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Volume 62 No. 42
wednesday, January 23, 2013
Jesus, drunks and talent
Story on page 6
Wrestling gets first victory of season Story on page 10
De Veaux runs home
Newly retired UB professor, former renowned journalist, reflects on her at-bat REBECCA BRATEK Managing Editor The world changed when Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid movement leader, walked to freedom on Feb. 2, 1990. Alexis De Veaux, a retired UB women’s studies professor, never thought she would see such a moment in her lifetime, let alone experience it firsthand. But there she was, a black woman barely into her 40s, sitting across from Mandela and his wife in their home in Soweto, South Africa, the day after his release from prison – a moment De Veaux will never forget. “It was mind-blowing,” she said, almost unable to describe the moment. “You had to change. You were changed yourself. Your cellular structure changed as a result of witnessing the power of this moment in South Africa. “Just his own sense of himself as a human being, in spite of the fact that we also look at him as a black South African, but his notion of what it meant to be dignified really gave me another way of thinking about what it means to be among those who are considered to be oppressed.” De Veaux, a black woman who had felt racial discrimination throughout her own life, was the first North American journalist to interview Mandela after his newfound freedom. She subsequently published a story entitled “Walking Into Freedom” about her private meeting with South Africa’s first president elected in a representative democratic election. She didn’t quite recognize then how this opportunity would propel her into the world stage; in her mind, she was just a black female writer in a world that didn’t quite have the perfect space for her. De Veaux was then working as a contributing editor for Essence magazine, a monthly publication geared toward empowering young African-American women, writing about social issues and conditions with a global focus. Mandela, who was imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years for leading the African
Courtesy of Jill Brazel Photography
Alexis De Veaux, a now-retired professor of women’s studies, recites a poem in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., during 2012’s Split This Rock Poetry Festival, a poetry festival that celebrates activism and social change. De Veaux, who considers herself to be a writer, believes in using literacy for social change.
National Congress and fighting against black oppression, was never broken by his struggle. His release into the country he had fought so hard for began a global shift in terms of peace and racial segregation. The world celebrated with South Africa. As Mandela negotiated for liberation and was released from prison, the anti-apartheid movement was given new strength. De Veaux, along with millions of people around the globe, witnessed continent-wide celebrations in Africa and among black people involved in the Diaspora, and she was right at
the heart of the moment. De Veaux – now 64 years old and years after what she describes as the “fateful day” with Mandela that changed her life –retired from UB at the end of the fall semester after spending over 20 years as an associate professor in the department of women’s studies. Strike one: poor De Veaux was born in Harlem, N.Y., in 1948, just after the explosion of AfricanAmerican culture from the Harlem Renaissance and at the turn of the 20th century,
Obama calls for social progress at inauguration Professors and students respond differently to president’s speech
A plan for the plan Zukoski releases UB 2020 preparation draft
ERIC CORTELLESSA Staff Writer President Barack Obama was publicly sworn in for his second term on Monday. This year’s inaugural event was on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, carrying with it reminders of all the history behind the second Inauguration of the first African-American president. The president’s speech, given just before noon in front of over 600,000 people on the west side of the Capitol, was a call to action. His speech discussed the importance of social progress by identifying them in human terms – emphasizing people over policy. Deemed by many as a defense of progressivism and American liberalism, Obama used Monday’s occasion as a moment for setting the agenda for his second term. Many felt his confidence and self-assurance in leading the nation’s movement toward social progressivism was a contrast to his previous inaugural address, which forewarned a difficult economic period to come. Distinguished political science professor James Campbell said the speech mainly appealed to the democratic base and lacked a focus on the economy that Campbell was expecting.
which changed and shook the literary and arts worlds. Her mother, a Caribbean immigrant, had eight children, all from different fathers, and supported them on welfare. Her father, a descendant of migrant workers from North Carolina, was absent from her childhood – he was in prison most of her life and died in 1975. Her siblings’ fathers, too, were out of the picture and De Veaux’s mother made it clear to her children that privilege was nonexistent in their lives. Continued on page 8
REBECCA BRATEK Managing Editor
Courtesy of AP
President Barack Obama delivered his second inaugural speech, emphasizing the importance of the nation's social progressivism, in front of over 600,000 spectators in Washington, D.C.
“It was a fairly partisan address,” Campbell said. “He calls for compromise and working together on these problems, but there seems to be an undercurrent meaning that the other side compromises.”
