Monday, March 31, 2014

College Lacrosse: Denver 17, Georgetown 9

Denver breaks during its 17-9 win on Saturday (photo / T. Flynn)
by Boxer Journal Mar. 31, 2014
Georgetown - The Denver Pioneers came to Washington, D.C. on Saturday and affirmed once again that Western talent has long since caught up to top lacrosse talent in the East. Especially when integrated with a healthy dose of gifted Canadian stick-handlers.

Bill Tierney's offense gradually dismantled a Georgetown team that narrowly missed defeating Loyola just ten days earlier. Junior Wesley Berg led the scoring, tallying six goals and adding three assists to lead Denver to the 17-9 victory. The Pioneers did most of their scoring from half-field sets, patiently working the perimeter of the Georgetown defensive zone in search of a Hoya lapse. Berg, a British Columbia native, seemingly created his own seams, often driving in from less than 20 yards out untouched toward the crease.

For much of the game Berg was an unsolved riddle for the Hoyas' defense. "Georgetown is a hungry team and really made it difficult for us in the beginning," Tierney told Inside Lacrosse after the game. "Credit goes to Wesley Berg for stepping up when we needed him to and for our entire team in filling in where we had some holes."

Georgetown struggled against Denver's half-field set (photo / T. Flynn)
The Hoyas, better than their 3-7 mark would indicate, were led by senior Jeff Fountain's three goals. They face Providence at home this weekend in another Big East match-up. The Friars are also 3-7.

Denver (8-2) returns east to Villanova to face the Wildcats (4-5) on Friday.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

College Baseball: Cold Weather Revives a Rivalry

Washington College traveled east to face Navy earlier this month (photo / W.C.)
by Boxer Journal Mar 29. 2014
Annapolis - Few college sports have been more impacted by the extended Eastern winter than baseball. As of this writing, a cold rain is falling in Baltimore and a slate of weekend games for area teams have gone by the boards as a result. 

On March 10 one of the highlights of the long winter, and for college baseball fans it's a short list, was a once in a half-century baseball game at Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium. There the Division I Navy Midshipmen topped the Division III Washington College Shoremen, 9-3, in the first meeting of the two teams since 1957. 

Washington College is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, across the span of the Bay Bridge and northeast to the town of Chestertown. Founded in 1782, the college is tucked into the rolling folds of a farm-laden landscape that often bears more resemblance to the Midwest than to the East.

The game was a rare inter-divisional contest, created essentially by the prolonged winter weather. Both Navy and Washington College were looking for an opportunity to add games to cancellation-depleted schedules. Fortunately, they didn't let the wide divisional gap between the two schools preclude the opportunity for needed repetitions.   

As Shoremen head coach (and former Baltimore Redbird) Travis Turgeon told Boxer Journal, "Basically I got a call from Navy assistant coach Bryan Stark saying they needed a game and later Coach Kostacopoulos said they'd love to play us. I know Coach Stark pretty well from the recruiting trail and I have a lot of respect for him and for Coach Kostacopoulos who, like me, is a New England guy," said Turgeon. 

The two schools are only 45 miles apart, a closer distance than most of either teams' regular opponents. 

Max Bishop Stadium is an updated minor league-sized park, well larger than the typical DIII ballpark experience of the Shoremen. 

"We played a little nervous at the beginning," added Turgeon, "but it was a great experience." The Washington College coach only found out after the game, from a former player who pitched in the 1957 contest, that it had been that long since the two foes had faced one another. One of his current pitchers, Joe Dipaola, has strong ties to the Naval Academy as his father is a former Midshipman and played, taught and coached at the Academy.

The Shoremen settled down and acquitted themselves well in the field, with only two miscues while holding the Mids scoreless in four of the eight frames (Navy did not bat in the bottom of the ninth). Two Washington College freshman, Logan Dubbe and Charlie Meder, combined for five hits. "They were probably too young to be nervous," added Turgeon. 

