Jan 31, 2007
This movie is sure to please with use of violence and comedy. page 5 page 8 Artists in London Students enjoy London life while learning valuable photography skills. Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007 See Hoffman page 6 See Vegetarian page 6 Gregg Cavet (left) and Corey Smallwood sit outside while studying for thier classes. must pay to eat. Some donʼt agree with the freshness and nutritious values of the See College page 6 M ELISSA DOS P RAZERES -S ILVA F OR THE W ICHITAN ‘Smokin’ Aces’
THE WICHITAN The Student Voice of Midwestern State University Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007 Hoffman kidnapper sentenced to 11 years in prison CHRISTIAN MCPHATE STAFF REPORTER John Paul Fletcher, 33, pleaded guilty last week to the kidnapping of Rebecca Hoffman, wife of English professor Thomas Hoffman, last August. Fletcher also pleaded guilty to robbing the couple, assault and burglary of a habitation. After three hours of deliberation, the six-man and six-woman jury sentenced him to 11 years in prison on the kidnapping charge and 10 years probation for the other three offenses. The crimes occurred Aug. 23 after the couple returned home from dinner with their pastor and church friends and were awaiting the opening of their automatic garage door. A masked gunman wearing a tweed jacket and a straw hat approached the Hoffmans at gunpoint. He forced the couple into their home where he demanded a ransom. Later, he took Mrs. Hoffman and her Toyota Avalon and ﬂed the scene. After leading police on a 45minute car chase through Clay and Wichita Counties, law enforcement ofﬁcers found the Toyota near the bank of the Wichita River. Mrs. Hoffman was in the backseat unharmed. Police apprehended Fletcher shortly afterward. Court testimony revealed that Fletcher had previously rented a home from the Hoffmans and believed they had money because of several rental properties the couple owned. Chief prosecutor Rick Mahler explained that the probation would run concurrently with the prison time. “Fletcher could get out in ﬁve and a half years on good behavior,” Mahler said. Fletcher had no prior criminal history. “You will be a model prisoner,” Senior Judge David Cleveland told Fletcher. The retired Palo Pinto County district judge told Fletcher he should think about the impact his crimes had on the Hoffmans. “While heʼs been in jail, I have felt safe,” Rebecca Hoffman said after the trial. “I will feel safe for ﬁve years.” Mahler stated that his ofﬁce “wished he wouldʼve gotten more time.” The Hoffmans released this statement: “The family of Dr. and Mrs. Tom Hoffman would like to publicly express their profound appreciation and gratitude to the Wichita Falls Gang Task Force for rescuing Rebecca Hoffman the night she was kidnapped, on August 23, 2006. We also want to thank the second and third shift patrol ofﬁcers who apprehended her kidnapper, John Paul Food for thought The Mesquite Dining Hall is an ʻall you can eatʼ MSU dining service that offers a wide variety of foods to its most popular users, the students who live on campus. However, not all of them believe they are getting their moneyʼs worth. Students who live in the Killingsworth Dorm, Pierce Hall or McCullough-Trigg are required by the schoolʼs food service policy to have a meal plan with the Mesquite Dining Hall. Three meal plans are available for the students, living in these residence halls, to choose from: •19 meals per week + $65 declining balance = $1,280 •14 meals per week + $75 declining balance = $1,200 •10 meals per week + $75 declining balance = $1,170 The Mesquite Dining Hall is divided into different sections that provide various kinds of cuisine. There is the pasta section. Another is the ʻhot mealsʼ section where the menu varies from day to day. Thereʼs also a hot dog, burgers and fries area and a sandwich section, which allows you to pick and choose what goes in your sandwich. The Mesquite Dining service boasts an extensive salad bar. MSUʼs Dining Services works in conjunction with Aramark to offer a number of other eateries and food services on campus besides Mesquite, like the Sundance Food Court, Java City and Starbucks. All food items are prepared following Aramark guidelines and recipes. Studentsʼ opinions on the cafeteria vary. Some like the food b u t not all students with a meal plan a r e happy with what they foods, while others say they have had appalling experiences concerning the hygiene t h a t leave them “ a t least SUNKYU YOO-NORRIS | THE WICHITAN must pay to eat. Some donʼt agree with the freshness and nutritious values of the $1,000 short for nothing.” Michelle Watson, a senior psychol- See Hoffman page 6 Veg out LATIA BANKS STAFF REPORTER Students wonder if Mesquite Dining Hall meal plan prices are really worth their buck. MELISSA DOS PRAZERES-SILVA FOR THE WICHITAN Fletcher, in the same evening and the Wichita Falls Police detectives and the District Attorneyʼs Ofﬁce, speciﬁcally Dobie Kosub and Vickie Collins for the countless hours they invested in the pursuit of justice. “It was our hope that John Paul Fletcher would receive a sentence long enough for Dr. and Mrs. Hoffman, in their advanced age, to live the remainder of their lives without the fear of Mr. Fletcher having an opportunity to do them further harm, so naturally, we are disap- ogy major, had a meal plan only because she had no other choice coming in as an international freshman. As part of the schoolʼs housing policy, all students must live on campus except if they live with a family member, are married or have a child, have over 45 credit hours, are part-time students or over the age of 21 prior to the ﬁrst day of classes. “I was in McCullough-Trigg and was stuck with a meal plan,” Watson said. “The food really was too greasy most of the time, and there was hardly any taste to it.” She also said, as an athlete, she wants to eat a lot better because she works out so much. However, her choices are limited to the salad bar or pasta. “I do get sick of the food sometimes. Itʼs the same stuff over and over, and itʼs greasy,” said Heather Primavera, a sophomore mass communication major. “I think it is overpriced, and there is a limited choice.” Michael Clifton, director of Dining Services, said that their goal is to try and cater to all their customers. “We have low-fat items, like the sandwich area and the salad bar, and we donʼt do a lot of seasoning since everyone has different tastes,” Clifton said. Keith Lamb, associate vice president of student affairs, said it is normal that students say they are tired of the food and think there is a limited choice available. Itʼs a world where steaks and prime rib are unheard of on the menu, a place where chicken is nonexistent. A vegetarian/vegan would say, KFC who? Amy Cox, 24, is familiar with this territory. The MSU graduate student has been a vegetarian on and off for almost 10 years. She has been vegan for 8 months. “Itʼs a stricter form of vegetarian,” she explained. Peta2.com, a vegan Web site, deﬁnes veganism as “Compassion in action. It is a philosophy, diet and lifestyle.” Cox said she was just looking for a change. “After my father died I was getting sick. I had gotten to a point where I didnʼt like myself,” she said. She said becoming a vegetarian helped her cope with her depression. Later, she decided to be a vegan. “I took the plunge. Once you do it, itʼs quite nice,” Cox said, chuckling. A vegan does not eat meat or dairy products. Some vegans donʼt use anything if there are animal products in it, for example: Soap, shoes and clothing with silk, wool or leather. Cox said she only wears material that is animal friendly. “Iʼve had the same shoes for 10 years. They will last me for 10 more years,” she said. She said she uses olive oil soap and shops at Hot Topic. “You can ﬁnd a bunny rabbit on the label of a product. Thatʼs how you know itʼs animal friendly and See Food page 6 See Vegetarian page 6 Non-trads ﬁnd worth in attending college MELISSA NEWTON FOR THE WICHITAN INSIDE Midterms, parent-teacher conferences, work, study groups, PTA meetings, housework and thatʼs just on Monday. To some students the college experience is viewed as a lot of partying and bellying up to the bar, with the occasional study group if they feel like it. For the small percentage of parents who have decided to pursue their degree later in life, this scenario would be mind-boggling. Some are returning after working in a ﬁeld they no longer see a future in. Some are going for the ﬁrst time to try and better their lives and the lives of their family. Corey Smallwood, a 26-year-old freshman in radiological sciences, has already gotten two bachelorʼs degrees in electronics and teaching while in the Air Force. When he decided not to re-enlist as an avionics instructor last spring he wanted to take advantage of his GI Bill money and get a degree in radiology. “I decided to go back to school after getting out of the Air Force because I wanted to get out of electronics,” Smallwood said. “The commercial electronics industry is becoming such a ﬂip-ﬂop ﬁeld. All of the big companies are contracted for the military and the market goes up and down so much, I couldnʼt afford taking the chance of getting laid off.” Smallwood chose the medical ﬁeld this time around because he knew that if he ever moves there will always be a job that he is qualiﬁed for. Another student who found refuge in the medical ﬁeld is Greg Cavet, a sophomore in radiological sciences. After four years in the Air Force and eight years working for the postal service, then 29-year-old Cavet decided he wanted to do something better with his life. He chose radiology because he knew he wanted to do something in the medical ﬁeld, but not be a nurse. He heard that radiology paid well, and it didnʼt take long to complete the program. Cavet wishes he had gone to college when he ﬁrst graduated high school so that it would be over with, but feels like it “means more” now that he has to work so hard for it. “Sometimes when I see those kids that donʼt care about missing class or doing bad on a test, I think, ʻMan I wish I could feel like that and not have any responsibilities,ʼ” Cavet said. “But then I think about how much it will mean for my family and how the sacriﬁces I am making now will mean so much more when itʼs over.” Balancing a family life, work and a college career is hard. Cavet admits that sometimes he canʼt do it. “Itʼs tough, especially with little ones,” Cavet said. “My son is 2 years old and he doesnʼt understand why I canʼt be with him all the time. See College page 6 LAUREN MILLER | THE WICHITAN Gregg Cavet (left) and Corey Smallwood sit outside while studying for thier classes. ‘Smokin’ Aces’ Artists in London Two in a row This movie is sure to please with use of violence and comedy. Students enjoy London life while learning valuable photography skills. MSU Mustangs buck off two men’s basketball opponents in a row. pages 4 page 5 page 8 Sweepstakes Winner 2006 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association THE WICHITAN VIEWPOINTS Finalist 2004 Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award