Campbell said while Obama calls for compromise, his speech suggested it’s the Republicans that need to make the compromises. Continued on page 4
Provost Charles Zukoski has a vision for UB’s future, and it begins with UB 2020. In November, Zukoski held two open forums to announce a new, comprehensive plan that will help guide UB 2020’s ambitious goals for the next five years and asked for faculty, staff and student feedback. The document would spark the change the university needs, he said. He has since published the first draft of “Realizing UB 2020: A Window of Opportunity,” a document that outlines how the university will fulfill its aspirations. This guide will clarify the goals of UB 2020 and what steps the university needs to take to get there. Zukoski sat down with The Spectrum last week to discuss how the draft is laid out and what needs to be done before the final draft is published in May. The 2020 plan, as first imagined by former President John B. Simpson five years ago, called for $5 billion in renovations across UB’s three campuses over two deRead the rest at ubspectrum.com
Opinion 3 Life, Arts & Entertainment 6-7 Classifieds & Daily Delights 9
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013 ubspectrum.com
EDITORIAL BOARD Editor in Chief Aaron Mansfield Senior Managing Editor Brian Josephs Managing Editor Rebecca Bratek Editorial Editor Ashley Steves News EDItors Sara DiNatale, Co-Senior Lisa Khoury, Co-Senior Sam Fernando, Asst. Rachel Raimondi, Asst. LIFE EDITORS Rachel Kramer, Senior Lyzi White Lisa Epstein, Asst. ARTS EDITORS Elva Aguilar, Senior Lisa de la Torre, Asst. Nathaniel Smith, Asst. Max Crinnin, Asst. SPORTS EDITORS Joseph Konze Jr., Senior Jon Gagnon Ben Tarhan Markus McCaine, Asst. PHOTO EDITORS Alexa Strudler, Senior Satsuki Aoi Adrien D’Angelo Nick Fischetti, Asst. PROFESSIONAL STAFF OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Helene Polley ADVERTISING MANAGER Mark Kurtz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Brian Keschinger Haider Alidina, Asst. ADVERTISING DESIGNER Joseph Ramaglia Ryan Christopher, Asst. Haley Sunkes, Asst.
January 23, 2013 Volume 62 Number 42 Circulation 7,000 The views expressed – both written and graphic – in the Feedback, Opinion, and Perspectives sections of The Spectrum do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board. Submit contributions for these pages to The Spectrum office at Suite 132 Student Union or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Spectrum reserves the right to edit these pieces for style and length. If a letter is not meant for publication please mark it as such. All submissions must include the author’s name, daytime phone number, and email address. The Spectrum is provided free in part by the Undergraduate Mandatory Activity Fee. The Spectrum is represented for national advertising by both Alloy Media and Marketing, and MediaMate. For information on adverstising with The Spectrum visit www.ubspectrum.com/ads or call us directly. The Spectrum offices are located in 132 Student Union, UB North Campus, Buffalo, NY 14260-2100
UB’s closed window UB 2020 takes advantage of the students who need reform the most When is UB going to realize that UB 2020 is an insult to its students? The newest chapter to the university’s grand expansion plan is “Realizing UB 2020: A Window of Opportunity,” an exercise that, according to Provost Charles Zukoski, is “expected to transform UB.” The first draft, which was released for campus review on Dec. 19 and will be completed in May, allegedly “articulates UB’s mission and vision, provides planning context, focuses on institutional goals and values, and outlines three of several strategies that will form the basis for the university’s direction over the next several years.” Good, right? Except the draft contains little beyond cliché definitions of what makes UB and the students who dwell in its halls so great. So what’s the actual plan? We don’t know because it doesn’t exist. And we don’t know when we are going to know. Here’s the problem: UB is trying so hard to be this grand, global research university and wait for UB 2020 to transform the city, but it keeps forgetting that, meanwhile, it is supposed to be a comprehensive university that benefits all students and, most importantly, the students who are currently enrolled. Objectively speaking, UB 2020 is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to expand the school and bring in revenue and job growth – in fact, it’s what the school should eventually be doing. But in its ideological sense, the repercussions for UB’s students are terrible, and it’s clear the university is taking advantage of them and the fact everyone feels they need to have a college degree to move forward. A short history for the students who still aren’t really sure what the program is (we’re guessing a large majority): UB 2020 is the creation of former UB President John B. Simpson, who sought after a plan to expand UB and make it a leader in education not only nationally but also globally. Following his first attempt and subsequent revision, Governor Andrew Cuomo and SUNY passed the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program in June 2011, a plan designed to make SUNY a catalyst for job and education growth throughout the state, particularly the SUNY University Centers in Albany, Binghamton, Stony Brook and, of course, Buffalo. Idealistically, the program is a good idea and has done a few great things, including leading to the construction of Greiner Hall, Davis Hall and schools on South Campus. It also includes the “Heart of the Campus” plan, which will design classrooms, study spaces, computer labs, library facilities, dining services and dorms to provide a “learning landscape” everywhere on campus. But UB 2020, which is expected to cost the university about $5 billion total and $375 million for Phase One (construction of the downtown medical school building) alone, requires a tuition hike – $300 extra each year (8 percent) for five years, with one year of hikes already completed – and tax revenue from NYS taxpayers to be added to the mix. “Realizing UB 2020” is basically Zukoski’s call to action from President Satish Tripathi in an
