All posts by louisricard2019

Rugby sport growing in Chicago area

Move over Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks! Make room for rugby. From Soldier Field hosting The Rugby Weekend to kids growing up with the game, Chicago is becoming a  rugby city.

Photo at top: A high-school rugby team huddling prior to walking onto the pitch for its state championship match in Berwyn, Ill. (Andre Toran/MEDILL).

 

Success is a two-way street, you never know who will walk by

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

It’s 30 minutes before kickoff and a man walks onto the field, stepping on each little section of grass the rain severely damaged throughout the week. Wearing a hoodie, a pair of large rectangular sunglasses hiding his eyes and a trimmed beard, David Clancy’s face is as tough to read as a good poker player’s bluff.

He walks and stomps some more until he’s satisfied with the quality of the rugby pitch, finally turning toward his players warming up and with one blow of his whistle, the ball suddenly stops moving and all heads turn toward him, awaiting his command.

For the people walking by, Clancy, with his athletic build, looks like a player who is sitting the game out, his whistle the only difference.

But the 29-year-old Irishman is far more than a peer to his team.

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The Chicago Lions never had a full-time coach until Clancy landed on U.S. soil. Somehow, this was the move he had been waiting for his entire career, the opportunity of painting his vision on a brand-new canvas. Continue reading

Never undermine the ‘Sir’

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

Sports fans and athletes have a few things in common. They’re both pulling for their team to win. They both tend to think they’re better than their opponent. And they both have a love-hate relationship with referees.

Those wearing the stripes have haunted fans and athletes for as long as organized sport has existed. But rugby is different. In rugby, they’re not referred to as referees.

Rather, it’s “sir.”

While rugby is growing in America, so is its officiating body. With no full-time paid referring jobs and growing expectations from fans and players, it’s hard being the individual holding a whistle in the midst of 30 people fighting over a ball.   Continue reading

Heading toward basketball stardom – One step at a time

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

As a shooting guard for the French national team, Louis Lesmond has seen it all. Competing for European championships, flying all over the continent, the 17-year-old entered the National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance in Paris last year, hoping to become a professional and follow his parents footsteps.

He never thought he’d be playing for Evanston Township High School a year later, starting his life all over again on another continent. Continue reading

Survival of the skillest – How Europe is no longer reacting to basketball trends; it’s setting them

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic may be on the verge of a historic moment. There has never been multiple European NBA award winners in the same season. But 2019 could be different with Doncic as the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year and the Greek Freak firmly in the mix for Most Valuable Player.

This new generation of European superstars is taking over the league, and could become its future–as well as the focal point of a championship team.

So what changed? Continue reading

Blast from the pass

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – No-looks, alley-oop, bounce, between the legs, over the head — there are so many ways to pass a basketball. While dunks and threes dominate the NBA highlights, most start the same way; with an assist.

Though times have changed and the younger generations may not remember how Jason Williams used his elbow to bounce the ball to his center while looking in another direction, the young NBA stars have not forgotten.

“Either Jason Williams or Steve Nash for sure,” Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young said about his favorite passer of all time.
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Basketball Without Borders kicks off under scrutinizing eyes

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– While the streets of Charlotte are slowly getting more crowded during All-Star weekend, the Levine Center at Queens University is the center of attention for NBA scouts.

The Basketball Without Border camp opened its door on Friday morning, gathering the most talented teenagers from all across the globe to compete and showcase their skills. This year, 63 kids stepped on the court for the first day of camp.
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Chicago sports may be more European than you think

by Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

The ‘85 Bears revolutionized the way defense is played with the 4-6 scheme. The Chicago Bulls won six NBA titles, including two three-peats with the levitational Air Jordan. The Chicago Cubs recently broke a 108-year-old losing spell by winning the World Series. And it feels like yesterday the Blackhawks won two Stanley Cups in three years.

All these teams brought the city together as Chicago became a renowned sports city with an international flair. But that’s not the only thing Chicago has to offer. Continue reading

Local businesses assess the impact of the Lincoln Yards project

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

Developer Sterling Bay is working with the City of Chicago to bring a new recreational area in Lincoln Yards, a massive city-within-a-city proposed development

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After Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) gave his approval earlier this month to the third and latest proposal in his ward, the Chicago Plan Commission voted unanimously in favor of the project Thursday during its monthly meeting. The new project straddles 55 acres of the Chicago River on Chicago near North Side will cost up to $6 billion to develop, helping to reshape the entire area, according to Sterling Bay’s website.
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