Jan. 31, 2007 Staff Editorial Injustice served On the night of Aug. 23, Dr. Tom Hoffman, an MSU English professor, and his wife Rebecca returned home to ﬁnd a masked gunman in their house. The man kidnapped Mrs. Hoffman for ransom and ﬂed with her in her car. On Jan. 24, the Hoffmans were victims of yet another injustice: A Wichita County jury let the kidnapper off easy. John Paul Fletcher, 33, of Wichita Falls, was sentenced to 11 years for aggravated kidnapping. If he behaves himself in prison, he could be out in ﬁve years. The Hoffman family is upset, but everyone who believes in justice should be. When the Hoffmans pulled into their garage on the night of the crime, Fletcher forced them inside the house at gunpoint. The alarm system went off, ultimately alerting authorities, according to an account in the Wichita Falls Times Record News. While Dr. Hoffman was forced to lie on the ﬂoor in the house, Fletcher pushed Mrs. Hoffman onto the back ﬂoorboard of the car and took off. After a multi-county pursuit, authorities found the vehicle parked on the bank of the Wichita River. The terriﬁed victim was still in the back, her face covered. Fletcher had left the scene but was apprehended a short time later. Fletcher, a former tenant of the Hoffmans, later told the court he was having ﬁnancial problems and had planned the kidnapping to get ransom money from the couple. He was later charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and burglary of a habitation. He chose to have a jury, rather than a judge, decide his punishment. After three hours of deliberation, six men and six women decided on 11 years for the kidnapping charge. Fletcher got ﬁve-year probations for each of the remaining charges. “We were kind of lenient,” admitted the presiding juror in an interview with the Times Record News. The juror, who didnʼt want to be identiﬁed, said Fletcherʼs previously clean criminal background was a leading factor. “He never hit her or forced her around or anything,” he said. He said the kidnapper “did show some compassion” by ﬁnally allowing his arthritic victim to get up on the seat. “We took that in his favor.” The juror said that the jury saw Fletcher as “someone caught up in a bind ﬁnancially.” Shockingly, the jury seemed to identify with a kidnapper awash in credit card debt and owing on a vehicle and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. (Bring out the Kleenex.) Fletcher wanted a jury of his peers and he got one. They showed him undue compassion. This isnʼt the ﬁrst time for victims of a crime to feel slighted by a judge or a jury. The same thing happened after a similar kidnapping in Florida in 2000. Gerald and Carol Leary of Largo were robbed and kidnapped from their home by a man with an accomplice posing as a saleswoman. He forced them into the trunk of their car, which was later abandoned in a wooded area. The Learys were also upset over the sentence given their abductor. Only in their case, the kidnapper got 20 years, twice as much as Fletcher. According to Law.com, a legal-news Web site, Texas is one of the few states in the nation that allows juries to assess punishment. Texas does not have state sentencing guidelines other than general ranges of punishment for speciﬁc offenses. Everyone has a bad day, but does that give you the right to hold someone at gunpoint and demand a ransom for their life over delinquent credit card bills and an overdue car payment? According to the Wichita County justice system, it does. 3410 Taft Blvd. Box 14 • Wichita Falls, Texas 76308 News Desk (940) 397-4704 • Advertising Desk (940) 397-4705 Fax (940) 397-4025 • E-mail WICHITAN@mwsu.edu Web site: http://www.mwsu.edu/~wichitan Copyright © 2007. The Wichitan is a member of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. The Wichitan reserves the right to edit any material submitted for publication. Opinions expressed in The Wichitan do not necessarily reﬂect those of the students, staff, faculty, administration or Board of Regents of Midwestern State University. First copy of the paper is free of charge; additional copies are $1. The Wichitan welcomes letters of opinion from students, faculty and staff submitted by the Friday before intended publication. Letters should be brief and without abusive language or personal attacks. Letters must be typed and signed by the writer and include a telephone number and address for veriﬁcation purposes. The editor retains the right to edit letters. Fast food annoyances hit close to home I t ʼ s amazing how little free time a college student has once classes begin. Most of us ﬁnd CARRIE SULLIVAN ourselves too tired EDITOR-IN-CHIEF to think, much less cook. So naturally Iʼve been eating out quite a bit. In the last couple of weeks, Iʼve had some pleasant dining-out experiences here in Wichita Falls, but a surprising handful have fallen into a category Iʼd like to call “B.S.” I mean, weʼre paying for quality service when we eat out, right? We should be pleased with the outcome, not ready to throw our butter knifes at our servers. So in response to the overwhelming number of bad experiences Iʼve had of late, I have composed a list of ﬁve essential rules that restaurant workers should always follow. Rule number one: Get the f***ing order right. Weʼve all had this happen. I went to one of the deli places here in town and had a mouth watering de- sire for a tuna melt. I ordered, quite articulately, that I wanted the “tuna melt.” The waitress brought back a basket of food and without checking, I bit into a turkey sandwich. Growling into my bread, I looked, and sure enough, it was not tuna. The waitress was busy playing with her hair behind the counter and I was starved, so I just ate the sandwich. She didnʼt get a tip. Rule number two: Show some maturity. I went to eat at a fairly new restaurant here in town. As I was standing in front of the counter, searching the menu on the wall, the cashier started whining to another worker. “My feet hurt,” she said, contorting her body to lean on the counter. She didnʼt look a day over 16. “Iʼm tired. My feet are really killing me. I just wanna go home.” I know itʼs the end of the day. And Iʼm sorry, sweetheart, but you, too, have to stand on your feet like the umpteen million other Americans that actually deserve a paycheck. Come on. For your own good, grow up. Rule number three: Move, damn it! The reason most of us eat out, especially fast food, is most likely because we donʼt have time to enjoy a sit-down meal. So naturally we expect speedy service. At yet another deli restaurant, I must have stood in line for 10 minutes, waiting on the staff to build two sandwiches for the girl in front of me. They worked at a pace that would have pissed off snails. Then she put the wrong dressing on one of the sandwiches and emitted an “Oh, crap!” to her coworker before shrugging and continuing the sandwich anyway. (The customer didnʼt notice.) The only reason I stayed was because my mouth was set on a bread bowl. But luck was not with me that day. When I ﬁnally ordered what Iʼd come in to eat, they were out of the item. “Youʼre kidding,” I said. “Nope,” said the girl behind the counter. “Sorry.” I took a long, long, long, long time to ﬁgure out what I wanted instead. Rule number four: Wear your hearing aids. Driving through a chicken restaurant, I ordered my meal and all seemed to be going well. Then the little voice box at the base of the electronic menu said, “Anything else?” “Yes,” I said. “Could you please add a roll?” “What was that?” “Iʼd like to add a roll.” Then he repeated my order back to me, minus the roll. “Is that it?” he asked. “Could you please add a roll.” I stared at the box until a completely different voice repeated my order back to me. Without the roll. “Anything else?” the new voice asked. “Nope,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Thatʼll be it!” Rule number ﬁve: Pay attention to what youʼre cooking. My dad and I went to eat at a restaurant that serves breakfast all day. When the waitress served us our plates, Dad dug into his hashbrowns then stopped. He slowly pulled out a long, wide piece of paper label, probably on the food before it was cooked. He informed the waitress and handed her the greasy trash. Management gave both meals to us for free, and we continued to eat, but the point is that things like that just should not happen. So restaurant goers, be forewarned. Just because a warm body is there taking your order or cooking or serving your food, that doesnʼt necessarily mean there is a brain to go along with it. Happy dining! Lately I have been trying to ﬁgure out why so many people are promiscuous. I mean, is it really that enjoyable KRYSTLE CAREY being with MANAGING EDITOR more people you can count on one hand, all in one weekend? Has society completely lost the concept of being faithful? Too often I hear about another girl who has her heart broken by a “boyfriend” because he decided to sleep with another woman. The girlfriend is left feeling betrayed, helpless, used and as if the whole relationship was a lie. Basically, she ends up blaming herself for her boyfriendʼs stupidity. This type of mentality really irks me because no woman, or even man, should have to put up with this kind of behavior. If that supposed “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” was so wonderful, do you really think they would have taken your feelings for granted? We hear everyday about celebrity couples splitting because one or the other has been promiscuous. Look at the situation between Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston or the recent Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz break up. Both are examples of one partner being unfaithful. One might say it is because of their lifestyle. However, what can be said about the average American that does the same thing? It saddens me that so many feel the need to sleep around with as many people as they can. It seems that society has become a sex-driven entity that keeps sucking in more victims. With so many promiscuous people today, it is a wonder how marriages even exist any more. How can you trust someone else enough to believe they will stay faithful to you, and only you, for the rest of your life? The TV show “Cheaters” has shown us the bad and ugly of unfaithful relationships, catching cheating partners in the act with undercover help and cameras. Would the fear of being caught by lights, cameras and your signiﬁcant other make someone more faithful? As the looks of things on the show, it is not likely. Sex sells. This is what the media tells us. Almost every music video you see today has half-naked women doing moves that would disgrace their grandmas. Little girls are dressing more provocatively because that is what they are being shown in television and movies. Is this really the model we want to show our children? Sure, I have watched these shows, movies and music videos. However, I know the difference between watching something and actually behaving in that way. It seems that some people cannot decipher the two. Chris Rock is starring in “I Think I Love My Wife,” where he ﬁnds himself wanting to be