attempt to sort out some questions. It is nothing more than a plan of a plan, a list of what UB wants to achieve with the expansion years down the road. UB 2020 is entirely overzealous. It wants to make UB students distinctive and give their degrees more meaning and turn the school into a world-class institution, but instead of building up what we already have slowly and carefully, the plan is to just take giant steps in an attempt to make up ground. It is impossible for UB to go head-tohead on reputation after a decade of reconstruction when the top-name universities our leaders so desperately want it to be like have had centuries to build their names. The university is already ranked as a Research University with Very High Research Activity (RU/ VH), according to the Carnegie Classification of the Institutions of Higher Education, but it doesn’t publicize that. The most important part of the draft (and perhaps the only tangible evidence of any impact) is part of the “academic strategy.” Every program will be required to designate themes as the organizing framework meant to strengthen and better the students. But that’s it. Is there a reason the school doesn’t work with what it has and improve non-research oriented programs, such as the College of Arts and Sciences? Is there a reason it can be nearly impossible to register for the classes you need to graduate because they have been cut, while programs that aren’t medicine- or engineering-related are losing out? Simpson and now Tripathi and Zukoski want people to come with dreams of grandeur and have a respectable, elite name on their diplomas, but currently, the University at Buffalo is a bargain, and that’s why students come. The students who are putting up the money now for it won’t get to reap the benefits. Zukoski says it’s civic duty for your alma mater and for personal pride, but that’s nothing more than a selling point. The fact is that current students are not getting anything out of UB 2020 – not even a plan of what is to come or what their money will be going toward. All they know is their tuition will increase, and they may never get to see the reasons for the increase. You know what would be nice? Letting students actually get the opportunity to finish their degrees without seeing tuition increases or having to scramble for money to stay another semester because of “civic duty.” At one point in the 20th century, UB had one of the best English schools in the country; we are currently ranked 41 on U.S. News Best College Rankings for English. A decline in the quality of our education is not something that will happen – it is something that is happening, and we’re not fixing it. On Jan. 23 and 24, there are open forums for the campus community to discuss the aspects of Realizing UB 2020 with Zukoski. We recommend – no, insist – you attend one of them to see what and for whom your tuition pays for. Email: email@example.com
Hail to the Chief: Part Two Obama’s second term begins with optimism and unity Sunday afternoon marked the beginning of Barack Obama’s second term as president of the United States, but the pomp and circumstance all came on Monday. Poems were recited, balls were attended and Beyonce allegedly lip-synched her way into everyone’s heart. But the president’s inauguration speech, a 20-minute celebration of the greatness of America, was most important. Day-after analysts praised the president for his progressiveness. Some approached what Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, called Obama’s “ringing defense of liberalism” with caution, others with optimism. And conservatives criticized it for being partisan and ideological. Is this the Obama 2.0 everyone was pushing for during election season, the Obama everyone who had voted for back in 2008 was looking for after four years of mixed success? Was Monday’s address a sign of things to come in the next four years? Whether Monday’s inaugural address foreshadows Obama’s second term or it is simply celebratory rhetoric to appeal to the masses, the repetitive claims that bridged the gap are accurate. This “rainbow inauguration,” one that sought after addressing and including people from all walks of life, served as reassurance to his supporters but also as assurance to those who didn’t support him. That the address coincided with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (though, yes, it was intentional) only made it so more pivotal, playing into how symbolically revolutionary it was. Just as MLK addressed his supporters and spoke of his dream, the election and re-election of Barack Obama shows people that such a dream can exist – that as cheesy and cliché as it sounds, kids can grow up wanting to be president no matter their race,
gender or sexual orientation and have it become a reality. It’s a speech that broke down barriers. For the first time in history, the country has a president who included and advocated for the LBGT community in his inaugural address, stating our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. He spoke of Selma and Seneca Falls and Stonewall in the same breath, a far cry from the Illinois senator who believed marriage isn’t a civil right and an important sign of the times and inclusion of people that have previously not felt included. The unity is a nice feeling while it lasts, but it is sure to dissipate soon, especially because now it is time to get moving with those ever-nagging second-term priorities. But if Mr. President hasn’t realized yet, he can stand to be a little more insistent and straightforward with what he wants this term because he isn’t fighting for re-election. We’ve already seen a little of what is to hopefully come: an aggressive, take-no-nonsense commander-in-chief. Quick gun control legislature, something nobody has wanted to deal with and which didn’t even exist on Washington’s radar (for lack of a better phrase) until after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month, was put into place in the last week. The president’s next task will be to handle the debt ceiling, and he has already warned he is not going to negotiate with Republicans willing to trade raising it for spending cuts. A vote is expected next week for a three-month extension, a deal that is quite clearly only a temporary solution but one that will allow Obama to take the reins from there.
