Finish Strong

Tompkins starts season hot, but has bigger goals in mind

Tompkins’ Barbara Olivieri, Skylar Parker, Leanne Veary, Kayla Ruopp and Lauryn Wild. Photo by Chris Brown

Originally appeared on Vype.com

The page has turned and a new chapter began for the Katy Tompkins Lady Falcons soccer team led by head coach Jarrett Shipman.

It was a difficult and motivated off-season for Tompkins after last year’s 0-2 defeat in the 2017 UIL 6A State Championship game against Hendrickson High School.

Now, it is a new year and a new season for Tompkins and they are looking to get back to the same place they were last season — playing in the UIL State Championship game.

Tompkins opened their new year in the Lady Highlander Tournament with a 0-0 tie against The Woodlands. The Falcons then took down Cedar Ridge 4-0 and finished the tournament with a 5-0 victory over Plano East. Sophomore Skylar Parker finished the game with a hat trick (3 goals).

“We are hungry and experienced now coming off last year’s defeat in the state championship. I am excited about this season and our goal is to just leave everything out there on the field,” Shipman said.

Tompkins will be an experienced team this season with several of their players returning from last year’s state finalist team including senior captain, Kayla Ruopp.

“After last year’s defeat in state, we became motivated to get back, but this time to win it all,” Ruopp said. “Everyone on the team is motivated and we are giving it our all, and especially with this being my last year playing competitive soccer, so I know I will.”

Tompkins kicks off the I-10 Shootout with a first round matchup in the “Falcon Bracket” against Clear Springs on Thursday, Jan. 11 at Tompkins HS.

Tompkins knows what it will take to get to the 2018 UIL State Championship game, but the real question that is yet to be answered; do they now know what it takes to win it all?

Keion Cage is a student at Tompkins High School and a member of the VYPE U Internship program. To learn more about how you can become a VYPE U Intern, click here. 

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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