From Annapolis the Shoremen headed south for a spring break road trip. They played Southern Virginia and then continued on to Myrtle Beach for three more games. The elevated competition of the Navy game proved the perfect trip primer, as the Shoremen went on to take three of their next four contests on their southern swing.  


Washington College's Scott Matthews fouls off a pitch (photo / W.C.)
Navy Head Coach Paul Kostacopoulos also saw plenty of benefit from the rare event. 

"The primary reason we were able to make the game  occur was Washington's willingness to play. With the weather wreaking havoc on both of our schedules, the meeting that day came about perfectly," said Kostacopoulos. 

Navy got in much needed work, sending freshman George Coughlin to the hill for his first collegiate start. Coughlin notched his first win, giving up no earned runs through five innings while striking out five. On the afternoon, Navy was able to rotate in 19 different roster players. 

"It was a a good day of competitive baseball on what was possibly our best afternoon of weather, too." 

As to the kick start of a rivalry with roots dating back to Prohibition, "When myself and Coach Turgeon agreed to schedule the game we hadn't even considered the historical factor of the two programs not meeting in over 50 years," added Kostacopoulos.  

The Mids won 6-3 in 1957 as the stadium's namesake and former major league standout, Max Bishop, coached his team to victory. The two squads faced each other earlier in 1923 and 1943, with Navy winning those contests as well.

Both teams have talked about potentially making the game an annual event.

The college sports world would do well to take notice of the example.

Monday, March 24, 2014

College Baseball: Terps on Historic March

The Terps celebrate win over NC State ( photo / Maryland Athletics )

By Boxer Journal March 24, 2014
College Park - In Maryland, spring baseball coverage is typically limited to copious amounts of Orioles spring training press. That changed suddenly for the first time in recent memory this weekend when the Terps served notice that they are a spring baseball power to be reckoned with. 

The Terps (16-6) completed a three-game sweep of previously #10 ranked North Carolina State (14-8). The last time Maryland enjoyed a ACC sweep was in early May 2009 when they bested Wake Forest. It's been far longer since they managed to sweep the Wolfpack. The last time they completed that feat was May 2-4, 2002 in College Park, according to Maryland Athletics. 

The Terps won the third straight from the Wolfpack on Sunday when they notched a 5-2 victory on Sunday. Five different Terps scored in the win. 

"I was happy to see us play more consistently this weekend," said coach John Szefc after the game. "We've been pitching pretty well consistently for a long time and playing some defense." 

Backing up Szefc's sentiment, right-hander Jake Stinnett was named the ACC pitcher of the week for the third time this season on Monday. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

In Baltimore, the Echoes of a Title


By Boxer Journal March 22, 2014
Baltimore, MD - Today the Loyola Greyhounds men's lacrosse team moves deeper into their league schedule when they face Lafayette (1-3). They are the clear favorites, but more importantly are showing some similarities to the 2012 club that won the NCAA Championship

During that season they were dominant early, played a series of close games (including their only loss of the season, 10-9, to Johns Hopkins) and then ran through their remaining ECAC league games to an NCAA tourney berth and, ultimately, a championship.

On the field, senior goalie Jack Runkel's save % this year is 60.3, compared to last year's 50.4% and better even than his 55.6% in their championship season. His GAA is also down from last year when the Greyhounds finished 11-5 but bowed out in double overtime to Duke in the tourney. The Blue Devils would go on to win the 2013 crown.

On the offensive end, junior Nikko Pontrello has emerged as the team's leading scorer with 29 goals and five assists. Fellow attackman Justin Ward has proven the perfect set-up man with 26 feeds and five goals. Pontrello was recently added to the Teewaaraton Award watch list, while Ward already held a spot. The Teewaarton is given annually to college lacrosse's best player.

Loyola is coming off a pair of consecutive one goal wins, over Army (4-3) and Georgetown (3-5). Now playing in the Patriot League for the first time, their final five games are against conference foes, similar again to their 2012 run.

