Sports

An Interview with Cassandra Naranjo ’19

Aleice goodman ‘19 Contributing writer

Feb.18 was a very exciting day for Smith Track and Field. A high jump record that was set 18 years ago by Teresa Winstead was finally broken by Cassandra Naranjo ’19. Naranjo easily glided over the previous record of 5’5” at a height of 5’5.25”. I met up with her to get a full rundown of this exciting event, as well as to talk about the evolution of her high jump career.

Naranjo started track and field at the age of eight. She was inspired by her head coach, as well as her father who was a decathlete in college. With no previous knowledge of the high jump, Naranjo’s dad was bewildered by her natural talent at such a young age and encouraged her to continue jumping through high school and college.

High jump is a complex track and field event that requires many different skills including running, jumping and gliding, which must be executed impeccably in order to successfully jump over the bar. Naranjo says she particularly loves this sport because, although a lot of technique is required, she rarely thinks about it. Having previously held a love for gymnastics, most of these skills came naturally to Naranjo. “Sometimes I can’t even remember jumping because it’s so second nature,” she says.

The week leading up to the New England Division III championships was a very important time for Naranjo. At the previous track meet, she came extremely close to beating the record. Her confidence and determination increased, and as a result, Naranjo realized that breaking the school record was an attainable goal. During practice, she focused specifically on not being afraid of the bar, tilting her head back as she jumped and leaning during her approach. She tried not to psych herself out about the upcoming meet. Although some nerves are good, she feared being too anxious would hinder her performance.

The Friday night before the meet, Naranjo prepared herself even more by sitting in warm water to loosen her muscles, rolling them out immediately after. Other ways she likes to prepare for her upcoming day include listening to music or just simply sitting in silence while envisioning herself breaking the record.

The morning of the event, Naranjo and a few other teammates headed to MIT for competition. She describes this morning as being a little chaotic. Their arrival at MIT was a bit delayed because of a two-car collision that slowed down traffic. However, what seemed to be a minor setback was actually quite beneficial to Naranjo, because it kept her on her toes and got her head into the competition.

Once Naranjo’s competition got started she felt confident and well prepared. She came in at a height that was around an inch and a quarter higher than she usually makes, but she cleared this height with tremendous ease. This gave Naranjo the momentum she needed to really get into the rhythm of the competition. She focused on her running, approached the bar at a steady pace and flew high into the air — so high, that she described it as both terrifying and exciting.

She immediately popped up from the mat and heard her twin sister in the stands screaming. Her teammates, coaches and family were filled with so much emotion, and Naranjo felt relieved to have finally proven to herself that she had the ability to do this all along. Comparing last year’s indoor season to this year’s indoor season, Naranjo says that she has made major improvements. She feels like a better athlete, coming from someone who could barely complete a warm up lap, to breaking a record that stood for nearly two decades.

Naranjo credits her success to finally absorbing what Coach Coffey and Coach LJ say during practice. She says it was very important for her to listen to her body, and to take advice given by others seriously. She lives by a motto her dad always told her: “Anyone can be anyone on any given day.” Cassie knew that last Saturday she could be a record breaker and most confident version of herself.  “It’s such a mental game,” Naranjo says, “and it’s amazing what your body can do once you put your mind to it.”

Where Are the Women?

Cameo Tietje ‘18 Sports Editor

One of the greatest female champions in mountain bike racing has just finished with a perfect season; so why have most people never heard of her? Rachel Atherton won all seven rounds of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup and is a four-time world title winner at 28 years old.  She went 15 races undefeated. Since Atherton was named Times Young Sports Woman of the Year in 2005, she has torn up the trails, redefining women’s downhill racing. In 2008 she took the World Cup overall, the World Championship gold and four other World Cup wins (2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015). Following an accident, she missed the 2009 season, but she rebounded by climbing to seventh place overall in the UCI Women’s Elite Downhill Ranking. Atherton is an athlete who is able to overcome adversity, not letting anything stop her climb to greatness. Overcoming an illness during the 2014 season, she rallied to snatch the 2015 World Cup title. She continued to climb to the top by winning every round of the UCI Downhill World Cup series in 2016, which set her apart from her competitors. She again won the world champion title, marking her fourth victory. This year she was crowned the Laureus Action Sportsperson of the year in Monaco.

