When I was younger, I would ask my mother to spray me with her perfume before I left for school so I could smell just like her. My mother, whom I can thank for my curly hair, fair skin, and brown eyes, is a minimalist when it comes to skin care. As a result of me wanting to be just like her, so am I. It is from my mother’s influence that, growing up, I never liked the fruity smells of Bath and Body Works or The Body Shop. I found the Bubble Gum Lip Smackers my friends used to adore overpowering and would get a headache from too much Victoria Secret Body Spray. Once, in middle school, one of my friends called me a grandma for using Aveeno moisturizer instead of Bath and Body Work’s Coconut Lime Fusion lotion. From them on, I hated bringing my toiletry bag to sleepovers for fear of future ridicule. I prefer clean, simple scents that don’t overpower and products that are more tried-and-true than “this just in;” it all began with my mom’s Waterlily Perfume by Fresh (unfortunately, since discontinued). My skincare routine is a lot like my preference in scents: simple and sedated. I wake up every morning and wash my face with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser. Anyone who knows me well knows that I wear predominantly Glossier products. Their millennial pink and white color scheme paired with their motto of “skin first, makeup second” encompasses all I look for in a beauty brand. After I wash my face on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I roll it with a microneedle roller. On all other days of the week, I skip this step. Microneedling stimulates collagen production and increases the skin’s ability to absorb of skincare products. I then finish off the morning routine with a Glossier serum; I love their Super Glow Vitamin C serum. Finally, I use the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel face cream. Both the serum and the face cream are super light and absorb into the skin quickly, especially thanks to the microneedling beforehand. To top everything off, I place some Aquaphor on my ever-cracked lips and begin my day. During summertime, I also lather on a thin layer of Glossier’s Invisible Shield daily sunscreen after the Water Gel face cream. In the evenings, my skin care routine is a little more relaxed. I begin with the same Milky Jelly Cleanser (this product is a must-try), jade roll to depuff my skin from the day, and put on an overnight face mask. I try to do a mask once a week and my favorite is the LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask. Put it on before you go to bed and poof, you’re gifted with nourished, glowing skin in the morning. If I don’t put on a mask, I put on the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich for thicker coverage that lasts through the night and doesn’t leave my skin feel oily in the morning. The goal of my skincare routine is to clean but not overpower. My motto mirrors that of Glossier in that I focus on my skin first, and my makeup second. And, as someone who rarely uses makeup, I rely on my skincare products to give my complexion a little glow. So, I gravitate towards products that make my skin feel good, even if I get called a grandma for using them. This, I feel, should be the goal of anyone looking to purchase a skincare product: does it make you feel good? Does it make your skin feel good? If so, that’s all that matters.
Sunday afternoon I was pleased to sit down and meet with the presidents of a club, one of whom suggests, “people don’t know it exists.” Frank Fusco, ’19, and Charles Harker, ’19, are co-presidents of Bates College Republicans. The club can be characterized as the proverbial “black sheep” of Bates clubs — the organization does not set up tables in Commons or the Fireplace Lounge, was absent at 2018’s Fall Club Fair, and has not solely hosted a speaker since 2016. Despite the lack of public support for conservative values, Fusco and Harker remain steadfast in their views.
Fusco and Harker arrived at the same ideological destination, though each had a unique way of getting there. Harker attributes his viewpoints to the upbringing he received in a family full of Republican values. “My mom’s side, my dad’s side, both of their parents were Republican,” he says. However, Harker is never slow to acknowledge Paul Ryan, born in Harker’s hometown, influenced his thinking in many ways as well. Fusco, on the other hand, was generally apathetic towards politics until the 2012 election. In 2012, he realized, “Those political ideas that [Republicans] were sharing, were the same ones I believed were best for this country.” Since coming to Bates, both Fusco and Harker have been increasingly involved with the Bates College Republicans club.