Cojelo suave, mi gente Be calm, my people ELVA AGUILAR Senior Arts Editor “Don’t calm me down! I don’t like it when people calm me down!” So far, that sole line has been the standout quote from MTV’s latest exploitation device, Washington Heights. The show follows a group of young people living in the primarily Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights district in Manhattan, as they follow their respective dreams. When I first heard about the show, I immediately rolled my eyes and asked God, “Why?” In a perfect world, I would be elated that Latinos finally had a shot to represent themselves as opposed to letting the stereotypical cholo, chola or Consuela from Family Guy represent us. But after MTV put the nail in the stereotypical coffin for Italians with Jersey Shore, and VH1’s current exploitation of people of color with shows like Love and Hip-Hop and Basketball Wives, I grew wary of how the cast would be portrayed. Since the show premiered on Jan. 9, my Twitter timeline, which includes people who live in or frequent Washington Heights, has been full of complaints about the show’s authenticity. For those who aren’t aware, Washington Heights’ Latino population consists of mainly Dominicans and Puerto Ricans and is synonymous with their culture. The show’s lack of bodegas, chimichurri sandwich trucks, larger derrières and bachata and salsa music called for an instant uproar about how watered down the cast and story line are. The show’s first episode opened with drama between Reyna Saldana and Eliza Jefferson, two women connected by Eliza’s boyfriend and aspiring professional baseball player, Jimmy Caceres. With a fair share of alcohol in her system, Reyna blew up a Facebook confrontation and resorted to throwing blows outside of the club, but not before she told people to refrain from calming her down. Was I upset the first episode went straight for drama between two women with overwhelming NYC/Latino accents? Sort of, but the show also has more redeeming qualities than people want to admit. This group of Latinos might not fill the expectations nor reality that actual Heights residents experience, but they don’t exactly give the Heights a poor name, either. Yes, JP “Audobon” Perez wants to be a rapper, Reyna wants to be a singer and cast member Rico Rasuk wants to be an actor (three extremely competitive professions), but they at least have aspirations. This week’s episode featured Ludwin Federo at his GED graduation, and the Twitter mocking continued. But why knock him for trying to make up for his mistakes? It seems the audience would’ve preferred Ludwin stay a high-school dropout and soil the poor reputation Latinos are already stigmatized with. 2012 set a spotlight on my diverse, beautiful, rich ethnicity, but it’s time young people take the good with the bad. In the past year, young Latinos have made headlines both in politics and their work against social injustices. Groups such as the DREAM Activists, United We Dream and The National Immigrant Youth Alliance have worked to defend and educate undocumented young people in the United States. The Latino vote in swing states Colorado, Nevada and Florida helped President Barack Obama win his second term, according to CNN. Furthermore, the amount of eligible Latino voters increased by 4 million since 2008, resulting in Latinos accounting for 11 percent of the nation’s eligible voters. While those numbers aren’t as much as other minority groups, I’m just happy Latinos are being recognized. When I read that many Republicans considered us a “problem” because of our impact in the 2012 election, I took it as any press – good press. Washington Heights might not be the most legitimate representation of the Heights my peers know and love, but it’s the Heights those young people know and love. MTV gave us the cookie-cutter version of this show, but the cast is at least doing what they can to represent us positively, despite what the producers might be trying to do. I’m not sure about you, but I’d much rather see a group of “boring” young Latinos, working toward building better lives for themselves and their families than the even more stereotypical people hugging the block. Granted, I’d pick a show about Afro-Latino hood legend Joel “40Oz Van” Fuller over anything, but that’s a different story for a different day.
Continued on page 4 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Continued from page 1: Obama calls for social progress at inauguration
Continued from page 3: Hail to the Chief: Part Two
Obama began his speech demonstrating how his priorities for his second term are grounded in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. “We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names,” Obama said. “What makes us exceptional, what makes us America, is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. Today, we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.” Using this framework, Obama laid out his agenda for his second term and incorporated a level of specificity on a number of issues that was largely unanticipated. He addressed supporting gay marriage, protecting entitlement programs, confronting income inequality and passing comprehensive legislation on immigration reform, climate change and gun control. The president also articulated an agenda driven by a need for liberty and equality, as well as human rights. Rayna Moncrieffe, a freshman business and accounting major, liked the detail Obama went into regarding social policies he wants to take on in his upcoming term. “I like the ideas that he had about the social progress that he wanted to make, and he specifically talked about the rights of gays and gay marriage and how he felt about it,” Moncrieffe said. “I like the way he talked about our future and especially education and how he wanted to progress with that.” Campbell felt Obama’s presentation of his upcoming term as a call to action for human progress is a derivative political technique often deployed by U.S. presidents. “They understand that they have additional leverage for their positions if they claim the high ground as being above politics,” Campbell said.