wIf she were born the opposite sex, would she be a household name by now? ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks. It is in 81.1 percent of households with at least one television set in the U.S. The Optimum cable provider has seven channels for ESPN, which focus on men’s sports. There is only one channel devoted to women’s sports, but it does not come with the regular cable package and costs extra. “In 2014, LA-based network affiliates devoted only 3.2 percent of airtime to women’s sports, down from five percent in 1989,” according to USC News. Critics argue that women’s sports do not bring in as much revenue as men’s, but the cycle is perpetuated when women are continuously underrepresented in media outlets, like ESPN. The US Women’s National Team for soccer drew in 750 million viewers with 61 million fans present in the stadium for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. This event had record-breaking ratings as they beat Japan 5-2. It became the most watched sporting event in U.S. history, yet you could not find all of these games on TV or the ESPN app. Critics still argue that women’s sports will not bring in revenue to rival men’s sports. How can women’s sports bring in more money if they are underrepresented in sports media? Having fewer games aired decreases the amount of commercial time that networks can make money from. This will decrease the amount and value of sponsorships due to the lack of visibility. The airtime difference between women and men’s sports is astonishing when comparing the US Men’s National soccer team’s record to the USWNT.

Another example of the perpetuation of underrepresentation in sports media is demonstrated in tennis. As previously stated, women’s sports cannot make as much money, as they simply do not have the airtime for sponsorships and commercials. In tennis of four grand slams or majors, men play five rounds, while women only play three. When women’s tennis was finally added in 1884, they were deemed too frail to play a five-set match. The rules created only gave the women a three-set match. A men’s match can last up to five hours and on average is three, while women’s max is three hours and, on average is two, according to Quora.com. The rules and regulations would cause a discrepancy in airtime, even if men and women had equal visibility in sports media. The men have longer matches, which allow more time for more commercial breaks. More commercials equal more revenue for the players, sponsors and ad companies.

Rachel Atherton is the best in Downhill Mountain Bike, yet most people have never heard of her. Atherton should be a household name, and maybe if she were a man, she would be. Research shows a huge gap between women and men’s visibility in sports. Media outlets, like ESPN, perpetuate underrepresentation, unequal pay and the public’s opinion of women’s sports. This started long before any of us were born and unfortunately, these discrepancies may be here long after we are gone. However, this does not mean that we shouldn’t fight for future generations to have what we couldn’t: for women to be able to identify with sports media, and for women within sports media to get the pay and visibility that athletes, like the USWNT, deserve.

Sports Illustrated Makes a Splash Once Again

 

Madeline Hubbard ‘19 Staff Writer

Is there such a thing as “The Last F---able Day”?  Sports Illustrated recently made a splash when they announced the 2017 cover of their annual Swimsuit Edition.  Christie Brinkley, 63, and her two adult daughters, Alexa Joel, 31, and Sailor Cook, 18, grace the cover of the issue in characteristically skimpy swim attire.  Characteristically, the photo created immediate buzz and controversy.  “Was Christie too old to be on the cover?”  “How much work has she had done, anyway?” “Why is she trying to reclaim her lost fame by exploiting her children?” Many people feel that Brinkley is decidedly past the age of acceptability for a swimsuit model.  Still others claim that it is a bold move and applaud the decision to celebrate women and sexiness at every age. While neither side can claim victory, our society certainly values youth as a hallmark of beauty.

Amy Schumer’s video entitled, “The Last F---able Day,” depicts women celebrating the day before “the media decides when you finally reach the point where you’re not believably f---able anymore.” They describe how Hollywood slowly pushes them out of the public eye and how men are never told they are too old for TV.  Brinkley, recognizing the barriers that come with aging, assumed she was done at age 30 and was shocked to be doing a shoot at age 63. Brinkley told media sources that she hoped that her return to the magazine could fire up a dialogue about ageism in the industry.  She said, “Women feel very limited by their numbers.  On a personal level, I thought, if I can pull this off, I think it will help redefine those numbers and remove some of the fear of aging.”

Her daughter Cook, was excited to participate with some modeling experience under her belt. She described the swimsuit shoot experience as “empowering and liberating.” Joel however, was more hesitant to participate and needed convincing to try it out.  She has had mental health issues in the past and is trying to work through being from such a talented and famous family.  For Brinkley, it was an opportunity to do one more shoot and share it with her girls. Still, concerns remain that Brinkley is presenting herself in that way perpetuates the media standard that women are only worth their sex appeal.

