The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: February 6, 2013 (Page 3 of 4)

Ray Lewis: off his rocker and into the Hall of Fame

Behind every mask is a story.

Michael Oher rose out of the worst poverty imaginable to become a Super Bowl champion. Tom Brady cried when he fell to the sixth round, then spent the next decade becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks in history to make every team that passed on him regret it. Michael Vick became a $100 million man, lost it all because of dogfighting, and made it back.

Ray Lewis? Ray Lewis might be the greatest linebacker to ever play in the National Football League. He also might be a double murderer. And just for good measure, he might have cheated his way to his second title.

How do you weigh the legacy of a man like that?

Analyzing his football legacy is a fairly easy task. Regardless of what you think of the man, here are the facts. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and was the MVP of one of those games. He has two AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Awards, and holds the record for linebackers with thirteen Pro Bowl selections.

He’s one of the most feared tacklers in NFL history, and one of the most impactful players to ever conspire to keep offenses out of the end zone. Baltimore has remained a defensive stronghold throughout a decade of NFL legislation aimed at eliminating Lewis’ side of the ball from the equation, and he’s the lone Ravens holdout through that entire time span.

He also gained the reputation over the last month as an inspirational force, the likes of which haven’t been seen since (must…not…say…Tim…Tebow), well, since long before our time. In November and December, the Ravens looked lost. They beat Byron Leftwich’s Steelers by three, and needed the entire Chargers team to forget how to play football on 4th and 29 in order to sneak out a win against a terrible San Diego squad. As the season ended, you could have predicted a first-round exit and no one would have objected.

However, on January 2nd, Ray Lewis announced that this season would be his last. Suddenly, the Ravens were a different team. Lewis already was known as a terrifying motivator and a galvanizing force, but listening to people like Ray Rice and Dannell Ellerbe tear up at the thought of not playing with #52 made people really understand just how much he meant to football. Even players across the league expressed sadness that Lewis would be retiring, a testament to his impact not just on the greater Baltimore area, but on the NFL as a whole.

You know what happened next; the Ravens improbably beat Peyton Manning in Denver, Tom Brady in Foxboro, and…okay, so beating Kaepernick in New Orleans isn’t quite the same. But still, it’s the best run we’ve seen since the 2007 Giants, and probably a more improbable one at that. Giving Lewis all the credit would be foolish, but it’s hard to ignore the reality that Ray Lewis’ impact goes far deeper than just what he does between the lines.

Unfortunately, the last month reminded people of the bad side of Ray Lewis. For the first time in years, stories of the double murder in Atlanta resurfaced. Suddenly, people like Wes Welker’s wife were scolding fans for rooting for someone with “6 kids 4 wives” and someone who had “paid a family off” to get out of a murder. However unfair and untrue such characterizations may be, they still dominated headlines as the playoffs continued and the Ravens kept winning.

Lewis also alienated fans by continuously leaping in front of anyone with a microphone or a camera and ranting furiously about his will to win, or his faith that God wanted them to win (“no weapon formed against us shall prosper?” Really, Ray?), or that anything that didn’t relate to winning was unimportant to him. It got pretty damn annoying to hear him blathering on, and the question of how he came back from a torn triceps in half the normal time despite being 37 years old didn’t really help his public perception.

It’s very interesting that despite the terrible things that Lewis is alleged to have done, his public image is fairly pristine. Instead of a hated, flawed hero, he’s the determined, consummate winner. The takeaway is that at the end of the day, fans don’t really care if you fought dogs, or allegedly raped a hotel clerk (and I say allegedly with all the sarcasm at my disposal), or allegedly stabbed two dudes in a nightclub. We care if you work hard, play your sport the right way, whatever that means, and most importantly, win.

Ray Lewis has won at every level, and it seems fitting that the last act of his career was a goal line stand to win the Super Bowl. In the end, that’s the way we’ll see Ray Lewis. We don’t see the flaws, whether they come on the field or off of it. We see what we want to see – we want to be fooled. Rather than weighing the bad with the good, the narrative with Ray Lewis will always be that of a winner. The other stuff gets lost in the mix.

Maybe that’s a good thing. Lewis is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and one of the guys we’ll be talking about for the next century, if football is still around then. Hopefully the story behind Lewis’ mask will fade with time.

