April 15, 2014Cambria Herrera is a sophomore theatre major. She is directing a play April 23-24 called “Third Oak and the Laundromat,” a one-act performance that is a little out of the box—but a piece that is decidedly relevant for the George Fox community. The play is by Marsha Norman and will run approximately forty minutes. The premise is that two women walk into the laundromat at 3 a.m. to escape the problems in their lives, and discover that they have more in common than they thought. “They’re both escaping loneness at home,” said Herrera. “One, her husband passed away, and the other, her husband is cheating on her, so they find their commonality. But that’s not really revealed until they start talking … they both realize they were glad they had the conversation afterwards.” The one-act is a little unorthodox in where it will be performed. Instead of staging the play in Wood-Mar Auditorium, where the theatre department usually performs, it will be set on location in a laundromat. “I’m so excited for so many reasons— the main one being this theme of approaching people that are different from you,” said Herrera. “Doing it in a laundromat really helps that theme, because we’re all going to be sitting around the actors, looking at them and looking at each other.” Herrera has just begun directing this year, and she loves the process of teaching actors how to interpret the text and feel the characters. “I started as an actor—it’s what every director says—but I also like teaching, and I love being an audience member,” said Herrera. “So just getting to watch other people perform and then getting to work with actors and talk to them about what’s going to help them get better is really fun.” Herrera chose Third Oak and the Laundromat because of its relevance and timeliness for the students at George Fox. She acknowledges the number of women actresses who are not always able to perform in the theatre department’s productions and wanted to give them a chance to be a part of a play. She also wanted to find something that would apply to students right now. “I think [it's] the issue of looking at another stranger who is different than you and taking the time to converse with them and be there for them without any judgment,” said Herrera. “I think that’s something that we can all feel.” “Third Oak and the Laundromat” will be performed at the Coin Laundromat on Springbrook road in Newberg on April 23-24 at 10:50 p.m.
April 14, 2014On April 6 Mickey Rooney, a beloved actor, passed away at age 93. His entertainment career spanned nearly his entire lifetime, lasting up until the day of his death. He co-starred many times along side Judy Garland, and was a revered showman. Here is a snap shot of just two of his many films. National Velvet. In this 1944 classic, Mickey Rooney stars along side Elizabeth Taylor as a scared former jockey who agrees to help a young girl named Velvet Brown, played by Elizabeth Taylor, train a wild horse for England’s National Sweepstakes. Rooney himself plays Mi Taylor, a young man who blows into town and finds work as a hired hand in a stable. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys old-fashioned movies, and inspirational stories. In addition, this movie is considered so important it was selected in 2003 to be a part of the United States National Film Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant. Pete’s Dragon. One of Rooney’s later hits (1977), this children’s story slightly resembles the plot of Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee. It is, however, wonderful and unique in its own right. Following the journey of a boy with an invisible pet dragon, this film stars Helen Reddy and Mickey Rooney as lighthouse keepers who take in the boy with the dragon, Pete. They protect him from his evil adoptive family, and defend him even when he makes a mess in the town. If you have ever heard the song “Brazzle Dazzle Day” this is where that song comes from. The music in this movie is actually very good if you enjoy musicals, and it is one of the first movies to mix animation and live action.
April 7, 2014George Fox University junior and psychology major Jared Larson expresses great appreciation for his position as a resident assistant of Lewis apartments; he also finds the role valuable in equipping him for a successful future. Upon setting foot onto campus in the fall of his freshman year, Larson was enthusiastic about the Christian environment the university had to offer. “I wanted to be surrounded by Christian leaders, who would help grow me as a Christian,” says Larson. “My youth pastor always told me that college was a time when people lose their faith. I didn’t want that to be the case for me.” Fully immersing himself in the community, an energetic Larson sought out opportunities to form relationships with those around him, leading him into an RA position his junior year. Far exceeding typical RA expectations, he strove to form a deeper sense of community within his residence area: planning community events, mediating residential conflicts and even providing occasional chocolate chip cookie deliveries to residents’ doors. “One of my goals in life is to be an inspiration unto others,” says Larson. “I just enjoy making my residents feel at home. I like to help and make others feel included and special. I like developing others and showing them the potential that they have in this life” Through his experience in serving at GFU, Larson has only become more sure regarding his goal of becoming a school counselor. “Being an RA has influenced my college experience by helping me develop experiences that will help me with my future career,” he says. “It has definitely helped me see who I am as a person and who I want to be when I am older.” As Larson prepares for his last year as a student, he is delighted at the opportunity to serve as RA of Woolman apartments for the 2014-15 school year. With his self-claimed characteristics of positivity, encouragement and sass he hopes to unite his newest group of residents and leave with memories that he will not be soon to forget.