As trends have suggested, political polarization has steadily increased since the election of Donald Trump. Trump’s impact has certainly been felt by the club, Harker notes, saying, “People just automatically assume the worst… they think ‘oh you must love Trump including all of the bad things he espouses.’” Fusco chimed in, saying, “People saw the election of Donald Trump’s bad qualities and prescribed his values to the entire Republican party.” Fusco views educating people on true Republican values as the role of Bates College Republicans. “Our job as Bates College Republicans is to show people that there is more to the issues than what many college students think.”
It is no secret that many of Bates students differ ideologically from the members of Bates College Republicans. In fact, a Hart Research Associates study found twice as many college students identified as Democrats compared to Republicans. Fusco and Harker both attribute this fact to a lack of information. Harker explained to me, “I think some people just watch the fifteen second NowThis video, or read Buzzfeed, or get CNN updates on their phone, but they won’t talk to conservatives and see where they stand on an issue. I think that leads to a disconnect between the right and the left.” Fusco sees some people’s lack of information as an opportunity rather than a roadblock, saying, “the conservative view is not being heard anywhere on college campuses in America. When we offer our beliefs, you start to see people rethinking the mainstream, liberal narrative. I think that’s a good thing.”
While having an unpopular opinion during one of the most politically hostile times may be a burden to some, Fusco is overall grateful for his experience as a minority on a liberal arts college campus. He proudly states, “Being a conservative on a liberal college campus is a gift. We hear every single argument against the things that we believe in.” Harker echoed his statement, saying, “Here, you’re really forced to think for yourself.” The constant pressure from the other side has helped Fusco develop an appreciation for conservatives across all campuses, exclaiming, “It actually takes a lot of courage to be a conservative. You really have to know your stuff because people are going to try to find a way to beat you. You have to be willing to stand up for what you believe in because people aren’t going to understand it.”
Despite the tumultuous political environment, Harker and Fusco are optimistic for the future of the club and the development of public discourse. Harker cites the Bates College mission statement, saying, “I think if people come to Bates, they should be ready to embrace ‘the transformative power of our differences,’ but I think people forget the mission statement includes diversity in political thought as well.” He continued, proposing, “It would be great if we could get five or six liberals to come to a meeting and talk with us.” Fusco voiced his confidence in the future success of the club, stating, “I foresee the club maintaining its presence on campus and even growing within the new few years.”
In the words of co-president Frank Fusco, “People should join our club because we offer intellectual diversity. You will hear points of view and positions that are not often heard on college campuses. I think that’s really, really important.”
The Men’s Squash team (9-8) posted a fourth place finish at the NESCAC championships, defeating Amherst 6-3, but falling to two-time defending national champion Trinity 8-1 on Feb. 2. The next day, Bates went up against Middlebury in the third place match, but ultimately fell 5-4.
The Bobcats pulled out a strong victory in their quarterfinal match against Amherst, winning the no. 1 and 5-9 positions. Graham Bonnell ‘20 won the no. 1 spot with a decisive 3-0 victory (11-7, 11-7, 11-5). Benni McComish ‘20 and Team Captain McLeod Abbott ‘19 each similarly won a quick three games at the no. 7 and 8 spots, earning two points for Bates.
Team Captain Coley Cannon ‘19 and Dylan Muldoon ‘21 won at the no. 6 and 9 spots 3-1. Garon Rothenberg ‘20 won a close match 3-2, with a final game of 11-9.
“We played [Amherst] the weekend before and won 7-2, which sounds like a beatdown, but was actually closer than the score said,” Cannon stated. “The NESCAC match against them was closer however, and the biggest win we had to help us secure the win was at the number 5 position. One of our juniors, Garon Rothenberg came back from 2-0 down and won 3-2. We would have been in trouble without that comeback win.”
In the next matchup, Bates went up against Trinity, losing a hard but expected 8-1. In this game, Bates was able to snag the win in the no. 3 position with a strong performance by Omar Attia ‘21, winning 3-1 (13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 14-12).
