Blogosphere

NH+C Birth Center expansion close to completion

Northfield News - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 9:20pm
Northfield Hospital and Clinics is drawing closer to completing the expansion of its Birth Center work that will drastically increase the space available for newborns and their families.
Categories: Local News

Local partisans raise concern over yard sign thefts

Northfield News - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 6:30pm
With political tensions on the rise in advance of November’s election, local partisans are reporting a concerning increase in theft and vandalism of yard signs.
Categories: Local News

The Weekly List – The Grunge Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 6:00pm
Commemorating the 29th anniversary of the release of Smells Like Teen Spirit, this week Rich takes a look at the music that came out of Seattle in the early 1990’s.

Northfield Shares 2020-21 Grant Process Now Open

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 4:00pm
The 2020-21 Northfield Shares Grant process is now open. Criteria, guidelines, and other information is available on the Northfield Shares website: northfieldshares.org/grants. Grant applications are due by October 5. Reminder: For organizations which received a 2019-20 grant (Annual Permanent Endowed and/or Stronger Together) Your Grant Impact Reports are due September 30.  Note:There are three types of funds from which granting

Share in Northfield’s Future Fund goal for September

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 3:48pm
Back in March, the world changed, Northfield changed. How we did business, volunteered, learned, communicated, connected and even got a cup of coffee was different. It’s been quite the learning curve, but we’re figuring it out. Through it all, what has not wavered or changed, is the commitment of Northfielders to Northfield! You continue to amaze with your financial

Dept. of Traffic Safety statistics report on the “100 most traveled days”

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 3:24pm
100 Most Traveled Days Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, known as the 100 most-traveled days on Minnesota roads, again proved to be a tragic time in 2020. According to Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) preliminary figures, there were 152 deaths this summer. That represents 60 percent of all traffic fatalities

Who was that masked student?

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 2:45pm

I had my individual meetings with my four first-year advisees today – nice young men and women,* all suburbanites, all student-athletes, all excited about college. None of them took me up on my offer to have our meetings by video call, and each of them commented in one way or another about being “Zoomed out” after a disrupted senior year of high school, a summer spent looking at a screen, and now orientation that includes a lot of activities on Zoom.

So I enjoyed talking face to face with them, or mask to mask, eight feet apart. I found it taxing to listen to someone that far away whose mouth is hidden by the masks they all dutifully wore. Nonetheless we had some great conversations that covered a lot of ground I’d expected and needed to cover (general education requirements, Carleton as an institution, Northfield as a place) as well some topics that gave me a better sense of them as people – G, who worries about finding enough time to pursue all of his interests; I, who wants to know the best restaurants in town; B, who has already planned out her major; and S, who wants to meet more people already!

All in all, the meetings were refreshing reminders of what Carleton is all about and that the kids are going to do pretty well despite the world we’ve forced them to live in.

But sill: it’s insane to me that everyone – today, literally every person on campus! – is wearing a mask. Disposable ones, Carleton-branded ones, fancy ones, plain ones, pattered ones, solid-colored ones. 2020: the year we couldn’t see anyone’s mouth, and learned to recognize each other by eyebrows and noses.

* After 14 years at Carleton, I feel like I can almost start calling them “kids,” but I remember feeling So Grown Up at 18…

The post Who was that masked student? appeared first on Blowing & Drifting.

Categories: Citizens

RCAUW offering Covid grants to local nonprofits

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 1:46pm
Rice County Area United Way invites local nonprofits experiencing needs specifically resulting from COVID-19 to apply for funding. Rice County Area United Way recently received $20,000 from Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund of the Minnesota Council on Foundations to re-grant to local nonprofits. “The funding will help nonprofits weather this storm and recover with renewed vigor,”

Rice Co. Deputies/Correctional Officers get nod for BWCs; NPD gets some resistance on BWCs from Nfld Council; First Responder day

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn is the President of the Minnesota Sheriffs Association. They’ve been working on police reform and body camera policies. With that in mind, Dunn went before the Rice County Commissioners who have signaled support for the purchase of 50 of them. He said, “hopefully by the

Q&A with Devonte Merrick

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:33am

The two weeks of quarantine on the St. Olaf campus posed a unique question for any Oles involved in music: Where can I practice? 

Devonte Merrick ’23, a trumpet player and member of both the St. Olaf Band and one of the jazz ensembles, decided that his best option was to head outside. Merrick gained lots of attention when he started getting flirts on the “St. Olaf Flirts” Facebook page. 

