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acuoptimist.com

Optimist the

Fans of the Year, page 8

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vol. 99, No. 31

1 section, 8 pages

ACADEMICS

Presidential Scholar requirements increase In the past, students could apply for either a half- or fullManaging Editor tuition Presidential ScholarPresidential Scholarship appli- ship. This year, all students will cants and winners this year will compete for up to a full-tuition participate in a transformed scholarship, with unset awards program as the scholarship un- adding more options for potendergoes alterations in both can- tial scholarship amounts, said didate requirements and award Tamera Long, director of Campus Recruiting. administration.

Jeff Craig

“I believe it allows us to award more scholarships, because we can use our funds more strategically,” Long said. Interviews also are being conducted during the afternoon hours for the first time. Long said moving the interviews to later in the day has allowed more faculty to participate in the interview process.

In addition to changes to the interview process, those receiving awards also will see some changes from previous years. Recipients of the award now will be required to fulfill lowest level requirements for the Honors College and participate in two extracurricular activities.

“I think faculty add an interesting perspective to the interviews, since they are academic scholars in their respective fields,” Long said. “It allows students to interact with prospective faculty and allows the faculty to feel like they are more involved and have a role in selecting potential scholars.”

see SCHOLAR page 4

ACUPD

Ellison named state’s top cop Jeff Craig

Managing Editor

Kyle Dickson, ­­­director of the AT&T Learning Studio and associate professor of English, said he believes the center will bring a new energy to the library. “The facility is designed to spark student creativity and collaboration,” Dickson said. “The library has lots of places that support individual study, but everything from the furniture to the technology in the new learning studio will help make groups more productive.” Until the opening, students are encouraged to be mindful of construction areas and to avoid the third floor of the library as much as possible. More information on the center can

ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison was honored with the Outstanding Police Chief Award for 2010 by a statew i d e group of college police departments. The Texas Association of College and University Police Administrators gave Ellison the award. Ellison, who has served as ACU’s Chief of Police since 2001, said the award demonstrated the commitment the university and his officers have shown to ensure the campus remains safe. “I was surprised and honored to receive it,” Ellison said. “There are a lot of deserving chiefs around the state, so I was very honored to receive it. To me it’s more of a reflection of the department staff and the university than it is a reflection of me as an individual.” Ellison said the award, formally know as the Bill G. Daniels Outstanding Administrator Award, is handed out annually by

see AT&T page 4

see TACUPA page 4

DANIEL GOMEZ // Staff Photographer

Construction workers smooth the freshly poured concrete between Brown Library and Wednesday.

Campus construction remains on track Christina Burch Page 2 Editor

With new grass taking root and temporary fences disappearing, the completion of several construction projects is returning ACU’s campus to an improved version of its former glory. AT&T Learning Studio Construction on the third floor of the Brown Library will come to a close in the next several weeks as the AT&T Learning Studio plans to open Feb. 28. The AT&T Learning Studio will function as an addition to the ACU Digital Media Center, giving students access to renovated audio

and video studios and offering collaboration rooms and media support staff for first-timers and advanced technology users alike. The completed center will feature a ribbon cutting Feb. 28, with guests from AT&T and the community in attendance. In conjunction with the opening, students, faculty and interested community members can attend the Connected Mobile Conference on Feb. 28 and March 1. Tours of the facility and the updated technology will be available for students the week before the opening. Also, faculty will have the opportunity to attend informational lunches about the studio in the Adams Center at 2 p.m. on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22.

DEBATE

Debate duo ranks No. 20 in national standings Meagan Hernandez Staff Photographer

The ACU Forensics team, more commonly known as speech and debate, is no stranger to success. Among other notable achievements, its qualifications for the national debate tournament against opponents like Rice University demands

inside news ACU will eliminate its P.E. Teacher Education program and develop a new kinesiology and recreation leadership major. page 3

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the attention of the debate world. “I’m proud of all of our kids. We’ve done really well. It’s been very exciting,” said Dena Counts, instructor of communications and Forensics director. Two members of the team are ranked 20th out of 800 teams in the nation. Jared Perkins, junior political science major

“Jeff and Jared are our most experienced team,” Counts I’m proud of all of our kids. said. “They have received We’ve done really well. It’s an invitation to the National been very exciting. Parliamentary Tournament DENA COUNTS // instructor of of Excellence. It is invitation communications and Forensics director only. Only 60 teams in the nafrom Peru, Ill., and Jeff and quarter-finals in oth- tion get one.” Margaret Moore, junior Craig, junior print journal- er debate tournaments. ism major from Granbury, Through these victories, youth and family ministry took first place in three they have accumulated major from Katy, is another different tournaments and enough points to outrank distinguished member of the program. Moore has won first qualified for semi-finals the other 780 teams.

website

arts Find more information and read reviews of the six Oscar-nominated films before the awards show premier. page 5

place in two different tournaments with her informative speech on echolocation. Although Moore said she is proud of her accomplishments, she especially values the skills they represent. “I am able to see both sides of the issue. I am able to think critically about a problem and approach it see FORENSICS page 4

weather

photo gallery Find more photos of construction on the AT&T Learning Studio and the Royce and Pam Money Recreation and Wellness Center at acuoptimist.com.

Abilene Christian University

Fri.

Sat.

Sun.

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Campus Friday, January 28, 2011

28

Day

calendar & events Friday

All day Track & Field invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. 11 a.m. Praise Day in Moody Coliseum Last day to register a class for pass/fail or credit/no credit in The Depot

29

Saturday

All day Track & Field invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. 2 p.m. Home women’s basketball game vs. Eastern New Mexico University

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Sunday

8:30 a.m. Abilene Kennel Club Dog Show at the Taylor County Expo Center

31

Monday

11 a.m. Chapel in Moody Coliseum Intramural basketball season begins

2:30 p.m. Abilene High School musical Godspell

4 p.m. Home men’s basketball game vs. Eastern New Mexico

Spring Pledging Bid Night

ACU Police Tip of the Week Register for the free ACU ALERT system to receive immediate emergency updates at www.acu.edu/acualert

Police Log Edited for space

Tuesday, Jan. 18 10:15 a.m. Someone reported stolen lawn furniture from the back patio of several dorms in A.B. Barret Hall. ACU Police currently are reviewing surveillance video to identify the suspect.

Thursday, Jan. 20 11:52 a.m. A woman reported a stolen bicycle from a bicycle rack at Smith Hall.