April 1, 2014I was sixteen and staying with family friends in Norway. I saw very quickly the culture of trolls. Not the kind you meet every day on the internet, but the lumpy, bug-eyed version of trolls, the ones that smell Christian blood and haunt the forests and can have multiple heads but nothing in them. You could buy little troll figures in every souvenir store. They smile ugly smiles at every person who walks by. But I had been warned not to mess with trolls; generally I knew better. I met a troll while traveling between two cities in Norway. My family friends and I stopped to get something to eat and outside the restaurant there was a hill and on top of that hill sat a troll. He waved out at us, holding his walking stick; it was obvious he was a traveler of these hills. Our plan was to go pay the troll a visit after lunch. I said that I did not think the troll would mind, we would be friends. I was sure of it. I was about to make a new friend. With trolls, however, you do not overstep your boundaries. My friend, her dad, and I climbed to the top of the troll’s hill. We stopped there to take a picture and I assured the troll that we were good friends, and I took one more picture. Then we made our way back to the car. On the way down somehow I managed to slip and fall on the uneven hillside. I said I was fine and kept walking. Back at the car my bottom was in a lot of pain from hitting the ground. I asked myself how I fell. I was being very careful. Then I realized, I must have done something to upset the troll. I overstepped my boundary. I did not earn the troll’s friendship, I assumed it. Even if you do not mean to, do not mess with trolls, and do not think that they will not let you know what they think. The myth and idea of trolls is so ingrained into the culture today, you cannot get away from them. Everywhere I went there seemed to be some evidence of them, but I learned that a friendship with Norwegian trolls was something to be earned, because you may just fall and end up with a bruise for the rest of your vacation. If you ever travel to Norway, you will see in random places that a troll has been put there. I do not know if they are for tourists or natives, but the idea of creatures that resides in the country that protect it but have some unscrupulous, possible dangerous sides to them gives it character. The trolls seen around the country may be funny or silly, but they give the culture character. It also shows the power of the myths of trolls that has survived today to give tourists glaring looks over their long noses.
April 1, 2014Bon Appetite employee and widely accepted member of the larger George Fox University community is cashier Jenna Johnson. Johnson first set foot on campus in 2010 after seeking employment within the Bon Appetite food service company. Bon Appetite, though not part of George Fox has provided the university’s students and staff members with food service for many years. Such partnership has allowed employees like Johnson to establish a presence within the student body. “I’ve always enjoyed working here at Fox,” says Johnson. Johnson, unlike most of the community, encounters the large majority of students on a daily basis as she swipes their student identification cards for each and every weekday breakfast or lunch meal eaten in the Bon. “I’ve calculated that I have about three seconds with each student,” says Johnson. “Anytime working with the students is fun. I feel as if I’ve become part of the kids’ lives.” Though Johnson’s encounters with students tend to be limited, it is hoped that she will leave a lasting impression as her positive attitude, enthusiastic greetings and outward celebration of the 500th meal of the day are intended to have an infectious effect on those around her. “I just have the desire to always be positive,” says Johnson. “You decide what to do with the day. It can be a bad or good day. It all depends on how you look at it.” This mindset is nothing new to Johnson as she made the conscious decision to think accordingly many years ago when she was charged with the well-being for her three younger siblings after her mother fell ill. “I’ve been working ever since I was little,” says Johnson. “We were taught to work for performance. I think that is something that is lacking today.” Outside of her work, Johnson keeps a like attitude as she stays busy crocheting, sewing and working in her garden. When it comes to advice Johnson could give to students she says the key component to life is to keep going and not to quit when things get tough. “If you think studies are hard know that life is even harder. Just don’t give up,” says Johnson.