Finally, in competition for the third place finish, Bates fell to Middlebury in a tight 5-4 finish. Middlebury took the lead in the beginning of the game, winning the first two matches. Bates followed this with two wins of their own, leading to what was destined to be a nail-biting series of games. Middlebury pulled ahead 4-2 at the end of the sixth match, where they eventually cinched their win in the second to last match.
Bates picked up easy victories in the no. 1, 2 and 8 positions from Bonnell, Mahmoud Yousry ‘20 and Abbott who each won 3-0. Attia was able to earn a narrow win in the no. 3 spot 3-2 with a final game of 13-11.
“When we play a quality team like Middlebury we really lean on the talent at the top of our ladder and they certainly delivered,” Abbott said.
Bates previously lost 8-1 against Middlebury earlier in the season; thus, even though Bates lost the third place spot to Middlebury, a closer game in itself is a small victory for Bates, showing their progress throughout the season.
“Essentially, every year, Midd, Williams, and Bates compete for that second place spot,” Cannon said. “We have all been relatively equal in skill for the past four years, but this year they have been playing a little better under pressure than us.”
“The men are a hardworking group who have been very serious and focused on improving and playing winning squash,” said Head Squash Coach Pat Cosquer ‘97. “The diversity which exists on both teams adds to the fun we have had on the road and we look forward to a big finish next weekend.”
This is the first time in four years that Bates has not made it to the NESCAC finals.
“This season has really differed from past seasons because the competition in general has only increased,” Cannon said. “Squash is such a growing sport, and teams are increasingly recruiting internationally, which brings a whole new talent pool into the game. We [now] have to worry about teams that were jokes of matches when I was a freshman.”
While a fourth place finish at NESCACs is not the outcome that Bates had hoped for, they remain positive looking into the College Squash Association (CSA)
The National Team Championships take place this weekend at Yale University where they look forward to rematches against Brown, Williams and Middlebury in competition for the Summers Cup. At best, the team can place 17th in the country, as they are in the “C” bracket, and at worst, 24th.
“I see Nationals as a way for us to end the season on a really high note,” Abbott said. “We had some tough losses during the regular season, but if we can make up for it at the end, it’ll all have been worth it.”
No matter the outcome, the Men’s Squash team has once again put forth the kind of passion and determination that any college team would be envious of. Look out for them in online live streamed matches this weekend!
This article has been edited from its print version
On Thursday Jan. 31, John Kosinski, the Government Relations Director for Maine’s Education Association (MEA) gave a talk about the current state of “malarkey” in Maine regarding charter schools. His talk in particular focused on the need to recognize that charter schools are in fact private rather than public and that for them to be considered public, they need to be held to the same standards of transparency and accountability as public schools.
Before discussing the controversies surrounding charter schools, Kosinski deemed it important to provide a definition: “I’m going to start out with a definition of what a charter school is, I just pulled this off of Google, but it’s a publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents, or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority.” Although the state of Maine defines charter schools to be public, The MEA believes they are private schools, having to do with “transparency, the oversight, the governing boards of these organizations,” said Kosinski.
One of the primary concerns of charter schools is the rather high percentage of for-profit charter schools whose number continues to grow in the state and country. Kosinski estimates that the percentage of for-profit charters could be as low as 32% or as high as 45%. When it comes to virtual charter schools, the percentage of for-profits increases. The two in Maine, K-12 inc. and Connections Academy are listed on the New York stock exchange. As Kosinski says, “I think educators by and large would say…that education is something that we all benefit from, and that the resources that are dedicated to education in this state and in this country already are insufficient, let alone to introduce a market dynamic of someone who is trying to make a profit out of educating children.”