Women’s squash finishes fourth in NESCAC Championships

The Bates women’s squash team made it to the NESCAC tournament semifinals over the weekend, before settling for a fourth place finish in the conference.

The Cats, seeded fourth, started their weekend with an 8-1 blowout of Amherst, who was seeded fifth.

Every Bates player in positions 1 through 8 won their match, led by dominating performances from sophomore Nesrine Ariffin at No. 1 (15-13, 11-4, 11-6), senior Cheri-Ann Parris at No. 2, (11-5, 11-6, 11-8), and sophomore Chloe Mitchell at No. 4 (11-3, 11-9, 11-5).

Sophomore Myriam Kelly won a five-set battle at No. 3, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-7.

Following the easy quarterfinal win, the Bobcats then took on top-seeded Trinity in the semifinals.

The result was an identical 8-1 score, with the Bobcats on the losing end of the scoreboard.

Junior Samantha Matos was the only player to take home a win on the day; she won a four-set match at No. 9, 11-8, 15-13, 7-11, 11-5.

The top eight in the Bates lineup all lost 3-0 decisions to the powerful Bantams, who would go on to take the NESCAC title for the seventh time in a row.

As was the case with the men’s team, the women faced off against Middlebury in the third place game after falling in the semifinals.

The Panthers were too much for Bates on Sunday, as the Bobcats went down in a tough 6-3 match.

Bates’ top three players were the only ones to take home wins in the match. Sophomore Nessrine Ariffin won a straight sets decision, 13-11, 11-9, 11-5, while senior Cheri-Ann Parris and sophomore Myriam Kelly both won in four. Parris dropped the first set before rattling off three in a row to win 8-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-8, while Kelly survived a mini-run from her opponent to win 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 11-6.

Middlebury won every match between No. 4 and No. 9, although junior Rakey Drammeh went five sets in her match at No. 7 and sophomore Lesea Bourke, freshman Lauren Williams, senior Ali Bragg, and junior Samantha Matos all lost in four sets.

The Lady Cats will travel to Waterville on Wednesday to take on the Mules of Colby College.

A new Chase Hall

chase hall picOver the summer, Bates made several influential renovations to Chase Hall. These changes include the addition of the Bobcat Den and the Chase Hall Lounge. More recently, attention has been focused on sprucing up the high ceiling room (or Old Commons) located in Chase Hall. The project is part of a larger effort to recast Chase Hall’s role on the Bates College campus.

Last weekend, two Ping-Pong tables were relocated to different ends of the high ceiling room in Chase Hall. The tables are equipped with new nets, two paddles, and several Ping-Pong balls. The tables can be enjoyed anytime the high ceiling room is not already in use. Students can check the availability of the room by going to events.bates.edu and looking at Chase 133 under the “locations” tab.

“It is part of trying to add additional options to Chase Hall in general,” said Keith Tannenbaum, Assistant Dean of Students and head of the entire Student Activities Office.

The new Ping-Pong tables are only one aspect of undergoing changes to Chase Hall. For instance, cable TV is predicted to be added to the two televisions at both ends of Chase Lounge sometime this week.

These changes, although seemingly minor, are designed to eventually culminate in transforming Chase Hall into the hub of social life on campus. Theoretically, Chase Hall would function as a sort of student center on the Bates campus. The Bobcat Den has already drastically increased traffic through Chase Hall and these additions are meant to continue that trend.

As best I understand, the purpose of changing Chase Lounge from a programming space to a full time lounge was to create a student hang out space on campus.  It was intended to be a space that would be available to students that wanted to sit and study, meet up with friends, play pool, watch TV, or just hang out on some comfortable furniture. The work was part of the general changes that took place in Chase over the summer, and at this point are fairly near completion,” said Dean Tannenbaum.

In keeping with Bates’ emphasis on inclusivity, students are welcome and encouraged to make suggestions of other desired additions to Chase Hall. In fact, the existence of the Ping-Pong tables in the high ceilings room is owed to a request made by a group of students.

We have also had requests for a foosball table, which we will also consider.  We would like to make the room as inviting as possible, so if there are ideas that students have I would ask them to let me know directly,” clarified Dean Tannenbaum.  

Therefore, in order to achieve its purpose as one of the most frequently used and favorite student spots on campus, students should feel free to voice their visions of what would make for the best Chase Hall. Students, faculty, and staff all share the goal of improving Chase.