I talked with Merrick over Zoom to ask him about his music and his newfound fame.

 

Where have you practiced during the quarantine period?

I started by practicing in my room similarly to a lot of people, but since I play the trumpet I have this thing called a mute which dampens my sound just a little bit. I want to be conscious of my pod members and stuff. But I had an audition that was coming up that required me to play pretty high and loud on the trumpet so that’s when I started practicing outside … I just walk to the back of Ytterboe, point my horn towards the forest and let it rip.

What sort of reception have you gotten from classmates, friends and strangers?

I’d say for the most part it’s been mainly positive, which actually is really surprising to me. But there was one instance where I was recording one video for one of the meme pages and somebody yelled out their window like, “Hey, practice inside or something!” That made me just a little self-conscious, but for the most part it’s been, like, positive reception.

How do you feel about your newfound fame via the flirts?

It’s a little weird to be honest, but you know, it’s a little humbling as well. It’s interesting though, because when I’m going to practice, I’m not trying to intentionally play stuff that makes me sound good. The big cliché thing with us music majors is that we sound bad in the practice room so we sound good when it comes to performance. So, to have to be cognizant that people are actively listening to me now that I’m out practicing, it makes me feel just a little bit weird because I know that sometimes I’m going to have to work through a rough patch. But you know, it’s kind of inspiring, not gonna lie.

Can you tell me more about what you posted on the “St. Olaf 666” Facebook page after the request for a serenade on the “St. Olaf Flirts” Facebook page? What was the story behind that?

There was a flirt that I saw; I don’t know if that one was inherently about me, but it was like, “To the trumpet players, St. Olaf can you use your talent to serenade us with a version of ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ at 4 on Tuesday,” and I was like, wow that’s super specific. I mean, I wasn’t doing anything. I’m just trying to find excuses to play again because that’s what brings me joy, so I was like, you know what? Let’s do it. So I went outside, pulled up “Hips Don’t Lie,” listened to it a few times, figured out the notes and then I was just letting it rip into the forest to be honest. And luckily enough, when I recorded it, it was like 3:50ish so I could upload it just at 4. 

Are you hoping there might be a potential romantic partner behind all these flirts? 

You know, I would not complain. However, I am not actively looking. I think I’m in a very secure relationship with my trumpet at the moment.

Even now that the quarantine period is over, Merrick plans to continue serenading the St. Olaf community. He hopes to play some jazz sometime soon on the quad with his friend Colby Andersen ’23.

Interview has been edited for clarity. 

 

miller56@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Pandemic restrictions create both difficulties and opportunities for campus musicians

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:27am

Music majors on the St. Olaf campus have had to adjust to a series of obstacles amid the pandemic. During the quarantine period, music majors had to practice in their rooms in the presence of their roommates. Even in the current reopening period, there are barriers to practicing.

Composition major Adam Pazandak ’23 described his experience with the new practice room policy.

“It’s harder to find a time when you’re available to practice when the slots are taking up such a big chunk of the day,” Pazandak said. “I wouldn’t necessarily suggest people practice less, but something needs to happen.”

Speaking more generally about being a music student in the pandemic, performance major Lacy Williams ’21 said, “This semester as a music student is, in one word: the Minnesota ‘interesting.’” 

Despite these challenges, some musicians on campus have seen this pandemic and the free time and solitude it has provided as an opportunity to create and improve. Markian Romanyshyn ’23 has used quarantine as a chance to create a solo album. 

“Music has helped me cope with the pandemic, and it’s kind of an expression of my coping too,” Romanyshyn said. “It’s been an outlet to evaluate what I need for myself emotionally and also express it artistically.” 

Music and the arts on campus are as important as ever. As Williams said, “Music is our beacon of hope right now in our two pandemics we are facing. We are able to come together for causes bigger than ourselves and fight for equality as well as being able to come together doing what we love!”

graham10@stolaf.edu

 

Categories: Colleges

Swank, the St. Olaf streaming platform, reviewed

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:23am

Since the pandemic put an end to movie viewings in Viking Theater, St. Olaf has decided to partner with a streaming service called Swank, which allows students to access all sorts of movies. 

I only watch two kinds of movies: artsy two-and-a-half-hour-long movies where nothing happens, and movies so rancid you can’t help but hope for the annihilation of film as a medium. The first thing I saw when opening up the launch page of Swank was “Moonlight,” winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture, next to “Cats,” a film that required staff whose sole job was to remove the CGI cat anuses from each shot of the original cut. I knew this was the place for me.

