Opinion: It’s time to get rid of the Pro Bowl

This upcoming Sunday, the best 88 players in the NFL are set to play against each other in front of millions of NFL fans. Or at least, that is what the Pro Bowl is supposed to be. Instead, we will be seeing only some of the best players playing a glorified game of flag football with no motivation.

This year, more players rejected their Pro Bowl invites than any year prior. Of course, there are those players selected that are playing in the Super Bowl or are injured, but there are also many players who are just choosing not to play. Two players in particular are Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Brady is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and it is hard to argue against Gronk being the best tight end in the league right now. These guys already know they are the best and would rather hang out in their mansions than accept what is supposed to be one of the greatest honors in sports and play in the game.

The problem is becoming that playing in the Pro Bowl is now much less of an honor. There are many players that get selected based on name alone, which rules out lesser known guys that deserve it more. Also, the viewership for the Pro Bowl is embarrassing and makes playing in the game much less attractive. The NFL has tried to make the game more interesting by having a fantasy draft for the teams and, much like the NHL, has realized that it is not helping. The two teams are no longer AFC and NFC, but rather Team (Michael) Irvin and Team (Jerry) Rice. QB Russell Wilson was drafted first overall by Irvin, followed by Eli Manning going second overall to Team Rice. If Eli Manning is ruled as the second best or most important player in the league by the way of the Pro Bowl, then there is clearly a problem.

The best players don’t want to play in the Pro Bowl, the fans don’t want to watch it, and the league doesn’t really know what to do with it. The only complete solution is to completely get rid of the game altogether. The game can never simulate a real NFL game, as no one wants to see star (or pretty good) player get injured in a meaningless exhibition game. Trying to make this game of grown men patty-cake is essentially a lost cause. Players can still be named to the All-Pro team, which is a real honor and doesn’t involve what has become a waste of time for players.

Opponent’s dunk goes viral

On the evening of Jan. 26, the Ramblers were taking on their District 10 rivals the Strong Vincent Colonels at the PVEC. The Colonels were seeking revenge after losing to the Ramblers three times last year. The third loss for the Colonels was losing in the district championship game by a buzzer beater shot by Charlie Fessler.

Tuesday night’s game started strong for the Colonels. Strong Vincent led 34-15 at halftime and Colonels junior David Morris had 19 points himself. With Strong Vincent well ahead in the third quarter, Morris unleashed a highlight reel dunk usually reserved for college or the NBA.

Morris got the ball just past half court. His crossover dribble gave him a step on his defender, Tommy Russo. He took one more dribble and launched himself from middle of the paint and threw the ball down over Prep guard Mark Majewski who was attempting to slide over and take a charge. After the dunk, all the stunned crowd could do was stand up and cheer. Not very many were expecting him to dunk the ball like he did.

The game seemed pretty much over at that point, but the Ramblers thought otherwise. The Ramblers scored 25 points in the fourth quarter to make it interesting. The comeback involved many key three pointers by Franco Agnello and Mark Majewski. However, the Ramblers came up short and the Colonels took the win 70-57.

The dunk was so impressive that it went viral after it was posted online, even making an appearance on ESPN as the number 5 play on SportsCenter‘s Top 10 plays. Majewski, the unfortunate man to get “dunked on” reflected on his thought process in the moment. “When I saw him cock the basketball back I thought to myself ‘oh crap’ this is going to be bad.” And indeed it was bad. Majewski also commented about how public this dunk became, saying, “I am very surprised by the publicity it has been getting.”

This dunk was a great one to watch, but it was even better in person. Seeing a dunk like this is sure to bring in more fans for the next meeting between Strong Vincent and Cathedral Prep. The next game between the two teams is Friday, Feb. 12, at Gannon’s Hammermill Center.

Streaming Music Services Review: Apple Music vs. Tidal vs. Spotify

Nowadays, the art of music is progressing and expanding at a rate faster than ever. With the constant improvement of music comes various new ways to enjoy this incredible form of expression, and as of recently, one of the most popular ways to do so is to stream music. For those who are unsure of what this is, to “stream” music simply means to listen to it over the Internet, rather than downloading it and listening to it from a source where an Internet connection is not required. Ever since the rise of music streaming, many companies have tried their hand in this competitive field. However, only a few major names have made it to prominence. Three major music streaming services are Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify.

apple-music-508x276Kicking off this review and comparison will be the highly coveted and low priced Apple Music. This service is simple and clean, using the same interface as the music library on an iPhone, but at the same time broadening the possibilities to the entire Apple iTunes Store. Here’s how it works: users subscribe to Apple Music, and go to their iTunes library. Then, they go to the search bar, and instead of searching their music library, they click on the tab “all Apple Music.” Users have access to the entire iTunes Store as if they had purchased every song, mixtape, album, etc. As well as being able to stream all of this music, users can also download it into their music library for use without WiFi for no extra charge. In short, Apple Music gives users access to everything on the iTunes Store for the small fee of $10 for one person or $15 for up to six family members.