I hope that the space will continue to be used more and more often by students as a place to hang out – for whatever reason they choose. The goal for the space is to make it a comfortable community hangout, and to address requested changes as they come up,” noted Dean Tannenbaum.

Since last year, Chase Hall has made great strides in the direction of becoming a favorite hangout for Batesies. Yet, it has the potential to become even better. This possibility is contingent on students’ sharing their hopes and desires for the space. The future of Chase Hall depends on the college’s student body.

Season 2 of Girls suffers the sophomore slump

On January 13th, HBO’s half-hour hit series Girls returned for its second season after a smash-hit first season in 2012.

The show follows four young women beginning their post-college lives in New York City. The action centers on short-story author, Hannah, her three best friends, and the men that circulate in and out of their lives. Hannah’s self-deprecating wit is undoubtedly the triumph of the first season. Her awkward, frustrating interactions with her pseudo-boyfriend Adam are so gritty and realistic that at times we feel so uncomfortable for our flawed protagonist that it is hard to watch.

Hannah and her crew guide us through their experiences in their professional and personal lives with a clumsy yet endearing determination to which we can all relate. And this show is definitely relatable. Whether or not you have experienced a particular scene, you are likely to find yourself nodding at the screen and saying “exactly!”

“It’s one of the only real shows out there for people our age, and anyone who has ever been our age,” says Olivia Kavanaugh, a sophomore at Vassar College.

Marketed as this decade’s Sex and the City, Girls has kept critics and audiences on their toes through a refreshingly down-to-earth and audacious approach to storytelling.

However, some viewers do not think this an adequate comparison.

“I’ve heard of Girls being compared to Sex and the City, however, I couldn’t think of a more dissimilar show. Where Sex and the City glamorizes and exaggerates, Girls humiliates and belittles. Girls gives its audience the chance to take a look at the awkward or stilted times in their own lives and have a laugh about them,” comments Kavanaugh.

The same night Season 2 premiered; Season 1 won the Golden Globes for Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical (taken by creator and star, Lena Dunham).

Unfortunately, Season 2 of Girls has departed from that which made Season 1 so wildly hilarious and successful.

Clearly, the anticipation for Season 2 was high, and Dunham was no doubt feeling the pressure. That eagerness to please is tangible throughout the first four episodes of the season in a very unpleasant way.

Dunham is no longer writing episodes in a vacuum; she now knows what the audience liked and what elicited complaints. In response to fans’ complaints that the show lacked diversity in its characters, the Season 2 premiere debuted Hannah’s new black boy toy Sandy, played by Donald Glover. Though it was nice to see variation, it felt more like pandering to the audience, and this move didn’t sit well with most fans.

“The show isn’t about showing how politically correct things should be, it’s about how things are, and not taking life so seriously,” asserts Kavanaugh.

As a result of this desperation to continue the success, the hilarity of the show has taken a plunge.

“Where has all the comedy gone? I don’t seem to be laughing out loud as much this season,” complains Bates senior Caroline Cook.

The core of the matter is this: Girls has lost its ability to relate to its audience. The characters are no longer vivid portraits of you and your friends but exaggerated and unrealistic freaks designed to make Hannah even look more unusual and countercultural.

“The first four episodes of this new season have the same raw and gritty-cool feel as the first season (it takes no time at all for Dunham to bare her now-famously doughy naked body in a sex scene), but the show has become significantly more predictable,” articulates Hank Stuever of The Washington Post.

The predictability is now the hardest pill to swallow in Season 2 of Girls. As it has blossomed into a hugely popular, critically acclaimed show, it has also lost some of its uniqueness.

Although the quality of Girls has dipped, it is still one of the most groundbreaking and exhilarating shows on television.

Girls

airs on HBO every Sunday at 9:00 P.M.

Men’s Co-Bobcats of the Week: David Pless ’13 & James LePage ’13

Pless_148 LePage_199It’s hard to imagine what else six-time All-American David Pless can accomplish as his incredible career enters its final chapter, but at the Terrier Invitational last weekend, Pless broke 61 feet in the shot put for the first time in his career.

Pless, a senior from Atlanta, Georgia, already owned the Bates shot put record, but broke his previous record by six inches.

Pless also smashed the event weight throw record, breaking former teammate Chris Murtagh’s record by a whopping 18 inches. Pless won the event with a distance of 62 feet and 1 ¼ inches.