If you don’t want to watch the heights of critical acclaim or the bottom of the garbage pile, there are still some choices for you. Scrolling through the newly added section—the mind-boggling choice of the newly added “Baby Driver” notwithstanding — you will find plenty of box office champion movies like “Jumanji,” the “Harry Potter” series and the “John Wick” movies. St. Olaf’s package is missing most classic movies, recent releases, documentaries, indie films and movies by Disney, which is all to be expected; I’d prefer my college not to bankrupt itself with licensing fees.

Once you decide on a movie to watch, the service works perfectly. The multiple times I have ‘swanked it up,’ if you will, I have never had a technical issue. Deciding on a movie is the hard part. If you are anything like me, you look for a movie on streaming services by entering a mystical state in which your eyes gloss over and you scroll endlessly, realizing only after being snapped to reality that you’ve spent half an hour without any clue of what you’re going to watch. For better or for worse, you can’t do that with Swank. Looking at the meager mystery section with its three options or the singular Western movie really makes you realize that 250 movies is a small selection. You can more or less know of all the service’s offerings after scrolling for just a few minutes. 

The streaming service is such a step down from something like Netflix that it’s sort of endearing. I found myself smiling at the (I admit) intuitive St. Olaf-branded interface, and experienced genuine joy watching the advertisements in front of the movies urging students to vote or follow the Office of Student Activities on Instagram. The service has the silly “je ne sais quoi” of St. Olaf programming. Remember, we’re replacing the Shrek marathon in Viking, not the Louvre. Despite not having Shrek, I think it’ll do. It’ll do.

graham10@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

MediaBeat: Netflix’s “Mr. Iglesias”

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:19am

By Lerato Mensah-Aborampah ’22

In an effort to be intentional about seeking out some warm, hearty and funny content from the media I consume, I have found myself naturally gravitating towards sitcoms. Yes, plain old sitcoms in all their cheesy humor, predictable plotlines and chirpy characters—all of it. So, two weeks back, after having already consumed an arguably concerning number of sitcoms throughout the summer, I landed on yet another one:  “Mr. Iglesias.”

Mr. Iglesias, better known by the full name he uses for stand-up comedy specials, Gabriel Iglesias, is a funny and charismatic high school history teacher who cares for his students and strives to see them succeed despite all odds. His group of students and colleagues are a refreshing bunch. For example, there’s Tony—the teacher that literally does nothing as far as being a teacher is concerned—and Lorenzo, a student who comes to class every day believing in one conspiracy theory after another. The relationships between the characters kept me thoroughly entertained.

“Mr. Iglesias” is about much more than just its characters, though. The show becomes an ode to teaching, a profession that society has consistently undervalued. What I particularly love about this show is that it achieves humor without glossing over some of the harsh realities that teachers and students face in the U.S.’s K-12 education system. The show speaks to obstacles such as limited school supplies and low teacher salaries through the vehicles of humor and character development.

“Mr. Iglesisas” is a sitcom that took me on more rides than I had anticipated. The show uses humor to make short, powerful commentaries not only on problems within the U.S’s K-12 education system but also on snippets of American history and the realities of systemic inequalities within education. From the seemingly inconsequential “ha ha” that escapes your lips after a fairly cheesy joke to a full-blast laugh from the core, “Mr. Iglesias” guarantees laughter and approaches important themes with worthwhile thoughtfulness. If you are looking for a fun show during your breaks between unending college assignments, “Mr. Iglesias” might just be it. 

mensah1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Heartbeat

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:13am

To all of the Ole couples out there,

I am so jealous of you. If you weren’t aware, only 43 percent of students are from Minnesota. So, you can imagine how many out-of-towners were forced to leave their significant others behind. I, unfortunately, was one of those people. There is a ton of stigma surrounding the long distance relationship, and in the weeks leading up to move-in day, many asked me the age-old question: Are you two going to break up before you leave? 

First and foremost, stop asking! Emotional probing is inappropriate and often causes the recipient to question their commitment. Your unbelieving scoff definitely doesn’t help either. The last thing a long distance couple needs is others questioning the validity of their relationship. Keep these thoughts to yourself and please consider the feelings of others.

To my fellow Oles in long-distance relationships, 

Communication is the most important part of any relationship, so why do we long distance lovers have such an issue with communicating? Often, we do not discuss when or how we will stay in touch, even though we are lucky enough to live in the era of texting and FaceTime!  Time is a rare resource, one which we often waste with poor time-management. Make time for your partner—schedule video chats and tell them about your day before you go to bed.  These small gestures will let your partner know that you are thinking of them. 