For players and fans in the Division I ranks outside the school's Charles Street campus, the pattern emerging looks increasingly ominous.

photo: Eric Lusby celebrates in the 2012 championship win over Maryland. Image is used w/permission of Getty Images. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rodal's Norway


Vebjorn Rodal in 1992 (photo / sports-heroes.net)
Presented here is a reprint of an article published in 2008 on the eve of the Beijing Olympics that recalls Norway's Vebjorn Rodal's unlikeliest of victories at the 1996 Atlanta games - Tom Flynn

There will be 302 scheduled events at the Beijing Olympic Games this summer, resulting in the awarding of over 900 total medals. In the U.S. our focus is naturally on the events in which we’ve got a chance at making a good showing. This will lead to some scattered viewing: Sports Illustrated predicts we’ll depart China with over 120 medals in our weighty USA bags, including 45 golds. Although it shouldn’t, it’s hard for the sheer volume of probable success not to obscure the incredible difficulty of winning an individual medal.

SI’s medal projections for smaller countries such as Uruguay are decidedly less shiny. In Uruguay’s specific case it is completely without luster: 0 silver, 0 bronze, 0 gold. Try to imagine the same prospects for the US and it’s unlikely you’ll conceptualize the notion; Americans have never watched an Olympic games without at least a solid hopeful.

For the smaller countries often their entire hope for victory lies in an upset. No improbable upsets, no medals. More specifically no improbable upsets directly involving their country, no medals. In the summer of 1995 I touched down in Oslo, the capital of a country with perennially scant summer Olympic prospects (2008 SI Norway medal projection: 0 gold). I arrived just in time to experience through a small country lens the faint stirrings of what would become the unlikeliest of Olympic triumphs at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

My reason for the trip was straightforward enough: get my 11-year old nephew Noel on a plane from the US, return him safely to his home in Norway, and if I converted on parts one and two of the deal I could stay and enjoy an extended visit. I pulled it off.

On the same day as we were arriving in Oslo, the 1995 Track and Field World Championships were getting underway in Gothenburg, Sweden. I was aware of them, as Michael Johnson at that time was compelling almost every American into at least a dilettante’s glance towards track and field as he tore up the record books in the 200 and 400 meters. Johnson was the most celebrated American sprinter since Carl Lewis and it was expected that in Gothenburg he would handily take both races.

In the in-flight SAS magazine I got my first view of the championships through Scandinavian eyes as it mentioned the two best Norwegian hopefuls: Geir Moen in the 200 meters and Vebjorn Rodal in the 800. Moen was the more highly-touted of the two, having recently won the European Championships and in doing so becoming the first Norwegian medalist in a sprint competition since Haakon Tran Berg turned the trick in 1946. Earlier in the year he’d won the World Indoor Championships at the 200 and was by most measures world class.

But the 200 meters were firmly in Michael Johnson’s domain, so I dismissed Moen’s prospects somewhere over the North Atlantic. The next best Norwegian medal contender was Rodal. Like Moen, he had the misfortune of running in an event that was dominated by one individual, in this case Wilson Kipketer. Kipketer immigrated to Denmark from his native Kenya and now represented the Danes in international competitions. Like Johnson in the 200, Kipketer appeared a lock in the 800 meters. But since I’d only read of Kipketer whereas I had seen Johnson’s speed, his triumph seemed less assured. Rodal had put up a 1:43.50 the summer before, and I knew enough of the 800 to know that Kipketer or not, that was world class territory.

Stepping off the plane in Oslo I left behind Johnson, Moen, Rodal and Kipketer. The timing of the championships in Sweden with my visit was a nice coincidence but track and field was not foremost in my mind upon arrival. I was interested instead in seeing fjords and the fetching Norwegian countryside.

In Oslo, my primary guide would be Jon, my nephew Noel’s stepfather. Our first few days were spent in and around the city, including a requisite visit to the National Gallery of Norway to see Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream.’ It recently had been stolen from the museum, and there was an attempted ransoming back to the Norwegian government by the burglars. The government showed equal doses of pluck and disregard for a priceless national treasure when they told the thieves that they could keep the painting, there would be no ransom forthcoming. It showed up shortly thereafter relatively unscathed.

