Good Sportsmanship: A Rarity, But it Exists

An example of bad sportsmanshipWhat is the place of sportsmanship in our culture today? We all were required to participate in some form of sports from a young age, in P.E. class, if nothing else. These games were intended to instill ideas of fair play in our young brains (in addition to physical fitness, of course), but there are also numerous examples of our “role models” looking out only for themselves, and trying to take any advantage, fair or unfair, that they can. And when they succeed, celebration is almost a prerequisite. How do these conflicting influences play out in the larger world we live in?

Recently, in a game against Brigham Young University, University of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert threw punches, tackled players and pulled an opponent to the ground by her ponytail. And the only time she was called by the officials was for mouthing off on an unrelated call. She has since been suspended for her behavior, but it is clear that she was taking out her frustration at her team’s lack of success on the other team’s players, instead of focusing her energy on contributing to her team’s play.

But, last year, in the playoff game between Central Washington and Western Oregon, a player from WOU hit a homerun and after rounding first, collapsed with a leg injury. Unable to continue, she didn’t want the hit counted as a single, or to be counted out if her teammates helped her. Then two of the players from CWU asked the official if they could help her round the bases. As there was no rule against it, the official allowed Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace to carry Sara Tucholsky around the bases, touching each base for her first career home run. In doing so, they contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs, and the end of their season.

Holtman said of her gesture, “She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”

Stories that make national news make good examples and are usually either the worst or the best. Overall, I would hope that college athletes would be well enough led to be good sportsmen. At the professional level, it is generally accepted that the people who make it to that level will have an inflated view of self-worth to begin with and will have their faults mocked as much as their successes praised. The college level ranges from Division I football, where each week the stars are discussed at length and hidden away by their coaches, to Division III cross country, where players often go unnoticed and unappreciated, competing for their love of the game. I believe it is at the smaller level that you see sports playing a positive role more than at higher levels, because the attention is not on them to just win at any cost. The sportsmanship of players at higher levels is often good, but can be quite negative. That is one of my favorite things about playing sports in Division III.

This leads to athletes that graduate with concern for those around them, who will usually work well in a group and advance any team well. The ability to lead and be led is one of the many ways that sports allows athletes to be versatile, and the organization it takes to be a full-time student as well as an athlete is certainly valuable. What is speaks to us as a culture is that at close, personal levels we generally play fair, and it is rewarded with success. However, the professional athletes of business have always been just as selfish and whiney as the worst football stars. Who blames each other and refuses to take responsibility more than banking leaders at corporations such as AIG? Maybe Tony Romo? TO? Hard to say.

Farmville: Cash Cow of a Distraction

Farmville, from Google Images

You’ve probably noticed on your Facebook News Feed little, annoying notes about how “So-and-so found a lonely black sheep!” or “So-and-so found a lonely pink cow!” or “So-and-so gets a ribbon!” All of these little space taking tidbits of information comes from a Facebook flash game called FarmVille.

For those who never played it, FarmVille is a game where you farm, harvest vegetables and apparently find cattle that wander onto your farm. It’s apparently an addicting game – I’ve seen people talk strategy behind it, and I’ve seen people leave class to go harvest strawberries or something like that. As a result from this addictive gameplay, it’s one of the most played games on Facebook. This isn’t just on Southwestern, I remind you – this is all over the globe. Even co-founder and technologist, Kevin Rose, accidentally revealed that he played it.

So, everyone is playing FarmVille, because the game play is so simple. It’s like the SNES game, “Harvest Moon,” but without all the deep farming or social aspects – you simply just plant crops. Its gameplay anyone can get into. What this means is that the people behind the game are making mad amounts of cash. If they included some sort of micropayment payment system into the game (like paying 99 cents for a special orange cow that can be used to make fertilizer that makes your crops grow or something).

I will say I don’t play FarmVille, but not for stupid reasons like the fact that it’s a casual game, or it’s a game where you play as a farmer. I don’t play it because it’s creepy. See, I’m a rather private person. When I do game, I don’t want the world to know all of my accomplishments. I don’t really care if I let my girlfriend know if I found a pink cow, or even the editor-in-chief of this newspaper whether or not I upgraded my farm. What is he supposed to do? Be happy for me and buy me a beer?

