Boston Marathon Wreath Ceremony Reminds of Greek History

Every year the Alpha Omega Council, a Philhellenes (meaning “love of Greece”) Organization based in Boston, puts on what they call a Wreath Ceremony, in which an official from the Greek government hands over the official wreaths, traditionally given to the winner of Greek Athletic events as far back as the ancient Olympics. The event is well attended by various lovers of both the Boston Marathon and of Greek history, with a crowd the varies from Harvard Medical School professors to businessmen to the first woman to participate in the Boston Marathon.

Haris Lalacos to Joann Flaminio Presenting
Haris Lalacos (right) hands the official wreaths of the 2017 Boston Marathon to Joann Flaminio (left).

Though the main event of the evening was the transfer of the wreaths from the Ambassador of Greece Haris Lalcos to Boston Athletic Association President Joann Flaminio, there were a plethora of speakers.

Kathrine V. Switzer, notable for being the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon gave her piece as she prepared to run the race again at the age of 70, 50 years after running it originally.

Nick Kourtis 3 Present
Nicholas Kourtis (right) and Giogos Kaminis (left) present a middle school essay contest winner with her prize.

Another highlight of the event was Nicholas Kourtis, former president of the Alpha Omega Council, who along with Mayor of Athens Giorgos Kaminis, presented middle schoolers with awards for winning the essay contest that Kourtis and the Alpha Omega Council had set up to educate people on the history of the Marathon.

The entire event touches at the extremely deep history of the marathon, and also reaches back to the strong emotional bonds that tie this event to Greece and Greek history.


Allston Crime Rates Mostly Petty Theft and Simple Battery

Alston MA on May 3rd.


Boston University, like all national campuses, is required to report its crime statistics for the benefit of their students. That means that up to 2015, you can find every statistic for Boston University. Many students spend an inordinate amount off campus, especially if they move into off campus housing after their freshman year. How do Allston and Brighton, Boston University’s most notorious student slum, measure up to on campus safety standards? This reporter look at Allston Police crime data from 2015 to the present to determine the most significant contributor to crime in Allston.

An enormous amount of police reports are filed about car related incidents: with 795 reports being of a towed vehicle, and another 786 being of a accident with only property damage.

The next two most frequent reports are also innocuous with responses to sick people coming in third and fourth with 635 and investigate person at 674.

It isn’t until fifth that you get to the crimes you would expect in a student slum: petty assault, vandalism and theft. Vandalism has the fifth most reports with 560 total, followed by larceny theft from building with 452 and simple battery at 425.

Martin, a Allston resident attending BU, said, “I think I feel safe.”

“Sometimes the BU Alert scares me, when they say someone with a gun is around Allston.”

Martin’s biggest fear was robbery, which makes sense, given it is one of the higher reported crimes in Allston.

Still, Martin didn’t know anyone who has been robbed, and he’d never been robbed himself.

Though Allston is usually considered rather dangerous by the standards of Boston University students, the amount of simple crimes you would expect simply aren’t there. All in all, Allston seems safer than we’ve been giving it credit for.

Photo of the Week Preview

A quick preview of my Photo of the Week assignment.

Copley Square, Boston MA on Palm Sunday.
Dangers abound in the Boston winter.
A traditional Pub meal.
Wild Turkeys run free at the George Sherman Union.
The uniform face of time.
A bird of prey looks out over Kenmore Square.
Boston University staff keeping walkways clear.
A bike left abandoned during the winter months.
Everything is buried by the Boston snow.
Boston University staff keeping Marsh Plaza clear late at night.

How ESPN Covers America’s Biggest Tournament And Another Reason Ticker Tapes Are Important

ESPN’s larger site remains mostly unchanged from when I first looked at it two months ago. So, I will zoom in on a particular event’s coverage, one that every sports site, from the number nerds to the sports paparazzi, covers annually: March Madness (aka The Dance). It ranks in the most exciting playoffs in any sport every year and inspires thousands of cheap pun names for 3rd month based novelty tournaments yearly (I’m looking at you, Daily Show).