LePage, also a senior captain, won two events of his own. He broke the meet record in the 600 meters by over a second, finishing in 1:21.14. He also had a hand in the 4×800 “Blackout Relay” team, which broke the 30-year-old meet record by over a second, finishing in 7:52.83.

LePage ran the anchor leg of the relay, slamming on the door on runner-up USM.

Men’s squash has 2-1 week, takes third at NESCACs

The men’s squash team made an appearance in the NESCAC semifinals over the weekend, eventually settling for an impressive third place finish in the conference tournament.

Bates began the tournament in the quarterfinals against Wesleyan.

Led by freshman Ahmed Abdel Khalek, the Bobcats easily took down the Cardinals by a score of 7-2.

Khalek won in straight sets, 11-6, 11-2, 11-5.

Bates also won 3-0 decisions at the No. 3 through No. 8 positions in a dominating performance.

Senior captain Walter Cabot, senior R.J. Keating, sophomore Andy Cannon, sophomore Nabil Saleem, freshman Filip Michalsky, and freshman Caran Arora all won their matches.

The win against Wesleyan moved the Bobcats into the semifinals, where they squared off with the Ephs of Williams College, seeded second in the tournament.

The skill of Bates’ freshman class was on full display in the match; the freshman trio of Khalek, Michalsky, and Arora were the only players to score wins in the match.

Khalek, playing No. 1, won easily in three sets, 11-3, 11-7, 11-3, while Michalsky and Arora both won four set matches playing at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.

Cabot said, “we had hopes of beating Williams, and were pretty disappointed it didn’t happen. We’re definitely looking forward to getting another shot at Williams in nationals, it’s always a lot of fun playing them.”

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the conference finals, the Bobcats were still able to regroup for the third place game against Middlebury.

Avenging losses in the NESCAC tournament in 2011 and 2012, the men’s squash team flattened the Panthers on Sunday, taking the match 7-2 to clinch a third-place finish in the league.

Led by Khalek, the Bobcats, seeded #3 in the tournament, took down the Panthers, who were ranked #4.

Khalek scored an easy 11-6, 11-3, 11-7 victory at the No. 1 spot, continuing his outstanding freshman season.

Scoring four-set wins were junior Kristian Muldoon at No. 2 (15-13, 7-11, 13-11, 11-6) and senior captain Walter Cabot at No. 3 (11-5, 4-11, 11-7, 11-9).

Sophomore Andy Cannon (playing at No. 5) and freshman Filip Michalsky (playing at No. 7) also notched wins.

“Beating Middlebury 7-2 made the tournament a little sweeter,” said Cabot, also adding “it’s good to see that we’re coming into form at the end of the season.”

Having won five of their last seven matches, the Bobcats (12-9) will travel to Colby to play their final team match of the season on Wednesday at 6 PM.

The team will then have some time off to prepare for individual and team nationals.

Why I Love School and Love Education Too

This past December the English poet-rapper Suli Breaks released a video titled “Why I hate school but love education.” Since it aired not long ago, the video has received over two million hits and has certainly inspired many frustrated students with regards to the intense education debate going on in the U.S., a debate which sadly leaves out the voice of those who are still pursuing their education. Breaks’s video is the response of a frustrated generation of students to an unfortunate state of things: an expensive undergraduate degree does not insure employment after college, and seemingly only a postgraduate degree will be necessary to make the undergraduate one worth the time and fortune.

Breaks’ video is in the same style as the much bigger YouTube phenomenon, “Why I hate religion but love Jesus.” A young man decries the apparently corrupt and backwards institution of religion that suppresses and chokes off the brave message of Christ, in the same way that the outdated institution of “school” stamps out the ideal of education.

Though few doubt the message that colleges and universities are following an outdated model that cannot be sustained except with generous donations and charging vast tuition rates, Breaks’ video is itself evidence of the everlasting necessity of school. As we will examine further, it’s important that we not throw out the baby with the bath water, as Breaks thinks we should do.

The poem/rap lists individuals like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Zuckerberg as individuals who attained success but never graduated from a higher learning institution, listing the net worth of each person. As Breaks rightly points out, money is “only the means by which we measure worldly success,” which leads him to the point that we do not need school to work for charity either. There you have your two options: you are doing it for the money or you are working for charity. Breaks has ruled out the possibility that someone could work in the private sector and benefit society.