That’s the problem for me is this trend for the merger between social networking and gaming. The problem is that I don’t think it is done well. FarmVille, for instance, just lets people know of your accomplishments, but that’s about as deep as it goes. It’s similar to fixing a leaky drain with duct tape – you fixed the leak, but it’s a short term solution. If FarmVille’s social networking was better, and was actually interesting instead of being a single player game that simply annoying alerted your friends how awesome you are, then yeah, I would play it. The Facebook API with what it can allow you to do in terms of people and their profiles is pretty amazing and should be used more often.

I’m waiting for a day I can play Risk with a big group of friends without moving an inch (think of Scrabulous but with Risk!), or even with just people on Facebook – I don’t want to play “Risk” by myself and then simply alert my friends that I got 10 new units and am the supreme overlord of Australia. One’s an analog to an existing social activity that is made 10 times easier, the other one is simply just depressing and lonely.

Texting Has Merits

Some random person texting on a random phoneOMG. R U GOING TO THE PRTY TONITE? ;)

The above and incoherent sentence is probably a typical text for a lot of today’s younger generation. Everybody who is anybody has a texting plan which allows its user to type in or “text” messages from his or her cell phone in order to communicate with another person. Texting seems to be much more popular than the old-fashioned system of calling because it allows people to avoid awkward conversations (unless you tend to drunk text); it is faster and easier, and permits people to respond on their own time. It tends to take less effort and the person texting does not have to set everything down to dial and carry an ongoing conversation. Therefore, he or she can text and multi-task at the same time with activities that may include texting while eating a sandwich, texting while watching television and texting while driving.
Wait, did you actually read that right? Texting while driving…does that not sound dangerous? Of course, it does – but so does bungee diving off an Amazonian cliff while holding a pair of rabid dogs, but surely there are people who do that as well. According to a New York Times article, texting increases the risk of a car accident by at least 23 times. An average texter on the road takes about five seconds looking at their phones, which is also the same amount of time that a driver can go the distance of a football field. According to the GHSA, as of 2009, 18 states of America have made texting while driving illegal. Nonetheless, the bans have not persuaded people into following the more sensible way of driving (including Governor Schwarzenegger’s own wife talking on a cell phone).

As a person without a texting plan or a driver’s license (blasphemous, I know), I have the best perspective on this subject. I am able to act as the all-knowing observer and have concluded that doing anything while driving can clearly lead to irreconcilable consequences. It takes a great effort and amount of concentration to remember to place both hands on the wheel and to merge lanes while going ungodly measures above the speed limit. There also needs to be a certain degree of responsibility when it comes to driving because obviously there are other people doing the same thing. Texting and deciphering the messages while driving just seems plain irresponsible and inconsiderate. Everyone should take the same precautions when maneuvering the giant metal death traps so that everyone can avoid such accidents and the nosy onlookers that come along with them.

Even though texting may not be suitable when driving, it has its merits as a great and very accessible way in communicating with one another. And they also make great stories for the morning after.


Environmentalism Versus User Friendliness

Last year, some sort of legislature was passed that made Sodexho buy cardboard to-go boxes that were a tad bit out of their regular budget. As a result, to take things to go, we have to not only pay a quarter more, but we are allocated one cup and a measly spork to eat our food with.

When it was time to vote, I didn’t vote for this legislature, mainly because I didn’t think charging a people a quarter to do their part in saving the world was not a good idea, especially since the quarter went towards an inferior product. It became a sort of “To Go Tax”, while at first seems small, builds up. Of course, it depends on how much you use the Commons, and how many times you get take out. For instance, I’ve been there about four times, and gotten to go four times, and have spent a $1.00. I think I would’ve rather spent that $1.00 on a cheap set of pens (or two!) then the right to eat out of a giant take out box.

And yes, I do believe the new to go boxes are inferior than the old styrofoam. First of all, there are no dividers. This is a problem, especially since one of the attractions to the new boxes is that they were reheatable without taking anything in the box.

