ldr survival

You thought the tearful goodbye was bad, but now you realize it pales in comparison to the challenge that lies ahead—keeping your relationship alive. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. According to the California-based Center for the Study of Long-Distance Relationships, 25% of college students are in a long-distance relationship (LDR) at any given time.

Of course, being in an LDR isn’t easy. Your first hurdle might be the reaction you get when you tell people about it. They’ll sigh, “Oh, those never work.” Then they’ll tell you all their LDR war stories.

Shake it off, smile big, and be assured that LDRs do work, and often.

How do I know? I interviewed many couples for my book, The Long Distance Relationship Guide: Advice for the Geographically Challenged, who conquered distances of as much as 4,500 miles. (That particular couple was in Vancouver, British Columbia and Oxford, England.) I found out that long-distance dating has its own set of rules—for example, exclusivity and commitment come into play a lot sooner.

Still, plenty of couples have navigated the rocky terrain and so can you. Here are some tips for reaching happy-ever-after:

2005 tip off

NCAA Cliff notes: season predictions

It seems like only yesterday the greater Philadelphia area was enjoying a magical run through March Madness when the Villanova Wildcats (regarded as a good but not outstanding team) battled through one of the most intense tournaments in our country to reach the Sweet Sixteen. They were knocked off by the eventual champion, UNC, but it was fun while it lasted.

However, Villanova provided one of the few bright spots for the Big Five schools, with St. Joe’s crashing back down to Earth following a stellar season two years ago. Temple’s biggest publicity came from the actions of Nehemiah Ingram (now a reserve defensive lineman for Temple football) and head coach John Chaney. Drexel couldn’t keep up with Old Dominion; La Salle was doomed from the outset; and U Penn, who almost entered the NCAA Tournament by default because of their lack of opposition in the Ivy League, was ousted in the first round by Boston College.

This season, some clubs have high hopes of turning it around. Will they?

Drexel Dragons

Last year, they played well against Colonial Athletic Association opponents with a 12-6 record. Unfortunately, Old Dominion went 15-3 against the CAA. Also, the Dragons haven’t made much progress, considering that the record for the past two seasons were nearly identical. But Drexel is committed to the program set forth for this year, and will make at least some noise in the CAA.

Pennsylvania Quakers

With the sudden temptation to call them the “Quackers” passing rather quickly, Ivy League opponents can count on the Quakers to beat them time and time again. But wait a tick, Penn didn’t make the NCAA Tournament in 2004. Alright, so they’re not invincible, but they’re not missing the dance two years in a row. U Penn will make it to the NCAA Tournament. And once again, they will be booted in the first round.

LaSalle Explorers

Well, what is there to say? Nothing? Okay let’s move on.

OK, I’m kidding. But after the debacle a couple years ago, it was clear that this team needed to start from the ground and build. They need someone to step up and be the proverbial pillar for this team who went 10-19 and 5-11 within the A-10. This year, the goals should be reasonable—like finishing with a .500 record. Even that will be a challenge, and to expect more would make about as much sense as having 14 teams in the A-10. Wait a minute…

St. Joe’s Hawks

South Carolina stunned the Hawks in the NIT, stealing the championship from them with a last-second three-pointer. Breaking the hearts of St. Joe’s fans everywhere, this squad needs to come back and regain their form from two years ago. But they’ll need help and the A-10 looks very competitive this year. The team is full of young guys who will possibly give the Hawks a solid squad in a couple of years. But this year? Maybe an NIT appearance if they’re lucky.

