It's been a while since I have taken a look at the Los Angeles Times, but it could not have come at a better time. 

The biggest news coming into the NBA season was the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers already had Kobe Bryant, but had added some great star players to make the next "Big Three" in the NBA. The Lakers traded for Dwight Howard, and grabbed Steve Nash in free agency to become the preseason favorites to win the Western Conference, and maybe even the NBA Finals.

Fast forward to the present, and the Lakers look like they'd be lucky to even make the playoffs. The team fired head coach Mike Brown just five games into the season because of a 1-4 start, and since the hiring of Mike D'Antoni, the Lakers are now at a 3-5 record, sitting in fourth in the Pacific division and 14th in the Western Conference. For a star-studded starting five, the Lakers are severely underperforming. 

The Los Angeles Clippers, however, are exceeding preseason expectations. A team that was seen as a five seed for the playoffs and a possible dark horse for the Conference Finals are now first in the Pacific division and third in the Western Conference. Led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers are now the favorite basketball team in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles fans are fans of winning teams, and the Los Angeles times are nor exception. The Times focus on the Laker's decision to hire D'Antoni over Phil jackson, even writing a story that the Lakers had Kobe's approval to hire D'Antoni. Meanwhile, the Times focuses on how the Clippers are winning games, and their recent win over the Heat shows they are one of the best teams in the NBA.

Personally, I am not a fan of the NBA, but rather two specific players: LeBron James and Blake Griffin. Both put on offensive clinics every game, and both, especially Griffin, will throw down highlight reel dunk after highlight reel dunk. For the Times, it's good to have one team that is winning to sell the papers. 
 
 
Hopefully most of my readers already know this, but I am an avid hockey fan. I played for fifteen years competitively, and will definitely play some form of pick up league when I get older. I am thankful to not have suffered any serious injury while playing, but I know many who have. And no injury has been as devastating to more players than a concussion. 

For #loweclass #sports, I will be writing a paper and doing a presentation on concussions in the NHL, specifically how many players are affected by the injury, and what the league is doing to prevent concussions from happening. The NHL was hit extremely hard before last season, with the death of three former NHL enforcers, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak, along with the passing of retired enforcer Bob Probert. These deaths forced the NHL to question whether or not the violent nature of the game was to blame for the traumatic brain injuries that led to these deaths, and thus caused the NHL to make rule changes to protect its players. 

The problem is that it fixes the problems that are happening now. But what about guys like Eric Lindros or Marc Savard? Both guys had their careers ended because of repeated concussions. These players are not protected by the new rules that the NHL implemented, but will still suffer from concussions. The NHL is taking the right step by enforcing these rules, but the veterans need to be protected too.

I wrote a Bleacher Report article about other ways for the NHL to curb concussion injuries, ones that do not have ambiguous meanings as to what a hit to the head is, and how long a player should be sent to the box. Rule changes such as mandatory mouth guards have been backed up by research, and teaching players how to skate with their head up or using hitting coaches to properly teach how to hit will reduce the number of injuries that are a result from reckless skating and hitting. 

Concussions in the NHL are a problem, and its something the 
 
 
I will be the first to admit that I am an avid sports nut. I spend many hours reading various sports articles, discussing sports with friends, and watching my favorite teams win. I will also be the first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about politics. I was never one to engage in political discussions in high school, and when the election would come around, I would see who won before I went to bed, and that was the end of that. 

This year was much different.

Last semester I took Political Science, which was the first class I had ever taken devoted strictly to politics. I learned more about the party system, how presidents were elected, and what disadvantages the political system has. I used these this information to think more critically about the presidential nominations, the campaigns they were running, and the political ads that I constantly saw in the months before the election. But come Election Day, I was ready.

Ben Greene and I decided upon Centennial Hall for our location to cover the election. We walked in the door, and was greeted by a security guard protecting the election room. Immediately, Ben and I were restricted as to what we could do, which was to stand near the entrance of the hall, and talk to people as they were entering and exiting the building. 

We talked to three or four people within the first twenty minutes of being there, but the polls were not that particularly busy. We asked them about the process and what they thought of the election as a whole, and many were first time voters saying the process was a lot easier than expected. Soon after talking with these students, Ben and I were banished to the outside of the building and were given Election Observer stickers in case we were approached by anyone else. 

Once outside, the amount of people entering an exiting the polls became next to no one, save for one man named Fred. Fred chatted up  Ben and myself, talking about various times in his life, and each story was stranger than the next. Fred openly discussed his political views with the two of us, crediting the movement of women into the workforce as starting the downfall of America. We left the polling site after 75 minutes, right as Fred was talking about his butterfly knife and how he always carries it around with him.

For the rest of the night, I was down in the Marquette Tribune office, watching and live-tweeting the event from the Tribune's Twitter handle. We watched President Obama become re-elected, and then stayed up all night creating out special edition Tribune. At the late, or rather early, hour of 6 a.m., I retreated to my dorm room, completely election-ed out.