Sunday, Jan. 23 12:09 a.m. ACU Police officers responded to an intoxicated man in the street 6 p.m. Someone report- near the intersection of EN ed graffiti on a dryer and 16th Street and Avenue E. A on logtheofinside the walls ACUof Police Dethe The man was arrested for partment’s daily activities intoxication. laundry room of Smith- publicwill beAdams printed this page of Hall.onAdditional thegraffiti Optimist. The first Monday, Police Jan. 24 also was found Log will appear Friday. on the outside walls of 10:54 a.m. ACU Police the Sherrod Apartments. officers stopped a white Chevrolet vehicle speeding in the 500 block of EN Wednesday, Jan. 19 2:57 p.m. Someone re- 22nd Street. The officers ported a person fleeing identified the driver and from a vacant apart- issued a verbal warning. ment located on EN 18th Street. ACU Police Report all suspicious acofficers searched the tivity to the ACU Police area, but were unable to Department at 674-2305. locate the subject.

Weekly Stats Jan. 18-25

follow us on Twitter: @acuoptimist // become a fan on Facebook: The Optimist

announcements Chapel Exemptions Students who are required to miss Chapel for work must submit exemption forms and documentation by Jan. 28. For students who begin a new job during the semester, forms are due within two weeks of starting the job. Forms can be turned into the Chapel Office or The Depot. For more information, visit www.acu.edu/ campusoffices/chapel/exemptions/index.html.

Married Students Retreat Registration for the Married Students Retreat is now open. The retreat is Feb. 11 - 12 at is $65 per couple. Register at www. acu.edu/retreat or contact Steve Eller at 674-2878 or steve.eller@acu.edu. FCA The ACU chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets at 9 p.m. every Thursday in the Living Room of the Campus Center.

ACUltimate The university’s ultimate frisbee club meets at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Interested students can contact Kyle Thaxton at krt06d@acu.edu. 2nd Annual Careers In Non-Profits Students can talk to representatives from Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Disability Resources, Love & Care Ministries and Noah Project from

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 in the Hunter Welcome Center. Light snacks will be served. Students can R.S.V.P. to www.acu.edu/ careercenter. Images of Aging Photo Contest ACU students may enter their photographs into any of five categories. The deadline for entries is Jan. 31. For more information, visit blogs.acu.edu/ imagesofaging or visit the Pruett Gerontology Center.

2 Accidents 1 Alarm Call 1 Animal Call 19 Building Lock/ Unlocks 20 Check Buildings 4 Criminal Mischiefs 1 Found Property 2 Hit and Runs

1 Intoxicated Person 3 Lost Property 1 Motorist Assist: Inflate Tire 9 Motorist Assist: Jumpstarts 9 Motorist Assist: Unlocks 1 Prowler

4 Parking Violations 1 Random Patrol 6 Suspicious Activities 5 Thefts (Non-Vehicle) 7 Traffic Stops 1 Trespasser

Chapel Checkup 11 62

Credited Chapels to date

Credited Chapels remaining

volunteer opportunities Guys Read Week Thomas Elementary School is looking for male volunteers to read to children. Times are available throughout the day, and participants can sign up for more than one slot. Contact Peggy Langford at 671-4995 ext. 5783 or e-mail peggy.langford@ abileneisd.org The Dyess Youth Center needs help with a Ping Pong Exhibition from 4-6 p.m. every Friday. Volunteers will preside over tournaments and help with an exhibition for the students. Transportation will not be provided, and volunteers may not have any sexual assault charges or charges pending. For more information, contact Sheri Frisby at 696-4797 or e-mail sheri. frisby-@dyess.af.mil. Meals on Wheels needs volunteers to deliver noon meals to seniors and adults with disabilities. Routes are available 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Monday-Friday. Volunteers must be at least 18, with a valid driver’s license, auto insurance and a desire to serve. Training is provided. Students may be exempted from one Chapel per week if delivery time conflicts with Chapel. Contact Samantha Barker at 672-5050 or sbarker@ mealsonwheelsplus.com.

HERO Hendrick Equine Rehabilitation Opportunities needs volunteers from March 22-May 5 to help with its horse therapy program. Volunteers will walk or jog alongside horses and provide safety for clients as they ride. No horse experience is necessary. Volunteers must attend one of two training sessions offered prior to the beginning of the program. Contact Beth Byerly at 660-3465 or e-mail herocoord@ netzero.com. Mesa Spring Healthcare Center needs volunteers from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. any day of the week to help with fun activities for the residents, including playing instruments, calling bingo and sitting and talking. All help is appreciated. Contact Laura Reynolds at 692-8080 or lgreynolds@ sears-methodist.com. International Rescue Committee Students can work with refugees who recently moved to the United States, teaching English, helping with homework and mentoring. Volunteer times are flexible. Call Daina Juryka-Owen at 675-5643 ext. 16 to make an appointment. For more information on the International Rescue Committee, visit www.theirc.org.

Abilene Youth Sports Authority needs volunteers on Feb. 5 to help with the West Texas Sports and Fitness Expo at the Abilene Civic Center from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Volunteers can take tickets, run sports contests and help with cleanup. For more information, contact Katie Miller at 692-2972 or khowerton@abileneysa.org. Aimee’s Art Studio is seeking volunteers from 9-10 a.m. or 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday to assist with homeschool fine arts classes. No formal art skills or training is required. The studio is a five-minute walk from ACU’s campus. For more information, contact Aimee Williams at 672-9633. Madison Middle School is looking for male volunteers to participate in a weekly “Boys2Men” lunchtime program for 8th grade boys. Speakers will be addressing different aspects of growing up. Contact Jeff Womack at 692-5661 or jeffrey.womack@abileneisd.org. Global Samaritan Resources Volunteers are needed to sort through clothing and repack boxes from MondayThursday at any time. Volunteers should call ahead. Contact David Catalina at 676-9991 for more information. The Center for Contemporary Arts needs a gallery assistant to help with exhibit setup and preparation, as well as an administrative assistant. The work can be done any time 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Call 677-8389 or e-mail info@ center-arts.com.