However, imagine this combination: chicken and a caesar salad. Or, a pork chop with a roll and a desert. Or, for the breakfast crowd, a breakfast taco with some yogurt. Some of these things are not meant to be reheated together. Furthermore, some of these things are not meant to be mixed together either – and because there are no dividers in the box, you will have strawberry yogurt on your breakfast taco. Or even more exciting, syrup in your strawberry yogurt from your french toast.

These boxes are also nearly impossible to close in my experience, especially when you’re in a rush. This is not good, as it doesn’t allow the cardboard to act as a proper insulator, since you have a giant air vent straight in the middle.

Also, because you are allocated one box, one cup and a spork, you cannot, for instance, have a for instance, pudding with your meal if you want a drink, or soup if you want a drink, or any combination of these. The sundae bar becomes pretty much impossible, without requesting an additional cup.

For this brand-spanking new environmentally friendly Commons to work, I’d say we either need to pump more money into Sodexho so that more attractive and more user friendly options are available, or I could just stop getting take out at the Commons. But I can’t be the only person to feel this way about this…am I?

Facebook: Good Tool to Retain Relationships

Okay, so there’s a study that says that Facebook ruins relationships because it replaces the medium of being there with an actual person with textual communication over the internet. What complete and total crock.

Most people who actually believe this are not using Facebook correctly. It’s not supposed to be a replacement with meeting with your friends. It’s not supposed to be a replacement for calling your friends or actually meeting them. It’s supposed to be on the side of this – it’s yet another avenue of communication that allows for extreme rich media (ie sharing pictures and sharing music and what not).

For instance, I can always call one of my best friends who goes to University of Arkansas, but why? For one thing, if I call him willy nilly, I might just be disturbing his schedule. So, I don’t. Instead, I text him or leave him Facebook messages – that way, he can get back to me on his own time. Plus most of the time I would call him, it’d be over really silly things – such as beverage recommendations and such. Why would I call him telling him that I just had a Shiner Smokehaus, and the taste was a bit disturbing? It would just be a five minute conversation, and a waste of his time and mine.

If anything, Facebook keeps relationships stronger by allowing both members to work on said relationship on their own time. It also keeps relationships stronger by allowing smaller conversations through the use of sharing knowledge. For instance, most “conversations” on Facebook end up being “Hey, I found this (funny/distrubing/awesome) (video/blog)!”, and the response to said video or blog. Why would I travel out of my way to show my friend this video of kittens frolicking in a grass field, especially if my friend was a student at another institution? Why would I call him up, spending both money and time, to call him and tell him to search on Youtube for “kittens frolic”?

Point is, you really shouldn’t think of replace verbal communication with Facebook. That’s not good – humans are built to be social creatures. The sound of people talking are literally food for our souls, whether it’s people yelling about how the President is a liar, to the sound of your crazy friend talking about frolicking kittens.

Like all tools, it’s not useful if you don’t use it correctly. You’ll find that your attempt at using a hammer to screw in a screw will be extremely futile. You need to have a toolbox of different communication avenues if you want to keep your friends. Go out of your way to meet your friends face to face. Have something urgent you want to tell them, or make urgent plans? Give them a call. Want to just say hey? Or share a funny internet video so they can easily view it? Use Facebook.

Four Years Later, I Learned Something

What time does it close?
Southwestern has made an impression on me. Its white buildings and green lawns and passionate professors have become sort of a comfort zone to me these last few weeks as I meander my way into life after SU. When I describe my experience in college to those unfamiliar with our campus later in life, I’m probably going to use a lot of very unsophisticated “reallys”. Southwestern is really hard. The classes are really good. The grass is really green. Despite all the papers I’ve written and sentences I’ve constructed, I can’t find a word to embody the feeling of Southwestern. It’s just really Southwestern.

So here’s what I know now, after really hard classes and really late nights and really trying times and really cool tidbits I picked up in those really hard classes.
1. Mabee smells. It smells like years of homesickness and old alcohol and burning popcorn and cigarette smoke and perfume. That smell never goes away, and whenever I am around the building, it’s like I still live there and the last three years of my life never happened.