Jon, an electronics buff without peer in the Northern Hemisphere––this will become relevant momentarily––then promised some touring of the countryside to the southeast of Oslo and even a brief visit into Sweden. Owing perhaps to a series of territorial wars in the 19th century, not all Norwegians and Swedes are fast friends, so I took it as uncommonly generous that Jon would take me to see Sweden when he had the opportunity to further showcase his own beautiful country.

Jon had two goals in taking me to Sweden, one stated and one unstated. Stated goal: Get across the border so that I could get my passport stamped and add to my skimpy collection contained therein. Unstated goal: To electronics buffs, these were the heady early days of cell phones, and quite simply Jon wanted to see what would happen to his cell phone service when we crossed the border with his fancy new Nokia phone. This surprise goal he announced 100 yards into Sweden.

“Here Tom, look at my phone,” he said as we pulled away from the border guards. I opened it and looked at the screen: blank. I’m not sure what Jon expected exactly but presumably either service or some message welcoming us to Swedish phone space.

“Try it again, Tom,” Jon implored, somewhat panicked. Trying it again meant turning it on and off and making a small waving gesture in the air to perhaps pick up some wayward Scandinavian phone service signal that had missed us the first time. Blank. I attempted a half dozen variations of turning the phone on and off and waving or shaking it.

Norwegian phone service did not extend into Sweden which in Jon’s estimation rendered any further travel into the country superfluous. Undeterred, I quickly tried to think of Swedish destinations that I could rattle off for us to visit. They included…Stockholm, Stockholm, Stockholm, and Stockholm. Finally Gothenburg popped into my head and I tried to play to Jon’s inner track and field fan. This met with mixed success: rather than waste further phoneless travel into Sweden, we could head northwest back into Norway and visit his parent’s small vacation cabin, or hytte, on the Swedish-Norwegian border to take in the championships on television. It was a fair compromise.

So we drove through pretty if unspectacular Scandinavian countryside to an area known as the Finnskogen. His parents greeted us warmly at the quaint cluster of tiny wooden cabins set on an upward sloping bluff that collectively comprised their hytte. The cabins overlooked a placid blue lake that drifted off westward through ever-narrowing mountains back towards Sweden. It was stunning.

After recounting with much flourish and gesturing our phone failure, Jon asked his father Svetta about the championships in Gothenburg and sure enough Rodal was running in the semi-finals that afternoon. It was beer and salmon all around as we settled into the main cottage in front of the aged but functional television. The first semi-final featured Kipketer and Atle Douglas, the Norwegian who had surprisingly bested Rodal’s time in the qualifying heats and was in the semi-finals with the Dane. We watched and cheered but it was no contest: Douglas finished sixth, over a second behind the winner Kipketer, and was out of the championships. The first four finishers advanced to the finals and Jose Parilla and Mark Everett of the US were among them.

Six minutes later and it was Rodal’s heat. His field was not as strong without Kipketer but he was not an overpowering runner; an exit here was entirely possible. Vebjorn did not disappoint, winning his heat, besting Kipketer’s time, and for the first time perhaps rearing his head as an Olympic medal hopeful.

The next day was spent pleasantly milling about the hytte, meandering the surrounding hills, and having a swim in the lake. That evening Michael Johnson easily won his 400 meters race to advance to the finals. The 200 would come later in the week.

I awoke early on Tuesday, got in some fishing (I got skunked…Svetta attributed it to the Norwegian fish being far too clever for my garishly bright American fishing tackle) and then again wiled away a flawless sunny day and waited as the long twilight settled in and the competitions began. Before the starting gun, neighbors drifted in from nearby hyttes to watch the race. In a large city like Oslo an American was not altogether uncommon; here in the dense woods of the Finnskogen I was something of a minor celebrity. Jon and his family were gracious, generous hosts and I thanked them by dutifully keeping America’s relative place in the world fishing order (well below Norway) by getting skunked throughout the trip. By race time, eight of us crowded around the television.