single again, living the “free” life. I, myself, am a Chris Rock fan. Rarely do I watch something with him in it where I am not laughing. However, when I saw the preview for this movie, I was somewhat thrown back by it: A married man, wanting to sleep with every woman he passes. Not my idea of a great movie. I make it a habit not to judge others for their decisions. I think that is the beauty of having your own life. But it does not necessarily mean I agree. It is an individualʼs choice whether to be faithful or not. No one else has any control over that. However, I would hope before a person decides to take down that phone number or follow that female or male to their car, they would make it a point to think about who may be hurt in the process. I have seen too many friends and family hurt by the negligence of their signiﬁcant other. They end up blaming themselves in some way or feeling that they will never ﬁnd that someone. I guess I am an in-direct victim to this never-ending cycle because these reoccurring instances keep me from trusting the male gender. How can I when so many friends and family members have their hearts ripped out because that boyfriend or girlfriend did not love them enough to stay faithful? I just hope that maybe someone out there reads this, who may be cheating or is being cheated on, and will make the situation right. Everyone has feelings, whether they want to own up to them or not, and others should take that fact into consideration. Promiscuous world trouble for young adults THE WICHITAN Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Carrie Sullivan Managing Editor Krystle Carey Entertainment Editor Jason Kimbro Sports Editor Josh Mujica Photo Editor Adrian McCandless Reporters Matt Hulme Richard Carter Christian McPhate LaTia Banks Photographers Hershel Self Lauren Miller Graphic Artist SunKyu Yoo-Norris Advertising Manager Christian McPhate Copy Editor Konnie Sewell Cartoonist David Stephenson Adviser Randy Pruitt OP-ED Bush lays claim to ﬁnal frontier On Jan. 23, the Chinese government conﬁrmed the successful completion of a new antisatellite CHRISTIAN MCPHATE weapon. The conSTAFF REPORTER firmation came after the yellow star country put to use a medium-range ballistic missile to annihilate a weather satellite rotating 535 miles above the earth 12 days prior. According to most military experts, this was the ﬁrst triumphant obliteration of a satellite in over 20 years. The other semi-super powers (Japan, Britain, Australia and several other countries) and the main super-power (America) concurred in a agreement of dissatisfaction (basically, a “Hey, weʼre upset over here”) with the success of the destruction and the unwillingness of the Communist government to let the watchdog of the world know of the testing. Ofﬁcials from Japan and America went on to complain to media outlets that the yellow star country had not released information until the conjoining governments made “formal diplomatic inquiries,” and then whined that it took the Communists four days for the reply. The State Department stated in a recent article in The New York Times that Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state, reported that the land behind the Great Wall was not using the antisatellite system as a threat against any country. “What needs to be stressed is that China has always advocated the peaceful use of space, opposes the weaponization of space and an arms race in space,” Liu Jianchao, Chinaʼs foreign ministry spokesman said in the article. “China has never participated and will never participate in any arms race in outer space.” Anyone paying attention to current events knows that the Chinese military has been searching long and hard for an operational antisatellite system since the Reagan era. The military masterminds of the United States rely on the system of ﬂoating eyes for guidance in missile attacks, course-plotting and communications. So if the metallic orbs winked out, then the armed forcesʼ overseas actions and excursions would be blinded by the development of the technologically advanced eye poker. Experts concluded that China has long lived under the shadow of distrust that America would interfere if a conﬂict arose between the Communist party and Taiwan. Furthermore, these so-called experts believe the yellow star government developed the antiweapon system to give the overpopulated country the power to attack the Taiwanese while swatting off the forces of democracy. And yet, underneath this cloud of warmongering speculation, a few rational-minded individuals believe that the yellow starʼs initiation of the antisatellite test was “more diplomatic in nature,” intending to put ample weight on the scales of democracy to negotiate a treaty to ban space weapons. Former superpower Russia and growing superpower China are pressing for an international treaty that would limit the use of space for military purposes. Sounds like a good idea. The Republican administration did not think so and declined to participate in the talks, adhering to its secretive agenda. The Times article reported that over the summer, President Bush authorized a new space policy that seeks to preserve “freedom of action” in space. This coming from a man who denies the freedom of millions of Americans phone calls, the right of common sense and the Allah-given right for the Sunnis and the Shiites to genocide one another. Furthermore, Bush stated that the United States reserved the right to use capitalistic force or democratic force (as soon as our troops are freed from the chains of conforming Iraq) toward countries that have the balls to poke the eyes out of American satellites. Amen for freedom and democracy, Mr. President. There are things in life we know for sure (cats beat dogs, e v e r y time). There are also things in KONNIE SEWELL life weʼre COPY EDITOR pretty sure we know, but not for 100 percent (weʼre alone in the universe — right?). There are also things in life we know for sure we donʼt know (when the apocalypse will come, but Iʼm sure Paris Hilton will have secret, backward messages on her next CD, so sleep tight). There are also things in life that, despite all we donʼt know and in spite of everything we do know, make absolutely no sense whatsoever (a human will criticize what makes another obscenely happy). Itʼs this last one thatʼs the most demoralizing. I guess some humans today just canʼt get a break. Well, not if they donʼt have credentials. And not just any credentials! As most of my friends can attest, Iʼve got more nerd credentials than I know what to do with. Maybe I should be a humanitarian and give some away. But Iʼve spent my whole life accumulating them, and Iʼm hording them all! Nobody wants nerd credentials. I donʼt see why not, but thatʼs not for me to decide. I actually donʼt know who decides these kinds of things. It would be awesome if it were like a scene from Dr. Strangelove: “Gentlemen, you canʼt ﬁght in here! This is the War Room!” Instead of Slim Pickens riding an Hbomb at the end, itʼs a PS3. The funny thing is, weʼve all got nerd credentials. Weʼve all got things that make us happy and make other people scratch their heads, then complain. Loudly. Or ridicule. Loudly. In other words, everyone has a “guilty pleasure” they never share. The whole point of these cretinsʼ abuse is so that we can hear them and, somehow, weʼre supposed to realize that weʼre part of the Nerd Herd and feel badly, or something. And then change who we are and what we like, what makes us happy at the expense of other peoplesʼ haute couture equilibriums. But I say screw that bitch! I say itʼs Geek Chic. I say there are things I like and there are things you like. See? Weʼre all guilty. But it appears to be a dirty sub- ject of sorts. There was never, in the history of humanity, any one undeniably brave soul who risked everything to openly admit to not being cool. Or, at least, not cool enough. Until now. Iʼm taking one for the team. So hereʼs an excerpt from my ofﬁcial list of guilty pleasures — though I donʼt really think of them as such because when I really love something, I donʼt hide it. I donʼt see any reason to. Why hide it when you really love something, and it makes you happy? But I canʼt do this alone. Always two there are, a master and an apprentice: I hope this will inspire someone to share his or hers. Gentle reader, you are indeed the chosen one. Only your new powers can save us now. Youʼre my only hope. And I hope it will inspire some to just shut up already. Donʼt you understand, darlings? Auf Wiedersehen! Iʼve been tuning you out my whole life. Youʼre out and Iʼm the one making it work. Making it work like the bills are due today. And Iʼll keep making it work. Iʼm going to keep being uncool and tasteless for as long as I can foresee. Because it makes me happy, and that should be enough — in this life, weʼre either laughinʼ or dyinʼ. Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Simple Plan. Yes, gentle reader, I know. One is the Whore of Babylon; thereʼs archeological evidence the other two are Sodom and Gomorrah. But, Lord? Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Their music is like candy — it rots your brain but itʼs so sugary and so good. Itʼs designed to be bad for you. Letʼs be real about this: No oneʼs trying to be the next Puccini here. So why not take the ball theyʼre throwing and make a homerun with it? Besides, itʼs hard to dance to smart music. The hips donʼt lie. The Time Travelerʼs Wife. I used to think the saddest novel I ever read was The Scarlet Letter. No, wait — maybe itʼs The Kite Runner. Or probably Ethan Frome. If only dude had the courage to leave his wife. Or! Could it possibly be Tess of the dʼUrbervilles? No, I donʼt think so, after all. Tess is more tragic than sad; thereʼs a subtle difference between the two. Or it could possibly be that I should get on with it, yes? Well, itʼs obvious that I love books. I didnʼt want to love The Time Travelerʼs Wife, though. I wanted to dislike it. I donʼt know why. Maybe in part because a friend I really respect hated it. But Iʼve come to realize heʼs full of oatmeal and that Audrey Niffeneggerʼs novel is amazing. Itʼs true that itʼs not the best-written novel ever — the narrative goes back and forth between time-traveling Henry and his artist-wife Clare, though neither has a distinct voice. There are some scenes that donʼt adhere to the logic of the rest of the novel. But this story has so much heart and emotion, and not that annoying or cutesy fake kind, either. I couldnʼt help but get sucked in, and I certainly couldnʼt help bawling at the very end. Clare literally waits for Henry her whole life — ﬁrst as a child, when he visits her from the future, and then during the future, when heʼs away making visits to her past. If itʼs wrong to get lost in the idea of true love for at least a few nights ... well. Whose side are you on, anyway? The complete cultural wasteland that is MTV. To be honest, I donʼt watch a lot of television, but when I do, it has to make me laugh. I donʼt do most of what Iʼve been told are the better series on TV today (Lost, The Sopranos, Heroes). I do watch The