2. Genderraceandclass is actually one word. Possibly the most popular phrase here, genderraceandclasss will find its way into every class, lecture and intellectual discussion on campus. Get used to it and learn to embrace it.
3. No one knows what time the academic buildings close. Everyone has their own theory about this mystery, whether they got their information from the website, a professor or Chief Brown herself. Unfortunately, each theory is dramatically different, hence the mystery of the actual closing times.

4. It’s really hard. If you made all A’s in high school, you’re going to make some B’s. B students will make C’s and C students should probably go ahead and drop now. Or else work really, really hard. Because that’s what we do here. Which brings me to my next point.

5. If you’re a girl or a really sensitive guy, you’re going to cry at some point in the library. If you’re a guy or a really tough girl, you’ll probably punch something. At some point, be it a paper you can’t finish or an assignment that’s already two days late and counting or a frozen computer, something will break you down. It will crush your spirit, and you will cry.
6. The whole thing about the kid sitting on your left not graduating with you is true. Again, it’s really hard. And lots of people can’t take it. End of story.
7. Identity doesn’t matter. I see so many first-years come to Southwestern and remake themselves and create a new identity so they’ll be known as “that one girl who really cares about the environment” or “that one dude who never wears shoes”. For the most part, no one is watching you, no one cares what you do, no one is paying any attention whatsoever to “who” you are. For the most part, people are pretty self-absorbed.

8. Certain things are so Southwestern. These include: people playing Frisbee on the mall, people napping on the mall, people having intellectual discussions on the mall, people playing guitar and praising God on the mall, people smoking cigarettes on the mall. People. Mall. Southwestern.

9. You can’t get your picture on that super cool frame next to the commons unless Career Services helped you find your job/internship/graduate school. I really, really want to be in that frame, but I found my jobs/internships/graduate school outside of Career Services. So unfair.

10. The restrooms on the second floor of McCombs are quite nice. And very rarely used, so they’re always clean. Unlike the second floor library restrooms, which are creepy.

The Web Editor, He Speaks!

Written by Lane Hill
Megaphone Web Editor

Most of you don’t know me because the writers do not interact with me much/at all. But that’s okay. Here I am. This little part of the Staff Blog is going to be about: pick up trucks, coffee, who I find attractive, why I hate printers, word processors, and why I’m doomed.

Do you like lists? I love lists, and I find it easier to communicate if I list out everything on bullet points.

  • I drive a 2002 Chrysler 300M. It’s a midsize sedan – however, it is dwarved by the size of huge trucks and cars. If I’m parked in between two gigantic cars, I get very paranoid that a car is going to come by and not see me. That’s a horrifying feeling – just going on your day, and then WHAM! Car out of nowhere. Plus, why do people buy pick ups or SUVs if they are not going to use it for their intended purpose? If you’re a farmer, or you have to regularly pull a boat or a trailer, that I understand. But if you’re just some cool dude, and you buy an F-250 for no reason…I mean, come on. You gotta be making up for something, whether it’s the size of your brain…or other parts.
  • Collary to the above: Why must you put balls on your truck. LOL MY TRUCK HAS TESTICLES. Yeah. I find fart jokes funny too.
  • Coffee is awesome. It has a strong flavor. It’s an awesome flavor. It has helpful oils & nutrients. It’s pretty much calorie-free if you drink it black. It comes in many different varieties. It’s more manly than tea. Kids aren’t allowed to drink it – it’s actually in the Constitution! It also probably fuels some sort of evil misogynistic racist industry too, but oh well. *sip*
  • Actresses who I find physically attractive: Maggie Gyllenahaal, Gretta Garbo, Christina Ricci, Marilyn Monroe, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts and that’s all I can think of at the moment.
  • I hate hate HATE printers. I was in the middle of printing a paper when my printer broke down. While trying to fix the problem, I put too much pressure on the top and destroyed the flatbed scanner. I went out of control in rage, and went outside to have the printer meet its doom at the end of a 9-Iron. I eventually got my roomate in on this too. Wonderful stress reliever. As a side note, the spare printer I had when I bought my computer works perfectly and it’s quite fast. So, this stupid tale has a happy ending.
  • Word processors (such as Microsoft Word, Pages, Microsoft Works, OpenOffice Writer…) suck. On my laptop I have to use OO Writer because my copy of Office decided it never existed. Even if I save as a .doc file, it’ll ALWAYS save it as an .odt. With all word editors, there is no easy way to declare what part of a paragraph should be indented which way, and what represents a block quote…and etc. One day, I will make a Word Processor that is easy to use. The secret in this would just have to be use some sort of XML format and….(technobabble)
  • Why I’m doomed: I have psoriasis on my hand, way too open about my life, and I’m working three jobs and taking 16 hours of class. I love to work, and I love to be busy. I’m happy getting 5 hours of sleep a night.
  • Why Humphrey Bogart is important in the current economic meltdown