The video goes on, “But are you aware that examiners have a checklist? And if your answer is something outside of the box, the automatic response is a cross, and then they claim that school expands your horizons and your visions.” Breaks is not wrong in suggesting that teachers can often be unfair, treating questions which could have many answers as having one specific one, trying to turn opinion into fact. However school does necessarily include a lot of absorbing of theories, events and formulas, and it is important to recognize that when a professor says “no” it’s often in service of a far greater “yes.” A good teacher will correct a student dozens if not hundreds of times. This is not to discourage him/her or crush their imagination, but to aid their mastery of the subject.

The video includes a quote from the Bible, Proverbs 17:16, “It does not a fool no good to spend money on an education, because he has no common sense.” Suli Breaks follows this up with “George Bush, need I say more?” Yes Suli! You need say more because that’s what we do in school; we back up our claims and arguments with truth. Here we see the contradiction in the video: we can fairly protest a school that treats opinions as facts, something which our own Bates has been guilty of at times, but we cannot fall into the same pattern ourselves because we were asleep when our teachers asked that we defend our opinions with the knowledge we gained, you guessed it, in school.

Perhaps the highlight of the video is when the poet recounts a memorable moment when he watched David Beckham kick a ball into a goal over a great distance. “I watched as the goal keeper froze, as if reciting to himself the laws of physics, as if his brain was negotiating with his eyes,” and “then reacting only a fraction of a millisecond too late.” Are we really going to blame knowledge of the laws of physics for the missed block? Could it actually be a bad thing to know science because it does not fit the functions of our job? Yes, being a great athlete is another way to be educated, but claiming that having to know the laws of physics is oppressive is another way to be idiotic.

One thing I learned in school is that “education” comes from the Latin “educere” which literally means to “lead out.” The question then is who does the leading? If we don’t need the chore of school to receive the good of education, then are we as students really capable of leading ourselves out of ignorance and into intellect? School is and always should be the meeting point of the learned and the learning, and only from this meeting is education then produced.

I have heard many propose that things like literature, history, languages, philosophy, and liberal arts in general are things that you can learn at home on the Internet or in a book (we can only hope it’s a book). However, without wise teachers who can guide us toward the right books and websites, our learning will not reflect mastery but our own uneducated desires for cheap, noisy, and ill-informed material that can hold our shrinking attention spans (like YouTube videos, for example). As students, we need extraordinary individuals who can not only place great demands on our intellects, but also fill us with the desire to meet those demands. Those individuals tend to be found in schools.

Student government treasurer appointed, not elected

Last week Batesies elected several of their classmates to positions in student government. Alyssa Morgosh was elected VP of Student Committees, Paul Fourgous VP of Student Clubs, and Brad Reynolds Student Body President. One position, however, was conspicuously absent from the list of elected positions—BCSG treasurer.

There has been a great deal of controversy over how the position of treasurer should be selected. To get the full picture, a little context is a must. Prior to 2007, the student body president appointed the treasurer directly, pending a simple majority confirmation in the R.A., or Representative Assembly. But in 2007, then-President Bill Jack and the BCSG—under the duress of an embezzlement scandal—amended the constitution to make for an “executive council” appointment system. Under this system, the executive council, consisting of the president, two vice-presidents, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, and the chairs of the four advisory committees, appointed a treasurer by a simple majority vote, which would then be again confirmed in the R.A. by another majority vote, just like in the old system. In essence, President Jack’s amendment just shifted the initial treasury appointment from the president to a larger committee.

Yet for the past two election cycles, the position of treasurer has been voted on in the general election rather than appointed according to former President Jack’s procedure, which is still technically the law. According to sitting Treasurer Matt Furlow and newly elected President Reynolds, the previous two administrations held open elections in defiance of the constitution after an old piece of failed R.A. legislation calling for the open election of treasurer failed to become law but was somehow incorporated into BCSG procedure as if it had been passed. According to Michelle Pham, a member of the President’s and Trustees Advisory committees, the legislation calling for direct elections actually had passed by the required three-fourths vote, and was therefore constitutional. To be sure, the details of this legislation remain murky, and both sides claim they can prove their position with evidence. Yet uncertainty over past records abounds. The reason for the uncertainty? “Bad record-keeping” under the previous administration, according to Reynolds.