Class, though. I love that show because the characters are all so charming. They speak and gesture the way my friends and I often speak and gesture, so yes, I ﬁnd much humor in their silly banters and ridiculous lack of seriousness. The characters are also all a bit immature for their age. And, well ... has anyone ever seen me and my friends before? Weʼre a bunch of giggling banshees, even the guys. Weʼre goofy and can be quite stupid. It really sucks knowing, however, that life is not an eternal party. Itʼs not an epic poem where the heroes come out unscathed. Whatʼs even worse is that all the suck in our lives is completely unscripted and unchoreographed. So let us have some fun. And let us watch our damn Laguna Beach and our damn My Super Sweet Sixteen, and the cultural cornerstone that is the ridiculous Wild ʼN Out. Let us (or maybe just me) pretend that at least for the next 30 minutes, everything is going to be okay. It all just depends on whoʼll go home with the ﬂoozy on Next and whoʼll have the better date on Parental Control. Save your inner teenager, save the world. THE WICHITAN Jan. 31, 2007 3 Campus Voices Q:Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLI? “The Bears will win because defense wins championships.” – Junior Green, 22, exercise physiology major “The Colts will win. Peyton Manning has never been to a Super Bowl before, and heʼs the greatest out there. He deserves it.” – William Gambill, 21, junior, criminal justice major Guilty pleasures, TV inspiration “The Colts, because they have Peyton Manning. My sonʼs named after him. All the Bears have is Rex Grossman, and thatʼs bad. The Coltʼs offense is much more powerful as well.” – Chris Chapman, 31, senior, accounting major “The Colts, because they deserve to win. They havenʼt been to a Super Bowl in how many years?” – Brittney Young, 18, freshman, general business major “The Colts. They have a better offense than the Bears. Theyʼre more organized and overall, the team is more uniﬁed.” – Rolando Harris, 20, freshman, business major “I hope the Bears will win just because I like where theyʼre from.” – Twanisha Payton, 19, sophomore, nursing major 4 THE WICHITAN Jan. 31, 2007 Across Campus Mandatory Student Organization Meetings Student Development will hold 30-minute sessions for student organization representatives (either a member or an advisor) to register the group for the spring semester. Contact the Student Development Ofﬁce at ext. 4898 for times and locations on Feb. 1, 2, 5 and 6. Attendance by the representative or advisor at one of these sessions is mandatory for the organization to be recognized. For more information, call 397-4898. ArtistLecture Artist-Lecture Series presents Dr. Roland Fryer at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 in Akin Auditorium. A rising star in the academic world, Fryer is combining the disparate ﬁelds of economics and African-American studies to produce groundbreaking work that is attracting the attention of not just academics, but of anyone interested in what it means to be black in America today. Fryer is currently an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University. Tickets are available for faculty and staff at the Clark Student Center Information Desk. Mustangs Rally 2007 Recreational Sports and the Wellness Center present the Frost Your Fanny 5k run or 2-mile walk, followed by many other ﬁtness challenges, starting with registration on Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. just inside the coliseumʼs southewest doors by the Wellness Center. Participate in as many of these free challenges as you desire. Receive a longsleeve event T-shirt by completing two of the following events: 5-5:25 p.m. Register for the run or walk on the southwest side of D.L. Ligon by the Wellness Center. 5:30 p.m. Frost Your Fanny 5k Run or 2-mile walk begins. 6:10-6:30 p.m. Abs-Only class in Wellness Center 6:45-7:45 p.m. Kickboxing Turbo Style in Sikes Lake Center. 7:45-8:30 p.m. Men and womenʼs Bench Press Endurance contest in Sikes Lake Center. 8:30-9:30 p.m. Core Conditioning/Muscle Works in Sikes Lake Center. 9:30-10:30 p.m. Pilates and Yoga in Sikes Lake Center. 10:30-12 p.m. Mega Spin in the ORC next to Sikes Lake Center. For more information, call ext 4838. Entertainment ʻSmokinʼ Acesʼ accentuates fun violence JASON KIMBRO ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Entertainment Value: A Artistic Crap: A Plot/Script: C Performances: B Overall GPA: 3.25 SunKyu Yoo-Norris American cinema has recently found a lovely little niche in the world of violence, ranging from over-the-top horror ﬂicks like “Hostel” to over-charged, frenetic action ﬂicks like my recent venture into the world of celluloid, “Smokinʼ Aces.” Director Joe Carnahan (“Narc”) has been on hiatus lately due to his mix-up with Tom Cruise. He was supposed to direct “M:I3,” but due to some artistic differences, decided to bow out of such a mainstream project. Five years since his acclaimed “Narc,” Joe has delivered us a wonderfully action-packed romp that takes us to edges we never knew even existed. Brilliantly paced yet somewhat contrived in parts, “Smokinʼ Aces” helps those of us who walk a straight path remember why we decided upon the narrow in the ﬁrst place. With bullets aplenty, hereʼs the gist: Mob boss Primo Sparazza is the last of the mobster king pins and the FBI want to bring him down. Agents Carruthers (Ray Liotta) and Messner (Ryan Reynolds) are staking out his home when they hear about a hit being put out on Buddy “Aces” Israel, a Las Vegas magician (Jeremy Piven). This is not good since Buddy is meant to be the FBIʼs top snitch against Sparazza. Messner and Carruthers quickly get the idea to put Buddy into protective custody. Buddy has ideas of his own. He is held up in a penthouse atop a casino in Reno, Nevada. His is surrounded by his own little entourage of toughies and has the whole ﬂoor sealed off, with extra protection from hotel security. Word gets out that Sparazza has put a million-dollar bounty out for Buddy, with one stipulation: That the assassin brings Primo the heart of Buddy Israel. Word travels fast as several notorious groups of mercenaries, assassins, and hit women soon begin to execute their plans to destroy the ill-fated Buddy. Among the group are the two lady killers Sharice Waters (Taraji P. Henson) and Georgia Sykes (an ingeniously casted Alicia Keys), crazy kamikazi meth-heads, the Tremor brothers headed up by brother Darwin (curiously played by Chris Pine), super-creepy master of disguise Lazlo Soot (Tommy Flanagan) and supersmooth yet incredibly diabolical Pasquale Acosta (Nestor Carbonell). As you may have already guessed, all hell breaks loose as the crazies go after the same bit of loot and create havoc in the middle of Reno. Other note worthy characters include bail bondsman Jack Dupree (Ben Afﬂeck) and his two ex-cop partners “Pistol” Pete Deeks (Peter Berg) and Hollis Elmore (Martin Henderson) as the three men intended to escort Buddy to the safehouse. Unfortunately. their mission is cut short by the Tremor brothers as all three are gunned downed and assumed dead. Each of the craziesʼ plans are set into motion, and Messner and Carruthers ﬁnd themselves in the middle of it all trying to protect one of the smarmiest men Hollywood has Taraji P. Henson and Alicia Keys consider their latest million-dollar hit in “Smokin’ Aces.” ever created, but damn it, we love him ever so much. A few twists are thrown in to make the movie somewhat satisfying yet gut-wrenching. Things come to fruition in ways we didnʼt expect, yet arenʼt too overly shocked to discover. Highly entertaining from start to ﬁnish, “Smokinʼ Aces” achieves what it was made to do: feed the violence-hungry population while even making a little capital. Once we get past the opening minutes of character introductions and development - which are vertically viewable - the laughs and the action never seem to cease, even during the intensely dramatic scenes, which director Carnahan has an apparent knack for creating. The pace is fast, very fast. Almost too fast for most, but for the type of audience this movie was made for, it shouldnʼt be too hard to follow or swallow. The lively characters and the in- ventive cinematography, carefully placed within a gritty wrapper, all help create a lovely atmosphere of violence and comedy that Mother would be embarassed to laugh at and enjoy. Performances were fairly basic, except for the surprisingly good job put forth by leading man Reynolds during the dramatic scenes. He pulls them off better than I thought he would. Piven didnʼt have to stretch too far to play the immoral title character, as he wallows in the world of typecasting. Keys didnʼt do so bad either, though I wouldnʼt expect any award nominations. The rest of the cast over-acted or were too characterized, although Jason Batemanʼs portrayal of a coked-out lawyer is priceless. The story is indeed a fun one, yet a bit contrived in parts due to the seemingly endless amount of side stories invovling almost every character in the ﬁlm. They cut from one to the other to help keep the pace going but they become undesired from time to time. Some romantic bits are thrown in. They provide some unnecessary escapist fare which did not seem to ﬁt the mold of this ﬁlm. Violence is indeed an American pastime, which we embrace every week in movie theaters. The grubbers behind their long, empty tables just off the West Coast are taking every advantage they can. At least they can produce something that is somewhat worthy by hiring directors like Carnahan and casting the ﬁlms with such a lovely group of actors and musicisans. I can only imagine what kind of slop this ﬁlm would have been if Bret Ratner had hold of the reins and cast it with people like Keanu Reeves or Justin Timberlake. Now Iʼve disturbed myself. Until next week! Cheesy DVDs released this week include farce about penguins MCCLATCHEY TRIBUNE If youʼre into cinematic cheese, this week brings a heady combination of campy cheddar and goofy Gruyere. Even our SE&L pick is one of the fallʼs least anticipated ﬁlms (though we here at the blog dug its ADD-inspired trailer), while the alternate title is one of horrorʼs most repugnant offerings. Inbetween youʼll ﬁnd failed jingoism, lame lampooning, sobering science ﬁction and one of the most misguided action ﬁlms ever helmed. Itʼs enough to make you save your disposable income for next weekʼs stellar line up. In any case, here are the selections for this week: “The Marine” Every once in a while, even the most considered ﬁlm fan needs a cleansing motion picture purgative. A few weeks back, the Jason Statham epic “Crank” was the entertainment ipecac du jour. This time around, Vince McMahon and his WWE-based ﬁlm division give John Cena his own ʼ80s throwback action ﬁlm. Presenting the simplest of stories - a former jarhead must save his wife from wisecracking jewel thieves - and lots of explosions (no, make that lots of explosions), ﬁrst-time ﬁlmmaker John Bonito shows great adeptness at creating cinematic ﬁreworks. An extended chase scene along a busy highway crackles with kinetic energy, and the many