CAMPUS NEWS

January 28, 2011

Page 3

ACADEMICS

University to eliminate P.E. education program Schools across the nations are cutting back on Senior Reporter their PE requirements Exercise science major Kelly and funding, Bell said. PE Baskin came to ACU know- has become an elective in ing she wanted to work with most high schools, and athletes. But future Wild- elementary schools are cats who hope to work in making PE positions more high school athletics, as part-time. These are the does Baskins, may have hit positions the PETE major a snag: ACU has just com- was preparing students to pleted the paperwork for fill, Bell said. “Students are paying a terminating the Physical Education Teacher Educa- lot to go to school here,” Bell said. “When they get tion program. Joe Bell, chair of the De- to the end, they should partment of Exercise Sci- have something they can ence and Health, cited prac- start a career with.” Most students who enticality and job availability roll in the PETE program to explain the change. “The primary reason is want to become coaches, market trends,” Bell said. Bell said. ACU still will of“We are finding that our fer a Coaching minor, and PETE graduates are not also is developing new deable to get jobs in Texas.” grees in kinesiology and Christianna Lewis

‘‘ ’’

recreation leadership. The kinesiology program will prepare students to take certification testing and further train in a broad spectrum of exercise science related fields, including teaching, Bell said. The recreation leadership degree plan will prepare students to work at non-school-based programs, such as YMCAs and sports camps, Bell said. “I’m excited about that degree as a way to get a job and find ministry possibilities,” Bell said. Baskin, a sophomore from San Antonio, said such ministry opportunities played a role in setting her sights on a career as an athletic trainer. Despite wondering if ACU has

program will be able to complete it. The primary reason is Also, especially set market trends. We are to impact exercise scifinding that our PETE ence majors is The Royce graduates are not able to and Pam Money Student get jobs in Texas Recreation and Wellness JOE BELL // chair of the Department Center. The center’s new of Exercise Science and Health lab facilities will allow the Exercise Science department as a whole to focus made the right decision in part of her future. “There’s something more on science by offercutting the program, she said she is satisfied with about high school athletes ing new classes on exerher own experience at the that makes them wrap up cise research and datauniversity and pleased their identities in sports,” collecting techniques. “We’re trying to be good about the addition of a ki- Baskin said. “They’re more open to different ideolo- stewards of the students’ nesiology major. Baskin said she’s con- gies. It’s a good place to tuition dollars and trying to make sure they’ll have vinced that exercise sci- make an impact.” Although ACU no lon- opportunities after graduence is more than simply coaching. And although ger will be offering a ma- ation,” Bell said. she is participating in jor geared toward careers the pre-physical therapy in high school coaching, track, she still sees high Bell said students curcontact Lewis at cll09a@acu.edu school athletic training as rently enrolled in the

SOCIAL CLUBS

Three men’s social clubs to offer spring pledging Bailey Neal

Page Designer

‘‘

ACU men’s social clubs Frater Sodalis, Pi Kappa and Sub T-16 are recruiting new members to join their clubs and participate in Sing Song through the newly reinstated practice of spring pledging. Mauri Westbrook, director of student organizations and activities, said the men’s clubs participating in spring pledging began the process last semester. “The new Inter-Social Club Council made a recommendation to Student Life last November to consider giving the clubs that wanted to participate the opportunity to have spring pledging,” Westbrook said. “Student Life accepted this recommendation and began plans to accommodate.” Brandon Fry, President of Frater Sodalis said his fellow club members view spring pledging as a good opportunity for men who didn’t have the chance to pledge in the fall to try again. “Since spring pledging is different from fall pledging, naturally, there will be aspects that will not be the same,” Fry said. “But both pledge classes should come away with an overall same experience. New pledges are always welcomed and will be given the same opportunities as fall pledges.” Spring pledging may become a more regular prac-

Pretty Petals

Pledging in the spring is certainly different than in the fall, but it provides an opportunity for students that are not able to participate in the fall for a variety of reasons.

’’

MAURI WESTBROOK // director of student organizations and activities

tice for ACU social clubs, depending on how beneficial it proves to be this semester, Westbrook said. “For now, we are going to see how this year goes,” Westbrook said. “Depending on its success and feedback from clubs, we will assess the opportunity for spring pledging again in the future.” One of the most important activities in which new club members will participate is their respective club’s Sing Song act. “Most clubs incorporate the Sing Song process into their pledging activities for the spring,” Westbrook said. “It will provide them an opportunity to participate with members in a rich ACU tradition, while learning club traditions unique to Sing Song at the same time.” Women’s clubs will not participate in this semester’s pledging process. “For the most part, it seemed that the women’s clubs wanted to focus their attention on Sing Song and did not currently feel the need to take a second pledge class in the spring,” Westbrook said.

Molly Moore, vice president of Delta Theta, said her club considered taking part in spring pledging but later rethought the choice. “We originally voted for spring pledging, but after further discussion, we realized it would not encompass the traditions of our pledging process,” Moore said. “Delta Theta holds firm in its core traditions that create the unique sisterhood we share as a group of young women.” Registration for spring pledging closed Friday, with 11 men signed up and eligible to participate. “Pledging in the spring is certainly different than the fall, but it provides an opportunity for students that are not able to participate in the fall for a variety of reasons,” Westbrook said. “So while it may look and feel a little different, it is still a great way to get involved on campus through joining a social club.”

contact Neal at

bmn07a@acu.edu

STACY ACTON // Staff Photographer

Landscape worker for ACU Terry Coffman plants majestic giant pansies in front of the Campus Center on Thursday.


CAMPUS NEWS

Page 4

January 28, 2011

CONSTRUCTION

AT&T: New learning center nears completion Continued from page 1

‘‘ ’’

be found at blogs.acu.edu/ learningstudio.

Loop Line Also recently, the campus has seen the completion of its 43-year old loop line system’s reconstruction. The loop line, responsible for transporting the hot and chilled water necessary for campus-wide heating and air conditioning, faced problems due to its outdated piping design. Zane Dennis, executive director of facilities and campus development, oversaw the $6 million project to restore the loop line. “Construction projects are always going to have struggles,” Dennis said. “But it’s about overcoming them, and that’s true for all building.”

Construction projects are always going to have struggles. But it’s about overcoming them, and that’s true for all building. ZANE DENNIS // executive director of facilities and campus development

completion of the center scheduled for late this summer, Dennis said. Students will have full access to the center and its services by fall semester. Dennis said this building will allow students to rely more on campus services for their health needs and possible job opportunities. “It’s going to be a phenomenal building,” Dennis Rec Center Progress on the Royce said. “There will be nothand Pam Money Student ing like it on campus.” and Recreation Wellness DANIEL GOMEZ // Chief Photographer Center also is moving Workers continue construction on the AT&T Learning Studio on the third floor of the Brown Library. contact Burch at steadily along, with the Construction is scheduled for completion Feb. 28. clb10b@acu.edu Dennis said the new line will be more economical and efficient. Construction on the loop line began last May and was completed by October. Dennis said campus aesthetics were completely restored by mid-December, as students left for winter break.

Class Act

ACADEMICS

Scholar: Applicant numbers increase Continued from page 1

TANNER FREEMAN // Staff Photographer

Members of the senior Sing Song act practice in the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building on Monday.

