UC Irvine sports teams have started winning, and are winning often. We have achieved some national success, most recently with men’s golf, baseball and men’s volleyball.
However, most of our sports teams seem to make it near the top, but are not able to get over that final bump. What is that last ingredient that we need for our sports teams to garner the utmost respect they deserve? Ladies and Gentleman, that is “Swagger.”
Swagger is the element that keeps your opponents up at night, the element that never makes you forgotten, the element that makes others want to be like you, the element that never allows you to doubt your abilities.
Swagger was the reason the University of Southern California defeated Notre Dame on that famous 4th and nine play. Swagger was the reason the Lakers won three championships in a row. Swagger is synonymous with dominance.
Swagger also implies style. Anyone can win, but not anyone can win and look good. The Detroit Pistons won the NBA championship, but they did it with their defense. Defense is not cool. Therefore, the Pistons had no “swag.”
Milwaukee Brewers left- fielder Ryan Braun has been said to have swagger because of his unique confidence. Teammates say he is the most confident guy in the clubhouse who never doubts his abilities. He doesn’t boast about his accomplishments, and he isn’t cocky. However, he approaches any situation like he can succeed. That is swagger.
This is what UCI athletes need. We have already seen it with the UCI men’s soccer team this season, and with the UCI men’s volleyball and baseball teams. These teams are on their way to commanding respect from their opponents year in and year out. A couple more consecutive successful seasons from these teams and they will be credited with having swagger.
The word “swagger,” which is obviously one of my favorites, has only recently caught on with the mainstream. Old Spice released a deodorant scent called Swagger and “Swagger Like Us” by T.I. was one of the biggest summer songs, just to name a few.
UCI needs swagger now more than ever. With the injury to Darren Moore on the men’s basketball team, the team is without its defensive stopper and best penetrating guard on offense. Although the team is still discovering its style, it seems to be on the right path with the integral conference-opening win against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday.
Men’s soccer captain Matt Murphy was shafted from the MLS pre-draft camp for the top 65 players who are eligible for the draft this month. He was named to some All-American teams, and has the records at UCI to further prove his abilities. His non-selection was egregious. With some more swagger in our men’s soccer program, a mistake like that will not be made again.
Our baseball team has produced the last two seasons and there is no reason to think that we won’t this season, especially with a loaded number of returnees. However, the UCI recruiting classes fall behind to those of UCLA, USC and Cal State Fullerton, all teams that UCI had advanced in the postseason the last two seasons. Let’s get some of that swag.
Let this year be the year of swagger for UCI sports – the year they establish their presence and fear.
If we develop that, we can be spittin’ rhymes like T.I. on the famous track.
“You can kick it like me, no exaggeration necessary/ Livin’ revolutionary, nothin’ less than legendary/ Gangsta shit hereditary, got it from my dad/ Flow colder than February with extraordinary swag.”