Once you develop a solid means of communication, it’s time to listen. Take time to actively listen to your partner and evaluate their concerns and needs. When they are troubled by the state of your relationship, reassure them! Let them know  you understand their feelings and remind them that you still love and appreciate them. While you listen, I would recommend paying close attention to their interests. It can be easy to feel disconnected when you no longer share common ground. You can still support their growth and endeavours from afar; show genuine interest, and let them know you are proud.

These are all great ways to maintain an intimate relationship from a distance, but you must also be ready to handle the rough patches. It can be difficult to address these sensitive subjects through text or over the phone, but always speak up when something is bothering you. Unvoiced concerns can easily turn into resentment. Realize that distance puts you on an uneven playing field—your circumstances will be wildly different. Be prepared to share your troubles and remember to listen. 

Caring from a distance can sometimes become very time consuming. Never be afraid to take time for yourself. Living your life is just as, if not more, important than caring for your significant other. Explore what life apart has to offer! There are countless new and interesting people around you. Don’t feel guilty about having a life outside of your relationship. I would recommend it for any type of couple. Explore yourself and share what you’ve learned. 

So, that leaves the dreaded problem of trust. I would just like to say, if you don’t trust your partner when you leave, should you really be together? If you have full faith in them, it’s just a matter of combating overthinking. Even the strongest of couples can find themselves wondering if their partner still loves them. Like I mentioned before, reassurance can go a long way.  An unexpected “I miss you” or “I’m thinking of you” is all it takes sometimes. For the particularly anxious partner, don’t be afraid to ask for affirmation! It can be scary to ask, but a caring partner won’t feel forced if you do.

I will leave you with some ideas to keep in mind: While you are on the uphill climb, always keep looking up. In my opinion, caring too much is better than not caring enough. Be committed, and hope for the happy ending.

thomps41@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf professors adapt to teaching in the time of COVID

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:07am

Students have descended on the St. Olaf campus once again: jogging in the natural lands, practicing instruments outdoors, playing Spikeball for hours, waiting in line at Stav and, of course, hammocking. This time though, they don face masks, stand far apart and Zoom their classes from the dorm halls. Just as students have been working on adjusting to this strange and new way of life together, so have their professors.

Some professors prepared for the first full year they have ever taught online, some are working on a complicated hybrid curriculum and all are searching for new and improved ways of connecting with and supporting their students during a pandemic and a national racial reckoning. 

“For me, personally, I felt like it was a really high stakes summer. I felt a pressure and a need to get my work right in a way I haven’t felt since I first started at the college,” Associate Professor of Psychology Carlo Veltri said. “I want to give my absolute best to my job.” 

During a normal summer, faculty members take a much needed break from teaching and often conduct personal research, spend time with family and revamp their curriculum. This year their summers consisted of technology workshops, department meetings and anti-racism classroom learning. 

Like everyone else in the United States, professors were experiencing the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19. When the spring semester ended, professors were left uncertain as to how the fall would pan out. In early June there was an announcement that students would be back on campus, but no details were set in stone. Then, in early July, professors were notified that they could petition to have their classes completely online for health reasons or if they felt it would be more beneficial and effective for teaching their classes. 

Assistant Professor of Spanish Amy Hill Cosimini decided to have her classes entirely online. She describes needing to be at home with a young child, as well as the benefits that online teaching has, especially for language courses. 

“Pedagogically, the ability to see my mouth move and how I am pronouncing words is really important when you have never seen a language before,” Hill Cosimini said. 

Despite professors and students being frustrated with the presence of online courses, there have been some unexpected benefits such as new modes for participation, more intentional connections and learning new technologies. 

For professors committed to teaching in person, it came as a surprise, and a big adjustment, when they were notified that there would be a two week quarantine for students in which classes would need to be online close to the end of the summer. 

Professor of English and the Director of the Center for Innovation in the Liberal Arts (CILA) Mary Titus said that professors worked together in coming up with new ways to teach, with a lot of support from IT and resources provided by CILA. Some professors were able to come to campus to walk through technology in the classrooms and plan out how, when the time came, they would have students in their rooms. Before the professors returned to teaching, CILA offered technology workshops approximately once a week. 

“St. Olaf faculty have been amazing,” Titus said. “Some people have not just come up to speed, but they have innovated.”