This time Rodal would be facing Kipketer and three Americans. You may hear the term grueling used to describe the 800 meters more often than you will a marathon. In the 800, you must run the first lap virtually all out to stay near the leaders, and then you must do it again for a second lap in similar fashion, or better. The race combines formidable speed with steadfast endurance like no other distance.

Rodal could not beat the unconquerable Kipketer but he did finish third to take the bronze. He also beat all three Americans. After a moment of mild disappointment, an air of celebration swept through the room. Svetta, perhaps seeking to take the sting off my poor fishing and my fellow Americans' shoddy performance, sprung to his feet and shoved back the throw rug in the center of the room to reveal a trap door set in the wooden floor.

Into the basement he happily descended and within a moment he was back up with a platter of smoked salmon, offering it to me first as the guest perhaps in the greatest need of the restorative power of fish. We passed the platter and the ale, recounted the race countless times with the significant barrier of Norwegian and English between us, and at the end of the evening hugs all around sealed our bonding over a courageous 800 meter race and salmon.

The next summer I was in the Outer Banks for the 1996 Olympics. I’d kept an eye on Rodal and his continued success, but also saw that Kipketer and several other runners slightly outclassed him in international events. Unfortunately for Wilson, his eligibility to race for Denmark in the Olympics was challenged by Kenya, and ultimately he was declared ineligible for the Games. The door had opened finally for Rodal and he would sprint through it like none other in Olympic history.

Just before the final turn of the 800 on July 31st, Rodal broke into his kick and then broke his personal record, the Norwegian record, and the Olympic record simultaneously and won the first gold medal for the country in 40 years of summer games. His Olympic record still holds after 12 years, in plain view for all the countries that head to Beijing with little beyond slim prospects and hope.

His mark also stands as a reminder that if we take a momentary glance away from the considerable accomplishments of our own athletes, we may see something just as Olympian.

Rodal's Record 800 Meters


Sunday, March 16, 2014

College Baseball: UCLA Sweeps Cal

Cal was swept by defending NCAA champs, UCLA (photo / cal baseball foundation)
By Boxer Journal Mar. 17, 2014
Berkeley, CA - The Cal Golden Bears enjoyed no luck of the Irish this weekend when they faced intrastate and PAC-12 rival, UCLA. The Bruins showed why they are defending NCAA champs (pitching) in sweeping Cal in a three-game set.

At Evans Diamond, the visiting Bruins (12-7) yielded a total of just four runs en route to 3-2, 3-1, and 6-1 victories. 

One of the few bright spots for Cal was the hitting of junior Brenden Farney. Farney extended his hit streak to nine games and was 2-4 in Sunday's finale.

Cal (10-8) will look to get well on Tuesday in a non-conference game at Fresno State (13-7). Ironically the Bears are a perfect 6-0 on the road this season. Freshman right-hander Alex Martinez (0-1, 1.38 ERA) will try to keep the perfect road record intact.  

Editor's note: Due to their inspiring program story, and in an effort to expand beyond its regional college baseball coverage, Boxer Journal reached out to Cal Baseball for game information and photos throughout 2014

Interview: Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum

The patina of a classic, Dead Poets Society, 2014 (photo / T. Flynn)

Twenty-five years ago this spring, Touchstone Pictures released Dead Poets Society, a film set in 1959 at a fictional New England prep school. It's in part a story of the potentially tragic chasm between acceptance and exclusion, played out among teens and the adults in their lives who ostensibly know better.

The movie was a breakout hit, grossing $235 Mn despite a budget of just $16 Mn. It received a 1989 Oscar nomination for Best Film, Best Director (Peter Weir) and Best Lead Actor (Robin Williams). Tom Schulman's script won the year's Best Original Screenplay.

