Diving Into Dante’s “Divine Comedy”: A look at the world-wide “100 Days” event with the medieval Florentine poet.

“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself…” in a college dorm room watching a video lecture about Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Yes, these haunting, yet compelling opening lines are from Dante’s “Inferno”—minus the college dorm room part.

Baylor University’s Honors College has partnered with Eastern’s Templeton Honors College and other schools across the country to bring fans of the “Divine Comedy” together. Self-proclaimed as “the world’s largest Dante reading group,” 100 Days of Dante is bringing readers of the 1300s poet together for a 100 day journey through the classical narrative. The project also includes schools such as the University of Dallas, Gonzaga University, Biola University and Whitworth University.

From Sept. 8, 2021 to Easter 2022, various teachers passionate about the “Comedy” will provide lectures for each canto in “Inferno,” “Purgatorio,” and “Paradiso.” They are covering three cantos a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) with videos to complement each one. Readers are encouraged to enjoy the cantos of the “Divine Comedy” at their own pace, watching the videos when and if needed.

“For our project, we decided to move at a slightly slower pace, hopefully to allow everyone more time to enjoy reading each canto,” Hilary Yancey, 100 Days of Dante Project Manager, said in an intro video by Baylor Honors College.

Along with providing ways to access the videos, 100 Days of Dante also has a translation of the text on their website. This makes reading the “Comedy” even more accessible if you don’t have a copy or don’t want to buy one. However, if you prefer a certain translation (I’m reading the Mark Musa, Penguin Classics translation), you are encouraged to read what you are comfortable with and will enjoy.

Eastern’s Templeton Honors College has been asked to take part in the 100 day event, with various professors asked to contribute canto videos to walk readers through interpretations of the text. For many, this is a chance to revisit the classic poem not only with one professor, but with several.

“If you or anyone has wanted to (re)read the “Comedy” and be taken through it by thoughtful guides (like Mr. P, Dr. Cary, Dr. Smith, Dr. Boyer, Dr. Anika Prather, etc.), now is your chance,” Dr. Williams, Dean of Templeton Honors College, said in his “Dean’s Weekly” email sent to members of the college.

Gaining insight from professors of different schools is a valuable experience as well. Dr. Ralph Wood, Dr. Fred Sanders, Dr. Jane Kim and Dr. Theresa Kenney are some of the other guides that were highlighted thus far.

If you are interested, you can subscribe to the “100 Days of Dante” email list, where you will receive Canto videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 100daysofdante.com has a “subscribe” button that pops up after the “Welcome” screen as soon as you enter the site. If you want to watch the videos through their website, they are all archived as each video comes out.

It’s never too late to begin reading the “Divine Comedy” and follow along with the videos. The cantos are short and easy to read, and the flexible structure of 100 Days of Dante makes catching up a breeze. “Abandon every hope, all you who enter” this dark and mysterious Inferno, and read some Dante!

Sources: Baylor Honors College, “Dean’s Weekly,” The Divine Comedy (Penguin Classics), 100 Days of Dante

“Eagle” Road for a Reason: EU Men’s Soccer beats Cabrini to claim the Eagle Road Derby.

Eagle Road “kept its name” after Eastern University Men’s Soccer beat Cabrini for the eighth contest in a row. Even though the Eagles had to cross the street for this contest, the lack of home field advantage didn’t stop the boys from rallying past the Cavaliers.

With an electric crowd behind them at Edith Robb Dixon field, the Eagles overcame two one-goal deficits in their rivalry win. One of these goals came in the early minutes of the game, where an Eastern player attempted to deflect the ball away from the goal. The ball took an unfortunate bounce into Eastern’s net, resulting in an own goal.

The battle was even for a good remainder of the half, but in the forty-third minute, a scoring chance for Eastern arose. Drew Johnson sent a crossing shot past the center of the goal and into the right edge of the box. Gabe Velazquez collected that ball and delivered a strong shot into the left side of the goal. The first half of the Eagle Road Derby ended 1-1.