March 17, 2014The ASC election speech night was held at 8 p.m. in Hoover 103. All candidates running for a Central Committee positions were present and given a speech time slot, followed by a Q and A time. A raffle drawing took place giving away a free mini iPad. Before speeches began, ASC President Justin Vanier shared his overall impression of the campus, ASC and where he would like to ASC move towards in the future. “We are real students and our job is to voice the needs and the concerns of the students; make sure that things they need take place, “ said Vanier. “The campus is heading in a direction where there is a lot going on. The current ASC team has direction and heading into a place with a lot go on. It has been a really intense year and we might have had some foolish ideas about what needed to take place,” said Vanier. As of now, what is left for the 2014-13 ASC team, they will be working to define the ASC Constitution and its bylaws. The current Central team has also made some huge changes. They moved the ministry positions over to SpIL, completed a restructuring from the top down with positions of ASC members, and worked to make a more complete pay system for all students employed under ASC. “It is much cleaner now,” said Vanier. He believes the future of ASC will need to increase student representation, meaning a possible student senate and a team of past ASC members to be on an advisor board. “I am really excited because there is growth and change and moving forward,” said Vanier. “And everyone really cares about how you grow in this place. And yet, the choice is to serve, something we all a part of it no matter what. We need to ask our selves how we will serve and always be serving, leading, and loving all the time,” Once Vanier finished his speech, the candidates began their speeches. Moriah Kimmer, running for vice president of Activities, came from a public school so was rather hesitant about the GFU atmosphere. It was after she attended some activities and met people and made memories that her view changed. Because of her personal experience, she wants to help other students create memories and feel like they belong, too. “I am looking to create a calendar so students can be more aware of what is going on sooner,” said Kimmer. Tausha Rene, current ASC vice president of finance, is running for another term. She confessed that before she came to GFU her view of service was very limited and narrow, but seeing a wild world of service positions had a revelation that service is not narrow. She applied to be assistant treasurer and then in the months following, the vice president of finance position was open and she stepped in. “I found a way to serve[as the VP of Finance]. This position puts the things I love, math and numbers together, and allows me to serve in a way that works for me,” said Rene. Rene knows that almost half a million dollars in the ASC budget is a lot of money to have one person oversee; if she is elected, she will be hiring an assistant to help her keep track of all the transactions. If she is elected she is looking forward to having a clean slate and will work on getting reimbursements to people the following day. Josiah Nuzum is running for the vice president of Marketing and Communications. Nuzum, if elected, wants to make all the communication efforts as fluid as possible and establish a concrete was of making sure students are heard. “I want people to remember the ways ASC connected them, “ said Nuzum. Nuzum will work towards making ASC jobs clear and work on getting that information to students. Taylor Dick is running for vice president of representation. She has loved politics since the time she was four years old. She enjoys politics and the idea of representing people. “I like the idea of what others should do and what the team [Central] should do to to get more people involved,” said Dick. Dick is also interested in getting more diverse people with other backgrounds involved in ASC. Mizi Martinez, the second candidate running for vice president of representation, desires to represent and inform students about what ASC does. Her first year at GFU she was confused about what ASC was and how it helps students. “I believe in making relationships with diverse students and believes that ASC needs to embrace more diversity,” said Martinez. If elected Martinez will stand for being a voice to listen to students, not just to hear their ideas and what is working with ASC, but to know their story and not just let those voices become white noise, but speak into the majority culture. The last candidate running for vice president of representation is Noah Smith. Smith see the GFU community becoming a place where students are more than known but ideas and opinions are known. “Free flowing ideas and expression is available and a place where students are not alienated because of their beliefs,” said Smith. Smith stated that his heart hurts when he hears that others are hurt when their different opinions or life styles are alienated. Smith also apologized for his poster slogan that offended students. Madison Tarpley is running for Executive Vice President on the same ticket with Jake Vanier running as ASC Presdent. Both candidates have a passion for GFU and believes they understand a little more of the purpose of ASC. Their goal, if elected will be to strive after building one campus united. They, as a team, will push to increase communication with resident life. “We want to be a consistent force in the midst of change,” said Vanier, “We want students to be a part of what is next.” Vanier is also aware of the perception of following in his brother’s footsteps. This is not the first time he has been behind his brother, and they are different. Jake processes differently than his brother Justin, and he sees this as a strength and unique asset to leading the team next year. Tarpley, if elected, is hoping to use the resources ASC has to impact more students and gather more of their opinions. The evening ended with Michal Nakashimada asking all students present to go to MyGFU and vote. Click here to vote for the 2014-2013 ASC Central Committee Officers.