But a focus on the wonkier ins and outs of the previous election (or lack thereof) misses the heart of the debate. The real question is whether elections would make the treasurer more accountable to the Bates community. According to Furlow, open elections would do little to hold the treasurer more accountable. For starters, Furlow argued that it would be hard to distribute information about the budget meetings to students to help them make informed decisions. In addition, Furlow argued that the treasurer and budget committee are already held accountable in several ways. Within the committee itself, all proposals are passed by a simple majority vote. The treasurer, like each committee member, has just one vote. In addition, the R.A. also checks the treasurer’s power in several ways. For example, the R.A. must approve the annual budget from the budget committee, the R.A. must ratify new members, and it can even impeach the sitting treasurer with a three-fourths majority vote.

Moreover, both Furlow and Reynolds stressed that the treasurer is a bureaucratic position meant to serve as a liaison between students and the budget committee. To that end, the two suggested that knowledge of budgetary procedure was much more important than any accountability that could be gained through a direct election.

And this is precisely the problem with an appointed treasurer, according to Pham. She said that because the treasurer is supposed to serve as a conduit through which student proposals find their way into the budget committee, it is extremely important that the treasurer be selected by his or her peers. Concerning the “complexity” of the position, Pham was frank; “it’s not rocket science.”

The debate over appointment or election is not likely to be resolved soon. As long as the budget committee allocates club funds, students will still feel strongly about how the position is selected. Fortunately, Pham, Furlow, and Reynolds have all noted that there need to be definitive constitutional changes to settle the issue once and for all. Exactly what these constitutional changes entail, and exactly how the BCSG plans to agree on them remains an open question.

Kaepernick just scratching the surface

Two days after the Super Bowl, ESPN.com published an article reporting that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is planning to begin training later this week. Most NFL players, as in pretty much every single player other than Kaepernick, take at least a few weeks off after their seasons end to rest their beleaguered bodies and relax. Most personal training regimens will start up again in late March or early April, when players start thinking about OTA’s and summer training camps.

Kaepernick is not like most NFL players. While the work ethic is certainly impressive, that is not what really sets him apart. All good quarterbacks work tirelessly on their crafts, whether on the field or in the film room. Kaepernick will not have an issue with preparation for next year, especially considering that Jim Harbaugh, the man who purportedly “never leaves the film room” in the offseason, is his coach.

What makes Kaepernick special is the unique combination of size, speed, arm strength, accuracy, and decision making that he brings to the quarterback position. Kaepernick is 6’5”, runs a 4.53 second 40-yard dash (wow), and has the laser, rocket arm of a major league baseball pitcher (he threw a 92 mph fastball in high school).

Kaepernick should scare other teams not only because of his talents (and tattoos), but because of his demeanor. In interviews, he comes off as a laid back guy who doesn’t take anything too seriously, radiating a “surfer dude” attitude that probably comes from growing up in Southern California. But this image masks an athlete that plays like he has something to prove every time he takes the field.

Only one school, the University of Nevada, offered Kaepernick a scholarship out of high school. Despite being the only quarterback in the history of Division I college football to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards in a career, Kaepernick was passed over in the first round of the NFL draft. He had to sit on the bench behind Alex Smith (who played well, but does not possess the physical tools that Kaepernick does) and watch during his rookie year, while fellow rookies Cam Newton and Andy Dalton took the NFL by storm.

Kaepernick is the story of the kid that everyone knew had talent, but because of his attitude and funny throwing motion, no one really believed in. Until that game against St. Louis when Alex Smith got hurt, no one planned on giving Kaepernick a real chance.

But when he did get his chance, he stepped onto the field and absolutely demolished the league’s (at the time) number one ranked Chicago Bears defense. Kaepernick torched the Bears with his arm, throwing for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns and posting a total QBR of 97.5.

Kaepernick continued to light up NFL defenses in all seven games that he started, leading the 49ers to the number two seed in the NFC. He established himself as a dual-threat quarterback second only to Washington’s Robert Griffin III. Kaepernick’s advantage is that he is more successful at avoiding big hits, and therefore, less prone to injury (Griffin suffered a concussion and tore his ACL this year).

Kaepernick set the single-game rushing record for quarterbacks when he ran for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 16 attempts against the Packers. That also happened to be his first playoff game, and he also happened to throw for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sensing a trend?