A little over 10 minutes into the second half, Cabrini erased the tie on the scoreboard and fired a shot past Eastern keeper Diesel Fiore.

But the 2-1 Cabrini lead didn’t last long. Nine minutes later, Ryan Jammes netted his first career goal with a rocket of a shot into the top right corner of the goal.

Later in the half, Emmanuel Hewitt started a play that gave the Eagles their first lead of the game. Hewitt made a strong defensive play to knock the ball loose from a Cabrini defender. Derek Buhrman controlled the ball and passed to Jake Morales, who nailed a shot into the lower left corner.

The Eagles fought hard for the remainder of the half, preserving the lead that won them the game. With Eastern faithful parents, students and friends behind them, the boys overcame a pair of deficits to display their resiliency.

The Battle of Eagle Road dates back to 1982. Since the debut game, there have been 37 contests between the cross-street rivals. Eastern has won 20 of these games, while Cabrini has won 18. The matchups have always been tight, but the Eastern boys seem to be redeeming themselves. Eastern has won the last eight matchups with Cabrini, both at home on Olson Field and across the road on Cabrini’s home turf.

With an immense amount of young talent and potential and several key players remaining, the Eagles will continue to value these energetic wins as their program moves forward.

Holding Out Hope: The trials and tribulations of a diehard fan waiting for a championship.

Hockey analyst, Steve Dangle Glynn titled his book, “This Team is Ruining My Life (But I Love Them).” This title sums up how most fans feel if they are faithful to a team that hasn’t won a championship since before they were born or in their childhood. It’s mentally and emotionally draining when you sit in front of the television, waiting for your team to score that winning touchdown or run, and they come up short every time.

But like Steve Dangle says, he still loves his team. People still tune into the games, purchase tickets and wear jerseys. What prevents fans from abandoning their drought-ridden teams (like the Dallas Cowboys or the Cleveland Indians) and hopping on the bandwagon of a winning team (like the New England Patriots or Los Angeles Dodgers)?

In a blog post, actor, director and writer Kenney Myers gives 10 possible reasons that fans remain loyal to their below-average teams. One of these possible reasons is geography. Fans that are from a certain area or live in a certain area are more likely to cheer for that area’s sports teams. Location facilitates a connection between the city’s sports teams and the fans who grew up or live in that area.

Another reason for fan loyalty is mob mentality. When you get caught up in your favorite team’s fanbase, you become one with the rest of the group. Further, mob mentality transitions into the idea of the team being an extension of yourself. Being a fan of the team becomes part of your identity. If you abandon your team after a long haul supporting them, you abandon a part of yourself. When your team is successful, you feel successful yourself. Likewise, when your team is losing, you feel like you’re losing as well.

Perhaps the largest factor that keeps fans dedicated to their teams is the hope that their team may one day win. Dr. Edward Hirt, professor in Indiana University’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, said, “One of the beauties of sports is that anything can happen on any given day.” Fans have hope that their team signing the top striker in the league will propel them to a championship. Like Hirt said, anything can happen. Whether it be because of luck, skill or strategic management, teams could pull through.

Sports teams draw fans in from all over the world, and usually, fans stay loyal to the teams they choose to follow. Despite those teams being unsuccessful or utterly frustrating to watch, fans keep coming back for various reasons. Fans’ commitments to a team that isn’t doing well is key to the beauty of sports.

 

Sources: Forbes, Headspace, Kenney Myers 

Eastern University Football: How would EU change if American football was introduced?

After rumors and years of deliberation, it’s official. Eastern University will introduce football to its athletic department. In an email from the Office of the President, President Ron Matthews detailed the expansion of EU Athletics.

“We will begin team recruiting efforts for the Fall of 2022 and anticipate competing in the NCAA III MAC conference by Fall 2023,” a statement from the email read. EU also said that they plan to work with Valley Forge Military Academy to use and upgrade their facilities, including the football field and locker rooms.