Away from the screen, journalist and author Nancy "N.H." Kleinbaum faced the potentially daunting task of turning Schulman's screenplay into a novel. Novelizations are often measured, for better or for worse, by how closely they replicate a script. A marked divergence from the screenplay would clearly defeat the purpose of writing a novel to accompany a film. 

Such would not be the simple measure for the novelization of DPS, as Schulman's screenplay clearly drew inspiration from such modern American classics as The Catcher in the Rye and A Separate PeaceAlthough not necessarily held to their standard, Kleinbaum's effort did have a literary context within which it would inevitably be placed.

In the quarter-century since the the movie was released, the book has held up exceptionally well on its own merits. Perhaps not surprisingly; in addition to her professional experience, Ms. Kleinbaum holds a degree in journalism from Northwestern and a masters in American Studies, History & Literature from Columbia. 

The book has been published in several languages and may be unique in novelizations in having a study guide associated with it. 

I spoke with Ms. Kleinbaum recently about her recollections of the process, the film, and some connections to the story from her own life. 

The interview was conducted via telephone and email and has been edited for length and clarity. - TF

Fieldhouse: When you were writing the book, had Dead Poets Society been filmed yet?

NHK: No, they were in the process of filming it. I didn’t know where it was being filmed; the only thing I knew about it was that Robin Williams had the lead role of the teacher, Mr. Keating. So I had that in the back of my mind.

I was given the script which had the dialog obviously but had very little geographical description. Some of the famous scenes of going into the forest, into the cave, and Knox Overstreet riding his bike into town, for example, were very skimpy in description.

But the novelization was still one of the most fun ones I've ever done as I really loved the story. I loved the characters and I loved all the poetry and literature references that were included in it.

Fieldhouse: You've got a unique connection to what may have been the inspiration for the setting of the book and movie.

NHK: My brother and each one of my children spent summers at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire where John Knowles went and A Separate Peace is essentially set, although it's called Devon in his book. 

My physical reference point for DPS was Phillips Exeter. My brother and my three children were all summer school students there for academic enrichment. I spent a lot of time on campus, in the town, and in the nearby woods and such.

My parents were there visiting my older son, before the book, when my Dad had a heart attack in nearby Portsmouth. He was quite ill and my Mom and I stayed in a hotel in Portsmouth for several weeks before he could be moved.

During that time I was back and forth to the school. The Dean allowed our son to visit my Dad frequently and I got more of an insider's sense of the school and the dorms, the rules for meals, and study hours and those things. More than a typical summer parents' twice a summer visiting day view of it.

So, I felt as though I was at Exeter when I was writing it. I really connected with the boys as well as Mr. Keating.

Fieldhouse: I noticed in reading DPS, it wasn't exactly the same as the film. How does that typically work?

NHK: Right, there were things that were in the book that were cut from the film and there were things that were in film that were not in the book. Because the film was being made as I was writing it, I didn't know what was going to be in the final version. 

The time pressure was not as intense as with my first project [taken on two weeks' notice - ed.], so it gave me a little more time to place myself inside the environment and feel the feelings and hopefully convey them.

I think that was one of those wonderful coming-of-age stories. The ending was horribly tragic, which was not unexpected, unfortunately. The concept was great, the characters were very strong. It was relatively easy to flesh them out because I think their words made them the people that they were.

Fieldhouse: Not unlike a play.

NHK: Yes, and I then had to fill in the physical setting. I would close my eyes and remember what I saw at Exeter, so it wasn't that difficult to write, but very satisfying. It was also very satisfying to be associated with the project.

Interestingly, it was published in French and German, and to this day, 25 years later, there’s some kind of German fan club for the book.

Robin Williams on the cover of a German version of Dead Poets Society (photo / Petersen Classics)
When I lived in Westchester, I think on the back of one of the foreign editions it said I lived in Mt. Kisco, and so people would just send me letters addressed: N.H. Kleinbaum, Mt. Kisco, New York. 

My mailman would just deliver them, even though it didn't have my address they knew who it was after awhile. People really connected to it.