TIDALNext is the most ostentatious of the three streaming powerhouses: Tidal. The reason I describe it as “ostentatious” is because its sponsored by the rap legend Jay-Z himself, and one can’t help but imagine that this service was created not for the love of music, but for the love of money. Tidal offers significantly less than its competitors, while costing twice as much for the highest quality streaming. If users want to listen to CD quality music on Tidal, it will cost them $20 a month, twice as much as Spotify and Apple Music. Not to mention, the selection of music on Tidal is much less diverse, and if users choose the lesser expensive subscription, they’ll he listening to much lower quality versions of music that is offered on both Apple Music and Spotify. To sum it up, Tidal is the Beats by Dre of music streaming services: sponsored by a big name, but delivering sub-par quality music at an unnecessary cost.

spotifyLast but not least is the veteran of the three, Spotify. Launched in 2008, Spotify was a streaming service before streaming services were popular. This, of course, made it wildly popular among music aficionados of all ages. However, as the years have gone by and other services have come to prominence, Spotify has lost its footing in the music industry, competing with companies that have much better design and potential. One positive thing about Spotify is the price. At a cheap $10 per month, it stands toe-to-toe with Apple Music at least regarding cost. Aside from the price, Spotify fails in comparison in pretty much every other category. The musical selection is average, the quality is good but not great, and the interface is bland and uninteresting. Spotify is a classic case of an original product overdoing its stay in society, and as of right now, society seems to be witnessing the decline of this once great music streaming service.

Of course, many people will have many opinions about what they choose to do with their musical interests, but in my opinion, I’ll choose Apple Music 10 out of 10 times. The only con about Apple Music is that it is only available on Apple products (obviously), but with Apple being the best selling electronic company by far, this doesn’t seem to be effecting the musically interested population at all. The savior for other music streaming services is the small community that’s turned away from the iPhone, but as time goes on, this minority will most likely get smaller and smaller. As of now, Apple Music looks to be the best and most capable future for music streaming.

Voice actor from SpongeBob SquarePants series arrested for DUI

Ask any Prep student about their thoughts on the hit television show SpongeBob SquarePants and they likely are to reply with one of the show’s thousands of quotable lines or express the enjoyment they received from the show as a child. SpongeBob was, and still is, viewed by millions of children and adults as a wholesome, comedic show that provided great life lessons to its viewers, including how to fail a driver’s test, how catch jellyfish, and how to be a fry cook. Moreover, many enjoy the show for its quality and wholesome characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, and perhaps one of the show’s most popular characters, Squidward Tentacles.

Squidward is best known for his clarinet playing skills and his stable job as a restaurant cashier at the Krusty Krab, in addition to his high standing within Bikini Bottom’s cultured society. Due to these characteristics, Squidward proved himself to be one who children can look up to as a positive influence on their lives.

However, the actor behind the squid is stirring up quite the controversy due to a recent run in with the law. On the night of Friday, Jan. 15, 65-year-old Rodger Bumpass, the voice of the famous cephalopod, was arrested in Burbank, California, for an alleged DUI. According to reports, Bumpass was found leaning against his blue PT Cruiser that was stopped in the middle of a Burbank roadway. As police approached the troubled celebrity, he attempted to leave the scene before collapsing on the ground. The actor failed a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer test reportedly showed that his blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal driving limit. Bumpass admitted to driving while intoxicated and stated that he was trying to find his house.

Following his arrest, Bumpass spent the night in prison before being released on $15,000 bail the following morning. Bumpass’ arrest comes as a shock to the millions of SpongeBob fans who looked up to Squidward and Bumpass alike as positive influences on their lives.

Among those impacted was Prep senior Peter Jefferys. “The arrest of Bumpass has brought a serious halt to my emotional stability,” Jefferys stated. “This series of events will go down as some of the most detrimental happenings to the little pineapple under the sea that is my life.”

Though Bumpass is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the recent series of events do not bode well for the actor’s standing among members of the SpongeBob fanbase.

SpongeBob SquarePants was created in 1999 by Stephen Hillenburg and has been continuously broadcasted on Nickelodeon for the past seventeen years. The show hosts the vocal talents of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, Mr. Lawrence, and Rodger Bumpass.  The two-time Emmy Award-winning show boasts over 194 episodes and is broadcasted around the world.