Resolve and steel nerves are also quickly becoming his trademarks, as the very next week in the NFC championship Kaepernick led the 49ers back from a 17-0 first half deficit to win 28-24 in the Georgia Dome against the NFC’s #1 seed, the Atlanta Falcons. In the Super Bowl, Kaepernick nearly completed an impossible comeback after the Ravens took a 28-6 lead, and threw for 302 yards while rushing for 62 yards.

Kaepernick has the system gamed so that defenses can never really contain him. When they blitz, he makes quick throws. When they drop into coverage, he burns them with his legs. Even the TV cameramen can’t figure out his fakes on the read-option plays.

He came one play away from winning the Super Bowl after starting just seven regular season games. He has only started ten NFL games in his life. And he is getting ready for next season, starting tomorrow. History says that young, dual-threat quarterbacks don’t win championships. Kaepernick doesn’t care about that, and he plans on being back in the Super Bowl next year. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Men’s track runs away with Maine State Championship, women take second

synchronized hurdlingThe men’s and women’s track teams competed last Saturday at the Maine State Championships in what turned out to be a historic night for the Bobcats. Both teams enjoyed immense success as the men’s team cruised to victory, while the women’s team finished in second, scoring 185.6 points to narrowly edge out Colby for second place. Bowdoin claimed the women’s state championship.

The Bates men finished with 207 points, easily besting second place Bowdoin who finished on 139 points.

Part of the reason for the men’s and women’s success was the individual prowess of several Bobcats who broke record during the meet. Four Bates records fell on the day, two of which came from two time national champion David Pless.

4x800 State

Pless walked away with the Most Valuable Field Athlete award for the second year in a row at the meet, as he broke both the shot put and hammer throw records. Pless’s weight toss of 62 feet and 1 ¼ inches was good enough to break former teammate Chris Murtagh’s record by an outrageous 18 inches. Pless’s shot-put toss of 58 feet 10 and ¼ inches also broke his own record, which he set last year at this event.

Not to be outdone, fellow senior James LePage also broke two records in his events. Lepage won the 600 with a time of 1:21:14, just breaking the former record of 1:22.2, set in 2010. The fourth and final record was broken during the 4×800 “Blackout Relay”. This race takes place with little to no lighting to commemorate the 2001 meet that took place at Bates College where the lights went off during the race.

The blackout relay is coolest race ever, I’ve never seen a race with so much energy from the competitors and supporters,” said sophomore Charley Kenyon. “There’s so many people lining the track, everyone’s cheering and loud the entirety of the race.”

The four-man team of LePage, first-year Gregg Heller, junior Mark McCauley, and sophomore John Stansel won the race and posted a time of 7:52.83, beating Colby’s 30 year old record of 7:53.94.

“Our coach told us that never before have so many records fallen in the same meet, let alone from the same team,” Kenyon said. “We broke a record of breaking records, which is awesome.”

Junior Mike Martin won the 3,000 meter run for the second straight year with a time of 8:43.22. Fellow junior John Wisener captured the state pole vault title with a 14-7.25 foot jump.

Sophomore Eric Wainman took the high jump with at 6-4 effort while Bates also claimed first place in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:28.68.

Sophomore Sean Enos is next in line to continue Bates’ hold on the most valuable field athlete award by placing second in both the shot put and weight throw to Pless. First-year Nick Margitza took third in the shot to complete a Bates sweep in the event.

Other notable performances on the women’s side included senior Bud Arens, who won two events on the day. Arens took the 800 with a time of 2:19.12, and the mile with a time of 5:07.05. Arens finished with 20 points on the night.

Fellow senior Ansley Flanagan won the high jump with a performance of 5 feet, 1 ¾ inches. To cap off the successful meet, the 4×200 relay team of Flanagan, sophomore Quincy Snellings, junior Angeleque Hartt, and freshman Alexis Dickinson also finished in first with a time of 1:46.94.

Sophomore Colby Gail showed off her versatility with a second place finish in the high jump, third place finish in the weight throw, and a fifth place finish in the shot put.

First-year Alexis Dickinson broke her own young Bates record in the 60 meter dash with a time of 8.09 which was good for second overall. The 60 meter dash replaced the 55 meter dash last year.

The men’s and women’s teams will be back in action this Friday, as they take part in the Valentine Invitational at Boston University.

“Our next goal is to win the New England Championship Meet, which we are hosting this year,” Kenyon said. “We won it last year for the first time and we are looking forward to defending the title.”

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