March 7, 2014Attending university is a not a cheap endeavor. Especially at George Fox, with our tuition being so high, many students wonder how their money is being spent. Why are they spending my tuition on a bus to shuttle in preview students? Why is my money going towards so many dances? Why are they spending my money on all of these things that we don’t need? We can complain, we can speculate, and we can certainly make suggestions. But I have yet to see anyone make a serious enquiry into the financial state of George Fox. -An Overview of Finances- Before the major complaints and rumors are addressed, it’s worth explaining how the annual budget is created year-to-year. “The strategic management team, vice presidents, deans, meet on a monthly basis and prepare the budget for each year,” said Ted Allen, Vice President of finance. “This year we had a bigger class, so we had more expenses. Costs related to welcome weekend, shifting housing, and we also try to keep a fund of money for looking at innovation; we did this with the library, use has changed, so we created a new collaborative space there. It’s a process we usually start in October, we have a preliminary budget by March, then a final one in July.” George Fox’s budget this year (2013-14) was around $63 million. Allen said that the majority of this money comes from tuition and housing expenses, combined with a federal endowment of around $20 million. “We have donations built into our general fund, but they only account for around 1% of the budget,” said Allen. “When we launch programs like the new stadium, like the new building for physical therapy, most of that comes from donations. It’s a specialized thing we don’t really use. We also fund certain scholarships through donations. Examples of those scholarships, like the leadership scholarship, and various scholarships for each department.” Typically, the biggest expense in the budget is personnel related. “Half of the budget goes into personnel related costs,” said Allen. The George Fox staff is typically paid a little bit less than at a public university, but Allen explained this by saying, “we have really great benefits . . . and we don’t have quite the same expectations of our professors as say, a public university, with research and such.” -An Overview of Financial Aid- Everyone complains about tuition. While this is certainly valid, in a comparison of public and private schools in Oregon, George Fox is definitely not at the top of the list in terms of cost. Reed College, for example, costs roughly $44,000 before living expenses. Willamette costs around $40,000, and before George Fox comes into the picture, there are five more schools that are more expensive in the state of Oregon. “Our base tuition is about $31,000, but very few actually people pay that,” said Allen. “We hire an outside firm each year to decide how much we should charge for tuition. We want to keep the cost down, but we also have to provide decent services. I know that when you look at the Pacific Northwest, we’re very competitive from a cost standpoint.” Aside from the discussion of scholarships and aid that is to follow, it is worth noting that George Fox consistently gives away around $30 million in grants and scholarships each year. In addition to this, every year colleges in the U.S. raise tuition (on average) an additional 4%. This may not sound like much, but over a ten year span that’s a 40% compounded hike in tuition costs. In comparison, George Fox has stayed at (roughly) 2.9% increase over the last few years, despite adding several new departments and programs. “Because of our relationship with the Quakers, part of our mission is to develop the missions’ field, so we can’t raise our tuition a lot,” said James Oshiro, the director of financial aid. Despite all of this, $31,000 a year is still an enormous amount of money. Oshiro said that the biggest mistake students make when it comes to financial aid is procrastination. “Here’s the thing, it’s really hard work. You have to prepare early, and you have to apply for outside scholarships,” said Oshiro. “You also need to apply for federal aid early, and that will hopefully get you state aid as well.” Now, scholarships are a great option if you are deemed to have a need, but what about the middle class? Oshiro admitted that attending college from a middle class family is extremely difficult. He said that; “It