ﬁght scenes rely heavily on Cenaʼs “boytoy as bruiser” abilities. If you want big, dumb and loud, this is your e-ticket to excess. Other titles of interest: “The Arrangement” Based on his own novel, Elia Kazanʼs story of second chances is one of the directorʼs least remembered efforts. Featuring Kirk Douglas, a very young Faye Dunaway and Deborah Kerr, the tale of a rich man looking for happiness after a near-death experience is a dense, performance-based piece from a man known for eliciting amazing acting turns. “Farce of the Penguins” On paper, it should work. Comic Bob Saget sends up “March of the Penguins,” dragging famous “voices” Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Above, John Cena decides to blow away anyone who hasn’t seen his new ﬁlm, “The Marine.” Left, the theatrical poster for “Flyboys.” Alexander, Lewis Black and Gilbert Gottfried in for the South Pole satire. Unfortunately, nature footage supplemented with silly jokes is just not that funny. Some may ﬁnd the combination clever. Most will prefer the original doc. “Flyboys” Dean Devlin, famous for stri- dent summer blockbusters like “Independence Day” and “Stargate,” lends his producing cred (and rumor has it, own money) to this superﬁcial story about American ﬂyers who volunteered to help the French before America entered World War I. Nothing more than an old-fashioned “why we ﬁght”ʼ effort loaded with up-to-date technology. “Gymkata” After his success in international gymnastics, it was hoped that Kurt Thomas could translate his athleticism into the action hero genre. The result was this loony movie, a strange story of a small country, its militarily-strategic land, and a weird competition called the Game. Add in the title talent and youʼve got an amazingly misguided mess. “Looker” Before he was known for his mega-blockbusters like “Jurassic Park” (and on TV, “ER”), Michael Crichton tried to make serious sciﬁ in the face of the growing “Star War”-ing of the genre. Ahead of its time, this bit of plastic-surgery speculation offers Albert Finney, James Coburn and a terrifying take on the “anything for beauty” ideal. And now for something completely different: “Maniac” Boy, did this movie cause a fright-ﬁlm ﬁrestorm when it was ﬁrst released. Featuring a sleazy sexploitation vibe, and autopsylike make-up effects by noted terror technician Tom Savini, this seedy addition to the slasher genre found ﬁlmmaker William Lustig delivering a dark and disgusting take on the new slice-and-dice fad. About as far removed from “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” as you can get, what we have here is a disturbing story of a man (Joe Spinelli) who kills and mutilates women to compensate for the abuse he experienced as a child. Placing their freshly-shorn scalps on mannequins, he hopes to quell his pain and anger. Considered horribly misogynistic at the time, the decades have not really lessened its grotesque grindhouse impact. TEXOMA'S BEST COLLEGE NIGHTS? OF COURSE THURSDAYS AT 18 & Up Welcome Present this coupon for half price cover on Thursdays. 2731 Southwest Parkway (at Kemp) • 696-6453 PUB & POOL this coupon worth 1 FREE Hour of Pool $ 2731 Southwest Parkway (at Kemp) Next to StageWest • 696-6453 6 Value! Features THE WICHITAN Artists in London RACHEL TOMPKINS FOR THE WICHITAN Self portraits clockwise from top left: Andrea Veresh, Tracy Lowe, Catie Lerew, Julie Stormer, Jori Brewer, Kim Bartel and Casey Cooper. The 2006 British Studies Program in London was another success. Sixty-three students participated in the program. Each student stayed in a private room with a desk, one bed, closet and lavatory. The six-bedroom suites were equipped with a bathroom and fully-equipped kitchen. The 10 students taking the class Photography in Great Britain earned six credit hours and had to maintain a portfolio with 20 images. One of the summerʼs highlights was when the group spent a day and a half at the Wildﬁre, a photo studio in Greenwich, a suburb of London. There they learned about studio lighting and took self portraits. “That day was the hottest day in 400 years,” art professor Gary Goldberg said. He said he was amazed London still had temperature logs from the 1600s. The photography students visited many museums, such as the Tate, the Imperial War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The class also visited Stonehenge, Salisbury, Laycock Abbey and Bath. They were required to explore each destination and take photos. Some of these photographs, as well as the self portraits, can be viewed in the Fain Fine Arts Gallery. During the summer session the students were given a ﬁveday “mini-break.” During this time the students traveled around England and explored the rest of Western Europe. Goldbergʼs students traveled to many different places, including Barcelona, Spain; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Dublin, Ireland; Edinburgh, Scotland; Paris; and Rome. The summer 2006 program consisted of 11 classes. They were a mixture of lecture, guest lecture, ﬁeld experience and individual research. Classes typically ran Monday through Thursday. Attendance was required for each class and class-related activity. All students and faculty traveled together from DFW Airport. They departed July 6 and returned August 6. The 2007 British Studies Program in London is scheduled for July 5 through August 5, 2007. Photography in Great Britain will be offered again as well. Important information meetings will be held for those interested in attending Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. and Feb. 7 at noon in Wichita I and II in CSC. For more information about studying abroad, contact Dr. Larry Williams, director and professor for international education, at 397-4038. Jan. 31, 2007 5 6 News THE WICHITAN Jan. 31, 2007 Eating disorders no picnic MELISSA DOS PRAZERESSILVA AND BONNIE BOLIN FOR THE WICHITAN MCCLATCHY TRIBUNE Vegetarian___________________________________continued from page 1 you know itʼs animal friendly and Hot Topic has a good selection of that,” she said. When Cox ﬁrst became a vegan, the transition was not hard because she was pretty much used to life without meat. She said she realized excluding dairy products from her diet would be just as healthy. “Some people would argue that itʼs not healthy because there is not enough protein. Thatʼs not true. Vegans get that and plenty of B12 vitamins,” Cox said. The vegan population is fairly low in Wichita Falls. She said she only knows of one other person among friends and family who is vegan. She said itʼs hard when she goes out to eat with friends sometimes because they may eat somewhere that does not cater to vegans. During her eight months of using non-animalbased products, she has found ways to make any meal vegan. “For Thanksgiving I bought a tofurkey (a vegan turkey) with stufﬁng in the middle. Instead of eggs for the stufﬁng, I used an egg replacer with different kinds of ﬂours for its ingredients,” Cox said. She said she got the meal from a vegan industry called Turtle Mountain Company. Cox said being vegan can be expensive, but there are restaurants and places in town with good vegan food, for a good price. “You can get a multitude of things pre-cooked. Wal-Mart is even organic,” Cox said. Because many of her friends are not vegetarians or vegan she does get tempted occasionally. “When I get lazy, Iʼm tempted. Then I think about how it helps me. It makes me feel better,” Cox said. She said thinking about the thousands of cows and chickens being killed each year keeps her mind off the Double Whopper. Despite the low numbers of vegans in Wichita Falls there is a wide variety across the United States. According to a vegan Web site, one-half million vegans live in the United Kingdom. Some of these vegans are in the spotlight. Music artist Prince is a vegetarian/vegan. Actress Natalie Portman is also a vegetarian/vegan. Whoever it is, they practice a lifestyle that to Cox is more earth-friendly. Cox said she would recommend being vegan to others. She said she will be vegan for the rest of her life and plans to raise her children that way. “I will tell them why and how it is for their beneﬁt. I will tell them different options for vegans,” Cox said. A vegan Web site said that research has shown a rich diet of fruits and vegetables decreases risk of heart problems. “People say you limit yourself to things being a vegan. Youʼre not. Itʼs deﬁnitely a healthier lifestyle. And I will probably live longer for that,” Cox said. Eating disorders among college students are seen more today than in any past generation. Dr. Pam Midgett, director of the MSU Counseling Center, blames the problem on the increase in increased exposure to attractive yet unhealthy Hollywood stars. “Most everyone wants to look attractive and some of the attractive Hollywood celebrities are very thin. This can lead especially females to believe that all attractive people are ultra thin and even unhealthy,” Midgett said. Kathy Wells, coordinator of the Wellness Center at MSU, said approximately 55 percent of college students are obese and growing numbers in students, especially females, suffer from bulimia or anorexia. She also believes the media has a big inﬂuence on what young people think is the “perfect body.” Anorexia is a disease where people starve themselves. Those suffering with the illness have a very intense fear of gaining weight, so their eating habits revolve around that fear, she said. They refuse to eat most of the time and over-exercise. Laxatives and appetite suppressants are also used to stimulate weight loss. Anorexics have a constant impression of themselves being fat even after becoming very skinny, sometimes even close to fatally thin. Often confused with anorexia, bulimia is also a disease that involves the fear of being overweight. However, bulimics eat large portions of food and then induce vomiting (also known as binge and purging). Some bulimics also resort to extreme methods of weight loss employing measures such as excessive exercising, fasting, enemas, vomiting and also the use of laxatives and diuretics. “The main difference between the two disorders is that bulimics are usually of normal weight, making the diagnosis of bulimia much more difﬁcult to make,” Wells explained. Another eating disorder is obesity. Obesity is the state of being unhealthily overweight. It is the second leading cause of unnecessary deaths in the nation, according the American Obesity Association. It has become a huge problem, as nearly a third of the population is either overweight or obese. “Overweight individuals usually struggle with their emotions and self-esteem,” Midgett said. “Public perception is that they are lazy and unmotivated, as with anyone with a weight problem.” “We overlook obesity to anorexia when it comes to eating disorders but it is a big problem and itʼs getting out of control,” Wells said. Midgett explained that eating disorders have several different origins. “Many issues can lead a person to manipulate food intake such as trauma in life – child or adulthood,” Midgett said. A sense of a lack of control in a personʼs life, depression, anxiety, negative