    By Vickie Valadez
    Backpage and Copy Editor

    Happy belated Valentine’s Day. Hope your day of couple cuddliness/single awareness/intentional dismissal of Saturday was a success.

    I am excited to write for you, readers in internet land! I am excited about sharing some observations I made while watching the classic film Casablanca this weekend. For those that have not seen it and don’t want spoiler, come back and read this after you’ve seen it. I’ll be waiting.

    Are you done? Ready now? Humphrey is a hunk, right?

    The ending is atypical of Hollywood romance movies because the guy doesn’t end up with the girl. After encountering one another in Casablanca, Bogart’s character, Rick, ultimately passes up the opportunity to continue the romance with his former lover, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) because she is and was at the time married. Despite their strong feelings for one another (and repeated night encounters, with sex only subtly suggested with strategic cuts and Bogart smoking cigarettes in classic 1940’s cinema style), he makes this decision because she is an essential part of her husband’s work serving the French and against the Nazi regime in WWII. She knows confidential information and is general support for her husband, who is seen as a war hero for surviving concentration camps. So Rick determines she needs to fulfill her duty as wife to her husband, even if that means he does not get what he wants.

    There are pretty glaring problems inherent in this being Ilsa’s role as a wife, but for the sake of my argument I’m going to put aside the obvious feminist argument against Rick’s decision. I’m focusing on Rick’s sacrifice as a metaphor.

    I’m not sure if this kind of unhappy ending was more typical of American cinema in the ‘40s, but it certainly is in sharp contrast to the romantic philosophy of movies today. It’s not about your sense of duty or responsibility in a relationship. In the most cliché terms, it’s about being true to yourself and following your heart. In terms of many goofy high-school romance movies and others, this means the starlet promptly dumps the jerk with little explanation and rushing to the newfound love. Given, the newfound love has likely been played up as superior in various ways than former guy and there are always variations on this formula. Regardless, for the starlet “being true to yourself” and “following your heart” means doing what you want, whatever that is, responsibilities and others’ feelings be damned. Listening deep to your gut feelings.

    Sounds familiar, right? Like some former president’s foreign policy?

    This notion depends on some more modern notion that have been fed to kids, maybe post-Depression I imagine, that we deserve anything we want simply because we’re Americans. This philosophy of self-love and self-worth in terms of what we deserve is present everywhere, particularly in commercials. You can easily think of commercial catch phrases that endorse this notion. “Because I’m worth it.” “You’re working hard for your money…” “Treat yourself,” and so on.

    There’s nothing wrong with a healthy sense of self-love, but this notion certainly isn’t as socially emphasized as much as it was in the 40’s, despite the fact that then and now we are in war with foreign countries. It’s certainly not a war of the same scale, but we are in a recession. And even the current administration is giving tax cuts and bailouts, despite huge war spending. Maybe only now are people ignoring this superfluous notion of self-love by cutting spending, but only because the media has scared them into it, not because our national philosophy has changed.

    (The economy is actually doing great, by the way. What? Why? How, you say? Look for it on the Backpage of this week’s issue.)