First, let’s start with the fact that ESPN has a distinct advantage covering March Madness. Much like in fantasy football, ESPN is the largest of the betting sites for March Madness brackets every year. The not insignificant majority of people use ESPN for their online bracket needs and the bracket is arguably the most important part of the tournament. Being the site that hosts brackets means that regardless of your online experience, people will have to visit your site just to check to see if their team is doing well.

And ESPN’s place as the primary bracket hoster isn’t unearned. They offer a sleek looking bracket that, like the rest of their site, is uncluttered and straightforward.

ESPN Bracket
ESPN’s beautiful bracket.

Note the amount of white space and the ease at which quite of bit of information (teams you picked for every round, teams that advanced, times and scores of the games) is presented. Moreover, their Bracketcast feature lets you follow along live with the games.

ESPN’s very intuitive way to follow the games of the tournament.

ESPN shows that they understand something very important about March Madness: most fans don’t care who wins, they just want their team to win. And unlike in almost every other sports situation, most fans don’t really know who their team is. Sure, I know I picked Gonzaga to win it all, but I have no idea who I picked in the first round Virginia vs UNCW match-up. And after the first round it gets even more complicated: I know I picked Duke for the last round, but did I pick them to win the next round? Just watching the games on TV I have no idea. ESPN’s system of an upfront “x” or check lets me know at a glance who I’m cheering for in any match-up. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is in a world where I know I want someone to win, but have no idea which team I put down two weeks ago.

And as much as I’ve been ranting and raving about ESPN, they aren’t my preferred way to watch The Dance. That honor falls to, who has an even more unfair advantage: they live stream the games. Unlike ESPN, where I am just able to get a text feed and scores, CBS gives me the ability to actually watch the games live (al be it without being able to see my bracket).

But watching games online is easy in the internet era (if illegal). CBS goes above and beyond. It has a news feed to the right of the video stream, and along the bottom is one of the smartest ideas I’ve ever seen. Underlining the page is a running ticker tape of all of the best highlights from the game. About a minute after any big shot or defensive play and you can see a quick gif form of the play. It gives the viewer the power of the replay, one of the biggest inventions in sports watching. You can relive a big dunk or a clutch shot and it gives you the control to go back and look at it. As sports watching moves online, this ticker tape style of replay will become one of the most important innovations in sports viewership, because it lets you do what the TiVo claimed to do for sports: relive the moments you want to relive. Unlike TiVo however, the system is easy to use and doesn’t stop you from watching the live action.

Boston Remains Restrained as Boston University Rallies

Marsh Plaza at Boston University was in an uproar on Wednesday around noon, with students protesting the Trump administration.

Just across the freeway though, many Boston denizens were much less concerned with the President’s first month in office, more specifically his alleged ties to Russia that have been coming out over the last few weeks.

Some, like Daphne and Jake, were concerned, if notably less than the protesting students.

Others were much more reserved.

Scott, a local investment manager, said that he wasn’t really concerned with the President’s political ties to Russia.

Madison, a Freshman Graduate Student of Opera at Boston Conservatory, went even further, saying that she didn’t often concern herself with national politics.

The recent allegations have been inviting a lot of comparisons to the famous Watergate scandal in which Former President Richard Nixon was ousted after significant criminal evident compiled against him. Andy, also an Organizer, didn’t think this is a fair comparison.

The outrage is palpable on many campuses around the United States as students join in protests against the administration as frustrations grow. Still, at least here in Boston, the opinion of the greater population is still not quite ready to condemn him to the same extent.

Yet, national Gallup Poll still has Trump’s approval rating fluctuating between 40 and 50, and according to some polls he has had the lowest approved of start in the history of the presidency. This suggests that while many people aren’t ready to condemn him out of hand, even the citizens off campus are beginning to become disgruntled.