While that may be one opinion, Brinkley certainly puts a lot of effort into staying fit, in addition to other methods of maintaining her appearance.  Many applaud her for breaking the taboo on older women being portrayed as sexy in the media.  Brinkley has certainly started a conversation about ageism in her line of work.  At 63, she is looking good and feeling good, and her confidence is inspiring.  So, maybe the lesson here is if you’ve got it, flaunt it. As a model, Brinkley’s job has been to pose for various advertisements and to be a sex symbol for these companies. When it comes to looking good, there is no expiration date on sex appeal.   

The Trouble with Boycotting Brady

 

Madeline Hubbard’ 19 Contributing Writer

Achilles had his heel, Mr. Darcy was too proud, Captain America was a stubborn idealist and Tom Brady voted for Donald Trump.  We need our heroes to have flaws.  Nobody likes a perfect person because they are not relatable and they have nothing to teach us. In recent days, commentators from all avenues have argued that Brady is more flawed than most, yet there are many who look up to Brady and all that he has accomplished.  A movement started this last season to convince football fans to boycott the Patriots due to Brady’s presumed support for Trump.  This movement culminated at Super Bowl LI, with people still refusing to support the Patriots and many news outlets and social media polls showing that much of America was anti-Patriots. Even though Brady’s political opinions may differ from his fans’ opinions, does that mean that they should stop backing Brady, or should we separate our own beliefs from the beliefs of sports figures, artists and celebrities?

When you consider that there are a fair number of Brady’s teammates who are declining the trip to the White House this year because they do not agree with Trump or his policies, boycotting the whole team due to Brady’s support of Trump seems unfair. It’s even possible that the number of members whose political beliefs differ from Brady's outnumber those who agree.  To take a non-sports related case of similar disagreement, in 2013, Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl with a very powerful political message addressing police brutality and encompassing the Black Panthers.  When viewers argued that they did not agree with her political views being an integral part of the performance, her fans countered that as an entertainer, her political views were irrelevant. They claimed that she is talented and her work should be viewed objectively rather than focusing on the message that she may or may not be espousing. Still, others argue that artists and public figures should not involve themselves in politics at all.  Nevertheless, the controversy seems to have only benefited Beyonce and her career.

The debate will continue as to whether our entertainers should profess political opinions publicly, or whether we should simply ignore such speech.  One can argue that they have a right to their opinions and to state them, just as we may choose to listen.  Brady may or may not be bad, but perhaps that doesn’t matter. The outcome, in this case, as with Beyonce and her artistry, is good.  His own selfish pursuit of success has led to another win for the Patriots. That Super Bowl win lifted up the industry behind Brady and the whole of New England.  It is Jewish custom to make sure that you can take care of yourself first and provide for your  family, before you can branch out to helping others in your community and globally. Some may argue that it is selfish to put yourself first, but can you truly help others if you personally are not taken care of?  So, selfish as Brady may seem, he lifts the others around him up with his accomplishments. He provides first for himself and his family and then looks out to others.  Perhaps one can disagree with his political views, but perhaps, without meaning to, Brady is helping others in his own self-serving way.

Smith College Basketball’s Senior Game

Photos Courtesy Of smithpioneers.com | Smith College Basktball’s seniors played in their final home game against Wheaton.  

Cameo Tietje '18 Sports Editor

 

Smith College seniors and basketball captains, Mandy Castro ’17 and Jade Chihara ’17, had their final home game on Saturday against Wheaton. The stands in Ainsworth Gymnasium were packed. Their teammates made posters for their graduating seniors, which were hung up around Ainsworth. Some of the posters were filled with inside jokes between Smith College Basketball (SCBB) players, while others were individual black and white shots of the seniors. The game started by honoring the seniors, listing their accomplishments throughout their time at Smith. Chihara and Castro have been leaders on the SCBB team for their entire career. Both are calm, collected and confident with the ability to bring their team together in the face of adversity. Their skill set, leadership qualities and support from their teammates helped them become the team captains they were all season. Team manager, Rebecca Laudermilk, was also honored as a graduating senior. She has been a close and important part of the SCBB community since her first year. The three seniors even share a Paradise apartment together. The game started with Chihara, Castro, Kennedy Guest-Pritchett ’19, Samantha Alakai ’18, and Lauren Bondi ’19 on the court. The game had a shaky start as each team battled for every point they could muster. Although at 3:15 Chihara sunk in a three-pointer leading the team 7-4, the game was back-to-back scoring. Some standout players of the game were Guest-Pritchett, Meghan Holland ’18, and Bondi. Guest-Pritchett reached her 10th double-double of the season with 23 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. Bondi started her first game of the season with nine points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals. Holland finished the game with eight points, two assists and one steal. In the third quarter, Paige Marquez ’18 landed a jumper and Bondi sunk a three-pointer, creating a solid lead of 50-37 for the Pioneers. The Pioneers maintained their double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, ending the game with a win of 61-49. Follow Smith College Basketball to Mount Holyoke, Wednesday at 7pm.