What does this addition mean for the current Eastern University community? Perhaps the introduction of football at a school with less than 2,000 students will increase enrollment. Football teams are big; the NCAA limits rosters to 110 during the offseason, but teams can have more during the season. This could be advantageous not only for more students to have the opportunity to enroll in college but because more students increases the amount of recognition Eastern would receive. 10 out of 18 institutions in the Middle Atlantic Conferences have varsity football teams. If Eastern were added to that list, it would have the chance to present itself as a powerhouse in the MAC Conferences. With the popularity of college football, Eastern would profit in fame and possibly fortune.

On the contrary, a downside to enrolling more students is the abandonment of one of Eastern’s core selling points: their 10:1 student to faculty ratio. With the addition of not only a football team but students that are more attracted to the school because of the football team, this number might increase to 20:1 or even 30:1. Larger class sizes and less personal attention in those classes could be a result. This would deter students who prefer close professor interaction away from Eastern.

Many students choose Eastern University not only for its small class sizes but also for its small, quaint campus. With the introduction of football and more students, more space will be needed. Parking lots would need to be added to compensate for the influx of recruits and more students, as more students seem to bring their cars to campus every year (and residence parking spots are already fairly limited). Additional housing may need to be provided to compensate for the influx of freshmen, transfers and now new sports members. The campus would go from quaint and connected to larger, busier and possibly louder. 

Additionally, although the facilities at Valley Forge are only three minutes away, students will not be able to walk 5 minutes to Olson Field or the gymnasium to see a game. Students that don’t have cars will struggle to be involved with the student experience at football games because the facilities are off campus. The perk of EU’s fields being so central around campus is that there’s immediate access for students on campus. It’s easy for students to go to games and support their school.

President Matthews stated in his email that EU hopes to be “sparking school spirit, more campus events, increased enrollment opportunities, and different experiences for our student body” with the addition of not only football but cheer, dance and the pep band as well. Whether these hopes will be received positively or negatively by Eastern University’s community is unknown, but the university’s mission of faith, reason and justice must remain moving forward. Despite the changes that may happen to Eastern, the school is still rooted in its core values, which should be upheld and represented by students, athletes and faculty alike.

 

Sources: MAC Sports, Marketplace, NCSA Sports, Office of the President of Eastern University

What-Ball?: Pickleball: the sport for all ages and all skill levels.

When I was home for Easter break, I watched a decent amount of television (because college doesn’t allow for much leisure time). I surfed the channels, hoping to
happen upon some kind of sporting event to feast my eyes upon. Eventually, I came across last year’s USA Pickleball Championship.

Imagine playing tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, but all at once. That’s pickleball. And yes, you heard me correctly. Pickleball.

In 1965, three fathers joined forces to create this family-friendly game. During a summer on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Seattle, Washington, their kids found themselves bored with the usual swimming in a pool, jumping in a lake, playing frisbee or building sand castles. The dads united and invented the growing sport of
pickleball, whose rules and equipment have evolved since. Pickleball is played with a paddle and a plastic ball that has whiffle ball-like holes. Formerly made out of wood, the paddles have evolved to being composed of aluminum and graphite materials.

Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles, and the court’s layout allows for either casual or intense games. The outdoor or indoor pickleball court is the size of a doubles badminton court. It is painted similar to a tennis court, with two service areas separated by a centerline and two non-volley zones that extend the length in front of the net. However, you can absolutely play pickleball on a tennis or badminton court.

So why should we care about this amalgamation of country-club sports? Other than the fun-sounding name, pickleball provides cardiorespiratory fitness, like other forms of physical activity. Specifically, a Western State Colorado University study found that this type of fitness provided by pickleball was great for middle-aged and older adults.

You don’t have to be a middle to old-aged human to enjoy pickleball, though. The game can be played with your college friends to get some casual physical activity into your stressful college life. Try pickleball over the summer; I promise it’s a big “dill.”

