Category Archives: Sports

Cool ‘Cats: Michael Payant (Medill ’16)

My name is Michael Payant and I am a Northwestern Wildcat superfan.

There was no single defining moment which inspired my fandom, no single event which served as the catalyst for my love of the Wildcats. Instead, it was a lifetime of little things which built up to make me the man and the fan I am today.

My parents shaped my love of sport. By encouraging me to play and joining me to watch sports, they made me happy, and in retrospect, shaped my personality.

My mom, Susan Cohodes, attended the Medill School of Journalism from 1979-83. She was here for the lowest of lows, when the ‘Cats set the major college football losing streak record at 34 games, yet still loved her time here enough to raise me to bleed purple and white. Despite the fact that I was born and raised in Seattle, Wash., my earliest “college visits” were to Northwestern to watch football games and meet some of Mom’s college friends who still live in the Chicago area.

Stories of NU teams’ exploits were common as my sister and I grew up.

I heard about the 1981 “Stop State at 28” campaign and the subsequent “Laking of the Posts” when the ‘Cats lost their 29th consecutive game. I became acquainted at a young age with Northwestern’s lack of NCAA tournament appearances in basketball. When Northwestern traveled to Seattle to take on the University of Washington in the NIT Tournament a couple years ago, I was right behind the NU bench, cheering my heart out as the ‘Cats fell 76-55. For the sports fan in me, these stories served not to dissuade my NU fandom, but to reinforce the notion that the team and the school never give up.

The stories weren’t all negative either.

Though I was too young to remember it, the ‘Cats 1996 Rose Bowl appearance has been commemorated by the pennant which once rested on my bedroom wall and is now displayed prominently in my dorm. For much of the time I’ve been a coherent fan, the football team has met or exceeded respectability under Pat Fitzgerald. John Shurna’s tenure with the basketball team will not be soon forgotten, and under Chris Collins, hope springs eternal that this NU Era will be a good one.

Being a Northwestern fan is not always easy. I could list the heartbreaking defeats the football team has suffered in the last two years alone, but this is still a little too sensitive a topic. On the other side, as ‘Cats across the country know, for this team, every win is exhilarating.

When I was younger, I believed my cheering determined whether the team won or lost. I still approach every game I attend with this mindset, and it is for our school and our team that I am a fan. I take pride in knowing I have given the team everything I have, and win or lose, I am a Wildcat until the bitter end.

8 Tips for Marathon Runners from Northwestern Medicine

George ChiampasNorthwestern University will have a strong presence at this weekend’s 36th Bank of America Chicago Marathon, as George Chiampas, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, will serve as the Marathon’s medical director for the seventh consecutive year.

He is also an emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and will lead more than 1,400 medical volunteers from numerous hospitals and healthcare schools statewide to oversee the health of race runners.

Chiampas offers eight tips to help runners have a healthy marathon experience:

1. Eat smart
Preparation starts well before you step up to the starting line. Pre-race nutrition is critical, as the 26.2 mile run drains the body’s resources. During the 48-72 hours and evening before the race, enjoy a meal full of protein and carbohydrates and do not consume alcoholic beverages.

2. Get a good night’s sleep
Make sure to follow a regular sleep schedule during the week leading up to the race in order to get plenty of rest. This will guarantee you are well-rested in case pre-marathon jitters prevent you from sleeping the night before the big race.

3. Check the weather
Chicago meteorologists are predicting cool temperatures for this year’s race. Although it may feel cooler in the morning, it will feel 10 or more degrees warmer once you get going, and temperatures will rise throughout the day. Make sure to dress in layers so you’re able to shed clothing as needed. Participants should listen for the Event Alert System (EAS) tips that will be sent out via the Marathon with instructions if the weather becomes dangerous.

4. Benefit from breakfast
About two hours before your start time, eat a high protein breakfast combined with a good balance of carbohydrates and fat, while avoiding sugary foods.

5. Stick with what you know
One of the biggest mistakes marathoners make is trying to change their routines on race day. It’s best to stay with what’s familiar. Wear clothes and shoes you’ve worn on long runs before and don’t try any new foods or drinks.

6. Pace yourself
The excitement of the race can often cause racers to get off to a faster start. This will hinder a runner’s performance and can lead to health issues during the competition. Instead, running at an even pace is most efficient and safest, but be prepared to adjust your pace if weather conditions change.

7. Hydrate appropriately
Both dehydration and over-hydration can pose serious threats to runners. Hyponatermia, a condition that occurs when fluid intake exceeds your rate of fluid loss from sweating, results in abnormally low blood-sodium levels. When this happens, the body’s water levels rise and cells begin to swell. Race participants who experience symptoms of nausea, dizziness or disorientation should seek medical attention immediately.

8. Post-race routine
After crossing the finish line, you’re still not quite finished. Be sure to stretch thoroughly and ice any areas that are sore. While you celebrate your accomplishment, eat a meal that is high in protein to help repair muscle damage and start your recovery phase.

Good luck to all the participants, especially those from our Northwestern community! Read more about Chiampas’ experience working with the Chicago Marathon.