The story is universal and so was extremely popular, and the movie is extremely popular as well. When I watch the movie again, I have the same feeling I did the very first time, which was a great deal of satisfaction from being connected with it, even in a small way. 

I think more people, interestingly, are familiar with it in a more intimate way through the book, than they are through the film. They might see the film once, but they might go back to read the book on more than one occasion. I thought it was just a wonderful screenplay and story to work with.

Fieldhouse: I agree it was a great story. I have a couple of passages that I thought you did a particularly good job with, especially not having seen the movie, which is what made me think that you had seen it. On page 30:

Robin Williams as John Keating (photo / Touchstone Pictures)
In the distance Todd saw the fiery red sun sinking behind the green perimeter of trees that enclosed the sprawling campus.

Fieldhouse: On the next page it says:

The changing colors of the Vermont autumn were muted by the darkness.

You'd not seen the film so you weren't simply describing that, yet although obviously brief passages, they "look" very much like visuals from the movie.

NHK: Thank you. Most often I’d rather write my own piece, but if I’m doing a novelization, I have to stick to what the original screenplay writer wants to convey. Yet I was given a great deal of freedom for this project. 

Basically they just said "Here’s the script." I don’t think they knew that I was familiar with prep schools on a personal level.

I wasn’t even aware of St. Andrew's in Delaware where it was filmed. I might have taken a road trip if somebody had said to me "Oh by the way, they’re filming there." But I literally only got handed a script.

So on the one hand as a writer, it gave me a great deal of flexibility. The minute I read it I knew it was going to be a wonderful film, and I knew that I wanted to make it as good of a novelization as I could to be at least close to on par with it.

So, thank you for that and I hope I did. I know it’s touched a lot of people. I’ve saved all of those letters, I have hundreds. People would sit down and take the time to write and say, "This book moved me and impacted my life and it helped me make decisions, and think about certain things in a different way." It’s almost like feeling like a good teacher. And I’m not a good teacher. [laughing] Some are, my oldest is a professor at Dartmouth.

Fieldhouse: There have been two filmings of A Separate Peace. The one done in the 1970's was filmed at Dartmouth. So you’re more connected than you think.

NHK: You know what I did know that. Isn’t that funny? Small world.

Fieldhouse: For people in Germany and France in particular, I presume they would have seen the movie subtitled. So for them it would have been the opportunity to experience it in their own language for the first time, in a way. It may have been more impactful.

NHK: I think that’s true.

Fieldhouse: I’ve read 15 or so novelizations; they're typically quick reads and if I enjoyed the movie I'm somewhat fascinated by the "reverse" process of turning it into a book and what they're trying to achieve. Yours, walk away, was the best one. Did you go back and read The Catcher in the Rye or A Separate Peace before writing it?

NHK: Thank you. I didn’t go back and re-read them. I went back through them and skimmed them, just to see the how and what. 

But I didn’t want to be influenced in my style. I didn’t want those stories to influence Mr. Keating’s story, either. I’m familiar with them. But it was a long time since I read them as a student[laughing]. I felt as a story it needed its own platform.

Fieldhouse: That was smart; you know whatever you’re reading at the time of writing is having an impact, be it positive or negative. So, just what you’re saying, perusal served you well in that awareness is good. Immersion would have been too much.

NHK: I didn’t want to repeat it. It was a separate book, a separate story, a separate work.  His [Robin Williams as Mr. Keating’s] words had a right to be respected and I had a great deal of respect for them. I wanted to familiarize myself with the genre but I wanted it to be my version.

Fieldhouse: It worked.

NHK: You know the interesting thing was, for that novelization they decided I should be "N.H." Kleinbaum rather than Nancy. So there would be a more "universal" appeal. A teen boy might not want to read a book by a female author.

Fieldhouse:  That is interesting.