Senioritis kicking in early?

The thick of the school year is finally upon us. The second quarter has finally come to an end and many students are at a time when school days seem to just drag on forever. The majority of seniors are now in the final process of committing to where they plan on going to college next year. With all of these commitments as well as the school finally in the second semester, it appears a senioritis epidemic has begun.

The beginning half of senior year can be a very important time for many students attempting to get into their dream school. Grades tend to be kept, in general, at a higher standard as students make their last major push to boost their GPA in hopes of acceptance or scholarship money. After many late nights cramming and long days spent reading hours of pages, many seniors’ work has finally paid off with their acceptance to college. Mrs. Quinn, mathematics teacher at Cathedral Prep,  had some choice words for senioritis stating, “Senioritis started the first day of school for most of my seniors, namely 8th period calculus. It is a constant struggle to keep them focused on today so that they will pass and ultimately graduate.”

After the second semester, it’s clear to teachers which students have already been accepted into college. They notice some of the more diligent students become increasingly more buried in their iPads. Their attention to the lesson lacks, and they clearly just want to be home. This is only the first sign of the dreaded “senioritis.” It affects seniors across the country every year as they approach the end of their days in high school.

“The fact that I’m accepted into college has taken a huge toll on my motivation to get work done, knowing these next few months are going to drag on,” commented senior Alexander Comi, who will be attending John Carroll University next year. The workload tends to stay the same for many seniors, but the motivation is just not there.

Senioritis seems to finally be catching its stride this year as the second semester has begun. It’s a great thing to have finally be accepted into college, but for teachers it’s a struggle to keep their students in touch. Hopefully, students are able to avoid temptations and do what they can to keep working in school.

Alumni Profile: G.T. Miller (’07)

Cathedral Prep has had the honor of producing some of the greatest leaders of Erie.  It would take too long to name all the distinguished graduates of Cathedral Prep, but one that comes to mind is Mr. Grant T. Miller. Grant, or G.T. as he is also known, was born in 1988. He attended Villa Maria Elementary for grade school before making the life-changing decision of attending Cathedral Prep. When asked what made him choose Prep and his overall experience there G.T. replied, “Since my early years in grade school, I knew that I wanted to be a Prep Rambler. As far as I am concerned, Cathedral Prep is second to none when it comes to all aspects of the development of a young man.  A strong faith foundation intertwines the academic, athletic, and brotherhood aspects of Cathedral Prep into a truly remarkable high school experience.”

During his time at Prep, Miller played baseball for two years and basketball all four years. Basketball was always hid passion as he competed at the varsity level here at Prep. After he graduated from college, he decided to stay involved with the game as a coach. As he reminisced on his playing career, he reflected on a few unforgettable events.  “I have to include three memories. The first is defeating Strong Vincent three times during my senior year with the last victory crowning us District 10 Champions. My second fond memory, also during my senior year, is a buzzer-beater win against General McLane – a team that went on to win the state title in its division. Lastly, it will forever be a cherished memory that I played in the renowned McDonald’s Classic for two varsity seasons.”

Aside from sports, Miller also enjoyed the atmosphere that Prep had to offer. He highlighted the outstanding combination of tough academics, strong faith, competitive athletic programs, and an unexplainable brotherhood. When asked what separates Prep from the other high schools in the area, he pointed to the brotherhood.  “There is a handful of old classmates with whom I keep in frequent contact. The brotherhood of Cathedral Prep is real. Anytime I meet and get to know a fellow Rambler, there is an instant bond and mutual understanding that we would virtually do anything to help one another.”

MillerOLPMiller graduated from Prep in 2007 and decided to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, he continued his education at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law and then began his career as an attorney at The Law Offices of Vendetti & Vendetti. Recently, he accepted a new position at Northwestern Legal Services as a staff attorney. In addition to his professional life, Miller is currently an assistant coach for the Cathedral Prep freshmen basketball team. He previously assisted the boys varsity team at Our Lady of Peace and helped lead them to the AAA Diocesan Championship Game.

Miller is a huge advocate of Prep and is extremely grateful for his opportunity to have attended the school. When asked what Prep means to him he replied, “It can be summed up in three words: faith, pride, and excellence.” Cathedral Prep has certainly played a role in both G.T.’s personal and professional success.