self-esteem and family dynamics surrounding eating can also play a role in the development of an eating disorder. “You can hear girls in grade ﬁve or six talking about dieting. They hear their mothers and older sisters talking about being thinner. It becomes a way of life,” she said. Eating disorders, as itʼs been proven, are learned, not physically inherited like other diseases. “People donʼt wake up one morning anorexic,” Wells said. “It happens over time, and it eventually evolves into disor- dered eating patterns. Media promotes unhealthy body images and also advertises food all the time. People need to ﬁnd a happy medium between the two to live a healthy life.” Midgett elaborated, stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle. “The key is to have a healthy eating and exercise plan and to learn to accept yourself rather then obsess about looking like Lindsay Lohan or the Olsen twins,” she said. Midgett related the “freshman 15” problem to the ample availability of high-calorie convenience food that college students resort to while adjusting to busy schedules. Some students also begin drinking high-calorie alcoholic drinks when they get to college, she explained. Eating disorders cause numerous other health related issues like gastric problems, malnutrition, hair loss, irregular heart beat, heart attacks, ruptures of the stomach and esophagus and dehydration. People with eating disorders are also at a greater risk of being suicidal. Students who have issues with eating and their weight can make an appointment at the MSU Counseling Center and meet with one of the licensed professional counselors. Here, the counselors help patients with their fears and feelings about issues, as it is usually here where their eating disorders are rooted. For anorexic and bulimics, they help them with their distorted images of themselves with support and encouragement, Midgett said. Counseling services are also free of charge. “The Center offers conﬁdential services. Students who come will experience a feeling of acceptance,” Midgett said. “Our sessions are paid by student service fees so the student does not pay.” Food_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________continued from page 1 with the hygiene in the cafeteria. “I found a bug in my food twice, once in my strawberries and then in my salad,” she said. Shariati did not wish to eat in the cafeteria after the second time and so she talked to Lamb about the incidents. She was able to get her meal plan cancelled. Lamb said he remembers a couple students talking to him about their complaints on the cafeteria but doesnʼt recall this speciﬁc incident. Watson explained a bad experience in the cafeteria when one of the staff sneezed in her hand and then College________________continued from page 1 why I canʼt be with him all the time. My wife is also pregnant so that makes things harder.” Smallwood has two daughters, one 9-years-old, the other 4-yearsold. He has found that as they get older things, seem to get more complicated. “Itʼs hard to balance everyoneʼs schedules,” Smallwood said. “Tyler has two cheerleading squads, tumbling and church. For now Kayla just has soccer, but as she gets older I know she will become more involved.” A typical day in the Smallwood household goes something like this: He gets the girls up and ready for school, his wife Haley, goes to work while Smallwood takes them to school and then goes to school himself. After class he runs a few errands and then picks the girls up from school. He spends a few hours with them and then Haley gets home from work 30 minutes before Smallwood goes to work in the emergency room at Kell West. By the time he gets home, everyone is in bed and he has a little time to get his homework done. “Our schedule leaves a lot of the household burdens on Haley,” Smallwood said. “Any night I am at work, if the girls have something to do she is the one who has to take them.” She graduated in spring of 2006 with an associate degree in radiological sciences, so it is like the roles have been reversed. When she was going to school he was the one left with all the household burdens. “I know what she is going through,” Smallwood said. “I was the one doing it for the past two years while she was going to school. She understands how I feel too, so it helps.” Spouses can be a major inﬂuence on partners going to school later in life. Cavet admits that his wife has been a great inﬂuence on him deciding to go to school, and a great motivation during the difﬁcult times. “She always tells me that this could have all been over if I had started when I was young,” Cavet said. “She is a great motivator though. She has a masterʼs in nutrition and has really encouraged me to do better and become a better person.” Hoffman_______________continued from page 1 pointed that he will be eligible for parole in ﬁve years. However, we understand that the jury had a difﬁcult job to do in deciding his sentencing and we thank them for their service in this trial. “Mr. Fletcherʼs crimes devastated not only our family, but his own family, as well, and we extend our sympathies and prayers to each of his family members. “It is our belief that Rebecca Hoffman is alive today because of the speed in which the gang tasks force mobilized and the bravery of the responding patrol ofﬁcers. They are truly Wichita Fallsʼ ﬁnes and they have our deepest gratitude.” continued to make the sandwich. Both Lamb and Clifton commented on the high hygiene standards MSUʼs Dining Services complies with. “All employees undergo sanitary training,” Clifton said. “We are inspected every six weeks by the Wichita County Health Department and routinely receive 95 out of 100 on the checks. We have one of the cleanest kitchens in Wichita Falls.” Not everyone agrees with the negative critiques. Many students like the cafeteria and ﬁnd it very reli- able and convenient. “I like the cafeteria, they have good stuff,” said freshman Berkley Peeples. Ms. Janetʼs line seems to be very popular with the students. Both Prince and Primavera agree their favorite is her line. All comments and opinions can be expressed in the survey that posted on the MSU Dining Services Web site. All names of those who complete the survey are entered into a drawing to win a prize, which was an i-Pod this year. Dancing with Groupo People who attended Groupo Fantasma’s concert Thursday were encouraged to get up and dance. LAUREN MILLER | The Wichitan Reporters Needed! Call The Wichitan 397-4704 New Jerusalem Baptist Church Rev. Angus Thompson, Pastor We Welcome Our New Neighbors 1400 Borton Lane Wichita Falls, TX 76305 “The Church That Reminds You of Home” Lively music and down home Sunday School 9:30 A.M. preaching and Morning Worship 10:45 A.M. Bible Study Wednesday Evening 7:00 P.M. teachings. 58613 “Day after day students eat in the cafeteria and by the end of the semester theyʼre going to have a burn out,” he said. Lamb addressed some studentsʼ opinions of meal plans being overpriced by saying, “They see a bill of $1,100 but it actually works out to less than $5 per meal.” Chamuquin Prince, a junior kinesiology major, said the food is not always fresh. He said sometimes the cake is too hard or the salad leaves are brown. Roya Shariati, a pre-med junior, was displeased Sports THE WICHITAN Jan. 31, 2007 7 Caution: Colts may be too offensive for Bears ADRIAN MCCANDLESS PHOTO EDITOR I love every aspect about football, but there is nothing like the Super Bowl. The Bears and the Colts proved themselves worthy for the top honor of playing in Super Bowl XLI this Sunday in Miami. I suspect both sides will keep us in suspense until the ﬁnal whistle blows. Here is the million-dollar question: Who is going to win the Super Bowl? I like both the Bears and the Colts. Because of fantasy football, I like individual players instead of an entire team. Payton Manning is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the league but I also admire the coaching style of Lovie Smith and the defensive skills of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison continue to impress me but at the same time, it amazes me to watch Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones run the ball. Honestly, I am torn. Between the two quarterbacks, Manning is much better and leads the league in postseason with 787 yards. Rex Grossman only mustered up nearly half that with 426 yards. Not only does Manning have the numbers to back him up but he also has the experience and judging from the game against the Patriots, Manning also has a newfound conﬁdence. Manning also has a 62 percent completion rate whereas Grossman only has a 50 percent completion rate. On he other hand, the Bearsʼ defense is insane. I wouldnʼt want to run into any of them in a dark alley, especially Urlacher. Not only is he huge but he is also freakishly fast. I am anticipating Manning being sacked at the very least three times during the game. Urlacher is crucial to the Bearsʼ defense but not their only ammunition. Chicagoʼs defense is notorious for stripping the ball. However, sometimes they are too consumed in trying to strip the ball that they donʼt focus on tackling the player. If their defense makes tackling its ﬁrst priority and stripping the ball secondary, they will be tough to beat. At the same time, if any team can combat the Bearʼs defense, it is the Colts. There is no denying they are lethal. For the Colts to win, Manning needs to connect with wide receivers Wayne and Harrison from the ﬁrst minutes in the ﬁrst quarter to the last minutes in the fourth. Wayneʼs 15 carries for the postseason play have totaled 155 yards and Harrison has 10 carries for 134 yards. No question about it, this is going to be a close game, folks. Chicago corner backs Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman are going to be aggressive on balls thrown in front of them so the Colts need to protect the ball. Manning needs to keep his passes tight, or else Chicago will pick him off repeatedly. Donʼt let the stats fool you. Even though Vasher only has one interception during the playoffs, the Super Bowl is do or die. Vasher, like the rest of Chicagoʼs defense, is going to step up his game. However, Vasher and Tillman are vulnerable to the Coltsʼ doublemove routes, a weapon that is frequently utilized and expertly executed by the Coltsʼ wideouts. This is Vasherʼs and Tillmanʼs kryptonite and the Colts need to use it to their advantage. Even though the Coltsʼ offense is strongly inﬂuenced by Manning, Wayne and Harrison, other team members played key roles in the victory over the Patriots. Backup tight end Bryan Fletcher had a 32yard catch on the winning drive two Sundays ago and Manning has effectively used rookie tailback Joseph Addai and MSU alum Dominic Rhodes to the Coltsʼ advantage. Addia has carried 57 times with a total of 217 yards and Rhodes has 193 yards rushing with only 41 carries. Rhodes is averaging almost 5 yards per carry and will be effective on Sunday. Colts tight end Dallas Clark has also become a massive asset in the playoffs leading in postseason with 28 yards. Defensively, Indianapolis needs to continuously