Tax reform is probably the highest item on the president’s to-do list, hoping to protect the middle class and eliminate income inequality by requiring tax revenue hikes to balance spending cuts. This is something that is going to come up on the country very quickly, especially after the embarrassingly drawn out fiscal cliff negotiations of late last month/early this month. Also on the list is immigration reform, which Obama has already admitted he didn’t do enough for during his first term. One of the most interesting mentions is “the overwhelming judgment of science” in regards to climate change, something widely ignored by both candidates during the elections (neither Romney or Obama discussed the issue during the debates) but something that had the most amount of time spent on it during Monday’s address. It became a sticking point in the speech, and a welcome and necessary conversation started. We remain cautious and realistic. Will the 2013 inaugural address be the big moment of pride in his second term? Probably (and hopefully) not. We now request those words and idealism translate into execution and action. But while staying realistic, we are also optimistic for that tougher, wiser Obama – the one who is supposed to connect and protect the generations not just the one who can give a good speech.
Many of the initiatives Obama set forth in his speech, like the assaults weapon ban, immigration reform and climate control, will be very difficult to pass through the Republican-controlled House, according to Campbell. Now it will be time for the country to see how far he can go in Washington with his hard-to-achieve agenda. However, the president made it clear on Monday that he plans to accept the challenge of getting these policy initiatives accomplished with proclamations like, “the most evident of truths, that we are all created equal, is the star that guides us still,” and “we are made for this moment.” Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter attended Obama’s last inauguration, as past presidents usually attend the event if their health permits. Obama customarily has to attend the next Inaugural Ceremony in four years, as long as his health permits and barring unforeseen circumstances. Monday’s crowd represented the hopes and dreams Obama wants to accomplish over four years, and while he will stand on the stage again, the moment cannot be duplicated. After the ceremony ended, the president made his way toward the inside of the Capitol and stopped himself just before crossing the threshold that leads inside the building, telling those next to him he wanted to “take a look one more time,” as he stopped and stood upright looking out at the crowd on the National Mall. “I’m not going to see this again,” he said. While Campbell criticized Obama’s speech as appealing solely to Democrats, students like Moncrieffe appreciated the president’s assurance in social progress moving forward.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013 ubspectrum.com
Life, Arts & Entertainment
Jesus, drunks and talent PETER SHAPIRO Staff Writer
Courtesy of American Repertory Theater of WNY
Jesus Hates Me tells a tale that involves alcoholism and a Southern Americana – all while asking existential questions.
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A massive imposing cross sits mockingly above hole 17 on the green at the Blood of the Lamb mini golf course. Beneath the cross, a small set of Texan flags, hard liquor, lawn chairs and a silent gopher are scattered around the hole. Thursday night in the backroom of the Ascension Church on Linwood Avenue, director Michael Lodick premiered a brilliant showing of Wayne Lemon’s Jesus Hates Me. This rendition of Lemon’s play features a cast of six up-and-coming Buffalo talents and is a must-see even for those un-immersed in the broad local theater scene. The play serves as a spin through pure Texan surrealism, mixed with comic drunken disorder and existential religious questioning. The Bruce Springsteenstyle small-town story of broken dreams revolves around protagonist Ethan (Matt Kindley) and his psychologically disturbed mother, Annie (Priscilla Young-Anker), who together co-own a Jesusthemed putt-putt golf course. The hysterical and morosely intelligent production had hints
of Martin Heidegger and Freidrich Nietzsche’s philosophies mixed with Southern slide guitar – with some whiskey for good measure. The characters, in all of their Saturday morning cartoon cliché, are delightfully charming and surprisingly relatable. Anthony Alcocer plays mildly unintelligent and borderline alcoholic redneck, Boon, who raucously occupies a space of a Texan Johnny Bravo with a death warrant. The charismatic Maura Nolan portrays cynical barkeep Lizzy, owner of the local watering hole and a tragic beauty with her own story of loss and regret. Bryan Figueroa, Buffalo native and graduate of Buffalo State College, plays Trane, a long-term friend of Ethan and the only black deputy sheriff in the state of Texas. “The funny thing is that I am a Latino,” Figueroa said. “So just approaching [Trane’s character] is quite interesting for me. Recently, I looked into a professional wrestler named Booker T. who is from Texas.” Figueroa’s character, who suffers a debilitating rear-end injury mid-plot, is brimming with attitude and one-liners. These quips emphasize Ethan’s own lack of motivation and drive.