Sources: AARP, USA Pickleball

The Crowd Goes Wild: The impact of spectators at college sporting events.

The cheers and claps from the crowd are the most exhilarating sounds an athlete can hear. From smaller claps on the golf course to shouts and screams on the field, athletes thrive on the support of their closest family, friends and fans.

For the majority of the spring season, the Middle Atlantic Conference prohibited all athletic competitions from having spectators. This meant that athlete wouldn’t hear these screams, hear their names being called and numbers being cheered.

Beginning April 5, the ban was lifted. MAC allowed its schools to have fans at competitions but also left them the freedom to make their own respective rules on
spectator policies.

Eastern University’s spectator policy allows current students and faculty to attend outdoor events, and each athlete is allowed two tickets for other guests. These two
guests undergo a health screening before being allowed on campus to watch the event. Once the guests are on campus, they must follow social-distancing guidelines and wear a mask at all times. Eastern also asks all spectators to refrain from gathering in large groups before or after the event and sit in the designated areas laid out by Eastern’s game management team.

Aside from the specific yet necessary and helpful guidelines, the return of fans was an occasion that many students and athletes looked forward to since the spring
season commenced. Athletes missed their friends being able to watch them play their sport, and friends missed being able to hype up their favorite athletes.

The men’s lacrosse game on April 7 drew as large a crowd as possible in this pandemic. The Kea-Guffin hill was packed with parents and students, as far down as the auxiliary field. With each goal the team scored in its 12-7 victory over Widener, the crowd erupted in praising shouts and cheers. Accompanied by Olson Field’s goal horn and song, the atmosphere was once again electric.

The game ended with a salute to the fans, as the guys jogged over to the spectators and clapped their hands, cheering in gratitude. They posed for photos and waved to family and friends, and the fans waved back. “I love you, mom!” and “Hey dad!” were yelled up the hill from the field, and back down, “Great game!” and “Love you too!” were returned.

A week later, the softball team took the field against Messiah, drawing crowds down the third baseline on the curb outside Warner Library. Fans got to see a rally in

the second game of the double-header, as Eagles’ softball tied the score at 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning.

Unfortunately, Messiah pulled ahead in extra innings, but the fan support behind closing pitcher, Lexi Evelyn, was more than encouraging. Hearing family members and teammates shout, “Like you can, kid!” and “Alright two-six!” made eyes clear and hearts full.

The smallest gestures and phrases make an impression on athletes’ performances. Having a crowd in the stands makes all the difference. With the noise from the fans, a player’s own thoughts are drowned out. All that matters is that moment, that game, that rush, that adrenaline cultivated by the crowd’s applauds and shouts.

Tiger’s Hopeful Return: A look at if the 82-time PGA Tour winner will come back to pro golf.

Who is the golfer tied for the most PGA tour wins? Who has won the Masters Tournament five times, the PGA Championship four times, and the US Open and the British Open both three times? Tiger Woods is the professional golfer to accomplish these feats and many more. But a recent car accident in Los Angeles might be a bit of a set back in Woods’s illustrious career.

Plagued by multiple back injuries and surgeries, Tiger Woods has been sporadic in his ability to play Professional Golf Association tournaments. Having problems with his back again, he was in LA to host the Genesis Invitational, not play in the tournament. He was involved in a single-vehicle crash when his SUV rolled over on Hawthorne Boulevard. Woods
suffered significant damage to his right leg, including open fractures in the upper and lower sections of his leg and shattering injuries to his ankle.

Considering Woods’ previous history with injury (three left knee surgeries, an Achilles tendon injury, and four back surgeries, just to name a few), this injury makes it hard to believe that Woods will ever be able to return to PGA Tour golf again. Woods is now recovering from home, which provides a hopeful outlook on a potential return. However, with the injury list piling up on Tiger Woods’s resume, it’s
tough to see him winning, let alone playing another PGA tournament.