Leslie Hayes, admissions coordinator for the Honors College, said requiring Presidential Scholars to be more involved in the Honors College falls in line with the capabilities they possess. “These are top-notch students, and we are giving them a great scholarship to come to our university and perform at the highest level,” Hayes said. “It seems like a natural fit.” A total of 453 potential students have scheduled interviews for the scholarship, an increase from 323 interviewees a year ago. Long said ACU’s increasing reputation as an excellent institute of higher education has helped contribute to the spike in applicants for the award. “ACU is at an exciting time in its history,” Long said. “We are seeing an increase in demand in the high school marketplace

because ACU is developing a reputation as a university that puts Christ first and has high academic standards.” Applicants must earn an ACT score of at least 27 and a high school GPA of at least a 3.5. Also, applicants must have completed their application to the university prior to their interview. The remaining interview days for Presidential Scholarships are Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 14 and Feb. 21. Those receiving awards will be notified by no later that March 25, and they will be required to accept or decline the award by April 15. More information on Presidential Scholarships can be found online at www.acu.edu/ academics/honors/about/ majorscholarships /presidentialscholguide. contact Craig at

jrc07d@acu.edu

DEBATE

Forensics: Team earns national bid quick facts

Continued from page 1

from both sides,” she said. Of those skills, Counts said each team member brings something unique to the table. “I believe it is a group of people who are not only very talented and very intelligent, but a group of people who are able to put their ego aside and take criticism, work hard together and challenge each other,” Counts said.

The ACU Forensics team has five tournaments left during the semester. • St. Louis • San Marcos • Denver

• Bloomington, Ill. • Portland, Ore.

Moore agrees that the group’s hard work and cooperation makes success possible. “It’s a unique group. It is cool to see us all work together and be successful,” Moore said.

The speech and debate program offers just one more way for ACU students to pursue the university’s mission of preparing students for leadership in the world. “This is a great way to practice thinking outside our worldview,” Counts said. “It’s a great way to live Christ among others, but also stretch your thinking along the way.” contact Hernandez at

mkh05a@acu.edu

ACUPD

TACUPA: Ellison honored Continued from page 1

TACUPA to an outstanding police chief in Texas. TACUPA was founded in 1964 and currently comprises of about 110 departments. Ellison attributes the success of ACUPD in keeping campus safe to his department’s 16 officers. “We have highly experienced and seasoned police officers, many of whom are in their second career, meaning they’ve already served a year in municipal or county policing. That gives us a very unique combination of staff, and that helps build a great police department.” Shawn Burns, chief of police at West Texas A&M

University and president of TACUPA, said Ellison was a “hands down” choice for the award after the association received his nomination “I was very proud to present the award to Jimmy,” Burns said. “I’ve known him for several years and I’m proud of a lot of the work he has done at ACU. Often, the award goes to chiefs who are humble and don’t want to be in the spotlight.” Burns said Ellison also has shown a commitment to working with local law enforcement in Abilene. “I know some guys from the Abilene Police Department, and Jimmy has done a wonderful job creating a

working relationship with them,” Burns said. Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, ACU’s vice president and dean for student life, nominated Ellison for the award and attended his ceremony. Thompson said Ellison has done a wonderful job of transforming ACUPD into a fully functional police force. “Chief Ellison has a wonderful way of being personable and connecting with people, not just at ACU, but with our Abilene Police Department,” Thompson said. “Folks trust him because they know he is going to do things right.” contact Craig at

jrc07d@acu.edu


6

Arts

January 28, 2011

Page 5

Abilene Events SATURDAY The Light Parade, Blinded by Bears and Panther City Band 8 p.m. Monks Coffee Shop

SATURDAY

films to see before the

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra - Brilliant Duo

Oscars

8 p.m. Abilene Civic Center

SATURDAY Jesse Porter Comedy 7 p.m. Mezamiz Coffee Shop

ACU Events MONDAY Images of Aging Photography Contest Final day to submit entries blogs.acu.edu/imagesofaging

TUESDAY ACU Faculty Jazz Concert 8 p.m. Recital Hall Williams Performing Arts Center

App of the Week HeyTell Utilities

HHHHI

COLUMBIA PICTURES

The Social Network

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing Most likely to win: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score

The Social Network is a riveting film about friendship, betrayal and power that dramatizes the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook. As Zuckerberg seeks recognition, he discovers what it means to be a 20-year-old with influence. Jesse Eisenberg lends this character a cold exterior while still managing to illustrate a longing for relationship. Opposite him, Andrew Garfield skillfully plays Zuckerberg’s best friend and business partner, Eduardo Saverin. These performances, combined with Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced dialogue, Trent Reznor’s and Atticus Ross’s arresting score and David Fincher’s meticulous direction, makes this film an obvious choice for Best Picture and a film no movie goer should miss. The Social Network is available on DVD.

THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

FILMFOLKET

The King’s Speech

The Fighter

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing Most likely to win: Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo), Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing Most likely to win: Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor

As the leader in Oscar nominations this year, The King’s Speech has a lot to live up to, and it does so in a charmingly British way. Its story about a stammering prince is unexpectedly entertaining, largely due to an outstanding performance by Colin Firth, a favorite for Best Actor, and Geoffrey Rush. Rush provides most of the film’s laughs with his cheeky one-liners, while Firth demonstrates great emotional depth. His character struggles not only with a speech impediment, but also with difficult family relationships. Masterfully designed sets strengthen the movie’s regal tone. If any film could beat The Social Network for Best Picture, it is this one. The King’s Speech is in theaters.

The Fighter tells the classic underdog tale with a focus on the lingering effects of family and origins. Stellar performances by its ensemble cast showcase honest displays of family dynamics. The transformation of the character Micky Ward illustrates the necessity of balancing the people you love with the person you must become. Christian Bale’s portrayal of Micky’s crack-addict, older brother is especially compelling. Bale drastically transforms his physical appearance for the role and delivers most of the movie’s heart and humor, making him a favorite for Best Supporting Actor. Melissa Leo also shines as a mother figure forcing delusions upon her children. This is a film critics love that still manages to maintain mainstream appeal. The Fighter is in theaters.

HeyTell is a cross-platform app that enables its users to send and receive voice messages. Each message uses the same amount of data as an e-mail. The app enables push notifications, so it can be used just as quickly and easily as text messaging. It works with both 3G and WiFi and requires no registration. Users can choose to share their location and label each other with varying levels of privacy. Messages can easily be archived through Facebook or e-mail. The app is iPod Touch (with microphone), iPhone and Android compatible.