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Though each character has his or her own notable characteristics, Young-Anker steals the show playing the disturbed yet endearing basket case Annie. “[She] is not quite in this reality,” Young-Anker said. “There is something almost sweet about [her] absolute faith in Jesus. She is very matter of fact about it, very practical … and her monument to Jesus is this golf course, the mannequins depicting the biblical characters.” The entire cast puts on an incredible act in this existential cry for help from the drunks and the dreamers to Jesus. In addition to the humorous aspects, however, songs of Hank Williams and deep Spanish accordion music serenade a darkly complex Freudian subplot. Jesus Hates Me serves as an ideal Friday or Saturday night check-in, and at $10 for UB students on Thursdays, it’s hard to pass up a comedy of this kind of absurdity and brilliance. The play will run until Feb. 17.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Markings and memories of a mother’s love SARA DINATALE Senior News Editor I felt at home in Hungary. Acres of sunflowers bobbed in the spring breeze outside the crowded tour bus. They engulfed the roadside and spilled into a wild, seemingly endless sea of yellow and brown. I was thousands of miles away from the suburb of Buffalo, where I grew up. But in that moment, I was settled. Sometimes home is a feeling – or a certain person – more than it is a place. I closed my eyes and melted into the comfort of sacred memories, flashing back 10 years. Dirt was caked under my tiny fingernails. The sun beat down on my mother and me as we poked our fingers into the soil and fixed sunflower seeds into the ground. Popsicle sticks with each of my family members’ names printed on them marked to whom each seed belonged. This could be my summer, I eagerly told myself. I would grow the tallest sunflower. I could have been 4, 5 or 6 – we planted those seeds every summer, until the summer my mom wasn’t here anymore to plant them. She died when I was 7. But for a moment in Hungary, she was just as much alive as my father, who was seated next to me. When you lose someone like your mother, every day has its own struggles. You manage. You cope. But you live for the moments that bring you back to when you didn’t hurt. The moments when you didn’t know how much you were capable of missing another human being. You live to remember the summers filled with sunflowers. The only thing that could hurt more than losing someone you love is misplacing the memories that are a struggle to vividly recall. Sunflowers are synonymous with my mother, Anne Marie. They were her favorite flower. They always seem to follow me, or perhaps I’m just keen on spotting them; it’s why I knew I wanted a sunflower tattoo. I think that day in Hungary,
when I was 17, solidified that desire. Someday, the bracelet of hers I wear inscribed with her name will probably break. Her death taught me how fragile fixtures in our lives can be. I wanted the reassurance that I could always have a physical reminder of everything she taught me, and in an unusual way, continues to teach me. So I got inked in December, about a month before the 13th anniversary of her death. My mother died from an infraction of the heart on Jan. 2, 2000. It sounds simpler than it was. It was more than just her heart stopping. She was sent home after a stint in the hospital on New Year’s Eve with a misdiagnosis of the flu. A day later, my father felt compelled to rush her back to the hospital, despite reassurance from doctors she would be OK because she was 40 and healthy. They were wrong. Her condition neared critical over night. There was no clear diagnosis or cause. We were left with questions doctors were unable to answer. All my father was able to offer me through his weeps of disbelief was, “the angels wanted her.” One of my two older brothers sprinted to the hospital’s chapel. We were broken. We sobbed ourselves sick. The last image I have of my mother is her frail body sunken into a hospital bed in the intensive care unit. She was covered in tubes, and an oxygen mask was slung over her face. I was terrified as my father held me tight in his arms. My mother was struggling to speak. She was choking on her words. I couldn’t make out what she was trying to say and burrowed my head further into my father’s shoulder to hide my tears. A nurse explained, “She’s saying she loves you.” I don’t like to remember my mom like that. The former first-runner-up Miss Erie County should not have been destined to the cold white walls of that hospital room. I remembered the Anne Marie who sported Mickey Mouse overalls on her lazy days and helped me catch
Adrien D'Angelo /// The Spectrum
ladybugs, as I eased into the chair to get my tattoo on Dec. 8, 2012. I remembered her soft laugh, petite frame and red lips as the needle began its first dig into my flesh. The needle buzzed. My body quaked. I remembered the way she used to sing “Good Morning Starshine” from the musical Hair to wake me up and Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” when she stripped the sheets off my bed. My eyes winced. The pain was bearable, and I felt strangely at ease. I remembered the time I cov-
ered my entire face with her signature red lipstick. She didn’t get mad. She laughed and dumped me into the tub to scrub off the mess I made of myself. She took lots of pictures first. I felt the constant tug on my flesh, like the tug of the towel as she worked the lipstick off my cheeks. I got used to the needle’s hum. I struggled to remember her smell, though I’m certain I’d know her perfume if I’m ever to cross it again. My hand clenched the arm of the chair in response to a sudden burst of pain. I turned my face into