First semiformal held at new gymnasium

This past Saturday, Jan. 23, students from both Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy enjoyed a fun night of music and dance at NHS’s annual semiformal. The theme for the dance was “Fire and Ice,” playing on the two school’s colors, Prep with orange (Fire), and Villa with blue (Ice). Masses of students got all dressed up in the finest of gala apparel, went out to eat some fine cuisine with their date or group of friends, and headed on over to PVEC for the first school dance to ever take place in the new gym.

Upon entering the premises, students were asked to present their $15 tickets and in return received a glow stick (their choice of color) and admittance into the hottest party in town. And what a party it was.

What makes a good party? Most would say tasty food, good music, and cool people. Up in the food court area of PVEC there were tables set up displaying a nice arrangement of pretzels, chips, and cookies. There were also glass containers of ice water with lemon slices floating around inside, which added a nice touch of class. On the music side of things, Prep/Villa’s semiformal brought in Prep student Alex Blatt to DJ, and he certainly delivered. It was easy for everyone to get down to classics such as “Yeah” by Usher and “Fergalicious” by Fergie. As far as “cool people” goes, Prep and Villa students always seem to be the coolest of kids and as a result bring the coolest dates, so everyone was pretty chill.

Overall, the event was a complete success. As dance chairman David Roach said, “The NHS semiformal ran smoothly and those who came to the dance commented that they enjoyed the music, venue, and snack food.” The event was a blast and everyone had a “semi” good time.

Students participate in March for Life, endure delayed return trip due to snowstorm

IMG_0060Students from Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy attended the annual March for Life trip in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 22, to stand up for the human dignity. The trip was the 17th for Father Jabo, president of both institutions. Students left from Prep on Thursday, Jan. 21, at around 7:45 a.m. and arrived in Washington around 3:00 p.m. the same day after making some stops on the way.

“Each trip is different; due to the city’s closing of some museums that we normally would visit, we toured around places even I had not been in before,” said Fr.  Jabo.

IMG_0027Since the march was not until Friday, the group was able to visit several historic national sites on Thursday, includingthe National Archives, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, the World War II memorial, and the Vietnam memorial. It was a great way to get the group excited as well as educated on what makes this nation unique.

IMG_0067On Friday, most museums were closed due to weather warnings. Other plans were made in order to take full advantage of the time. For example, the group visited the Pope John Paul II National Shrine at the Catholic University of America, which turned out to be a great turn of events because even Father Jabo had not visited the shrine previously. All of the historic landmarks that the five Ramblers and 29 Victors visited had some correlation with human dignity. It worked according to the mastermind’s plan to make all those things relevant.

“My favorite part of the trip was visiting the museums,” said senior Joe Weibel.

IMG_0051The March, itself, was an amazing experience for the group. There were thousands of people marching peacefully for those who do not have a voice. There were people from anywhere possible, and many of them were school students who shared the same respect for life. The dreaded snowstorm did not faze any of those who attended. In fact, it was viewed as a sacrifice that they were giving up time and warmth away from home to stand together as one to represent their beliefs. People were enthusiastically cheering, echoing the voice of their beliefs through the streets and holding up the signs high above their heads.

“My favorite part of the trip was realizing how many people believe in same thing as you do and coming together for a good cause,” ­ said Villa sophomore Lauren Prischak.

IMG_0077What seems to be the center of attention, and a source of some frustration from the group, was the daylong bus ride home. Due to the heavy, continuous snowstorm, which resulted in two to three feet. of snow, the bus got caught in a massive traffic jam on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The bus remained unmoved for a dreadful, uncomfortable, 24 hours that caused everyone to be eager to be home. The seats were not large enough for anyone to lay on, yet some people got creative and figured out a way to get some shut eye. Some were prepared; they had brought some movies to make the time go by faster. Since the Ramblers were outnumbered 29 to 5, the Victors were able to enjoy some of the best romantic movies such as The Notebook, and The Lucky One. The five, strong-willed Ramblers held their complaints to themselves and tried to sneak in few hours of sleep.

The bus had first came to a complete stop on Friday at 9:15 p.m. and did not move again until Saturday around the same time. With still another five to six hours on the road to go, everyone was very ready to go home. The March for Life group of 2016 arrived safely, but exhausted, at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday to be picked up by their anxious parents.

Students have mixed views on Erie’s mass transit option

In an article last week The Rambler highlighted the growing traffic problems that are plaguing Erie County. While many solutions were suggested to ease the flow of traffic around the region, there is another approach that should also be included: riding mass transit.

The Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority (EMTA) oversees all mass transit operations in Erie County. Due to its moderate population size, Erie’s only form of mass transit is the regional bus service, better known as “The e.” Though The e possesses the many perks that come with mass transit, including having a paid driver towing you around and a very reliable scheduled service to dozens of Erie area attractions, many Prep students are not very fond of the idea of utilizing The e as their choice for intracity travel.