Temple Owls

Last year, the Owls were in the NIT and booted by Virginia Tech. They went 11-5 against the A-10 Conference. Unfortunately, center Keith Butler, who had been making decent strides in his game, has withdrawn from the university and will not be suiting up for the Owls. But, not everything is all bad. Mardy Collins has been recently named top point guard in the nation by CBS SportsLine.com. He earned a first team all-A-10 spot in 2005, as well as first team All-District. John Chaney will be looking for his 500th win, and will get it with the next victory. Although they are matched up against Duke for the second straight year and have a tough schedule, look for Temple to be a surprise pick to win the A-10. The Owls will be making an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Villanova Wildcats

A few years ago, Villanova made a commitment to rebuild and recruit, molding a team that would work together from the start. Well, last year this paid off. Villanova started to relive the 1985 memories of a National Championship and Curtis Sumpter emerged as a force to be reckoned with. And this year, well, Mr. Sumpter is sidelined with a knee injury (isn’t this familiar?) for at least a month. He was injured last year and proved to be a vital cog for the team, which lost to UNC without him in the lineup. However, Jason Fraser filled in nicely, even though his development has been stunted by multiple injuries. The first month of Villanova’s schedule is pretty easy, so Sumpter may not be necessary. This year, the expectation was for Villanova to not only return to the tournament, but to make a Final Four appearance. I still believe that the Wildcats can do this. In fact, I know they will.

cutting the aid

On November 17, the House of Representatives passed a measure which will allow $14.3 billion in cuts to student loan programs. The Senate passed a bill earlier this month calling for over $9 billion in cuts to student loan programs. And according to Student Action Aid, the State PIRGs’ Higher Education Project, these bills propose “the largest cuts to student aid in history.” They will substantially increase interest rates on student loans while giving students minimal increase in grant aid. Basically, paying for college will become more difficult, if not impossible, for nearly 6.5 million students nationwide, nearly 400,000 of which are in Pennsylvania.

What exactly do these bills entail? Well in addition to cutting student aid, there are provisions under both the Senate and Congressional bills which raise interest on loans, and allow lenders to charge extraneous fees. For example:

the rivals collide

Army. Navy. Tradition. It all happens this weekend at the Linc.

On Saturday, December 3rd, Philadelphia will house one of the most enduring rivalries in sports–the Army-Navy game. For the third straight year, Lincoln Financial Field will stage a battleground featuring the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen. Dubbed “First to 50,” because both teams currently have 49 wins in the series, this game caps a 116-year-old rivalry.

The Army-Navy game is traditionally played in Philadelphia because it is midway between West Point, New York (Army) and Annapolis, Maryland (Navy). Army (4-6) and Navy (6-4) are both coming into this game riding hot streaks. After losing the first six games of the season, the Black Knights won the next four. The Midshipmen have won six of the last eight. This game will showcase Army and Navy contending for the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, awarded each year to the winner of the triangular football “conference” which comprises the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Since both Army and Navy have beaten Air Force this season, the winner will come home with the coveted trophy.

If Navy proceeds to win the game on Saturday, head coach Paul Johnson will carry home the trophy for the third straight year, a feat yet to be accomplished by the Midshipmen since the trophy was introduced in 1972. Johnson is regarded as one of the best college football coaches in the nation. Prior to his arrival in 2002, Navy had posted an abysmal 1-20 record the previous two years. After going 2-10 his first year, Johnson brought his team to a 10-2 record in 2004, garnering much national praise and recognition. He was named the 2004 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year.

The Black Knights look to extend their winning streak to five games with famed coach Bobby Ross at the helm. Named head coach in December 2003, Ross boasts an illustrious career which includes stints at the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions in the NFL as well as The Citadel, Maryland, and Georgia Tech at the collegiate level. Having won 50 games in five years with the Chargers, leading them to their only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, Ross is not unfamiliar with winning.

Now, as head coach of the military academy’s football team, Ross finds it especially important to win football games. At a press conference held November 22nd, Ross said it was “important to win because it has such an effect on the morale of the troops.” Although he acknowledged there is a “bigger and more important mission, a football game is important too because it has a real direct effect on the people.” To add, Chet Gladchuk, the athletic director at Navy, deemed it “critical to have a successful football program because it’s an incredible catalyst for the student body, for spirit and unity.”

From December 2nd until the 4th, Philadelphia will be abuzz with activities ranging from tours of naval ships at Penn’s Landing to an Army-Navy pep rally at Liberty Place in Center City. The football game will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at 2:30pm.

For more information, check out www.phillylovesarmynavy.com.