Historic Win for the Patriots in Super Bowl LI

 

Madeline Hubbard ‘19 Contributing Writer

Football fans everywhere were stunned by the history made on Sunday at the Super Bowl. Even the fans just watching for the commercials, the halftime show or the snacks were blown away by the outcome of the game.  The first half looked absolutely dismal for the Patriots. After a drawn-out scoreless first quarter, the game was still undecided.  The Falcons’ offense picked it up, firing on all cylinders to generate two touchdowns.  The Falcons looked like a far superior team, and Ryan’s passes outshined Brady’s easily. Falcons’ defenses were shutting everything down, pressuring Brady hard and tightly covering all the receivers. Brady was sacked two times in the half and threw a pick-6 costing the Patriots a touchdown and putting them behind 21-0 with two minutes left in the second quarter.  The Patriots were fighting for any points they could get their hands on, and  managed to score a 41 yard field goal and end at halftime 21-3.  Before Sunday’s game, the largest comeback ever in Super Bowl history had been 10 points.  The game seemed like a done deal and Pats fans were disappointed with their team’s pitiful performance thus far.

The third quarter began and the game was still dominated by the Falcons.  The Patriots struggled to make any plays and punted the ball away. The Falcons responded with another touchdown, increasing the lead to 28-3. Any hope of a Super Bowl victory for the Patriots had surely been quashed.  Then finally, a touchdown for the Patriots occurred followed by a botched field goal attempt! The Patriots were back in the game, but was it too little too late? The Patriots were 19 points behind with only 15 minutes left in the game.  After the defense reached Brady twice, the Patriots were forced to settle for a field goal and their prospects looked grim.

With six minutes remaining, the Patriots managed to score a touchdown and make the two point conversion. The gap was closing and the Falcons were losing the lead as the score changed to 28-20.  The Falcons, beginning to see the game slip away from them, tried to generate some offense and couldn’t quite make it, so they punted the ball back to New England.  The Patriots made it 20 yards outside the zone with two minutes to go.  Brady lobbed a pass to White and a touchdown was completed.  The Patriots successfully made the two-point conversion and tied up the game. The Falcons couldn’t get close enough to try for a field goal and the Super Bowl went into overtime for the first time in history.  As the Falcons wondered how they were stripped of their sure victory, overtime began and the Patriots had the ball.

Brady made crisp passes to his teammates in O.T. worthy of his unofficial title as the G.O.A.T. The Patriots battled their way up the field and made it to one yard in front of the touchdown zone.  Brady threw an incomplete pass to Bennett and then connected with White to score the game-winning touchdown ending the game 34-28.  This game was a huge victory for New England, setting 24 new records and making history with the greatest comeback and first ever Super Bowl overtime. For all the Pats fans out there, this win is a triumph and a tale of perseverance. As for the Falcons fans, better luck next year.

SCBB Winter Recap

Cameo Tietje '18 Sports Editor

While the rest of us were soaking up some sun, working at internships or binge watching Netflix shows, Smith College Basketball was hard at work in the middle of their season. SCBB started off break with a win against Salve Regina 66-25 in Newport, Rhode Island. Kennedy Guest-Pritchett ’19 led the game with a double-double (15 points, 16 rebounds). This was SCBB’s first game against the Salve Region Seahawks, who had their lowest offensive output in program history. In the following three games, Smith raked in the W’s against Middlebury, Mount Holyoke and Clark. The Smith vs. Middlebury match marked Lynn Hersey’s 150th career win as head coach. On the court against Mount Holyoke, Mandy Castro ’17 played the full game with 12 points, seven assists and two boards. Guest-Pritchett ’19 scored a game high of 19 points in 19 minutes of action. Although some players gained rank in stats, SCBB knew how vital teamwork was to win. All players who were active in the game scored at least two points. In the game against Clark, Lauren Bondi ’19 scored a season high of 14 points in just 11 minutes of action.