    Obama can’t be expected to act any differently, to ask us to help ourselves by appealing to our united, national sense of duty to our country. Did we ever have one? Have previous generations had them? Who knows, but for sure this is what the American people want, what we’re accustomed to; to be provided the freedom and liberty to have or buy or desire whatever or whoever we want.

    Maybe that hunky Humphrey Bogart can teach us a thing or two. Maybe something about the difference between then and now; that one may have to give up what they most want for the betterment of those around us. You may not necessarily agree with that, with the movie’s ending or it’s larger social/political message, and in terms of the movie I don’t either. But it’s something to consider if we are going to ever do something real for the genuine betterment of ourselves and the people around us.

    Here’s looking at you, kid.

    Positive Side of SUPD

    Written by Joshua A. Hughes

    I vividly remember my first encounter with SUPD. It was in the fall of my first year at Southwestern, and I had just parked outside of Mabee after a late-night trip to get Jack-in-the-Box tacos. As I’m stepping out of my car to walk back to my dorm, who should I see but our police chef, Dee Brown. I tried to keep her from seeing me, but she drove her cart right next to my car and she did something that surprised me. She stepped out of her cart and said, “One of your headlights is burned out. You should really get that changed; Georgetown cops can be real sticklers about stuff like that.”

    Okay, those were not her exact words, obviously, but what she said was to that effect. The younger me was shocked.

    Cops were supposed to be mean. They were supposed to writ Continue reading

    Professor Juhl Responds to Hughes’s “Study Uncovers Pay Equalities”

    Written by Kathleen Juhl
    [Link to the Original Article: Study Uncovers Pay Inequalities]
    Professor Kathleen Julh - Courtesy of My.SouthwesternDear Joshua,
    I am not surprised at all by this disparity. In these financially
    difficult times, I hope the university will prioritize pay equity and
    pay raises on all levels, faculty and staff. I would not want, however,
    for staff, who make much smaller salaries than I do, to suffer by not
    getting a raise this year because of this issue and because a choice was
    made to raise my salary for equity reasons and not give staff a raise.
    I think it is most important to make sure that employees of the
    university who most need cost of living raises get them and that pay
    equity for full professors be a prioritized long term goal if it is not
    possible immediately given the national financial crisis. All best, Juhl

    Kathleen Juhl
    Professor of Theatre
    Southwestern University

    Dr. McClendon Responds to Hughes’s “Study Uncovers Pay Inequalities”

    Written by Dr. Thomas McClendon
    [Link to the Original Article: Study Uncovers Pay Inequalities]
    Dr. Thomas McClendon - Courtesy of My.SouthwesternThis is a serious problem that should be addressed as fairly and as
    quickly as possible. Perhaps if senior staff whose salaries exceed
    $150,000 per year were to accept a 10% pay cut, the necessary funds to
    address this gap could be found quickly.

    At the same time, this serious problem of equity should not distract
    us from another serious problem affecting faculty salaries as a whole:
    over the past decade we have fallen from the 90th percentile to the
    70th percentile of faculty salaries nationally. This has a serious
    negative effect on recruiting and retention of high-quality faculty
    members. Given current financial realities, this will take longer to
    address, but the administration and board should commit themselves to
    address it.

    Thomas V. McClendon, Ph.D.
    Professor and Chair
    Department of History
    Southwestern University

    Dr. Selbin Responds to Hughes’s “Study Uncovers Pay Equalities”

    Written by Dr. Eric Selbin
    [Link to the Original Article: Study Uncovers Pay Inequalities]
    Dr. Eric Selbin - Courtesy of My.SouthwesternI would simply note that whatever artifacts contributed to this
    deplorable situation, it would seem clear and compelling what should
    be done to rectify this–the University needs to move swiftly to both
    correct this situation and make appropriate amends, including back pay
    and apology, where appropriate. While this problem is all too common
    in our society, this is an opportunity for Southwestern to not only do
    exactly what we aspire to–the right thing–but also to help model the
    way for others by our actions.

    Dr. Eric Selbin
    Professor & Chair of Political Science,
    University Scholar