Sunday, November 21, 2010

Almost break time - LOTS of sports

This is the final weekend before Thanksgiving break begins - students (and faculty) are really looking forward to this time with their families, home cooked meals and a rest before the final push to the end of the semester. First year students and their families are astounded that it has gone by so quickly, while seniors are bemoaning the reality that this means that Commencement is only a semester away. I have been grading papers all weekend and hope to get all of them done before students head out on Wednesday. They seem to appreciate that I get papers back fairly quickly and I continue to appreciate that my utilization of a "tablet laptop" means that I now can have a "paperless" classroom. Students simply upload their papers to eCollege, I grade them and return them in emails - I get to make my comments (and there are ALWAYS a lot of those) with a stylus and also get to save them to a file on my computer for future reference. Sports Psychology has a presentation on the psychological implications of spirituality/religiosity and sports on Tuesday and then we are almost done with the student presentations. It has been a good semester with a very high level of interaction and a LOT of energy in class - THAT I love......

Last Wednesday evening the women's volleyball team hosted a fund raiser over in the Ross Sports Center. Samantha Clairemont is a member of the team and a friend from her hometown was involved in a horrific accident which left her in a wheelchair. Samantha approached her coach Chris Kilmer (a VERY good guy) and asked if there was something that could be done to help her friend and family. Chris worked with the women on his team and they created "bumpin for Brenna" which was open to the whole campus and which was a huge success. They were able to raise over $1,500. The gym was packed with students as teams made up of members of our men's/women's soccer teams and the women's volleyball team competed against each other AND a team of faculty/staff. YES, I did play volleyball, alongside many of my friends/colleagues from campus in front of a LOT of our students. There were too many of us to list all but Karen Talentino, VP for Academic Affairs did an admirable job given that she has a "bad" shoulder and I even managed a couple of nice hits. It was a great time and many thanks to everyone who participated and especially to Coach Kilmer for not only organizing this with/for Samantha but also for his very eloquent words when he spoke about the meaning of COMMUNITY at SMC.

This weekend was full of athletic competitions and fun. Friday afternoon I went to our women's ice hockey game which was followed by our men's ice hockey game. I left the men's game after two periods and headed back to campus for the annual Jibfest which is skiing and snowboarding on the 300's field on a structure that was constructed and "snowed" by our students from the Ski/Snowboard Club. Matt Stillman is President of the Club and is one of my students and a very enthusiastic supporter of all things skiing/snowboarding. When I got back to campus from the rink I found approx. 250 of our students having a fantastic time - there were burgers and hot dogs - cans of Red Bull (????) and lots of bananas (????) and it was great to watch so many of our students having such a great time on a Friday night - the hard work of these students, along with Grace Kelly (Director of Student Activities) and her crew from the SA and Residence Life paid off - AND, at least as far as I know, there were no broken bones :)

Yesterday, after grading more papers, I headed back to the rink for the women's ice hockey game and another men's game - while our women lost both games over the weekend, they played well and were never "out" of the competition. Our men started their season off well with two impressive wins. At the same time that I was spending more hours (it amazes me that I spent 5 hours there on Friday and another 5 on Saturday and I don't even know how to skate) at the rink, our men's basketball program kicked off their home season under new head coach Michael Harding and gained a win - so a very busy weekend of activities.

This past Tuesday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta for his heroic actions in Afghanistan. Last Sunday evening on 60 Minutes there was an interview with this young man (he is now 25 but was only 22 when the incident took place) - if you didn't see it, I would suggest that you Google it and watch it - a very powerful and emotional coverage of someone who self-identifies as a "mediocre" soldier. We talked about this in Theories class on Tuesday and in Practicum on Monday as students who are working in the field of counseling and social services MUST learn as much as they can about the very complicated issues which are facing not only our returning soldiers, but also their families. The presentation by President Obama was very moving and Sgt. Giunta's story is very powerful. He is the first living recipient of this honor since the Vietnam War - others have been awarded this since then but those have all gone to soldiers who gave their lives for all of us. While this is a tremendous honor for Sgt. Giunta, it is also a burden and he very modestly and very honestly spoke of how THIS medal is for EVERYONE who is fighting for our freedom - he is only the person who gets to wear it.....

As we all give thanks this coming Thursday, please remember to keep all of the members of our military - our veterans too, and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

As always, please take good care, be well and have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving

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