New Releases IN THEATERS The Mechanic Jan. 28

(CBS Films)

The Rite (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Jan. 28

From Prada to Nada Jan. 28

(Lionsgate Films)

Kaboom Jan. 28

(IFC Films)

Ip Man 2 Jan. 28

(Variance Films)

DVD Never Let Me Go Feb. 1

(Fox Searchlight)

Conviction Feb. 1

(Fox Searchlight)

Let Me In Feb. 1

(Overture Films)

Monsters (Magnolia Pictures)

Feb. 1

Welcome To The Riley’s (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Feb. 1

The Tillman Story (The Weinstein Company)

Feb. 1

Skin Feb. 1

(Elysian Films)

Night Catches Us (Magnolia Pictures)

Feb. 1

MUSIC Esben & The Witch Violet Cries

Jan. 31

The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts PARAMOUNT PICTURES

FOX SEARCHLIGHT

FOCUS FEATURES

Black Swan

True Grit

The Kids Are All Right

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing Most likely to win: Best Actress, Best Editing

Nominate for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing Most likely to win: Best Cinematography

Nominated for: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay Most likely to win: Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay

Black Swan is one of the year’s most thrilling movies. It dives headfirst into the competitive world of ballet and keeps the audience on its toes all the way to its closing scene. Natalie Portman carries the film with a compelling display of the descent into insanity. The film’s dark imagery and daunting score perfectly complement Portman’s intense performance, while its uniquely compelling editing tricks the viewers into disbelieving what they just saw. The pace of the film rarely lets up and makes the viewer feel as though they might descend into delusion themselves. Black Swan is in theaters.

True Grit retells the 1968 novel and 1969 movie of the same name. It is the western tale of a young girl, who hires a U.S. Marshall to find her father’s murderer. Last year’s Best Actor winner, Jeff Bridges, portrays Cogburn opposite Hailee Steinfeld, playing Ross, who holds her own in a cast of experienced actors. The film progresses a bit slower and more contemplatively than its predecessor, but it displays subtle humor and beautiful cinematography. It may not take home many Oscars, but a film with this much recognition merits viewing. True Grit is in theaters.

The Kids Are All Right humorously portrays a family struggling with trust. Both Annette Benning and Julianne Moore sparkle as gay women dealing with the difficulties of parenthood and marriage. Benning especially wows viewers with the emotional highs and lows she masters throughout the story. This film utilizes witty dialogue, relatable characters and great music. The Kids Are All Right is on DVD.

Jan. 31

The Civil Wars Barton Hollow

Feb. 1

John Culture Summer Friends

Feb. 1

The Dirtbombs Party Store

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Tommy Guerrero Lifeboats And Follies

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Ricky Martin Musica + Alma + Sexo

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Twitch The Ripper Bodiless

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Opinion

Page 6

January 28, 2011

EDITORIAL

Students must seize innovative vision ACU is preparing students to meet the future presented by President Obama in his State of the Union Address. The president set goals only achievable through the hard work and dedication of a new generation of workers, workers whom ACU already has begun training and educating along a path parallel to Obama’s Tuesday-night projection for success. At the heart of those plans is the word “innovation,” a word seen and heard nearly everyday on campus. Even through ACU’s tagline, “exceptional, innovative, real,” innovation is a concept we have been urged to face as a

personal challenge, one that came first from our university and now from our President. Yet even a buzzword so frequently used is meaningless without action to back it up. We are at a crossroads where our actions can carry us to greatness. And failure will be the result of apathy, not unsuccessful attempts. President Obama likened our present state to two specific times in our nation’s history: First, our national roots in the industrial revolution; and second, the beginning of the space race, when the Russians launched Sputnik into continuous orbit.

During both of those periods, the nation had to rise up, refocus on education and industry and advance against global competition. United, Americans were able to span vast distances with intercontinental railroads and further commerce with the interstate highway system. And Americans were responsible for putting the first man on the moon. Imagine what we can launch tomorrow with such lofty achievements already in place. Today, Americans need to accept the challenge of creating the next big idea. But it’s a personal challenge.

Dream-driven innovations will look different, depending on each person’s unique skill set and dreams. The American dream commissions citizens to pull ourselves up “by our bootstraps” and prosper regardless of circumstance. But each person’s boots will vary in size, shape and laces. Each of us is responsible for our own success. And in the shadow of our struggling national economy, President Obama is calling us not only to personal success, but also to global greatness as a nation. The need to progress in higher education, to become

the issue

President Obama called for our generation to face the same challenges we prepare for at ACU.

our take

Our nation, and specifically we as individuals, need to use our education to drive our nation forward. more globally and technologically connected and form lasting alliances with our peers both at home and abroad were points made in the President’s address – the same exhortations made daily on ACU’s campus. The predictions ACU made when launching its global initiative match closely with Obama’s vision. The lectures we attend and the curriculum we study are offering

contact the Optimist at

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COLUMN

By Morgan Davis

The Funny Funnies

us the tools to succeed and excel in that vision. President Obama painted a hopeful picture of our nation’s future should we accept his commission to embrace innovation. And with ACU’s forward-thinking emphasis, graduating Wildcats should be prepared to tackle the challenge.

‘Only children’ buck judgments Self-Examination By Ryan Self

COLUMN

Hardships eased by faith in God Conscientious Conjecture By Laura Acuff

“They think he’ll walk again,” Renee’s voice wavered, almost imperceptibly, as she strung together five words no one wants to say about their little brother. From my dorm room in Abilene, Acuff 300 hundred miles away, I continued to listen as my typically matterof-fact friend became uncharacteristically silent over the phone. This couldn’t happen. In a family of runners, cross-country skiers and long-distance swimmers, this changes everything. Paul, Renee’s younger sibling, started as a freshman at Colorado School of Mines last fall, serving as a kicker for the school’s football team. On Sunday, back at school in

