Jay-Z‘s Made In America Festival is making its way back to Philadelphia for a Labor Day Weekend celebration from September 3rd-4th. The event will take place at Philly’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway and will feature performances from Rihanna, Coldplay, Collegrove (ft. 2 Chainz & Lil’ Wayne), Chance the Rapper, Gary Clark Jr., Martin Garrix, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Jamie XX, Adventure Club and more.TIDAL members get early access to tickets on Wednesday, June 22 at 10AM EST and tickets are on sale to the general public on Monday, June 27 at 10AM EST. Check out the festival website here.
For the past couple years, a Greek god has dominated the waters of Uytengsu Aquatics Center. Well, junior driver Kostas Genidounias has at least performed like one.Hailing from Athens, Greece, the 6-foot-1 driver is the Trojans’ second leading scorer with 53 goals through 20 games and is the only USC player to tally a goal in every match so far this season. He’s tied for eighth on the Trojans’ all-time scoring chart.Unsung · Junior driver Kostas Genidounias might not own as many records as senior Nikola Vavic, but it seems like he’s had more timely goals.Chris Roman | Daily TrojanHe currently stands at 152 goals for his USC career, with a lot of his junior season still to come. If he stays on pace, Genidounias could have a shot at breaking the all-time scoring record that senior Nikola Vavic holds with 230 goals.“It’s always in my head, but I try not to let it affect my game,” Genidounias said.He has not only been known for his goal scoring, but also for his ability to put the ball in the back of the net when the team most needs it. In other words, if there was an award given to the most “clutch” player in water polo, it would be Genidounias.“I feel like I’m just doing my job and doing what I have to do,” said Genidounias. “If the ball is in my hands with time running out, all I worry about is putting the ball in the back of the net.”Most recently, he netted the buzzer-beating goal that tied the score against UCLA before pocketing the game-winning goal to clinch the SoCal Championship for the Trojans. He also scored the game-winner in last year’s national championship match against the Bruins to give USC its fifth consecutive national title.“Kostas has been great for us when we have needed him most,” head coach Jovan Vavic said.All of this late and timely scoring against UCLA has created many memories for Genidounias, and he feels that his crosstown rivals will always remember him too.“They must not like me very much over there [at UCLA],” said Genidounias. “Scoring that goal to win the national championship was definitely my most memorable experience, though.”If there is one thing that Genidounias loves to do, it’s winning. And that played a large part into why he ultimately decided to attend USC.“Living in Greece, I always had the idea of studying abroad. So I went online and saw that USC had the best water polo team,” Genidounias said. “I then immediately wanted to go there and have never had any second thoughts.”The priority of winning fares well with his head coach, who has won 12 national championships while at USC.“It’s great to play for coach Vavic for that exact reason, you win,” Genidounias said.The junior has already done just that by playing an integral part in the team’s last two national championships and losing just four games through about two and half campaigns.With such great expectations, however, Genidounias receives his share of tough love from Vavic.“It’s challenging because he is demanding sometimes,” Genidounias said. “But it is only because he wants you to get better and improve as a player.”Rightfully so — Vavic probably expects a lot from his star player because of all the success he achieved in his first two years.As a freshman, Genidounias was the team’s third leading scorer with 31 goals. Last year, he more than doubled that total with 68 goals, which was good enough for second on the team.His sophomore season goal total tied for the fifth-most single-season goals in the sport’s history, and also resulted in him being named a first-team All American.Having accomplished so much already as an underclassman, Genidounias said that right now, he is mainly focused on winning a sixth consecutive national championship for the Trojans.“I don’t like to lose,” Genidounias said. “I want to prove that by winning two more national championships.”Once his four years at USC are up, Genidounias, who is majoring in communication, plans to head back to his home land of Greece to play professional water polo and try out for the Olympic team.Genidounias may be the nicest guy one will meet on land, but it is evident that he is a force to be reckoned with in the water. If he continues to play the way he has, Genidounias could very well possibly be a front runner to win the Peter J. Cutino Award next season to go along with that pair of national titles he covets.