Another concern Kosinski raised in his talk is the lack of transparency common to charter schools and their relatively low standards of accountability. In public schools, school boards are elected by citizens to oversee the school and to make the school system as best they can using the resources. Charter schools, on the other hand, do not face this amount of scrutiny or community involvement. In Maine, there is a board of seven people: three are on the state board of education and are appointed by the governor, and the remaining four members are chosen by the appointed three. For Kosinski, “That doesn’t sound right. That’s a lack of accountability, some would say, and certainly a lack of transparency, because then that charter commission get to decide which charters they’re going to approve, how many students they can take on, how many grades, etc.”
Another monkey wrench that compounds the problems with charter schools is the amount of funding they receive. Given that they are not submitted to the same standards of accountability that public schools are held to, it is much easier for charter schools to misappropriate tax dollars for personal enrichment:“The Center for Popular Democracy has a pretty extensive analysis that you can look up where they account for $223 million dollars of waste fraud in charter schools in 15 states,” stated Kosinski. “Some of this is definitely segregated to the for-profit element of charter schools, where we’re seeing personal enrichment in-for-profit entity as they’re using these tax dollars, and again without transparency, accountability, and oversight, these problems are propping up.”
This misappropriation of funds is even more devastating given how much more money charter schools receive than their chronically underfunded counterparts. Charter schools in Maine receive $30 million dollars. According to Kosinski, this is not “chump change.” He further added, “And this money, important to note, comes right off the top. Not one public school in this state gets a penny, the way this it’s structured, before the charter schools get a 100% of their state aid, and only after that happens, does the money flow to every other public schools in the state. I describe it as charter schools sitting on top of public schools.”
The good news is that it’s a whole new day for Maine after the most recent election. With a new legislature, Kosinski hopes to pass a ballot initiative to tax the wealthy to get to the 2003 goal that voters agreed on to fund 55% of the cost of education. In addition, he hopes to tackle the charter school cap in the state, and evaluate the current nine’s overall performance. Another thing he hopes for Maine is a greater accountability of both brick-and-mortar charter schools and especially virtual charter schools. He also hopes to change the way charter commissions are formed, as the appointing system is “malarkey”. Overall, with these changes in place, Kosinski hopes to make sure that there are people holding the charter commissions accountable and pulling their charters if needed.
Elly Bengtsson ’19, a senior captain of the Competitive Ski Club, answers questions about the team just before their last race of the season.
The Bates Student (BS): How would you describe the Competitive Ski Club to a Bates student who has never heard of it before?
Elly Bengtsson (EB): Well, it’s a club for people who have raced in the past and want to continue in college, or for people who enjoy skiing and want to start racing. All levels of experience have a place on our team…The club really starts with a ski camp in December, with returning skiers and newcomers all meeting each other and doing activities together. There’s multiple ski events you can do, like the slalom and “GS” [giant slalom] …Then we have two months of racing on weekends and practices twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday at 4:15, meeting in back of Chase Hall. It’s all students; we don’t have a coach…This is an opportunity open to anybody at Bates.
BS: How did you first get started in the Club Ski Team?
EB: I knew that I wanted to do something like this in college, because I had raced in high school and wanted to continue it at Bates. I did an online search before even coming to campus, and I found it in the college’s club [directory] webpage. I saw that the club’s over a decade old, and that made me feel confident knowing it had been around so long.
BS: What is your favorite part about being on this team?
EB: Oh, there’s so many…first, the people on the team are great. It’s so much fun to work together, especially when you get to see other skiers improve. It can be crazy seeing how much better somebody gets since they first started…Another awesome part of club skiing is that we get to set up and make our own training courses at Lost Valley, which is difficult but fun. We have to lug the drill, drill-bit, and gates up and down the hills. Then everybody of all abilities gets to try their best on these courses that we made…Racing at the level we do is also good. We race in the Reynolds Division of USCSA, which is D3 instead of D1, which I think gives us just the right amount of competition.
BS: How many races have you had so far? How do you feel about them?