Smith’s six-game win streak came to an end against Springfield (64-57). Meghan Holland ’18 scored three assists and Bondi raked in 15 points in 25 minutes of play. Getting back on top, SCBB played United States Coast Guard Academy (66-51). Guest-Pritchett snagged her seventh double-double of the season with 23 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Guest-Pritchett wasn’t the only star of the game as Castro shot 3-of-5 from behind the arc, totaling 10 points, six boards and two assists. In SCBB’s following away game, they took down Wellesley 73-55. This is Smith’s fifth win in their record against Wellesley. Samantha Alakai ’18, Erin Hanely ’19 and Guest-Pritchett all scored in double figures. In addition, Guest-Pritchett, Alakai and Paige Marquez ’18 all pulled in seven boards during play. Alakai also had a game high of three steals. SCBB met Clark for the second time, losing 59-51. Bondi was the only player to rake in double figure scores with 17 points. Holland obtained a game-high with four assists, seven points and two rebounds. Amanda Barriscale ’18 ended the game with seven points and seven boards.

At the final game over winter break, Smith beat Trinity 59-45. Bondi scored a season-high of 18 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Alakai also scored a season high of 18 points with five boards and five steals. SCBB has six games left in their regular season play, three home and three away. Next, Smith faces Springfield College at our home court on Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. We hope to see you there supporting the Pioneers on their road to victory!

Weekend Update: Sports Edition

Photo Courtesy of smithpioneers.com | (Top) Smith’s Track and Field team hosted the Winter Classic, and the Swimming and Diving team competed at Hamilton College.

Cameo Tietje ‘18 Sports Editor

The weekend’s sports events started on Friday with Smith Swimming and Diving at Bristol Pool in Clinton, New York at the Hamilton Invitational. They competed against Buffalo State, Hamilton, Mount Holyoke, SUNY-Cortland, SUNY-Oneonta, SUNY-Oswego and SUNY-Potsdam. Smith went into the meet with a win over Westfield State on Nov. 8. On day one of the competition, Smith claimed fifth out of eight teams and raked in 157 points in 16 events. Smith placed fourth overall with 524 points, compared to last year when Smith placed only fifth with 498 points. Both divers, Elly Stone ’18 and Abigail Hanna ’20 delivered Smith’s top performances. Stone placed first in the 1-meter and second in the 3-meter. Hanna grabbed the top spot on the 3-meter and ended with a third place finish. Desi Stoyanova ’19 gained the title of runner up in the 400 IM, with a time of 4:51.94. Swimming and Diving’s next meet is home on Jan. 14 at 1p.m. against Wellesley College.

On Saturday, Smith Track and Field hosted the Winter Classic in the ITT. Smith placed two runners in the top six for the 800-meter dash, Jess Kotfila ’18 and Natalie Kreciglowa ’18. This was Kotfila’s first competition, placing an outstanding sixth place behind Kreciglowa who came in fifth. Elsie Odhiambo ’18 finished 9th behind her teammate Zoe Rubinstein ’18 in the 200-meter dash. Odhiambo PRed in the 200-meter dash.  Rubinstein came in first place for the pole vault with a height of 3.55 meters. Smith Track and Field return to competition after the New Year on Jan. 21 at the Smith College Invitational.

Also on Saturday, Smith Basketball competed against Babson College. The game was their 47th meet-up, with a previous record of 36-10 games for the Beavers. They have also won 15 of the last 17 matchups. Babson won on Saturday with a score of 74-65, making this Smith’s first NEWMAC loss. The game was intense and both teams stayed within about ten points of each other during play. Erin Hanley ’19 tied her career high of 14 points. Mandy Castro ’17 was a vital player in the game with 12 points, five assists and two steals. Kennedy Guest-Pritchett ’19 ended the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Overall, Smith had a 33.9 percent in shots on the court while Babson narrowly lead with 43.8 percent. The Pioneers next home game is at 7p.m. on Wednesday against WPI.

Golden Knights Skate Into The NHL For The 2017 Season

Photo Courtesy to searchrank.com | New for the 2017 NHL season, Las Vegas will debut their hockey team, the Golden Knights.