Former PGA golfer and orthopedic doctor, Bill Mallon, expressed that he believes Woods will be able to play golf again. However, he said that it depends on the ardor of his recovery. If Woods keeps up his health and has a productive recovery, he’ll be back on the course swinging a club and reading putts. “And assuming he plays golf again—meaning
he doesn’t get an infection or severe arthritis in that ankle—I think he can return to the Tour,” Mallon said.

Golf fans around the world will continue to follow Tiger’s recovery in hopes that the legendary golfer will be able to get back in the swing of things for the PGA Tour. Now that fans are allowed to spectate at tournaments (at limited capacity), the golf world would love to see a healthy Tiger Woods back in action.

Sources: CNN, Insider, PGA Tour

Student Athlete Spotlight: Sophomore Jack Mangene talks golf, community, and God.

Sophomore golfer and exercise science major, Jack Mangene, juggles a hectic schedule, social life, and Division III athletic career. Firing a 74 in his first tournament of the season, Mangene has golf down to a “tee” – pun definitely intended. While still putting the work in at his sport, Mangene also manages a load of responsibilities that make him more than an athlete. Besides being on the men’s golf team at Eastern, Jack is an RA for the first floor of Guffin Hall, Wednesday Night Worship member, Chapel Worship Team member, Leadership Fellows Program member and aide for a physical therapist off campus.

The golfer, student and musician has a lot on his plate, but experience in his major is a priority to him. An aspiring chiropractor, his off campus job at a local physical therapy practice adds to his resume. “I get experience with actual patients. I run them through exercises to help them improve their physical condition,” he said. From this job, he learns how
to better inform patients about preventing injury, managing pain, and recovering effectively.

Along with helping people in physical conflict, Mangene also manages conflicts with roommates, residents, and others on campus as an RA and a member of LFP. He says that he had never really been in a position that he was relied on to solve an immediate problem, but being an RA has taught him to be prepared for that moment.

“When you get people living together, you start to realize that there are a lot of things that bother certain people. And you have to balance which of those things is my role, as an RA, to intervene on, and which of those things are not really my place,” Mangene said. This conflict management and wanting to bring people together in situations that seem to drive them apart is a vital quality that he possesses.

Mangene is a true team player, always looking out for his residents, friends, and teammates. This extends from the golf course to Guffin Residence Hall. “Building community has been a main role of mine in LFP and as an RA,” Mangene said. “People like to feel validated. I think it’s really important to feel comfortable going to certain people, so I try to be that person.”

Although golf is an individual sport that requires little to no person-to-person interaction, Mangene highly values the team aspect of golf. Mangene’s “people-person” character floats around with him wherever he goes. “It’s really important to be unified as a team, and to be best friends with your team,” he said. Good sportsmanship and support of teammates even in times of personal struggle is valuable to Mangene, another sign of his stellar character and heart of gold.

Handling these responsibilities and various roles is no light task for Jack Mangene, but there is a reason for everything. “It’s an opportunity to grow myself overall as a person. God’s blessed me with some specific talents, and I think it’s my role to go into those roles and share his love through them. I’m proud to be so many things because it’s just more opportunities to share the love.”

The History of March Madness: A look at the origins of the NCAA tournament.

March Madness: for basketball fans across the United States, this is their favorite time of year. For Division I college basketball players, this is the most important time of the year. All of their commitment, dedication, and constant hard work has a chance to pay off in hopes of becoming the NCAA men’s basketball champions.

The roots of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament stem back to 1939, where eight teams competed for the national title. Since then, the tournament field has grown to 64 teams, this number being set in 1985.

Illinois high school teacher and basketball coach, Henry V. Porter, first used the term “March Madness” in association with basketball in 1939 in the Illinois High School Athlete. Three years later, in a poem titled “Basketball Ides of March,” Porter used basketball as an inspiration to the American effort to World War II. Alluding to the Roman calendar (and William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) presents an interesting look into the historic and literary origin of the coined college basketball term.