Especially for classes that rely on in person interaction—dance, labs, theatre, music and studio arts—creative problem solving has become a huge part of this fall semester. Artist in Residence in Dance Anthony Roberts spoke about the difficulties of teaching dance from his kitchen and described how hard it is to see the movements of his students and adjust their work. 

“Because we have to move our physical bodies, there has to be a level of engagement,” Roberts said. He feels his classes are a space for students to move and break up their day of sitting at their computer. Roberts is proud of the engagement that comes from his classes, which require students to be immersed. 

This year, professors have been making technological and logistical shifts as well as pedagogical moves towards anti-racism. On top of his teaching, Veltri works with the To Include is to Excel Grant. This fall, with nationwide protests in response to police violence against BIPOC, as well as St. Olaf protests around racism at this institution, the College—and more specifically the grant—have been focusing on racism and its manifestations in the classroom. 

“I think the protests have made me conscious of how much work I need to do to become a better anti-racist ally,” Hill Cosimini wrote in an email to The Messenger. “It is a process that is never complete, and I am just at the beginning. Thus, for me it is about finding ways in my classes to amplify the voices of BIPOC scholars, artists, activists, etc.” 

The To Include is To Excel team has been coming up with different strategies for classrooms to break down barriers, assumptions and hierarchies. The grant, CILA and the new Task Force to Confront Structural Racism have identified resources for colleagues to help professors begin this pedagogical shift. 

“In these conversations [around anti-racism at St. Olaf] I have realized I’m not the only person making these deliberate choices,” Veltri said. “I’m not the only person who has to wrestle with times I have failed to make those choices, or times where I have made the choices and executed things poorly or that I’m frustrated that my choices seem so small when the problem is so large.”

This work has translated into the classroom in different ways. Professors are working to create physically distant community, be more accessible to students and make space for students to share how they are feeling. 

They describe missing the small benefits of in person college teaching, such as moments before and after classes, office hours or walking by and chatting with students. Veltri described how his teaching used to be so focused on reading the students: if they were distracted, wishing to ask a question, communication through eye contact, small movements of encouragement and so on. It has been a new challenge for professors to work to create space for connection and relationship building, especially for the new students. 

“I dedicate the first 5-10 minutes of every class to do a kind of community building activity, whether it be an icebreaker or a different type of get-to-know-you activity,” Hill Cosimini said. Some professors even open their Zoom calls before they arrive to class in order to give the students time to talk and connect with each other. 

With national turmoil and increased separation from students, professors are even more concerned about students’ well being and mental health.  

“I miss being able to hear a little bit more about where my students are at any given time,” Associate Professor of Computer Science Olaf Hall-Holt said. “I hope that my students know that I am trying. I would like to know if there are ways that I can make things easier for them.”

Ultimately, professors expressed that students have been flexible and open to the changes. 

“The amount of support I have received from students reminds me why I am happy to be teaching here,” Veltri said. 

peacor2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

02 Sept 2020 – Drawdown

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:03am
Welcome to The KYMN Climate Show, with Bruce Morlan and Alan Anderson, where we discuss climate issues in the news and then dig into the stories behind those stories. Today’s overview – we’ll tell a couple of stories – then we’ll talk about Drawdown – doing what helps and doing what is necessary. 1st story

Rice County Commissioner Galen Malecha on tax levy and more

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 9:46am
Rice County Commissioner Galen Malecha discusses body cams for Sheriff’s Department, preliminary tax levy, road projects, and funding from the CARES Act.

Galen Malecha on Defeat of Jesse James Days

KYMN Radio - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 9:36am
Defeat of Jesse James Days General Chair Galen Malecha provides information on how the DJJD Committee has modified this year’s celebration into a one-day event.  Visit djjd.org for details about the various events.

Esports see dramatic surge during quarantine

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 8:28am

The global pandemic has left many people working and learning from home. With less driving time, work trips and decreased access to restaurants and other venues, the amount of free space in peoples’ schedules has grown, leaving many looking for ways to entertain themselves. While some picked up baking, sewing or skateboarding, others turned to the world of esports.

Esports is a general term used to describe competitive gaming. While games such as Animal Crossing have also increased in popularity during the pandemic, esports focus more on games where players are aiming to win a specific battle. Popular esports games include League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Apex Legends and Overwatch. Naturally, these games have always been a way to build community and connect with friends to achieve a common goal, but now they are helping many cope with the loneliness that comes with quarantine.  