Eric He is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism. His column, “Grinding Gears,” runs Fridays. For all but one year of my pre-collegiate life, I lived in a quiet suburban city in the Bay Area called Santa Clara, located a bit north of San Jose and an hour south of San Francisco.In fact, here’s where I tell people I’m from — because nobody understands the multitude of Bay Area cities, and anyone from the region can relate: “You know San Francisco? Yeah, I live there, but like, an hour away.”I won’t have to say that anymore after this weekend, when the world’s attention descends upon my nondescript hometown for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, just six miles and a 15-minute drive from where I live.It feels very strange for my city to be hosting the grandest and most prestigious sporting event in America, and I use the word “strange” because I have mixed feelings about it.Santa Clara is not a sports town. It is not a town meant to have thousands of people streaming in for a major event, let alone a Super Bowl. Santa Clara is a classic suburb, consisting mainly of shopping plazas and office buildings, with little to no attractions or nightlife. In the midst of Silicon Valley, the city is right next to tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Intel – in other words, its main occupants are middle-aged engineers and techies living a middle-class lifestyle.Somehow, the San Francisco 49ers decided this would be the right place to build a new $1.3 billion stadium – $114 million of which came from taxpayer money – and move San Francisco’s team 40 miles away. It might as well be a world away, comparing the atmosphere of one of the world’s most iconic cities to a small suburban town. The Oakland Raiders, just a trek across the Bay Bridge away in the O.co Coliseum, are located closer to San Francisco than the 49ers.Since construction began on the stadium in 2012, I’ve watched firsthand as it was built, piece-by-piece, slowly taking on the form of a colossal, 70,000-seat venue. Infrastructure-wise, I have to admit it is as state-of-the-art as stadiums come. But something about it feels off – perhaps the way it panders to a corporate ideal. Sponsors are everywhere, including – and definitely not limited to – the Intel Gate, the Dignity Health Gate, the Toyota Gate, the SAP Tower, the Visa Box Office, the Pepsi Fan Deck, the Bud Light Patio and the Safeway Faithful Mile (fancy words for “tailgate area”). If a company asked to sponsor the restrooms, the 49ers would approve in a heartbeat. Celebrity chef Michael Mina has a Bourbon Steak restaurant in the stadium, and if you’re asking yourself who would go to a football game to eat a $95 steak, you’re not the only one.The immediate area has been affected as well. Right across the street is the Santa Clara Golf & Tennis Club, where, as a kid, I used to play tennis with my father on Sunday afternoons. That’s no longer an option. Adjacent to the stadium sits the Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park, home to 1,500 kids in the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League. Their website reads, “All fields: closed until further notice for Super Bowl 50” because the NFL has taken over and is turning the fields into a “media village” for the Super Bowl. A superior court judge denied a lawsuit by the soccer league, leaving the conditions of the artificial turf in danger and thousands of kids without a place to play.“The [Super Bowl] is big and cool, but it is also a really big downfall because we don’t have somewhere to practice,” Monica Hrncir, a 15-year-old soccer player, told USA Today. “They’ve had so much stuff there and the fields are totally trashed. It is pretty disappointing.”This is the pinnacle of corporate culture imposing its will on everyday citizens and why I am extremely lukewarm about the Super Bowl coming to town. The Super Bowl is not “big and cool” if you’re a youth soccer player looking to get to practice, or if you just happen to live nearby and have to cancel your plans on Sunday.And Santa Clara is not the only city affected by the Super Bowl. The majority of events this week leading up to the game are taking place in San Francisco, which will cost taxpayers approximately $5 million, and it doesn’t even have the benefit of hosting the actual game. The NFL put up a number of obnoxious “50” signs all over the city, and to retaliate, people are gleefully vandalizing them. In one location, the sign was tipped over with the lettering on it brilliantly rearranged from “Super Bowl 50” to “oops.”While I can’t lie that I’m not happy for my city hosting the Super Bowl, the bragging rights are far outweighed by the maddening corporate culture that will be made worse by the event. And so I hope something happens on Sunday — however big or small — that sends a negative message. Perhaps some people think the game is in San Francisco, spend hours stuck in traffic driving an hour south and miss the game entirely. Maybe another power outage disrupts the game, which would be an embarrassment for this state-of-the-art stadium with seemingly more sponsorships than there are residents in Santa Clara. Whatever happens, I believe turning my once-quiet suburban hometown into the center of the world on Sunday is doing more harm than good.