The e provides many benefits to its passengers that an automobile cannot supply. These include regular on-time stops at dozens of local venues such as Walmart, Giant Eagle, the Intermodal Center, and Erie International Airport; a paid driver to haul the bus and yourself around like a celebrity in a limousine; a heated interior; a bus fleet mostly relying on clean burning compressed natural gas; and a bike rack provided on the front of each bus for no additional fare. When also taking into account The e’s ability to carry far more passengers than the traditional automobile, thereby reducing traffic congestion, it would seem like a no-brainer to choose The e as your first choice as a personal shuttle around town. Contrary to the popular belief, many citizens, including those at Prep, choose to commute in their comparably inefficient personal vehicles.

I personally have never used The e for my transportation needs. Due to my house’s distance from the nearest bus stop, The e has never been a logistical choice for my travel from point A to point B. However, since all peoples’ excuses are different (some more legitimate than others), I set out to try to comprehend why so many Prep students don’t consider The e to be their primary choice of transportation.

Senior Alex Gorny has similar problems with The e’s routing system “The e does not have a stop out where I live or else I would be overjoyed to ride it,” Gorny stated, expressing his disappointment over the grim reality.

Safety was a large concern for sophomore Dominic Montefiori. “Students don’t ride The e because of their safety. I mean, let’s face it, Erie isn’t the best town,” he said.

With Erie’s current crime rates and more violence occurring in the inner city, it can be hard to justify riding The e through the shady parts of town when other methods of transportation are available. “I don’t see a real need for high school students to ride the e between their parents giving them rides or finding a ride from their friends,” Montefiori stated.

For junior Bryan Carlson, the more slow and relaxed pace of The e would take a major toll on his busy social life. “I choose to not ride The e because in the go-go-go society we live in, I do not have time to wait for the bus or wait for the bus to make stops for others,” he said. “I’m constantly going place to place and I usually don’t have any extra time to spare.”

Nevertheless, some students, such as senior Mitch Clark believe that the The e is a great mode of transit for the Erie area. Clark believes that The e serves a great purpose for the social aspect of the Erie community. “The EMTA is utterly under-appreciated due to Erieites being unable to grasp its unique ability to incorporate human life and living organisms of all sorts, into one fantastic, fear-inducing vehicle,” he said. Despite his overall positive views of the bus system, Clark himself does not ride The e due to “personal reasons.”

Whether you are a fan of the bus or an automobile aficionado, there are many forms of transportation available. Though The e may not be the first choice for most, it is always there for you if you need to a quick ride to the supermarket or to work. Just load up your bike on the front rack, pay your fare, and off you are on an adventure.

It Grinds My Gears When…

Have you ever found your gears so ground that they’re practically dust? It leads me to believe that I could replace my coffee beans with gears and make a terrible tasting brew. That’s how ground my gears are right now.

This week at Prep my gears have been rigorously ground. This week had the potential to be one of the best weeks at Prep. The first semester ends today, and school was not in session on Monday, giving us a four day week. The most exciting part of the week is that we play McDowell in basketball tonight, the first varsity game against them in the Joann Mullen Gymnasium. One major letdown to this week is that there is no rally for the big game. All we have to prepare for our meeting with that school on 38th Street is a dress down day. How are we supposed to get pumped and rowdy for the game with a dress down? This just doesn’t make sense, it grinds my gears thoroughly.

It’s a totally unrelated issue, but I feel I must address this issue as well. We all know it’s cold outside. Due to this, we tend to turn the heat up inside. Notably, Señora Lopez’s room was nice and toasty. I walked in and immediately felt safe. This was a room I could sit comfortably in and learn some Spanish. A certain student who shall remain nameless found the temperature a little too hot for his liking. He then proceeded to open up a window, letting in the cold, frigid air. The class protested, but he refused to shut the window because he alone thought the room was too hot. I understand that some people have different comfort levels when it comes to temperature, but here’s the thing: HE WAS WEARING A SWEATER.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a sweater is a clothing garment put over a shirt to keep the person wearing it warm. Putting on a sweater is a personal choice. There’s no reason that this student should have made the rest of us suffer in the cold because he felt too hot when he could just remove his sweater. It’s a simple solution. You feel cold? Put on a sweater. You then feel too hot? Remove said sweater. Do not open up a window, letting Jack Frost in to nip at the noses of all others present. Not cool, a real gear grinder if I’ve ever seen one.