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Sportsspeak: become a better communicator

Andrew Brandt, Director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for Sports Law, speaks during a concussion symposium at Villanova University School of Law, March 15, 2013, in Villanova, Pennsylvania (Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke)How many times have you listened to an interview of an athlete and groaned internally at all the clichés being bandied about? Sportsspeak is the broad term for the unique brand of communication from athletes, coaches, team management, and even sports broadcasters and journalists. It covers well-worn paths that we're all familiar with by now.

"We've just got to take it one day/game/week at a time". That one is timeless, and is usually tossed out after a hard-fought victory when the reporter asks the player about their teams' confidence for a playoff run. What the player is really thinking is probably something more along the lines of, "I'm amped up right now. I can't wait to play our next game. We're going to destroy any other team that stands in our way." But they can't say that because it's too cocky. They settle instead for the truism.

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Eagles fans petition pope to keep QB healthy

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford (7) throws at the Nova Care Center in Philadelphia during the team's training camp, August 6, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Michael Bryant)Since being selected first overall in the 2010 draft, Sam Bradford has struggled greatly to stay on the field. In addition to other injuries, he's torn his ACL each of the previous two seasons, only playing a total of 7 games over that span. As a result, he has quickly earned the reputation as a gifted but injury prone player who is unlikely to live up to his potential. Yet, despite those flaws, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to trade for him this past March with the hope of finding the kind of consistency from the QB position they've been missing in recent years. To reach that goal, the first thing that needs to happen is for Bradford to finally stay healthy.

To that end, Eagles fans have recently started a Change.org petition asking Pope Francis to bless Bradford's knees when he stops by Philly later this fall. As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign's support was unfortunately lagging behind that of other petitions, such as making cancer treatments more affordable and helping to fight climate change. However, it has still received more than 3,200 signatures and Bradford said that his would be one of them. When a reporter told him about the petition, he replied "If I got to meet the Pope, I think that would be pretty cool. If he wanted to bless my knee, then I'm all for it."

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LaQuan McGowan: the next big thing in college football

Baylor Bears offensive guard LaQuan McGowan (80) catches a pass for a touchdown during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic between the Michigan State Spartans and the Baylor Bears played at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, January 1, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Andrew Dieb)We've now reached that awkward point in the college football offseason where practices and games are close enough to start getting people excited about the upcoming year without enough on-field action to keep writers occupied. That's why we've recently seen a slew of rankings articles and player profiles popping up. One such topic that's generated a lot of interest is Baylor University's new tight end. Well, he's not exactly new…he's actually a 5th year senior who lined up at offensive guard until a play in last year's Cotton Bowl made him a YouTube sensation.

LaQuan McGowan has always been a physical marvel and, at 6'7" and 400 plus pounds, he's never been difficult to spot on the practice field. However, he was never able to consistently crack the starting lineup and has received most of his playing time as a fullback in goal line situations. That all started to change when Head Coach Art Briles and others noticed the ease with which he caught footballs while goofing around before practice. As star sophomore receiver KD Cannon described, "He can catch passes one-handed behind his back. He can do it all. His hands are so big. It's really fun to watch." Baylor's new starting quarterback Seth Russell echoed those sentiments when he said of McGowan "I can pretty much put it wherever, and he can snag it out of the air."

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What’s wrong with sowing your wild oats?

Ohio State University band members celebrate during the 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 81st Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, January 1, 2015 (Credit: AP Images/Cheryl Gerber)There's a prominent outlook on growing up that is doing more to harm growing up than most people realize. This outlook is what you hear referred to as "go sow your wild oats". It basically writes a blank check for high school and college aged young adults to do whatever they feel like doing. The thought is that you go do all the wild and crazy things you want and then grow up and learn from all those mistakes as you transition to "settling down".

It's the mentality that is being used in defense of the Ohio State University Marching Band's underground "parody songbook" that has recently come to light. The songbook, featuring, among other disturbing themes, heavy anti-semitism, was passed out to band members for singing during trips to away football games.

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MLB trade deadline uncertainty

Oakland Athletics Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir (26) [3143] pitches in the first inning during the Oakland Athletics game versus the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, April 19, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Scott Sewell)Let the trading begin. In the first major move of this year's MLB trade season, the Oakland A's sent veteran lefty Scott Kazmir to the Houston Astros in return for a few minor league prospects. Later in the day, The Milwaukee Brewers shipped third baseman Aramis Ramirez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a similar return. The trade deadline, July 31st, provides excitement for fans in the middle of a long season, but leaves a vast wake of uncertainty for players as they seek to remain focused as their names get thrown around in trade conversations.

One of the more intriguing elements of this year's market is the lack of clearly defined buyers and sellers. Usually by this point in this season, with 3+ months in the books, teams know if they have potential to make the playoffs. However, with the introduction of the second wild-card spot a few years ago, adding one more team to each league's post-season, more teams think they are in contention.

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