the headrest – in an effort to look away from the source of my discomfort – and took in the harsh smell of the long leather seat. I don’t think you appreciate the power of scent until you miss someone. Her fragrance didn’t leave our house as soon as she did. It was a trace of her presence, and I clung to it for as long as I could. Even after we cleared out her clothes and packed away her things, I could still conjure up the smell in my head. I can’t do that anymore. The first few months dealing with my mother’s death were the hardest. Some might say I was too young to fully understand what was going on. But I understood. I walked around like a little zombie. I wished there was a sunflower I could plant that would grow tall enough to take me to heaven. There were no ladybugs I could blow off my hand and make wishes on – like she taught me to – that would bring her back. The start of the tattoo hurt like hell, too. Our bodies respond to emotional and physical pain similarly. Once I settled into getting the tattoo, the intense burn dulled to a sting that was manageable. That happens with death, too. You learn how to live with that constant pain. You get to a place where you can fall asleep at night without crying first. I didn’t miss my mother any less, but I got used to the constant tug that was missing her. You settle into a routine of missing someone. It becomes engrained in your thoughts, but you’re able to function. You get back to enjoying life. You learn it’s still possible to be happy. As I sat in the chair, I was able to take the majority of the pain in stride. My brother made bets I would cry, but even the artist said I sat like a rock. The tattoo is situated on the left side of my body between my hip and ribcage. As the artist’s needle neared my ribs, the pain I was able to previously manage quickly neared excruciating. Continued on page 8
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Continued from page 1: De Veaux runs home “When I was a really young person, my mother made that poverty clear to me by telling me I had three strikes against me,” De Veaux said. “I was black, female and poor. And that was how she understood life, that she was also black, female and poor … from the time that I was a kid, I was working against this notion that I was powerless.” Around the age of 12, De Veaux remembers deciding that fate would not be her life – the strikes against her were not going to restrain or limit her. She decided that being black, female and poor were going to be her deepest, most powerful weapons. “There were eight of us, and that’s a lot of kids to feed and clothe and educate and maintain,” De Veaux said. “My mother was not always able to do that affectively, but I’ve come to understand that she did the best she could. And what she gave me is what I’ve made of the life that I started out in.” Strike two: black Her mother wasn’t alone in raising her children, though. De Veaux’s paternal grandmother, Ruby Hill, helped care for the eight children, and in turn helped De Veaux discover her passion: writing. Hill taught De Veaux how to read by teaching her the poetry in the Bible – how to read it, recite it and memorize it. Hill was a devout Baptist, born and raised in North Carolina, whose job was to oversee and direct the Sunday school programs. She came to New York in 1929 with nothing but herself and her teaching certificate. But because of the racism and segregation in the city during that time period – it was right around the time of the Great Depression – Hill was only able to find work as a maid. “It was clear to me that she worked as a maid, but she was not a maid,” De Veaux said, describing the struggle her grandmother faced in the new city. Her grandmother helped her see the history of black women and how they had their own spaces in literature. De Veaux knew she wanted to use words as her ammunition, and she started writing her first poems in the sixth grade. She wanted to emulate June Jordan and Paule Marshall, among others – women known for their contributions, the first of their kind, to this new African-American wave of literature that started during the Harlem Renaissance. Strike three: female She wanted to write for the women who were enslaved – not only those who were slaves themselves but also those who chose to free themselves from a second-rate life by learning to read and write. “Most of the writers I read through elementary school, middle school were male and most of those were white,” De Veaux said. She knew at a young age that a world existed beyond the books she read in school. “One of the things that had been missing from literature in the 1960s, primarily, and even before the 1960s, were really strong black female characters – complex characters, not just ‘mammy’ figures.” She wanted to develop the role of black women in her stories while also promoting the notion that black women could write, too. She wanted to develop complex characters central to the narrative she was telling, ones who were peripheral and not simply “hanging on some man’s arm.” She wanted these women to explore their sexualities and their own senses. As a woman of color who also identifies as a lesbian, De Veaux began mentoring kids at Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York (GLYS) when she came to Buffalo to study – a way to help give back to young people of color and share her experiences. When she was growing up in the ’60s, there was no outlet available to help her deal with the coming-out process and there certainly was no discourse about any type of homoerotic desires, De Veaux said. She didn’t have distinct role models and being black and a lesbian was unheard of.