takes a lot of planning to go to college, especially for the middle class. Some families have saved up, and they are actually doing ok. That’s what it takes, as a middle class student, all that saving. Ninety percent of families are unfortunately not doing that, and is instead counting on federal aid.” George Fox students typically graduate with around $23,000 to $24,000 in student debt, which is “well below the national average” (of around $30,000) This is due to George Fox students typically graduating on time (in four years) whereas public school students often have an extra semester or two when finishing up their degrees. “I’m a Fox graduate, and even then it was fairly expensive,” said Oshiro. “But I know I had a much better education here, than at other schools. When I enrolled in grad school, I was taking grad-level classes that were actually repeats of classes I had taken at fox.” Students commonly complain that racially diverse students are more likely to receive scholarships. In response to this, Oshiro said, “Not really. You can’t actually have racial scholarships anymore because of lawsuits and such; we do have ‘multicultural’ scholarships. But we have also seen some [Caucasian] students get them. In reality I say no, the real truth in terms of outside scholarships is if you have a ‘story’ to tell, you are more likely to get outside scholarships. People with immigrant families have a story; in turn the story gets them these scholarships. Everyone have stories to tell, it’s all about finding yours.” The third rumor concerning finances at George Fox is that the amount of money you receive is affected by your class standing. Oshiro flatly denied this, saying, “That’s not true, simply because if you were to come in as a freshman with a certain amount of need, the aid would change depending on your situation. You never hear about the other [well-funded] side, because they are getting more aid.” -An Overview of ASC Finances- Of the institutions on campus, ASC is consistently the most criticized for the management of their money. This may be because their budget comes from a separate fund, or maybe because it is a student-led organization. Regardless, of the interviews that were conducted, Tausha René, (the vice president of ASC finance) was certainly the most open and transparent with regards to spending habits. “The beginning is looking at last year’s budget, and trying to make changes in order to use that money better.” Said René, “…It’s not our money, it’s the students money, and we want to spend if efficiently.” Despite this encouraging view, it is worth nothing that ASC spending has virtually no staff oversight from George Fox administrators. The ASC spending committee has a faculty advisor, (Stephanie St. Cyr) and while she attends the budget meetings, she does not actually have a vote. This year’s budget, amounted to some $440,000 Over $92,000 is spent on student stipends, which is vaguely reminiscent of congress’s ability to decide their own paychecks. Followed closely by $75,000, which was dedicated to the activities’ budget. The third large expense was at $41,000, for the “Executive VP fund.” After these, it is dispersed among such things as the communication budget, various clubs, and campus ministries. According to René, a large part of their spending strategy is to “assess what the students want.” Despite this noble sentiment, surveys about the student’s desires with regards to ASC have been mysteriously absent from campus life. While I do believe whole heartedly that the ASC budget committee has the best of intentions, it seems that their execution of those ideals seems to be a bit lacking. In summary, it appears that ASC spending is more or less unregulated, and is apparently under the whim of the core group of ten students who were elected by the student body. An immense amount of money is given to these students, who are all within three years of being college freshmen. The student body seems to be uninformed as to how their money is spent by ASC. Some have expressed the opinion that the ASC budget should be downsized to the core “needs” of the student body. Letting the Bruin Grounds be self-funded, removing several unnecessary elected positions from ASC, and having a separate fund for campus ministries. Events certainly add to the college experience, but it is unclear if $75,000 worth of them is entirely necessary.