Colorado, Paul was turning flips on a trampoline when an ill-fated flip landed him in a hospital bed, immobilized and in a neck brace, 1000 miles away from his hometown, College Station. And Renee can’t get there. The rest of her family has been able to fly to Colorado, be at his bedside. But Renee is a senior chemical engineering major with graduate school interviews at Ivy League universities all over the country driving the next several weeks. She simply cannot leave right now. Her whole family has flocked to her brother’s aid, but she is stuck in Aggieland. Alone. Granted, no one ever is really alone in College Station. Despite the local university’s big-city benefits, the smalltown microcosm provides an almost familial network of support that outsiders commonly describe as “cultish.” And because skiing accidents are common in Colorado, Renee said the facility treating Paul is one of the

editorial and letter policy Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the Optimist and may not necessarily reflect the views of the university or its administration. Signed columns, cartoons and letters are the opinions of their creators and may not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Optimist or the university. The Optimist encourages reader response through letters to the editor but reserves the right to limit frequent contributors or to refuse to print

letters containing personal attacks, obscenity, defamation, erroneous information or invasion of privacy. Please limit letters to 350 words or fewer. A name and phone number must be included for verification purposes. Phone numbers will not be published. Address letters to: ACU Box 27892 Abilene, TX 79699 E-mail letters to: optimist@acu.edu

best in the country for his specific injury. What’s more, doctors told Renee’s family that most often, victims of an injury like Paul’s are left quadriplegics. But because he still has feeling in his limbs, in Paul’s case, “they think he’ll walk again.” If it had to happen, I guess the circumstances were just right. “And if anyone can come back from something like this, it’s Paul,” I tried to console Renee over the phone. But I know it’s small comfort. And it’s a difficult set of circumstances for which to thank God. After talking to Renee on Tuesday morning, all day I replayed her heartbreak as it had reverberated over the phone. Bad things happen to good people; that’s just the way it is. But I couldn’t help questioning, why there? Why now? Why Paul? Why can’t Renee be there for Paul? And why can’t I be there for Renee?

What good is God if he can’t or won’t shield his followers from crisis? Finally, I remembered a basic, perhaps obvious, principle of Christianity: God may not always shield us, but he walks with us, if we let him. That’s the difference between living out struggles within Christianity and without. That’s our only guarantee – that even amidst heartache, even when we can’t see him working, God is with us, our Immanuel. And that’s a faith we cling to: Just like I am 300 miles from my childhood friend, and still she knows I am here for her; just like Renee is 1000 miles from her broken baby brother, and still he knows she is there for him; we are a flawed and unholy world away from our heavenly father, and still we know, he is here with us.

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My name is Ryan Self, and I am an only child. It’s a confession I usually hesitate to make because it means I’ll have to respond to a number of misconceptions about only Self c h i l d re n , “Oh, you must be really spoiled,” or “Gee, you must have been really lonely growing up” being common ones. I may not understand a few of the odd traditions some families have, like shouting “shotgun” before entering the car, but I think only children have unfairly been given a bad rap. I’ve always been irritated when, during a conversation about difficult people, the self-absorbed, annoying behavior is explained away by the fact that the difficult person is an only child. There’s usually an outlining of the frustrating behaviors of that person, and then, after a long pause, the statement: “They’re an only child” – as if it’s a causeand-effect relationship. That pervasive misconception has no basis in reality. A recent article in Time debunked many of these erroneous stereotypes and revealed that “no one has published research that can demonstrate any truth behind the stereotype of the only child as lonely, selfish and maladjusted.” Misconceptions about only children have been around for decades. In 1896, a study was released concerning only children, un-affectionately titled “Of Peculiar and Exceptional Children,” which likely introduced many of the negative stereotypes people believe today.

One of the more stunning statements made in the study claimed that “being an only child is a disease in itself.” Ouch. But wait, there’s more: As recently as 1989, sociologist Judith Blake published a book stating that only children are “overprivileged, asocial, royally autonomous…self centered, aloof and overly intellectual.” I don’t know what caused these researchers to hold such harsh views of only children but their conclusions seem a bit extreme. Despite their diseased, asocial, pampered upbringing (don’t forget “spoiled,” “humored” and “socially deficient” according to the aforementioned 1896 study), only children have somehow managed to find their way in society. Only children have grown up to become world leaders (Franklin D. Roosevelt, Condoleezza Rice), inspire thousands with their endurance (Lance Armstrong) and entertain millions long after their deaths (Elvis Presley, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra). I would mention that God had an only child, but that might be taking it a little too far. Being an only child, rather than being a developmental stumbling block, may actually have significant benefits. It turns out, as a recent story on ABC News explains, that “while a battery of studies shows no difference with onlies when it comes to bossiness or acting spoiled… A landmark 20-year study showed that increased one-on-one parenting produces higher education levels, higher test scores and higher levels of achievement.” Only children are maladjusted loners? Please. contact Self at

rcs06g@acu.edu

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FROM SPORTS

January 28, 2011

Page 7

TENNIS

Men ready to prove they belong among elite Bryson Shake

Assistant Sports Editor

The ACU men’s tennis team will begin its 2010-2011 spring season Feb. 4-5 and is looking at building on a strong fall season. This fall, the men’s singles finished fifth in the nation, and the men’s doubles team finished third nationally. Freshman Hans Hoch won the regional singles championship and finished fifth at the national meet. Senior Bryan Joiner and Hoch finished third in the nation in doubles. “We had a great fall season,” said Head Coach Hutton Jones. “The individual season provides us

with a good foundation going into the spring, and we’re hoping to build upon it for the spring.” The Wildcats will face a treacherous schedule in the coming months. They have seven Division I opponents on their plate, including the universities of New Mexico State, Air Force, Southern Methodist, Northern Arizona, Xavier and Rice, which is ranked No. 30 nationally by the collegetennisonline. com poll, on top of a healthy dose of Div. II opponents. Joiner acknowledged the tough schedule and is looking forward to learning from stiff competition. “We have a very tough schedule, but I know that playing stiff competition

will help us as a team prepare for nationals,” Joiner said. “Facing top-tier teams regularly is fun for me and something I look forward to, and as a team, it builds confidence and is something we strive off of.” Juniors Nick Plum and Jake Hendrie have joined the team as transfers this year, Plum from Weber State and Hendrie from Saint Louis University. They will continue to play vital roles on the court. Eldad Campbell and John Strahl also will provide a source of experience for the team. Strahl, a junior, has started since his freshman year. The Wildcats open up the spring season ranked

ALUMNI

No. 13 by ncaa.com and No. 1 in the region, but Jones isn’t putting too much emphasis on their ranking. “To me, right now we’re ranked number nothing,” he said. “I want our team to feel like they’re on a mission to prove something. You have to prove that you’re good and not let some numbers tell you that.” The Wildcats will host Southeastern Oklahoma, East Central and Trinity Feb. 4-5 at the ACU Indoor Invitational. ACU will play Trinity at noon on Friday and will have free hot dogs and Dr Pepper for students in attendance. contact Shake at

bxs09a@acu.edu

FILE PHOTO // Heather Leiphart

Hutton Jones’ team is ranked first in the region entering the spring.