Madeline Hubbard ‘19 Contributing Writer

From its beginnings with the Original Six to the now 30 teams currently in the league today, the National Hockey League (NHL) has grown tremendously in size and popularity. In 2017, the league will expand to include a new team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. This will be the first professional sports team to ever call Las Vegas home. The lack of major sports teams in Vegas previously was due to the rules against gambling on professional sports games and the worry that proximity to the largest gambling center in the U.S. could make game-fixing easier. This concern has died down some now that pro-athletes are paid more and are less likely to look for money elsewhere. Players are however prohibited from betting on professional matches and some franchises prohibit players from working in casinos. Gambling is everywhere not just in Las Vegas; so, many of the major sports leagues have been loosening their policies on having teams in Vegas. If things go smoothly with the new NHL team, the NFL may follow close behind.   

With that in mind, the Golden Knights need to succeed beyond just the beginning of the season where the excitement of a new team causes sales. If the team can make it past this period and find success, continued support and attendance from fans, then it will open doors for other pro-sports teams in Las Vegasto follow suit. According to an article by Forbes, the challenge of filling seats in the NHL is significantly more challenging than other leagues, where the number of home games played is much lower. In an article from the New York Times, another concern outlined is that, “Las Vegas will have a hard time supporting a pro team because so many residents are from elsewhere and root for the teams they grew up with. Many also work in the tourism industry and are busy on game days.” Some worry that “selling hockey in the desert can be tough,” especially considering the misfortunes of the Arizona Coyotes.

If the team succeeds, the effect will be more than just good news and money well invested for Bill Foley, the team’s owner. As detailed in a Forbes article, many citizens in Las Vegas are hoping that a pro-sports team will cause a shift in the way people view Vegas. “Long-term, the NHL can help legitimize Las Vegas as more than just an event town.” If the venture fails, Las Vegas will be back to square one having proven that the city is seen only as a destination. Although expansion teams usually don’t do well as they start off, there is hope for the Knights. The NHL has changed the rules for drafting on expansion teams. The new rules make it easier for new teams to pick up players from the other 30 teams while each of the old teams can protect less of their players this year. Next season, the Knights stand a chance at getting a well-seasoned goalie like Marc-Andre Fleury or Jimmy Howard. The rest of the team will come mostly from younger players, some brand new to the NHL, and also the older players who have been in the NHL for a long time but weren’t protected by their team’s contract. So, with any luck the team will make it to playoffs and win the Stanley Cup within the next six years as promised by Foley.  If not, at least one can hope that the franchise succeeds and the joy of hockey is spread, creating more fans who love the game as much as I do.

Chapecoense Soccer Team Fatality

thanksgiving  

Cameo Tietje ' 18

Assistant Sports Editor

 

Brazil’s Chapecoense Soccer Team was on their way to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the South American international soccer competition. Their country held high hopes for them and followed the tournament closely.

As the plane flew over mountains in Columbia, they experienced electrical failure. Minutes later, the plane crashed, killing 77 people. Only six people survived, three of which were players. In addition, 21 journalists were reportedly aboard the plane, only one of which survived. They were one of the most outstanding Brazilian teams, beloved by their country, especially following their gold medal in at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“This is a relatively small city, so everyone knows somebody who was on the plane,” said Roberto Panarotto, 44, a professor of media studies in Chapecó, the team’s hometown. Brazil has had a turbulent year from their economic crisis to the impeachment of their president. Brazilian soccer was an escape from the corruption scandals.

They were in the midst of a historic season before the tragic crash killed majority of the team and coaching staff. A week prior, Tiago da Rocha Vieira Alves was awarded one final joy in life before he passed. He found out that he was going to be a father. His teammates surprised him with the news showing how close they all were.

The Chapecoense Soccer Club overcame corruption and poor management. For example, Brazil’s former president of the soccer federation was arrested last year on corruption charges. The city was in a period of mourning and flooded the stadium in order to pay their respects. To lose such a promising team is a tragedy in the world of soccer, one that also left many families heartbroken.

