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Zimmermann adjusts to life in the front row

Fans of the Stanford men’s basketball team may have spotted a couple of all-too-familiar faces in the student section this year. Towering above most of the rest of the Sixth Man Club, two of last year’s NIT-winning stars, Andrew Zimmermann ’12 and Jack Trotter ’12, have been not-so-quietly making their presence felt. Intrigued by the role reversal of athlete-turned-fan, I sat down with Zimmermann last week to learn the full story.

In an interview last year, Zimmermann explained that though he hoped to eventually study for both an M.D. and MBA, he wasn’t quite ready to give up on basketball. His plan after graduation was to head off overseas and play perhaps in Europe or Japan for a couple of seasons before returning to school.

Those plans, though, had to be put off when Zimmermann developed an injury towards the end of his junior year. He suffered cartilage tears in both hips that made training and playing progressively more painful, but he was reluctant to have an operation to fix the problem immediately.

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Rout of Oregon State extends win streak to six

The Stanford women’s soccer team routed Oregon State 5-1 at home Thursday night to take the early lead in the Pac-12 conference and extend its unbeaten run at home to 60 games.

The No. 2 Cardinal (8-1-1) comfortably defeated the No. 23 Beavers (9-1-1) to win its second game of the Pac-12 conference and make it six wins in a row. Stanford’s goals came from sophomore forward Chioma Ubogagu, redshirt junior forward Courtney Verloo, redshirt freshman midfielder Haley Rosen, senior midfielder Nina Watkins and senior midfielder Mariah Nogueira — Oregon State’s late consolation goal was scored by freshman midfielder Gwen Bieck.

After Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe described the first half against Arizona State last weekend as the worst of its season so far, the Card opened last night’s contest in style. Beavers junior goalkeeper Audrey Bernier-Larose could only get fingertips to Ubogagu’s shot just three minutes into the game and things only got better for the home side. Verloo controlled a long free kick taken by senior defender Alina Garciamendez to grab her fourth goal in four consecutive games halfway through the first period, and when Haley Rosen put the ball past Bernier-Larose four minutes later, it looked like Stanford may have already put the game out of OSU’s reach.

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Role reversal for Spain and Germany soccer

Is Spain the new Germany? Is Germany the new Spain?

When Germany played the Netherlands back at the start of Euro 2012, a Germany-supporting friend asked why I refused to cheer for his team, especially since I don’t have any Dutch friends. The answer isn’t any lasting prejudice against Germans over the two major wars fought against them last century. We Europeans have spent millennia fighting each other, so it’s hard to hold something as insignificant as a couple of wars against them.

No, apart from some resentment at the regularity with which Germany knocks England out of international tournaments, the reason is that German fans simply don’t know what it feels like. They don’t understand what it is like to put all of your country’s hopes and dreams into a soccer game and fail, again and again. Or, at least, they didn’t.

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Is democracy a threat to the World Cup?

When FIFA chose the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups it picked the two least democratic countries from the list of bidding nations. Qatar is an absolute monarchy, and Russia, while technically a democracy, is virtually a one-party state.

With such infinite power it is hard to question the ability of the Russian and Qatari governments to put on a show. Not only do both have fantastic resources at their disposal, but they also are under no pressure to justify their actions to a demanding electorate. They are thus free to lavish these resources on whatever might take their fancy.

The difference between democratic and non-democratic nations holding sporting tournaments is acutely clear in the run up to the 2012 Olympics in London. Where Chinese authorities in Beijing could do absolutely anything, even jailing dissidents and forcibly evicting many of their own citizens to make way for construction, the organising committee in London has struggled to explain a ballooning budget and to live up to promises made.

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