COLUMN

Playoffs: Green Bay has rallied around Rodgers categories for quarterbacks, including No. 3 in play in the NFC Champi- passer rating. Those stats are further enhanced, onship Game. But this season, Rod- considering that each opgers has Packer fans say- ponent the Packers faced ing, “Favre who?” And it’s from week to week focused not only because of his on stopping Aaron Rodgers alliance with one of Green and the Packer’s passing game. Yet, there is Rodgers, Bay’s biggest rivals. Rodgers ranked in the stepping back into three, top 10 in all of the major five and seven step drops, Continued from page 8

torching the league’s top secondaries, such as Philadelphia and Chicago for tons of yardage. Rodgers is outgrowing the shoes Brett Favre left and leaving bigger tracks with every game he plays. contact Tripp at

bjt07a@acu.edu

CHAPEL PHOTO COURTESY OF // Harris Family

Hutton (37) and Chandler (15) cheer on the Rangers from their seats with their father.

Fans: Harrises honored Continued from page 8

how the evening would play out. “I honestly thought my friends were playing the most cruel prank on me ever,” Chandler said. “It still hasn’t hit home that our family was chosen for such an award by our favorite sports team.” In honor of their support of the team, Rangers owners Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg presented the brothers with the Texas state flag that flew over the jumbotron at the Ballpark during the playoffs and Series. The

flag is so big that it has to be folded just to fit in its glass case. The gift was not the only perk of the night for Hutton and Chandler. They got to meet the team for which they had cheered all year long. Among the laundry list of players the two met were Josh Hamilton, Neftali Feliz and Nelson Cruz. “It was pretty overwhelming,” Hutton (’08) said. “The Rangers went all out for us. We got to go for free and hang with our heroes. It doesn’t get any better than that.” Going to Ranger games

has been a Harris family tradition since 1997, when they first bought season tickets to the Ballpark. “The Ballpark has been a second home for our family for the last 15 years,” Chandler said. “We’ve been loyal fans even in the worst years.” Chances are next year won’t be one of those worst years. But if it is, Hutton and Chandler will be standing where they always do, in section 50, row 1, seats 15-18, cheering on the team they love. contact Gwin at

agg07a@acu.edu

FOOTBALL

DANIEL GOMEZ // Chief Photographer

Chris Thomsen shows a rare smile taking the field against Incarnate Word.

Recruit: Parker gets full-ride Continued from page 8

it is the time of year when many junior college and transfer players decide where to continue their football careers. A look at ACU history provides an excellent example of late recruiting: In August of 2010, a player whom the Wildcats had recruited out of

college was looking for a place to play after failing to qualify academically to attend Louisiana Tech University. It was just a few weeks before the season was scheduled to begin when Charcandrick West signed his letter of intent with the Wildcats. West went on to contribute to an 11-0 record during the regular season as a true

freshman with 356 yards rushing and 130 yards receiving, totaling 4 touchdowns. Coach Thomsen and the rest of his staff will anticipate adding to an already impressive signing class five days from now on National Signing Day. contact Tripp at

bjt07a@acu.edu

UIW: Streak slides to 5 6-11 overall and 3-2 in the men’s game to follow division play. ACU is now at 4 p.m. “They have played well After leading by as much alone in third place in the on the road. They beat WT as 11, the Wildcats had to LSC South. Both the men’s and on the road,” Copeland settle for a 27-25 lead at halftime. The Cardinals women’s teams will return said. “They beat Kingswould take the lead early home Saturday to take on ville by 30. There is never in the second half 40-37. Eastern New Mexico Uni- a night off in this league.” However, ACU would re- versity in Moody Colisegain the lead with a 16-4 um. The women’s game is contact Cantrell at set to start at 2 p.m., with run of its own. jrc07f@acu.edu Overall, the Wildcats would outrebound the Cardinals 58-37. ACU shot HOUSES For Sale and For Rent 46 percent from the field Furnished and unfurnished houses for rent $350/person unfurnished;$370 & $380/person furnished. and committed only 16 Yard maintained and landlord makes repairs. turnovers. Kelsey Smith 3 and 4 bedrooms available 2 baths, kitchen, patio, living room, dining room,ample parking and some garages. and Mack Lankford led the Kitchen appliances and washer/dryer provided. Wildcats with 20 points All houses are close to ACU. each in the victory. Renata 1034 WASHINGTON BLVD.; 2518 CAMPUS COURT; 817 E.N. 10TH ST.(NEAR AVE. F); 2475 GARFIELD; Marquez added 15 points 2467 MADISON AVE. 2 other houses might be available. for ACU off the bench. Tenants pay utilities- Approx. $110 per person, per month. Houses available May 18, 2011-May 15, 2012 with 12 mo. lease. The victory improves Call 325-280-9923 or e-mail estelle42@yahoo.com for information the Wildcats’ record to Continued from page 8

classified


Sports

Page 8

Standings MEN’S BASKETBALL Team Div. Ovrl. Tarleton St. 4-0 UIW 3-1 WTAMU 2-2 MSU 2-2 ENMU 2-2 ASU 2-2 TAMU-K 1-3 ACU 0-5

13-3 14-2 15-2 14-4 7-9 6-10 6-10 8-9

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Team Div. Ovrl. Tarleton St. 4-0 WTAMU 4-0 ACU 3-2 Angelo St. 2-2 UIW 2-3 MSU 1-3 ENMU 1-3 TAMU-K 0-4

14-2 11-6 6-11 9-7 6-11 5-11 3-13 2-14

Briefs

January 28, 2011

BASKETBALL

Women win, men fall in San Antonio Ryan Cantrell

Sports Multimedia Editor

The ACU basketball teams traveled to San Antonio Wednesday to take on Incarnate Word. The men’s team dropped a close game 56–52, while the women’s team defeated the Cardinals 72–58. The men’s team played well against the 13th ranked Cardinals, as they took a 2524 lead into halftime. ACU would start the second half on a small 6-1 run to expand

‘‘ ’’

its lead to 31-25. However, the Cardinals came back and finally tied the game at 48-48 with only 3:53 left in the game. The Cardinals would not look back as they pushed their lead up to five points. ACU hit a three–pointer that cut the Cardinal lead to 54-52 with 13 seconds left in the game. However, Incarnate Word would hit both of its free throws to ice the game. “I thought for 36-37 minutes we did a really

The loss drops the Wildcats to 8-9 overall and 0-5 in ...we just made some division play. While the Carcritical mistakes down dinals improve to 15-2 overthe stretch. all and 4-1 in conference. JASON COPELAND // head coach of “It was another tough loss ACU men’s basketball for us,” junior forward Ben good job playing. Then Word team and expect to Wharton said. “We will get one of these. We just have to we just made some criti- win the game.” Giordan Cole led the keep working hard.” cal mistakes down the The women’s team destretch,” said Head Coach Wildcats in scoring with Jason Copeland. “A cou- 12 points and seven re- feated Incarnate Word 72-58, ple of bad turnovers and a bounds. Zach Williams and as they outscored the Cardimissed defensive assign- Preston Davis also were nals by 12 in the second half ment really hurt us. You in double figures for the to put the game away. can’t make those mistakes Wildcats, scoring 11 and see UIW page 7 against a good Incarnate 10 points respectively.