March 6, 2014When I think of the color orange I think of . . . oranges, (shocking, I know), carrots, my old Harriet the Spy VHS tape (90′s kid moment), the Nickelodeon sign, and probably the last color I would want to wear out in public. BUT word on the street is orange is the new black. One of the upcoming trends for Spring is the color orange. It adds a splash of life and sass to any outfit. Seen all over the runways for Spring 2014 in shoes, accessories and even has been called the “it lip” color as of late. Some quick and easy ways to work orange into your wardrobe is to start out with the accessories. Switch out your tired winter bag for a brightly colored orange one. Tote your books around campus in a chic vibrant bag! Who knows, maybe it’ll make studying more fun? Wishful thinking most likely. Another great start is adding orange to your outfit with a skirt or blazer. Subtle ways to spice up your life. If you aren’t comfortable with this color quite yet, starting with one piece will turn it into the outfit’s staple piece without causing you to go too far out of your color comfort zone. Turn it up a notch and strut your orange from head to toe. Rock an orange dress or feel sassy in some orange heels. If you are feeling like an adventurous fashionista you could even try out some orange fur. I don’t know if I could say I would, but hey, rock it if you got it! “Yeah, no way am I going to wear orange!” then consider just painting your nails. I am a huge nail polish addict, or nail polish-a-holic if you will. This is a super easy way to incorporate this trend in your day-to-day life without having to do much at all! Get spring and summer ready with your best orange foot forward. That was cheesy, I know. Start simple with a bag or nail polish and work your way up to full-on outfits. Own that orange! Stay stylish and stuff like that…
February 23, 2014Heading into midterms brings about a couple thoughts . . . We are halfway through this semester and that much closer to summer, but it also brings about the stress that comes along with the inevitable late night study sessions. But despite the drab weather and the rising pressure of midterms and all they entail, Sophomore Erika Muir has managed to stay looking fab on the George Fox campus. Get the low down… Grade: Sophomore Major: Fashion Merchandising Who or what inspires you? ”I am really inspired by poetry. One of my major outlets is writing and reflecting on how I am feeling. I love taking raw emotion and making something completely new and beautiful out of it.” Where do you like to shop? “My absolute favorite place to shop is H&M. They always have something so true to my unique and personal style. I also really enjoy Target; they have the best shoes. For jewelry, I shop at Charming Charlie, where I work back home. Their jewelry is trendy, comes in so many different types and categories, is reasonably priced, and I get a discount! Lastly, I love Pulp and Circumstance–a local shop here in town. It’s a specialty store with unique jewelry and the best stationary. It’s like Pinterest exploded, which is one of the best things that could ever happen to man kind!” Where is your outfit from? “Sweater: Charming Charlie- where I work back home, pants: H&M, shoes: target, jacket: H&M, rings: both from Charming Charlie, necklace: pulp and circumstance.” How would you describe your personal style? “I would say it is trendy with some vintage undertones. I also appreciate an urban style with a free spirited, hippie vibe. I sometimes partake in those looks as well. I mostly wear jewel tones because they compliment my skin tone, hair, and eye color. I also prefer comfort over all things. Knit sweaters and leggings are my best friends.” Why did you choose this outfit? “I liked the way the colors worked together, from the sweater and pants, to the shoes, to the gold of the necklace. Throwing in the lace gave a more feminine touch to a casual outfit. I chose the jewelry for a more unique reason. The key necklace says, “Live to Give.” I wear this as a reminder to put others before myself and remember how important it is to serve the people around me. The ring that I wear with a bow on it reminds me to care for myself and appreciate who I am as an individual.” Who are your favorite designers? “I like Betsy Johnson for her unique, edgy, yet feminine designs. For shoes, Steve Madden has my heart. I really enjoy Herschel for their bags; they are modern with a vintage twist. Kate spade has the most beautiful watches!” Any favorite trends? “I am really liking the Birkenstocks, open back sweaters, trends with hair: all things braids, bold lip colors, wool socks, knitted/crochet head bands, simple, delicate necklaces.” If you could raid anyone’s closet who’s would it be? “Lauren Conrad. I love her style. It’s classy, trendy, feminine and very tasteful.” Erika’s outfit is a perfect combination of “always a good idea” comfort with fresh feminine accents. The lace on her sweater and gold jewelry add that flare to the overall look. Oregon’s rainy weather always welcomes a nice sweater and a good pair of combat boots to walk from class to class. Erika owns her style while adding special accessories to really make it her personalized. Her radiant personality shines through, and she rocks her look around campus. Let’s take these approaching midterms by storm, and still look good doing it. Stay stylish and stuff like that…