Northwestern Homecoming Weekend 2013

Any Northwestern students, alumni, faculty, staff or fans who participated in Homecoming 2013 festivities would agree that it was one of the most exciting weekends on campus in a very long time. With two ESPN sports shows broadcasting live from campus and a night game at Ryan Field between the No. 16 Wildcats and the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Purple Pride and football buzz on campus far exceeded anything Northwestern had previously experienced at Homecoming, making the annual parade, pep rally and alumni reunion events extra special for the hundreds of alumni who returned to campus.

The excitement reached its pre-game pinnacle Saturday morning, when ESPN’s College GameDay went on the air live from the Evanston campus lakefront. Swooping overhead camera shots showed television audiences the scope of diehard school spirit exhibited by ‘Cats fans, as throngs of purple-clad people had lined up at 4 a.m. to get a prime spot near the show’s elaborate lakefront stage and set. Wildcat fans crafted clever signs–a staple of College GameDay broadcasts–and USA Today quickly proclaimed NU’s signage as “the best week so far.” See more photos from the GameDay experience and watch the video below to witness the sea of purple that assembled for the occasion.

The game time atmosphere at Ryan Field was electric on Saturday night, and not just because a massive thunderstorm had blown through in the hours leading up to kickoff. A sell out crowd of NU and OSU fans were pumped for the prime time matchup that was broadcast nationally on ABC. Both teams played hard, and the ‘Cats held their own for the majority of the heart-pounding game, but a few bad breaks in the fourth quarter ensured victory for OSU.

The Wildcats and their fans had nothing to be ashamed of, however, as the team proved its mettle against the powerful and still-undefeated Buckeyes. Relive the excitement of the game with NU Sports’ storify recap of social media posts from the game. The ‘Cats will look to win their first Big Ten game next weekend at Wisconsin, which will be broadcast on ESPN2 and regionally on ABC at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Check out our coverage of the rest of the weekend’s Homecoming festivities by following the links below.

A Night (Game) to Remember: NU vs. OSU in ’04

Nine years ago today, something extraordinary happened at Ryan Field. A Northwestern football team that was off to a rocky 1-3 start faced the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes under the lights at Ryan Field.

And we won.

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Wildcats that day. Evanston was overrun with visiting fans in scarlet and gray, and the “Cardiac ‘Cats” let the Buckeyes rally for 10 points in the last nine minutes of the game to force overtime. But when OSU kicker Mike Nugent’s field goal attempt sailed wide right, the Wildcats pounced on their second chance.

Quarterback Brett Basanez and running back Noah Herron keyed a thrilling drive that ended with Herron running the ball into the end zone, sealing NU’s first victory over OSU since 1971. Ryan Field went up for grabs as students rushed the field in a Purple Pride-fueled fit of ecstasy.

NU has not defeated OSU since that fateful game, but the Buckeyes return to Ryan Field Saturday night. The highly anticipated Homecoming weekend match-up between two undefeated teams will be televised on ABC and features a pregame visit from ESPN College GameDay. Will history repeat? You don’t want to miss this.

Read a post-game report of the 2004 game that was then the most-watched college football game ever broadcast on ESPN2 and deemed an “ESPN Instant Classic.” Relive the excitement of the upset with the video below.

Hear the heart-racing call of the winning touchdown from student radio station WNUR.

Watch Herron share his recollections from the game, and share your memories in the comments below!

Cool ‘Cats: Ed Tunnicliff (Communication ’50)

Ed TunnicliffStanding on the sidewalk outside of Ryan Field in a purple Northwestern jacket, 87-year-old Ed Tunnicliff (Communication ’50) looked like an average longtime Wildcat football fan. But Tunnicliff has an indelible place in Northwestern sports history, having scored the winning touchdown in the football team’s 1949 Rose Bowl victory.

The former Wildcat halfback returned to campus Friday to contribute his Rose Bowl game jersey to University Archives. He also took the opportunity to tour the football program’s current facilities, meet with head coach Pat Fitzgerald, revisit the 1949 Rose Bowl trophy and share his memories of an unforgettable era in Northwestern football.

“If you look back through Northwestern’s history, when they had good teams, it was because they had depth,” he said. “When I was there, we had all the veterans coming back from four years of war and then all of the freshmen coming in as well, so we had all kinds of depth, and it made a difference.”

That depth led to the team’s first and only Rose Bowl victory — an accomplishment that is still heralded by the Northwestern community today. After talking to University archivist Kevin Leonard, Tunnicliff decided to donate one of his most cherished Rose Bowl relics — the number 15 jersey he wore during the game — to the university’s collection of historic memorabilia.

Tunnicliff retired from the life insurance business 28 years ago and now spends most of his time fishing in Mountain Home, Ark. He didn’t want to make any predictions about future Rose Bowl appearances, but he has avidly followed the good fortunes of the current Wildcat squad and is hopeful about their future success.

“They’re tremendous,” he said. “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed, especially for next Saturday [Oct. 5] against Ohio State.”

After meeting with Coach Fitzgerald, Tunnicliff summed up what makes Northwestern’s football program special — both in his day and today.

“The main thing here at Northwestern is academics, as well it should be, and you were expected to do the same thing that any other student did,” he said. “That whole attitude about education being most important just permeates everything and you just feel confident.”

Read full story