EB: We’ve had six races this winter. [Two races ago] the women’s team had their first win, coming in first out of 17 teams at Sunday River, with three Bates skiers in top five! Yeah…As for whole team has been doing through the season, it’s hard to say. Different people show up to each race day. We bring whoever wants to come that day. So there has been improvement, but a lot of it is seeing skiers surprise everyone by showing their various strengths. Other people show more consistency, and that’s good, too.
BS: What are you looking forward to in the last race day
EB: We only have one more race, which is a panel slalom next Saturday. It’s extra exciting because they’re going to announce who wins the Reynold’s division. We weren’t even expected to be in the running for winning the division, but now it’s become a serious possibility. This is even more impressive because we don’t have a ski coach. I can’t wait to give it our best on Saturday!
BS: Is there anything else you would like to say about Club Ski?
EB: In addition to the club website on the Bates page, we have an Instagram. Anybody who wants should check it out, especially first-years and sophomores; starting earlier means you can have a lot of improvement…I hope that people continue to come out and ski at our practices. Everybody is welcome, and we are always looking forward to having people on the team with lots of energy and enthusiasm.
Calvin Reedy’s talent is evident from his photographs, but on closer inspection it can be seen that they represent and embody something deeper than aesthetic appeal. Some of his most recent work is a collection of photographs titled “Negro Sunshine” which captures people of color in the golden hour between sun set and evening. Reedy’s studio thesis work “Hallowed be their Names” is comprised of depictions of black men. He explains in his artist statement that he chooses to depict black people in his photography a means to “Combat the tendency in western art to marginalize black artists, and limit authentic depictions of black people.” Reedy and similar trailblazers are leading the charge in reimagining and reshaping the art world into something that fairly represents all people, a theme of Reedy’s talk last Wednesday evening.
After spending February 6th at Bates meeting with senior studio art majors, Calvin Reedy ’17 presented a talk in Olin Arts Center titled, “On Art and Justice: working towards a more just (art) world.” His talk highlighted the role of black artists in creating a more just and accurate art representation, but also the numerous opportunities in the art world outside of making art, and their impact in perpetuating change. Reedy, a Bates studio art graduate was well suited to deliver this presentation. In conjunction with creating his own transformative art, he works as gallery assistant for Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. Reedy’s other experience includes a curatorial internship at The Whitney and writing for the Aperture Foundation.
The first part of Reedy’s talk focused on black artists, primarily photographers. Reedy featured art ranging from Carrie Mae Weems’ iconic “Kitchen Table Series” to work from more contemporary artists like Latoya Ruby Frazier and Shikeith. Reedy discussed the artistic elements of the work as well as their broader social implications. Reedy said, “One of the reasons that I did want to focus on black artists [is because] the world is really changing and representation is changing, there are a lot more black artists … working in the world and their work is being seen.” He notes that the black liberation model can be used for other minorities who are historically underrepresented, “You can use this model as a framework to use when other groups of people are coming to the table.”
Reedy emphasized that the often-overlooked workers in the art world have just as much as an effect on social issues as the artists themselves, because they control how the art is portrayed to the public. Jobs that help support artwork include curators, archivists, researchers, writers, and many other instrumental positions. In the majority of cases the curator is charged with acquiring and managing collections, and most importantly interpreting an artist’s work in order for it to be most accurately showcased to the public. According to Reedy, art institutions have historically been “Colonial projects and manifestations of colonial power.” Thanks to a new generation of individuals in the art industry, institutions are reckoning with how they are dealing with their collections. Artists are not the only ones responsible for art justice, and they are not the only career opportunities available if one wants to work in art, “People who are working alongside artists can also effect change and work towards different social changes,” said Reedy.
Reedy concluded the talk with a section discussing culture as a mechanism to create social change through art. He utilized Beyoncé to illustrate someone propagating a positive art culture. Beyoncé in many instances has hand selected minority artists to collaborate or work for her. “She provides a really good example for someone who has power, influence, and money reaching back to help other people along in their career,” says Reedy. He also cites Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s music video “Apesh*t” which is set in the Louvre. The video critiques the historical connotations of high art, while at the same time highlighting contemporary black artists. In the past some art has been used to demean and divide. Fortunately, Reedy has demonstrated that the work of artists of color are creating a more just (art) world.