February 18, 2014National Football League prospect Michael Sam recently came out publicly that he’s gay during an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” The All-American defensive end and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year is predicted to be picked in the third or fourth round of the NFL draft. Now, there are many question about whether this will affect his chances of entering the NFL. There is no doubt there will be obstacles upon his professional career, but his skills will quiet those who disagree with his life choice. “I’m not naïve,” said Sam in an interview with the New York Times. “I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is. But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the NFL.” Sam’s courageous decision to speak out will break barriers to the “manly man game.” Even if his news doesn’t change the outcome in his selection, his experience as a professional athlete will change the world of male dominated sports. According to Sports Illustrated, eight NFL coaches and executives who were interviewed anonymously gave their opinion on homosexuality. One personal assistant stated, “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. It’d chemically imbalance the NFL locker room and meeting room.” The idea that a gay man would “chemically imbalance” the team room is a harsh and ignorant statement, especially after the NFL took mild measurements for bullying in a locker room from one teammate to another. If I were an NFL coach, Sam’s talents and skills would be more significant than anything my team would “lose” because of his sexual orientation. The NFL has become a symbol and definition of “real men” in America, yet because of Sam’s life choice he is no longer a man, but an outsider. He has received immense support from teammates and fans. Even First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support along with her husband President Obama. One response that caught my attention was by a Texas sports anchor Dale Hansen. Dale spoke about Sam’s announcement, and emphasized the fact that the NFL celebrates the performance of those that do more harm than good, for example players who are arrested for a DUI or caught in the act of using illegal substances. Regardless of his sexual orientations, Sam’s ability to perform at the combine and individual team workouts should be viewed equally compared to other players.
February 4, 2014The Portland Trail Blazers have surpassed their previous 2012-13 record of 33-49, as they advance to 34-14 with a playoff run in sight. The Blazers came into this season with a new roster built around all-star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge elevates his teammates by making those around him play better. Both Aldridge and sophomore point guard Damian Lillard were selected for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game as reserves. Portland fans were disappointed since they believed Aldridge deserved a starting position. He didn’t receive enough fan votes, but the NBA coaches believed he deserved a spot. Though his teammates, specifically small forward Nicholas Batum, were upset, Aldridge maintained poise. In an interview with Blazeredge, Aldridge said, “I’ve kind of gotten used to those things happening. “Everybody around me was more upset than me,” he continued. “I came in tonight and [Nicolas Batum] was pretty fired up about it. My mom was pretty heated about it. Me, I was like, ‘OK, this is happening again.’ Aldridge is averaging 24.4 points per game and 11.6 rebound. ESPN Tom Pen ranked Aldridge as the No. 1 power forward in the NBA. He’s in the race for MVP at No. 3 behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Though the month of November and December was a striking surprise for most Portlanders and the NBA, the team hit a slump in January. The Blazers are known for depending too much on the three-point, and being absent on defense. In the first months of the season the Blazers shot a combined 40 percent from the three-point line. In January they combined 35 percent. The Blazers need to improve their defense and points in the paint if they want to be taken seriously as a playoff prospective. Portland went 8-6 in January and scored a season low of 81 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 26, and lost 98-81. Before the month ended, the Blazers pushed for a much-needed win against the Toronto Raptors, 106-103. The win prevented the team’s first three-game losing streak of the season. The Blazers are third in the Western Conference trailing behind the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma Thunder. Up next, the Blazers have a four game road trip which ends this week against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Then the Blazers will meet at home against the Thunder on Feb. 11. The Seattle Seahawks and Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen just won his first world championship as an owner on Sunday as the Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl XLVIII. I wonder if his luck will roll over for the Blazers and bring an NBA world championship to Portland. One can only dream.