NHK: I don’t know, but it’s fine. [laughing]

- Tom Flynn


* In memoriam, Robin Williams 1951-2014 *

Saturday, March 8, 2014

College Lacrosse: Harvard 15, Georgetown 7

Harvard defenseman Jack Breit (#11) and midfielder Grove Stewart (#1) (photo / Tom Flynn)

by Boxer Journal Mar 8. 2014
Washington, D.C. - The Harvard (3-2) men's lacrosse team traveled south to Georgetown on Saturday and left the nation's capital with a key 15-7 win in hand. The Hoyas (2-3) fired off 57 shots, but the Crimson's goalie Jake Gambitsky responded with a career-high 18 saves.

Sophomore attackman Devin Dwyer spread it around for five assists on the afternoon.

"I was happy with our focus and energy from the opening whistle. Jake Gambitsky played great in goal and our offense moved the ball well," coach Chris Wojcik told Boxer Journal after the game.

Harvard and Georgetown exchange handshakes after the Crimson's 15-7 win (photo / Tom Flynn)

Gambitsky, a junior, has benefited from three seasons of tutelage from one of the sport's best goalies in recent years.

Former University of Virginia All-American Adam Ghitelman is in his third year as an assistant on Wojcik's staff. In 2011, Ghitelman helped the Cavaliers win the national championship and last year took the MLL's Charlotte Hounds, in just their second year in the league, to the championship before bowing to the Chesapeake Bayhawks by a goal.

The Crimson begin Ivy League play next Saturday at home against Brown (3-1), while the Hoyas host Furman (0-6) on Tuesday night in Georgetown.

Monday, March 3, 2014

College Lacrosse: Terps Claim Victory, Top Spot

Sophomore Goran Murray helped stall Duke's attack (photo / umterps.com)

By Boxer Journal Mar. 03, 2014
College Park, MD - While the Terps' Jake Stinnett was hurling a no-hitter, down the leftfield line in foul territory the Terps' men lacrosse team was claiming the #1 spot in the nation.

Senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk had five goals and one assist to lead the Terrapins past the previously top-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 10-6.

Navy celebrates during a Patriot League win over Holy Cross (photo / navysports.com)

Annapolis, MD - The Navy Midshipmen drew even at 2-2 on the year by drubbing Holy Cross, 21-12, at Navy-Marines Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Mids are now 1-1 in-conference while Holy Cross is 0-2 in Patriot League play and 0-4 overall.

It was the most goals that Navy scored since 2004 in a game, and they were led by T.J. Hanzche's six goals.

The Loyola Greyhounds, playing their first season in the Patriot League, are 4-0 in conference play and 4-1 overall. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

College Baseball: Stinnett No-Hitter Highlights Weekend

Maryland's Jake Stinnett (photo / umterps.com)

By Boxer Journal Mar. 02, 2014
College Park, MD - Jake Stinnett highlighted the college baseball weekend by throwing a no-hitter against UMass on Saturday as the Terps won, 4-0. Maryland (8-2) went on to complete a three-game home sweep of the Minutemen (0-6) on Sunday.

Stinnett is 2-1 on the season with a 1.23 ERA. The right-hander has also struck out 27 batters in just 22 innings of work. On Monday he was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, and the ACC Pitcher of the Week for his effort.

Cal beat Baylor, 8-5 on Friday (photo / calbears.com/goldenbearsports.com)

San Diego, CA - The Cal Golden Bears (6-2) only played one game this weekend due to rain but they made it count with an 8-5 win over Baylor (5-3) at the University of San Diego Tourney. Senior right-hander Trevor Hildenberger was credited with his second save in relief,  fanning one and allowing no hits in the 9th inning.

Cal will attempt to make up one game against Baylor on Monday, and potentially play a second against host San Diego (7-1).

Annapolis, MD - The Navy baseball team  fell to 3-6 on Sunday after dropping a 3-2 decision to Cornell. The game extended to 11 innings.

Navy is scheduled to play again on Wednesday, March 5 with a 2 PM home matchup versus Georgetown (3-6).

Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I've contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).  This week I w...