put the Bears in a third-and-long situation. Putting Bears quarterback, Rex Grossman, in this dilemma two or three times will be too much for him to handle and I think he will crack under pressure. In order for Chicago to win, the Bears need return specialist Devin Hester to have an explosive game. The Coltsʼ special-teams unit has been a little rocky in playoffs and Hester needs to use that fact to give the Bears good ﬁeld advantage. They must also continue to utilize the deadly combination of Benson and Jones. This pair is vital to the Bearsʼ running game and I expect both will give the Colts a run for their money. Benson has carried the ball 36 times for 105 yards and Jones has carried the ball 40 times for 189 yards during postseason. Between the two, they have accounted for ﬁve touchdowns during the playoffs. The phrase “If it ainʼt broke, donʼt ﬁx it,” comes to mind Defensively, they need to put the pressure on Manning early. The Bears need to focus on keeping Manning out of rhythm because when he is in the zone he is damn near unstoppable. Blitz Manning from the inside and he will ﬂee from the pocket, keeping him from staying in sync. Chicago has a combined total of six sacks during postseason. They will need to continue this streak in order to keep Manning from making his big plays. Right outside linebacker Lance Briggs leads Chicagoʼs defense with 16 tackles in the playoffs and left defensive tackle Chris Harris comes in second with 15 tackles. Chicago also needs to take advantage of Urlacherʼs ability to destroy opponents in deep coverage zones. Grossman needs to be mentally tough this Sunday. He has a strong arm and is accurate when his offensive line gives him time but if he is rushed it is almost too painful watching him unravel. Both teams have their strengths and both most deﬁnitly have their weaknesses, so who will claim the victory on Sunday? Iʼm putting my money on Manning and the Colts. I think they are ﬁnally going to win the big one. For one, I think Manning is going to take a slow and steady approach on Sunday. If they get behind, I donʼt think it will rattle him as much as it would Grossman. After all, the Colts were behind the Patriots the entire game and Payton still came out on top. Secondly, Grossman is going to get ﬂustered and make mistakes, that is all there is to it. I also donʼt think the Bearsʼ defense alone can win the game for them. I am aware the Bears played one less game than the Colts during post season, so Indianapolis should the higher statistics. Regardless, the Colts are the better team in this match up. There are always ﬂukes. I guess this will be a true test to see if a defense really does win championships. I actually could be totally off base on this one. But I doubt it! Go Indy! Pressures of big game sometimes too hard to handle for players MCCLACHY TRIBUNE When the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts step on the Dolphin Stadium ﬁeld Sunday, they can expect to be swept up in a whirlwind of emotions, a combustible cocktail of anxiety and anticipation unlike anything most athletes ever experience. And they will exit Super Bowl XLI with memories that will endure forever, ones that, years later, will instantly elicit either a smile or a grimace, ones that will be broached by strangers in supermarket aisles and restaurants long after the players have hung up their jerseys. So whatʼs it like preparing for a Super Bowl or college football championship game, playing in it and dealing with the consequences? Those who have lived it say nothing in life compares. “You canʼt even explain it,” said former University of Miami running back Melvin Bratton, who played in two college games with a national title at stake (winning one) and started in a Super Bowl loss as a member of the Denver Broncos. “Your whole body is numb. You hear no crowd noise. You can hear yourself breathe. Thatʼs how intense the feeling is. Itʼs a natural high.” Former All-Pro quarterback Joe Theismann, who played in two Super Bowls, took “100 trips to the bathroom” in the 10 minutes before taking the ﬁeld. “Guys get sick,” he said. “I saw teammates hyperventilating, throwing up, linebackers banging their heads against the locker-room wall.” Theismann managed only three hoursʼ sleep. The key, Theismann said, “is donʼt do anything stupid in the beginning of the game.” Eventually, though, the anxiety dissipates. “After three or four times of getting up off your butt, you forget about the nervousness,” said former Dolphins All-Pro guard Bob Kuechenberg. “Then you go back to doing what youʼre trained to do.” Some teams employ sports psychologists to help numb playersʼ nerves before big games. “It can devastate a team if the proper approach is not taken,” said Palm Beach-based John F. Murray, whom Tennis Magazine called the Roger Federer of sports psychologists. “The media attention and the hoopla needs extreme management.” Bratton said he cracked jokes before championship games and spewed wisecracks in the huddle to ease the tension: “Thatʼs how I survived it.” Murray, who has counseled tennisʼ Vince Spadea and others before big matches, said he suggests players competing in championship games go “through daily imagery sessions where they get so comfortable with this game that by the time it begins itʼs been dealt with many times before, and the players could focus on what they do best.” Weʼll all be watching on Sunday to see which team handles the pressure the best. Smith was named the 13th head coach for the Chicago Bears. In 2005, this Texas native was named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, which was probably because of his 11 victories, eight-game win streak and division title win. From 1976 until 1979, he played at Tulsa where he started out as a linebacker but eventually moved to strong safety. It was during this time that he earned two-time All-American and three-time All-Missouri Conference defensive back honors. Beginning in 1983, Smith began coaching on the collegiate level at Tulsa. From there he went on to coach at Wisconsin, Arizona State, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio State. From 1996 until 2000 he graced the Tampa Bay Buccaneer linebackers with his presence. From 2001 to 2003 Smith served as the defensive coordinator for St. Louis where he helped the Rams return to the Super Bowl. Not only has Smith proven to be a great football coach but also the teams he has coached have proven themselves to be worthy. In 2004 the Bears were the youngest team in the NFL and they posted a 5-11 record. For the ﬁrst two seasons Smith was head coach, Chicago was ranked second in the NFL. Now the Bears are making it possible for the world to truly understand his abilities ﬁrst hand as he was named the ﬁrst black head coach to make it to the Super Bowl. This history making moment was made even more historic as Dungy and the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Patriots four hours later and Dungy became the second black head coach to ever make it to the Super Bowl. Smith and Dungy ﬁrst crossed paths in 1996 when Smith became one of Dungyʼs assistants for Tampa. Dungy ﬁrst began to shine in the world of football in 1973 as a quarterback for the University of Minnesota. By the time he graduated he was the all-time leader in attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes and was two-time most valuable player. In 1977, Dungy played safety for two seasons with Pittsburgh as a free agent. During his playing time he helped with the Super Bowl XIII victory over the Dallas Cowboys. He was then traded to San Francisco in 1979. In 1981, Dungy, then 25, became the NFLʼs youngest assistant coach when he took a position with Pittsburgh. In 1982, he was promoted from the defensive assistant to the defensive coach. At the age of 28, he became the leagueʼs youngest defensive coordinator. Moving on from Pittsburgh in 1989, he then became the defensive backs coach at Kansas City and then the defensive coordinator at Minnesota in 1992. From 1996 through 2001, Dungy held a 54-42 record as head coach with Tampa Bay, where his team qualiﬁed for the playoffs four out of six seasons. January 22, 2002, he was named the head coach of the Colts, where he has remained for the past ﬁve seasons. In 2005 he led the Colts to a franchise-record 14 wins and a third consecutive divisional title. Dungy also currently stands as the only NFL head coach to defeat all 32 NFL teams. Both men have an outstanding record along with an incredibly close friendship, which is going to make this Super Bowl game an interesting one. When Dungy ﬁrst started coaching in Tampa, the only two other black coaches were Smith and Herman Edwards. Both learned a great deal from Dungy who acted as their mentor and their friend. Dungy recently stated his excitement for Smith in an interview with ESPN Sports, saying, “Iʼm so happy Lovie got there because he does things the right way. Heʼs going to get there with a lot of class, no profanity, no intimidation, just helping his guys play the best that they can. Thatʼs the way I try to do it.” This Super Bowl is going to be a game that goes against all odds. Many are in speculation not only about the headline-making coaches but also about the two teamsʼ quarterbacks that ESPN Sports calls “the biggest quarterback mismatch in a long time.” The Coltsʼ Peyton Manning has worked hard for nine years to make it to the Super Bowl and he is said to be the gameʼs top quarterback. On the other end is the Bears Rex Grossman, who is not always on the top of the list as far as quarterbacks are concerned and is usually a step away from being benched and replaced with Brian Griese. The Super Bowl hardly ever fails to entertain but Super Bowl XLI is going to go down in history for being a monumental time for black history as well as an interesting game because of the coaches close ties to each other. And if the game fails to entertain then, there will still be Prince to spice things up during the Pepsi sponsored halftime show. Friends make history as ﬁrst African Amerian coaches in Super Bowl CARLY BURRES STAFF REPORTER Two head coaches, Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy, are making headlines for being two good friends who happen to be the ﬁrst and the second black coaches to make it to the Super Bowl. For 41 years the black community has been able to boast about having some of the best football players to grace the Super Bowl ﬁeld as well as having excellent assistant coaches standing on the sidelines. Now they can add a little something to their bragging list. On January 15, 2004, Lovie Cartoonist, Columnists and Sports Writers Needed!! Call The Wichitan at 397-4704 and leave a message. 