Hullo hullo my feisty friends, I hope that y’all are doing fan-freaking-tastic! In today’s edition of Motivation with Maru we’re going to talk about the Law of the Universe and some other feel good shenanigans that might help you have a more positive, open-minded perspective! LET’S DO THIS!
The Law of the Universe, when boiled down to its essence, basically states that all people, thoughts, and feelings have certain vibrational frequencies. So, when we put out positive/empowered thoughts and feelings, they end up coming back to us! Think in terms of karma: if we sass our sibling, maybe we stub our toe right after. That’s karma. We cheer on our teammates at a meet and in return perform well in our race. That’s the Law of the Universe! If we spread love and positivity, it’ll boomerang back to us.
As you go about your day, try doing little things with great kindness to put out some good vibes. If you pass by someone in Post and Print with an absolutely poppin’ outfit, be brave and compliment them! When you walk into Commons, greet whoever is at the check-in desk with a friendly “How are you?” You best believe that the receiver of your kindness will feel grateful, and you best believe that you will feel good, too! Another way to channel all of this mumbojumbo: if you wake up in the morning on the day of a test in a crabby state, can’t seem to get the hot water flowing in the shower, and miss omelets in Commons, you might feel as though the forces of the universe are frowning down upon you. It’d be super easy to just slip into this series of unfortunate events, have a crappy test as a result, and allow your morning to negatively influence the rest of your day. But, it is in these challenging moments when we must choose to rise up and keep-on-keeping on as positively as possible no matter what life throws at us!
Prep-yourself up for some feel-good-feels down the road, too! Write a little message to yourself a few weeks/months ahead in your planner with a little bit of punchy mojo! When the day comes that you open your planner to the day that you wrote a little message to yourself, it’ll 40983% bring a glow to your heart! Wishing y’all all the good vibes in the world. Here’s to tackling this final week before break, we can do this! Until next time!
With love, Maru
Last year, the Maine State title was snagged from the Men’s Track and Field team; they fell to Bowdoin by 43 points at their home track in Merrill Gymnasium. Flash forward one year and the tables have turned. On Saturday Feb. 2, in Gorham, Maine at the University of Southern Maine, the men came back superior, defeating Bowdoin by 41 points and securing the status of reigning state champions. Colby and the University of Southern Maine trailed in second and third respectively.
“The State Meet is the most important team championship for the indoor season,” Head Men’s Track and Field Coach Al “Fresh” Fereshetian said. “We knew Bowdoin would be tough. They always save their best for us and they had a tremendous group of athletes returning this year. We put Bowdoin on the defensive and they would have had to be perfect to pull off the win. Bowdoin however is a great team and they never quit so they really brought the best out in us and what we saw that evening was a total team effort in every event and every aspect. Tremendous team support and encouragement, gutsy efforts and performances, it was a great night for the Bobcats!”
This tremendous effort was driven by nine state champion titles. John Rex ’21 won both the weight throw and the shot put, Ryan Nealis ’21 clinched victories in the mile and 800m, Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene ’20 secured first in the high jump, James Jones ’20 won the 5,000m, Henry Colt ’19 took first in the 3,000m, senior captain Mark Fusco ‘19 sealed a victory in the 600m, and Jackson Elkins ’22 took the 1,000m. The 4x400m relay squad of Ryan Corley ’19, Frank Fusco ’19, senior captain Mike Somma ’19, and Miles Nabritt ’21 also ran to an exciting victory. As seen in this expansive list of champions, the team’s effort was earned by all class years, some even doubling in tough events. These victories epitomize the outstanding depth and determination of this team.