With COVID-19 isolating most people in one place, esports have become increasingly popular amongst those who may not have tried them before. The ability to access esports from home has drawn in a larger audience than the industry saw in pre-pandemic times. According to the World Economic Forum, the global video game market is forecast to be worth $159 billion in 2020, and huge gaming corporations such as Nintendo and Tencent saw an increase in engagement and sales. Additionally, since COVID-19 limits the ability to broadcast live, in-person competitions, several online competitions have been broadcast on TV, making esports more accessible to a wider audience.

Nate Carlin ’21 weighed in on the popularity of esports.

“Esports is a much larger and more mainstream community than people believe,” Carlin said. “Several different countries compete at the highest level for League of Legends. The world tournament finals last year had 44 million viewers from all over the world. The spring season this year was even on ESPN, likely due to the lack of other things to show.”

While there is no concrete guarantee that the video game market’s revenue will continue to rise due to an abundance of free games and limitations for in-person fundraising, esports continue to provide a socially-distanced alternative to other activities. College students especially have found esports to be a great way to connect with friends over the summer.

“I’ve been playing League of Legends since 2014 and have played for St. Olaf’s collegiate team since I was a freshman,” Carlin said. “We are trying to make it an official club sport this year. Last year we had a 66 percent win rate and made playoffs, although they were cancelled due to COVID-19. I would say I have been playing a lot more games over quarantine since it’s an easy way to pass the time and not feel so confined.”

Melinde Madsen ’21 has found a new vested interest in League of Legends during quarantine as well. 

“I started playing League of Legends to make fun of my boyfriend and his friends,” Madsen said. “But now my roommate and I have become obsessed with it. It was a good way to bond with people off campus and during the first quarantine phase on campus.”

 With so many new changes occurring in school, at work and in our social lives, it makes sense that the world of esports has seen a spurt of growth. Online gaming platforms give players an opportunity to refine or learn a new skill, sharpen their reflexes and enjoy time with friends in a safe manner.

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

The rise of recreational sports during the pandemic

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 09/10/2020 - 8:22am

Although the sounds of whistles, cheers and shouts may have filled your ears last fall, that certainly is not the case this year. Yelling to your teammate across the field with a mask on and playing defense while maintaining a six-foot distance are challenges that no athlete can easily tackle.

In addition to reminiscing about the fall sports season, the warm, sunny days added on to many students’ desire to get outside. As a result, new and returning students embraced the fresh air, emerging from dorms all around campus after the initial COVID-19 test results came back. With competitive sports out of the picture for the near future, students spotlighted different types of fall competition this year. While the pandemic introduced a socially distanced lifestyle worldwide, it also brought about the rise of Spikeball and frisbee.

A spin-off from the classic game of volleyball, Spikeball incorporates the elements of passing, movement and, hence the name, spiking. Built from a circular horizontal net, one team has three touches before the ball ricochets off the net to the opposing team. The freedom to move and spread out while passing makes this game ideal for scratching that competitive itch you have had while being cooped up indoors, all while continuing to maintain a safe distance. Another advantage is that it is not necessary for players to run miles to play the game, making mask-wearing more bearable on those warmer days. 

Now think of the quintessential, Hollywood picture of a college campus. Perhaps you envision students studying in the library far into the night, or a football game with all the fans showing their school spirit. But the one most consistent image is that of a group of friends throwing a frisbee on the quad without a care in the world. This fall especially, St. Olaf embraced the love college students have for the infamous plastic disc and brought that scene from Pitch Perfect to life. 

Whether it was an exciting round of pass, a chance at glory in frisbee golf or a more intense pickup game of Ultimate, students of all frisbee skill levels took to the empty greenery to show off their talents. Never before have I seen such a variety of different ways to throw and catch than I have during my first weeks on campus. Meeting new people outside and staying active all while having fun are some of the main reasons why frisbee has climbed to the top of games on college campuses, whether you are playing it to compete or to have fun. With minimal equipment to be carried to the fields, no refs needed and abundant participation, frisbee is a go-to choice.

On the beautiful fall days when you have exhausted yourself from schoolwork or your usual workout routine, consider changing it up with a game of frisbee or Spikeball. For those looking to play more competitively, this is the time to begin honing your skills for when club and intramural sports begin again. While I continue to work on my aim, technique and all other skills surrounding frisbee, I look forward to the day when I can watch a game of ultimate in its full glory.

esterl1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges
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