, respiratory problems, physical impairments, cerebral palsy, and attention deficit disorders. The Ice Frogs hockey team was formed in 2012, and has about 15 players. All the teams in their league play no-contact hockey. Sue Kepling’s grandson, Dylan, 18, is non verbal and has 13 disorders. But that doesn’t keep him off the ice. “To see him stand on ice skates, with all his disabilities, is amazing,” Kepling said. But ice hockey is expensive. And ice hockey for kids with disabilities can have crippling costs. The parents are not asked to help with expenses, since that would make it impossible for some of the players to participate. “We want the kids there,” Kepling said. Ice time alone at the BGSU Ice Arena costs the team $2,600 a year. The team has never had new equipment. They started out five years ago with hand-me-downs, and continue trying to make do. It became glaringly obvious last year at a tournament game that the Ice Frogs looked like the rag-tag Bad News Bears of hockey. “We’ve been using used hockey equipment since we started,” Heather Sayler said. Shoelaces are missing from the skates. Pads are falling apart. Helmets are far from the latest technology in protection. Then there’s the unpleasant factor of incredibly sticky equipment, with a mouse nest being found in one of the equipment bags last year. “When we meet other teams, we look like the Bad News Bears on ice skates,” Kepling said. Beyond uniforms and regular gear, there’s the expense of adaptive equipment. One player uses a metal harness system, and some use “walkers” on the ice. Others need special ice walkers that include…