“Coach Fresh was saying that at any meet like this the best thing you can do is surpass your seed,” Rex said. “You’re going up against some of the best in the country, and we had a lot of spectacular performances against all divisions. The state meet has given us a lot of confidence and momentum. I think something that has been so drastically different with the team this year is that the culture is becoming a winning one. Everyone is stepping up and doing beyond what is expected of them.”
The top five athletes in every event scored for their corresponding teams. In a meet as competitive as the State of Maine Championships, every point counts. Every event saw at least two or three Bobcats scoring within the top five positions. Zack Campbell ’19 finished second in the weight throw and fifth in the shot put, junior captain Brendan Donahue ’20 placed third in the triple jump, fifth in the long jump, and fifth in the high jump, while Nabritt, Ryan Giunta ’21, and Justine Levine ’20 clinched second in the 400m, 200m, and the 5,000m, respectively.
“Everybody has been working extraordinarily hard for the last couple of months and it was great to see it pay off at states,” Assistant Coach Jacob Ellis said. Ellis, a Bowdoin graduate and turned Bobcat, coaches the mid and long-distance guys. “As coaches, we’ve known that our team is full of talent and among the best in New England and I think beating Bowdoin, USM, and Colby has helped our guys see that they can really compete with the top athletes in the region and beyond,” he continued.
Per tradition, the infamous “Black-Out” 4x800m relay capped off the meet. During this relay, all the lights of the indoor facility are shut off stadium-style and the athletes compete in a darkened, high stakes setting. Elkins, Christopher Barker ’21, Ian Wax ’19, and Mark Fusco placed second in the relay, securing a well-deserved win for the Bobcats.
“This year’s team has been phenomenal in the way that they have supported one another and helped to drive each other to be the best athletes possible,” Ellis said. “We have New England and national level competitors in all event groups, but we also have a whole team of athletes working just as hard and the team gets equally psyched about big performances from the top athletes as it does for athletes further down the line.”
The Bobcats have already kept up their stateswin momentum. The men competed at the Boston University Valentine Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 9 and saw several personal and season best times. They hope to keep making strides in this direction in the weeks leading up to the Division III New England Championships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Feb. 22-23.
“For many of these guys, especially our veterans, they have been part of some teams that been very good but maybe not accomplished all that we have set out to do and they want to do something about it,” Coach Fresh said. “There is tremendous support within the team for every member.”
When people hear the word “mindfulness” what do they think? What do they associate it with? What do people do that may be considered mindful? These were the questions that guided my attempt to identify how mindfulness plays a role in the Bates community. Early on, I ran into a few roadblocks—most people I talked to had no idea what mindfulness was, or how one might go about being mindful. They are not alone. In my research, I found several different definitions of mindfulness, each with their own mix of vague terminology. For example, one self-help site defines mindfulness as “the practice of purposefully focusing all of your attention on the current moment, and accepting it without judgment” (https://www.mindful.org/how-to-practice-mindfulness/). A different site states practicing mindfulness is “the art of creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.” Superficially, these may be two different definitions, but as one peels the layers back they both speak to the importance of awareness and self-reflection.
After I briefly explained what mindfulness was and what it could look like to my interviewees, they all had a similar moment of realization. While they found it difficult to speak to mindfulness per se, they found it easy to talk about awareness and reflection. For many people, mindfulness manifested itself through methods of preparation, removing distractions, and taking a step back when stress levels increase. Mary Richardson, a friend and teammate of mine, plans out her weeks by identifying deadlines, organizing a work schedule, and setting goals for how she wants to spend her time. At night she journals about things that went well during the day, explaining, “it helps me focus on things that I am grateful for, because we can get too wrapped up in the things that made us stressed or upset.” A common theme throughout my conversations was an awareness of how phones have interrupted many of our daily actions. Carly Harris, a first-year from California, described a moment of realization she had when walking to the library earlier this week. The icy sidewalks had forced her to pay attention to every footstep she took, and to put away her phone in order to do so. “It made me feel present. I see so many people on their phones as they walk, but it can be really relaxing to notice the world around you.” Henry Colt ‘19, a senior from Massachusetts, turns his phone off at 9:30. Mary puts hers away until she completes a task. Another great manifestation of mindfulness came from Jackson Donahue ‘22, a first-year from New Jersey: “I don’t hold grudges against people because there are reasons behind people’s behavior—I don’t know what they’re going through.”