“March Madness,” though, wasn’t assigned to the NCAA tournament specifically until 1982, when Chicago sportswriter, Brent Musberger, referenced it during a coverage of that year’s tournament. The Illinois High School Association fought for the rights to trademark the term in a case that resulted in the March Madness Athletic Association. This organization allowed both the IHSA and NCAA to use the term for their high school basketball and college basketball tournaments, respectively.

As for the teams in the competition, the Duke University Blue Devils have quite the reputation. The NCAA tournament’s all-time leading scorer, Christian Laettner, hails from Duke University. He holds the record at 407 total tournament points. (Only nine players have scored more than 300 tournament points.) The largest comeback in March Madness happened in 2001, when Duke beat Maryland after facing a 22-point deficit. Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, holds the record for the most tournament wins by a single coach, 97.

Whether you call it March Madness, the Ides of March or that one college basketball tournament, the NCAA men’s tournament has made its presence known in American sports history. And whether it be challenging your friends’ teams, rooting for your team, being devoted to watching the games or just watching casually, March Madness brings fun to basketball fans’ years. As for filling out your bracket, choose your winners wisely.

Sources: NCAA, Time

What It Means To Be a Christian Athlete: A reflection on how God’s glory and athletes’ faith shines through sports.

I wear a cross around my neck at all times. Not only is this an avowal of my identity as a Greek Orthodox Christian, but it’s a reminder that Christ is with me at all times, good and bad. As Christian athletes, our athletic abilities are given to us through God’s grace and power. Without His strength, the games we can win, the shots we can make, and the goals we can score are all unthinkable, undoable. Being a Christian athlete is uplifting and a constant showcase of the gifts that God gave us, individually and for our teams.

I Corinthians 10:23–33 has the very important theme of doing all you do for the glory of God. This mindset humbles the individualistic, competitive and prideful complex that some athletes embody. There is a difference between confidence and pride. God allows us to be confident in the abilities He has given to us. Using these abilities, we maximize our performance, but only because the grace and strength of God allows us to. A humble confidence is what we look for as Christian athletes, glorifying God by properly using his gifts to lift ourselves and our teammates during a competition or practice. The determination to do better, be stronger (physically and mentally) and play harder comes from our God-given talents.

Premier League football player, Olivier Giroud, who openly speaks about his Christian faith, points to God after scoring a goal.

Implementing faith into my golf game has been the turning point in my athletic mindset, and other athletes at Eastern University can probably say the same. Golf undoubtedly requires more mental strength than physical strength, although conditioning and endurance is necessary to carry a 25-pound bag with 14 clubs for 18 holes while keeping the technique and coordination of my swing. Calming the mind before each swing is imperative if I want to perform. Deep breaths, remembering the cross around my neck and looking down at my glove to see “Isaiah 40:31” written remind me that God’s presence will help me execute. If I have a bad hole and a bad round, God’s tough love reminds me that even though it’s not the end of the world, I have no excuse to let my head down and give up.

As Christian athletes, being on a team means more than just playing or practicing in a group setting. A team to a Christian athlete is a band of brothers and sisters who share their love of God and their love of the game. Team prayers before team meetings, dinners, practices, and tournaments lift up the minds and hearts of the players. Coming to a Christian university, I was excited to see this in more action because everyone on my team would share the same love of Christ that I do, and everyone would realize their success as a product of their God-given gifts. In my public high school, when the girls on my team were not very religiously involved, I still wanted to involve faith in my golf game. As captain of my team, I prayed before each big match. But, now, having several girls and guys that really take those prayers to heart makes a difference to our success as a team and utilizing God’s grace in the ways He intends.

Being an athlete is a commitment. Being a Christian is a commitment. Athletes love the game they play, and Christians love the one they worship. When combined, a love for showcasing the glorious gifts God has given us sports players is displayed. Being a Christian athlete is among the happiest things I am able to be. And I, and all Christian athletes, are beyond grateful.