8 Sports THE WICHITAN Jan. 31, 2007 Mustangs ride into sunset with two wins FOR THE WICHITAN The Midwestern State University Mustangs never trailed in the game, but needed 12-3 to break a tie and held on to beat West Texas A&M 90-81 in Lone Star Conference South action Saturday night at Gerald Stockton Court in D.L. Ligon Coliseum. MSU allowed a 20-point ﬁrsthalf lead to totally evaporate, but never allowed the Buffaloes (10-8, 2-2) to hold the lead. MSU used a 20-4 run midway through the ﬁrst half to build a 20point 36-16 lead, only to see the Buffs chip away at the advantage and cut it to six at 48-42 heading into the locker room at the half. The Mustangs built a 10-point lead to start the second half when the Buffs Damien Lolar buried a three to start a 10-0 run that ended with a Lolar dunk with 15:37 to play and tied the score at 53-all. After a Midwestern time out, senior Chad Rickett answered with a three-pointer to start a 9-1 run for the Mustangs, giving MSU some breathing room. Lolar pulled West Texas within three with a layup with 7:40 to go, but a Chris Francois dunk, followed by a fast-break layup by Eric Dawson retained the MSU lead and killed off the last serious challenge by the Buffs. Rickett led all scorers with a season-high 30 points, his second 30-point effort of his career earning him LSC South Player of the Week. Dawson added 19 points with 10 rebounds and two blocks, while Drew Coffman collected 15 points with ﬁve assists. Lolar, the leading scorer in the LSC, chalked up 27 points with six rebounds, ﬁve assists and four steals to lead WT. Tyler Cooper came off the bench with 20 points and seven rebounds, with Chris Hinz adding 11 points and Kevin Green 10. MSU was outshot by West Texas 51.9 percent to 50.0 percent, but the Mustangs were fouled more often and connected on 32 of 40 free throws. WT nailed 17 of 28 charity tosses. The Mustangs outrebounded the Buffs 32-31. On Monday, the Mustangs depended on Chad Rickett to snap Tarleton State Universityʼs 33-game home-court winning streak with a 72-59 victory at Wisdom Gym. Rickett led the Mustangs with 23 points and four assists as MSU raised its record to 14-4 overall and now stands alone at the top of the LSC South with a 3-1 record. Tarleton lost at home for the ﬁrst time since Jan. 22, 2005, when Central Oklahoma beat TSU 59-46. The Texans dropped to 12-6 overall, 1-2 in the LSC South. Midwestern State jumped out to an early 10-point lead at 12-2 and 15-5 before the Texans answered with an 8-0 run to get close. Tarleton overcame the early MSU advantage on a John Davis three-pointer, the ﬁrst of three consecutive tries for the Texans in the midst of a 12-4 run that closed the half to give TSU a 36-33 lead. TSU held a 42-40 lead with 16:11 remaining when the Mustangs took control of the half. Eric Dawson got a layup to tie the game at 42-all, then Rickett buried a three with 14:20 to play to take a lead it would not relinquish as MSU stunned the Tarleton faithful with a 13-0 run to take an 11-point lead. With an 11-point advantage with 8:07 to go, Tarleton made its ﬁnal run at the Mustangs. A John Davis layup started a quick 6-0 run that pulled TSU within ﬁve after a Tanner Morgan layup with 5:43 to play. But the Mustangs responded. After getting his fourth foul Dawson proceeded to take three charges that killed Texan possession, with the offense answering each time. The knife in the heart of the Texans came on consecutive possessions with under four minutes to play. Rickett got a fast-break layup after a Dawson rebound, then another Dawson board off a missed TSU shot led to a Chris Davis three with 3:07 to play that put MSU up by a dozen. The Mustangs rode out the ﬁnal time with a Coffman three and a Dawson layup providing exclamation points on the win. In addition to Rickettʼs 23 points, Dawson tallied 18 points and led MSU with seven boards, a block and three steals. Coffman collected 15 points for MSU with four assists as well. Rickett hit 9-of-10 from the ﬂoor and 4 of 5 from the foul line to continue his red hot shooting. John Davis was the only Tarleton player in double ﬁgures scoring, with 24 points and seven rebounds. Robert Hartﬁeld added nine points for the Texans. Not only did the win snap a 33game home-court winning streak for TSU, it also ended the Texans four-game win streak over Midwestern State. The last time MSU beat TSU was on Dec. 3, 2003, when MSU claimed 75-74 win to snap a Texan 24-game regular season win streak. The Mustangs are in action again on Thursday when they travel to Abilene Christian. Tipoff of the contest will be at 8 p.m. at ACUʼs Moody Coliseum. MSU ladies lose at home FOR THE WICHITAN The Midwestern State University Lady Mustangs let an 18-point second half lead slip away, then had to battle through two overtimes before claiming an 81-75 victory over Eastern New Mexico in Lone Star Conference South play Thursday night at Gerald Stockton Court in D.L. Ligon Coliseum. A three by Heather Brown began a 21-4 run for the Zias who closed the gap to 56-55 with 4:321 to play. Midwestern appeared to have the upper hand when Brittni Burks buried a jumper with 2:48 remaining to go up by three at 62-59, but Roni Gomez tied the game for the Zias with a three with 1:39 to go in regulation. Both teams missed shots in the last 90 seconds, but when Gomez stole the ball with 41 seconds to play it looked bad for MSU. They got a missed jumper from Brown, but got the offensive board. As the clock ran down Brown went in for a layup with 0.9 to play only to run over MSUʼs Andi Richardson and was called for her ﬁfth foul. In the ﬁrst overtime MSU came back from a three-point deﬁcit to tie the game at 67 with 30 seconds left, and got the ball back on a Gomez turnover with three seconds remaining. In the second extra frame, MSU got a three-point play from Stacey Staten and a layup from Richardson to build a quick ﬁve-point lead then never let go. Freshman Andrea Buben led the Lady Mustangs with 24 points to go with seven rebounds, while Burks tallied 17 points with seven boards and two blocks and senior Sonya Calhoun-Courtney tallied 15 points. Staten just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine assists. Richardson led the squad with 14 rebounds. On Saturday night, the Lady Mustangs grabbed an early lead on No. 13 West Texas A&M University on Gerald Stockton Court in D.L. Ligon Coliseum, but the Lady Buffs answered with a 13-1 run and never looked back on the way to an 81-61 Lone Star Conference South victory. MSU (9-9, 2-4) jumped out to the 6-2 lead, only to see the balanced WT (17-3, 6-0) squad rebound with its ﬁrst run of the game for a lead it would not relinquish. WT led 40-29 at intermission, then pulled away to start the second half, as MSU never got closer than 10 during the second frame. Midwestern State was paced by the play of Burks who collected 15 points, while Buben posted 14 points and Staten 13 points with ﬁve rebounds. The Lady Buffs got 22 points, six assists and four blocked shots from the LSCʼs leading scorer Emily Brister. Natalie Wheeler tallied 13 points and Mariah Willis 10. Kara Pridey just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds with four steals. The MSU women visit Abilene Christian in LSC South play. The game is set for 6 p.m. at Moody Coliseum in Abilene. The Lady Mustangs would like everyoneʼs support in their upcoming LSC match-ups. ������ �������� ADRIAN MCCANDLESS | THE WICHITAN MSU’s Roderick Jacobs, 33, hooks a shot over an Eastern New Mexico defender Thursday night in D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The Mustangs beat Tarleton State 72-59, on Monday night to snap its 33-game home court winning streak. Training to be a NBA pro JOSH MUJICA SPORTS EDITOR ADRIAN MCCANDLESS | THE WICHITAN MSU’s Andrea Buben, 30, ﬂicks her wrist as she shoots over an Eastern New Mexico defender Saturday night. ������������������ ������������ ��������������������������� ����������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������ �������������� �������������������� ������������������������� ������������������ ����������������� ��������������������������� ��������������������� ������������������� Basketball is my ambition. Okay, it might not seem like it by the look of my untoned pear-shaped physique, but working my way into the NBA is my dream. My love for the league streams from watching Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the ʼ90s Chicago Bulls win six championships. Growing up I used to walk to the elementary schoolyard across the street from my house to work on my game. I would practice Jordanʼs infamous fade away with my tongue sticking out, Kareem Abdul-Jabbarʼs hook shot on one leg and Tim Duncanʼs bank shot off the backboard. I donʼt know how many times I busted my tailbone trying to dunk like Shawn Kemp, Shaquille OʼNeal and Vince Carter. No matter how hard I tried I could never reach the rim. Gravity always denied me. I never let this stop me though. I contined to think I was destined to be a pro. Watching these giants play on TV made them my heroes. I wanted to be an NBA superstar. Watching the movie “Space Jam” made me believe I could ﬂy and dunking over my little cousins on their plastic Playskool basketball goal gave me conﬁdence that I could one day become a NBA legend if I worked hard enough. Then reality struck in the seventh grade. I went out for the school team. My 5-foot, 7-inch, 210-pound stature made my coach think that I would make a great center. Boy, was he wrong! After four games I was benched. I had a tendency to commit fouls that I never knew existed. Like standing in the paint for 3 seconds. What the hell is that? Besides that it was fact that I looked like an uncoordinated Lurch who shot like a girl. Not that there is anything wrong with shooting like a girl. I like girls. My coach decided he would move me from center to a new position: Waterboy/StatKeeper. That mother f-er! I hated it but felt like part of the team. My duties included recording stats for my former teammates and giving them water when I saw them dehydrated. I felt all that practice I did in my youth was a waste. My dream quikly faded. Maybe God didnʼt intend on me becoming an all-star in the NBA with a cool nickname like Josh “Money Shot” Mujica. I was so tramatized by this demotion that I never again went out for a basketball team. I stuck to football and track in high school because I was so scared my skills would be rejected like in junior high. I regret it so much. Since then I have become an avid San Antonio Spurs fan. Iʼve let bygones be bygones and now Iʼm at peace with being just “Average Josh.” I rely on my brain now to get what I want as opposed to using my non-existing basketball ability. Iʼve edited my dream a little, but it still involves the NBA. I want to work in community relations for the Spurs after Iʼm done with school. Everytime I go to a game I get more hyped about graduating and making my dream become reality. Even today I joke with my old roommates about being on the Spurs staff and shooting around with the players. Then one day, Coach Greg Popovich would walk out and see my shot and sign me to a 10-day contract eventually leading to a regular contract. I tell him that a league MVP and championship would soon follow. First I hear crickets and then we all bust into laughter. But you never know what surprises life may bring. The key is to be patient and optimstic. My dream seems like a long shot from half court but with my drive and conﬁdence I have faith I can turn it into an easy lay-up. I know the Mavs are good but go, Spurs, go!