Perhaps my favorite thing about mindfulness is the ability to see a sort of domino-effect of benefits. Being aware of what you have to do in the week to come, of how technology distracts you, and of how people behave won’t just positively affect your mental health and productivity, but will also strengthen those connections in your brain, making mindful behavior second-nature. On Thursday the 14th—Valentine’s Day, for those who are keeping track—CHEWS is sponsoring a “Hang Up, Hang Out, and Spread the Love” event in which we encourage people to put away their phones, be present, and write a letter to a person they appreciate. Come by our table to learn more about the event, pick up supplies, and kick off your mindfulness journey!
Meghan Graff ‘22 has been named Rookie of the Week by the Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for three consecutive weeks. She was also named New England Women’s Basketball Association Rookie of the Week which has not been received by a Bates player since 2015. Currently Graff leads the team in points scored per game (11.4) and career points scored among the first years (274).
One might think Graff would be eager to talk about her achievements this season, but when asked how it feels to be playing well as a firstyear, her focus goes straight to her team.
“I’m happy being successful, but that’s whatever. I’m more focused on whether the team is succeeding . . . achieving the goals we want to achieve. It’s a great feeling to fulfill the potential that the team has altogether.”
Graff not only has a team-oriented mindset, but also a competitive drive and commitment to the sport. All three of these traits have been necessary for the team to work well this year. The team is young, composed of one senior and two juniors making the underclassmen leaders on the team. Though they may lack college playing experience, they make up for it in their unity. When asked about her team dynamic Graff said, “It’s a selfless team . . . we all want the same thing . . . to be successful.
Basketball, one could say, runs in her family. Her mother played it as well as her older brothers and she’s been playing since third grade. Not only did she play basketball growing up, but soccer, softball, and lacrosse as well. It’s safe to say that since a young age her mindset has been team oriented, and it’s evident when she talks about the sport she loves.
Besides the combination of being fast-paced, competitive, and fun, Graff said that because “[basketball] not individual, its team based,” was another quality she liked about it.
Both Julia Middlebrook ‘21, who was named to the Maine All-Rookie Team by the Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association last year, and Head Coach Alison Montgomery acknowledge how Graff’s personality has made an impact on the team.
“Her compassion towards [our] teammates and I as well as her dedication to the program makes her an incredible teammate,” Middlebrook said.
“Meghan brings talent and skill to our team, but even more importantly, she is a uniquely smart basketball player who sees things on the court before most players,” Montgomery added, “She finds a way to be a fierce competitor but to also clearly have fun when she is on the court.”
To be that selfless and dedicated to one’s team and teammates is an inspiring and distinctive attribute found in a person, especially in the competitive world we live in today. But, it’s also what one hopes to see in an athlete; afterall, in the movie “Hoosiers,”(based on the true story of a small, rural Indiana basketball team who wins the state championship), one doesn’t watch it and fall in love it with it solely because of the final state championship scene where the star player shoots the game winning shot (though it is nice element).
Instead, it’s the journey you see the players undertake as a team. The journey of group of underdogs who overcome adversity together. On any team, there are and always will be standouts, but you won’t smile on the side of the court in Alumni Gym because you’re seeing an incredible shot by a star player. You’ll smile because you’ll see a group of women, Graff included, encouraging each other, hugging each other, and high-fiving each other after points that are scored or not scored. If they win or if they lose. You’ll smile because you’re witnessing that common phrase being lived out: you’re watching what a team was always meant to be.