 

Harvard Men’s Soccer Team’s Season Cancelled

Harvard has excellently set the standard for zero tolerance policies on sexism and sexual harassment by canceling the men’s soccer team season. | Photo courtesy of people.com Cameo Tietje ‘18 Sports Editor

On Nov. 3 the Men’s Harvard Soccer Team was under investigation for rating the Women’s Soccer Team on sexual appeal. The list rated women on a scale from 1 to 10 and stated their physical attributions and possible preferred sexual positions, such as “Doggy Style” and “The Triple Lindy”. The Men’s Soccer Team’s equivalent is the Women’s Soccer Team, yet the men degraded and objectified them. Women are staggeringly objectified in the media and deserve the respect and support of their male counterparts. This was not the first “scouting report” created by the team. In fact, there was one list that was posted in a Google Document and was open to the public from 2012 until it was deleted this year. These men were brazen enough to publicly shame and humiliate the Harvard Women’s Soccer Team. They reduced the female collegiate student-athletes to their sex appeal and disregarded all of their achievements. This demonstration of dehumanizing sexism by the Men’s Soccer Team  makes them completely deserving of having their season to be cancelled as punishment. In addition, the team was forced to forfeit any post-season play and apologize in a letter.  Unfortunately, the Harvard Men’s Soccer Team is clear evidence that sexism is still alive on college campuses. The University’s swift reaction and hard-handed punishment is a great example to the public. Harvard set a standard of honor and civility for their students, one where behavior like the men’s soccer team is unacceptable. It is important to recognize that these, thought as isolated, extreme incidents of sexism can occur at even the most prestigious institutions. Harvard University has excellently set the standard for  zero tolerance policies on sexism and sexual harassment, especially where athletics and “locker room talk” are concerned.

Get Active and Get Credit

ESS courses at Smith can help you explore the outdoors, enjoy a good workout and even reduce stress. | Photo by Jen Zhu ’18 Madeline Hubbard ‘19 Contributing Writer

If you are looking for something different to spice up your spring semester classes, an Exercise and Sports Studies course might be the perfect thing for you. Due to the variety of classes offered, anyone can find a class for their ability level or interests. If you’re looking for a way to get fit or just get up and moving, there are so many options. There are multiple one-credit courses offered to try new sports, such as squash, swimming, badminton, golf, fencing and tennis.  Nina Shute, ’19, who just completed Tennis 1 said, “even though I would not consider myself an athletic person, I really enjoyed taking tennis. I came in with no prior knowledge of the sport, and finished the class confident that I could hold my own in a casual match. Our instructor, Deedie Steele, was super helpful and always encouraging and positive even when I had difficulty mastering certain techniques. I absolutely recommend taking at least one ESS class while here at Smith. They are a lot of fun and it’s a nice change of pace from the academic rigor of other courses.”

For the more outdoorsy and adventurous students, there is canoeing, kayaking, sculling, archery, rock climbing and outdoor skills. If you need to get a summer job, the lifeguarding certification class is a great one to take. At the end of the course, each student is lifeguarding and CPR certified for a fraction of the cost to take the class outside of Smith.  There are other swim classes for beginners, advanced swimmers and students looking to try diving or conditioning through swim. Elsie Odhiambo, ’17 is taking Beginning Swimming and is really impressed with the way the instructors allow each student to learn at their own pace.  “I am really enjoying the class and I will use what I have learned to continue swimming,” she said. “In fact, next semester, I plan to take the advanced swim course.” However, if water isn’t your thing, there are four different self-defense classes you can take to expand your skill set. From Kung Fu and Ba Gua Zhang to Self-Defense 1 and Tai Chi, any student can find a class and be able to defend themselves from harm.

There are several rigorous courses designed for physical conditioning including Pilates, Kickboxing, Aerobics, Weight Training, Hydro Fitness and Self-Paced Fitness. These courses are offered in the morning before classes and in the afternoon and evening. This means you can still enjoy a good workout even if you are not a morning bird or night owl. As someone who is taking Kickboxing and can barely drag myself out of bed in the morning, I still come out of every class feeling energized and refreshed.

If your spring semester seems stressful enough without an intense fitness course, there are many yoga classes you can take to reduce stress and improve health and flexibility. Another stress-reducing option is a 2-credit course offered on Stress Management, which teaches you how to recognize and avoid your own stressors and stress patterns and learn techniques to relieve stress.

If you try an ESS course you may find a new passion and even want to continue with it once the course is over. A person who has an activity they can do and enjoy for their entire life will be healthier physically and mentally. People who exercise tend to have lower stress levels, improved mood, and sleep well. Exercise can even increase life span while strengthening your body and reducing risk of heart disease and even some cancers. So, with little reason left not to take an exercise course, I hope that many of you expand your horizons and try something new.  With any luck, you might find that you have stumbled upon your new favorite pastime.

Early Specialization in Athletics: The Next Great Player or Burnout?