ALUMNI

Fans of the Year

n Former

ACU long snapper Cody Brown will compete in the inaugural Pro-Bound Sports Pre-Draft Bowl on March 26 in Little Rock, Ark. The game will air across the nation on Versus. team was chosen as the favorite to win the LSC baseball title for the 13th consecutive season.

n Seven ACU football players were named to the Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Division II All-America team, including seniors Edmund Gates, Matt Webber, Trevis Turner and Aston Whiteside.

n Renata Marquez, freshman forward from Conroe, scored 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the Wildcats’ 72-58 win over Marquez Incarnate Word on Wednesday. Marquez has averaged 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists in her freshman campaign. She was a two-time allstate guard and twotime district 18-4A Most Valuable Player.

Upcoming n The

track and field team will compete at the New Mexico Invitational meet, in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday and Saturday.

n The men’s basketball team will host Eastern New Mexico at 4 p.m., Saturday. n The women’s basketball team will host Eastern New Mexico at 2 p.m., Saturday. Both games will be held in Moody Coliseum.

Ex-Factor n Former

wide receiver Edmund Gates has been removed from the Senior Bowl roster due to a nagging hamstring injury that has kept him out of two practices.

Rodgers shakes Favre’s legacy Rounding the Bases Brandon Tripp

n The ACU baseball

Player Profile

COLUMN

PHOTO COURTESY OF // Harris Family

ACU graduates Hutton (left) and Chandler (right) Harris celebrate the Texas Rangers’ success this season. The Rangers made their first World Series in team history last year before losing to the San Fransisco Giants in five games.

Two brothers and ACU alumni garner award from Rangers

of the bullpen. Sometimes, in front of the seats, on the wall, is a hand-painted sign. Many fans who tuned into televised Texas Ranger baseball games this Austin Gwin Sports Editor season probably saw two 20-something-year-old They sit in the same seats guys sitting behind that most games – section 50, sign. Throughout the 2010 row 1, seats 15-18. Their World Series, the sign read, seats overlook the left side “We Believe.”

Although the Texas Rangers didn’t win the World Series, ACU graduates Hutton and Chandler Harris were there to witness the team’s best season in history at the storied Ballpark at Arlington. “Hut is the artist of the family,” said Chandler, a communications graduate student. “He’s been painting signs since we were kids.”

All that sign painting has paid off. Last week, the brothers and their parents, Jeff (’81) and Talisa (Thompson) Harris (’82) attended the Rangers’ postseason awards ceremony as Rangers Fans of the Year. Until they arrived, Chandler said he still was unsure see FANS page 7

FOOTBALL

Thomsen lands Div. I prospect Brandon Tripp Sports Director

With national signing day just five days, away Chris Thomsen and his staff are making one final push to land early recruits for the 2011 season. The recruiting process begins each December on every level of college football, from Division I National Champion Auburn all the way down to Division III powerhouse Mount Union. At the Division II level, teams are allowed just 36 full scholarships for their entire team per season, which results in many of the scholarships being split between two or three players. This year, one exception to that rule will be senior Jon Parker from Carson High in Carson City, Nev. Parker is a nationally rated player who has received offers from at least two Div. I-A schools in Nevada and from The University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Parker has verbally committed

to ACU and is reported to be receiving an elusive Div. II full scholarship. With Parker already verbally committed to the Wildcats, coaches will spend time bringing in about 20 recruits for campus visits this weekend. Two key positions Coach Thomsen and his staff will be concentrating on filling are linebacker and wide receiver, suffering from the void left by the departure of five seniors, including Edmund Gates, Kendrick Johnson and Raymond Radway. But Thomsen stresses that it is not just about finding those two or three key positions. “We are always looking for every position that we could bring in,” Thomsen said. “We want quality guys at every position on the field.” National signing day for all NCAA programs is Feb. 2, but that does not mean schools stop recruiting. Spring recruiting and summer recruiting is key for Div. II programs, because see RECRUIT page 7

DANIEL GOMEZ // Chief Photographer

Head Coach Chris Thomsen directs his team from the ACU sidelines during a game earlier this year.

Key Players Leaving • WR - Edmund Gates, Kendrick Johnson • FB - Emery Dudensing • LB - Kevin Washington, Courtney Lane, Eric Edwards • DE - Bryson Lewis, Austin January, Fred Thompson • DT - Marvin Jones, Mike Jones • OL - Trevis Turner, Royland Tubbs • P - Mark Sprague

It took only five years, but Aaron Rodgers has made it. Even without a win in the upcoming Super Bowl, Rodgers has cemented Tripp his place among the game’s elite, and it couldn’t be at a better time for Packers fans. After seeing Rodgers plummet to No. 24 in the 2005 draft, many Packers fans, including myself, were excited at the prospect of finally having a replacement for aging legend Brett Favre. It was three years before we heard from Rodgers again when Favre announced his retirement from the NFL – the first time. The sports media talked for a week about how Aaron Rodgers would perform, filling in for one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever set foot on a football field. The answer? Just fine. Rodgers has managed to do something very few players have done, especially at the quarterback position: take over for a legend having never started an NFL game – and be successful at it. A look at a few notable players who tried to do this in the past and failed includes Brian Gresie replacing John Elway, any and every Miami Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino and Akili Smith, who replaced Boomer Esiason just two seasons after his retirement. Granted, his first season at the helm could have gone better. The Pack finished just 6-10 that year and failed to reach the playoffs. In 2009, Rodgers overcame an abysmal offensive line to lead the Packers to the playoffs and inserted himself in the discussion among the cream of the crop in the NFL. However, despite the Wild Card game appearance, Rodgers failed to shake off the legend of Favre, losing twice to the fickle quarterback’s new team and Packer’s rival, the Minnesota Vikings, and watching them continue to see PLAYOFFS page 7

The Optimist Print Edition: 01.28.11  

The Optimist is a product of the JMC Network at Abilene Christian Universtiy

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