Madeline Hubbard ‘19Contributing Writer

It is commonly recognized that it takes 10,000 hours to attain mastery in any specific field.  This idea was popularized by Malcom Gladwell in his book, Outliers. It naturally leads modern parents to one logical conclusion: that their child needs to start playing a sport as soon as possible and practice often as well.  Their goal? To attain the magic 10,000 hours of practice and reach expert level.

According to an article published by U.S. Youth Soccer, however, this principle was never intended to apply to athletics, as it focuses solely on practice.  In addition, Gladwell’s theory ignores factors such as genetics, opportunity and coaching.  There is a lot of evidence to suggest that early specialization may, in fact, do more harm than good for a child’s athletic career.  If a child shows some ability in a specific sport at a young age, it makes sense that a parent would want to help that talent grow by having them continue to play that sport.  However, a child who only ever plays one sport from a young age misses a lot of opportunities.  If a child never tries another sport, how can they know they have chosen the sport where they have the most talent?  Children gain many advantages from playing multiple sports at a young age.  One of these is simply finding the activity they truly enjoy and want to continue with.  They also learn valuable skills that translate to many sports, such as, hand eye coordination, quick reflexes, field vision and game decision-making.  Early specialization on the other hand, can lead to burn-out, over-use injuries and poor decision making about the athlete’s future.

Even with all of the evidence points for waiting to specialize, there is still immense pressure on parents to keep their children in one sport, so they don’t miss out or fall behind.  Coaches also feel pressure to specialize positions at young ages in attempts to win games.  This thought process hurts a player’s chances to grow into the best athlete possible, as they have lost the opportunity to gain better understanding for the sport by playing more positions and a well-rounded set of skills.  According to an article from the Changing the Game Project, dedicated to reviving and promoting youth sports, coaches are pressured to win and choose the best players for the team.  However, this excludes the players who have the potential to grow, become better players, and possess a “high level of coachability, sensitivity to training and the motivation to learn.”  From a health standpoint, muscle development and coordination will be maximized with a wide range of activities.  In fact, a study done at Loyola University found that early specialization in a single activity can make a player at least 70 percent more likely receive an injury.

Add to this the fact that children are more likely to stick with athletics and become active adults if they play multiple sports, because they will have more passion for their sport and more motivation to continue after experiencing many kinds of sports.  Most professional and college athletes have played multiple sports in their youth.  A simple Google search of professional athletes who only played one sport yields few results.  Playing multiple sports gave these athletes advantages that training in a singular discipline could not.  Cross training is an important part of being a well-rounded player and it’s important to remember this when children are choosing which sports to play.  Their future depends on it.              

NCAA Gender Rules

Photo courtesy of ivycoach.com | Harvard swimmer Schuyler Bailar is the first division 1 male trans athlete to compete in the NCAA. Cameo Tietje ‘18 Sports Editor

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has rules and regulations on a vast number of topics, including athlete’s drug use and transgender student-athlete participation. For obvious reasons, such as performance enhancement, the NCAA bans substances like testosterone. Testosterone is a common hormonal drug taken by transgender students. Although there is no federal law that bans transgender discrimination, federal courts have demonstrated that it is discrimination based on sex, covered in Title VII. In an effort to ensure transgender student-athletes fair, respectful and legal access to collegiate sports teams based on current medical and legal knowledge, the NCAA specifically states the exceptions to banned substance use.

A male, transgender student-athlete who is not taking testosterone related to gender transition may participate on a men’s or women’s team. A female, transgender student-athlete who is not taking hormone treatments related to gender transition may not compete on a women’s team. A male, transgender student-athlete who has received a medical exception for treatment with testosterone for diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism may compete on a men’s team, but is no longer eligible to compete on a women’s team without changing the team status to a mixed team. A mixed team is only eligible to compete for men’s championships. A female, transgender student-athlete being treated with testosterone suppression medication for Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria and/or Transsexualism may continue to compete on a men’s team, but may not compete on a women’s team without changing it to a mixed team status until completing one calendar year of documented testosterone-suppression treatment. In comparison, if a cisgender woman participates on a men’s team, the team is still able to compete for the men’s NCAA championship.

Although the NCAA uses the DSM-5 depiction of transgender as a ‘disorder,’ they have taken strides to remain an inclusive organization. The NCAA has come far from the past of offering only men’s sports to today’s attempts at protecting the rights and participation of transgender student-athletes. However, this does not make the NCAA perfect, and their labeling of transgender as a disorder reinforces the binary gender model of our society and pathologizes gender variance.