“One young woman who identified as black, as a lesbian, had a tendency to be angry,” said Marvin Henchbarger, the executive director of GLYS. “And after having been here for a couple of Alexis’ visits, it started to change. I think it gave her a sense of value, a sense of belonging, a sense of self-acceptance that she didn’t have before having that chance to interact with somebody who’d walked in her shoes – many, many miles before she even came to GLYS. And that may not sound like a big deal, but to a gay kid it is and to a young black lesbian it was.” De Veaux believes she has overcome the strikes against her; she’s now written six books and numerous plays, poems, essays and articles, including award-winning biographies of jazz legend Billie Holiday and Caribbean-born poet, novelist and essayist Audre Lorde – two of her biggest influences. As she furthered her writing career, De Veaux realized she wanted a career with more stability – a career that promised a steady income so she would never return to her childhood-poverty lifestyle. She wanted to give back. In the midst of her burgeoning writing career, she decided to expand her skills as a community-based teacher and sought her Ph.D. in Buffalo. In the ’90s, when De Veaux was pursuing her Ph.D., UB did not hire its graduate students to tenure-track jobs. The faculty of the department of American studies made a bid to the College of Arts and Sciences and because she was a mature student in her 40s, the university offered her an associate professor position after she received her degree in American studies with a concentration in women’s studies. “Everything that I have now today is a reflection of the teachers and the people who came into my life and said, ‘Oh, yes, you can. Oh, yes, you better. Oh, yes, you will,’” De Veaux said. “I’ve always tried to live by something that we used to say in the ’60s and ’70s: each one, teach one. “So what you have, it’s not yours to have – it’s yours to give … and I hope that I have loved my students that way, that I’ve loved them toward their destinies.” She’s taught courses in art, social activism, black women’s literature, feminist theory, introduction to women’s studies and sex, gender and popular culture on the graduate and undergraduate levels. She’s explored the boundaries of race and sex with her students, while attempting to communicate social histories. And now that De Veaux has retired from teaching at the university, many of her students are remembering her impact. “I've learned a lot from being around Alexis in a number of a venues, not just formal classroom settings,” said Josh Cerretti,
a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in global gender studies. De Veaux was his adviser last year. “She has introduced me to some of the most accomplished and interesting people in Buffalo [and] taught me to be self-reflexive in a way that is both critical and compassionate. Her guidance has had a tremendous impact on me as a scholar and a teacher. Countless other positive ripples have been put out into the world through her influence on her students.” Besides lecturing and teaching at UB, De Veaux has gotten involved in the Buffalo community. She’s not only used her passion for literacy in the classroom, but she’s also branched into social justice causes she believes in, whether it is helping young black adults realize their sexualities by sharing her story or using literacy to help spur social change. She and a friend, Kathy Engel, started Lyrical Democracies, a community-based literacy workshop, after President Obama urged a “Call to Service” in 2009. The group holds language-in-action workshops to help groups use the written word to help spread their social justice causes. “Our motto is ‘our story begins with my story.’ And so we understand stories and narratives as the framework for community,” De Veaux said. “ We each have the story of our being and so being able to arrive at a collected narrative means being able to hear each other and by hearing each other, we can understand differences.” Since retiring from teaching, De Veaux has returned to her hometown of New York City, a city she contends is the greatest in the world. While she is no longer teaching on the collegiate level, she plans to keep giving back by teaching literacy in community-based organizations and supporting social justice causes with her writing talents. “I’ll probably get in a lot of trouble of some kind or another,” De Veaux laughed. “But I will have more time to write. I’m kind of interested in the adventure of this moment, of just sort of packing up and not knowing where I’m going to live or what I’m going to do.” De Veaux has lived as writer since she was 12 years old, and after beating her strikes and turning them into weapons – black, poor and female – she plans to attack whatever new adventure awaits. Email: email@example.com
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Continued from page 7: My sunflower Like the moments I realized my mother wouldn’t be here to help me pick out my wedding dress, see me graduate from college or hold her grandchildren. Sometimes the intense pain sneaks up on you. I’ve gotten used to explaining my situation to people; it has become routine. Sometimes I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story, because I still have it in my mind that something so horrible could never have actually happened. But the pain can catch you when you don’t expect it. It hits you hard. You suddenly remember just how much it hurts, and you lose it. I’m now 20. Years later, you collapse in grief – especially when you realize you have lived nearly twice the amount of time without a person than with her. In getting a tattoo, the sudden fits of pain and constant, dull sting subside. You know you’re going to heal. The hurt is worth it. The tenderness will be gone in a week. It will get gross, scab over and basically molt off your body – but ultimately you’re left with a beautiful piece of artwork. Loss doesn’t molt; it molds. It doesn’t roll off you; it changes you. But while nothing like a piece of art, loss – though never desired – can breed beauty, too. From it, I learned what it means to love. I understand what love is, and I know there is a type of love that transcends this earth. That is love we should strive to achieve in our lives. I live to love those I care about the way I know my mother loved me. I don’t know for certain I’ll be here tomorrow, next month or next year. While my mother never suspected her life would end so soon, she loved people every day like it was her last day on this earth. That’s what I attempt to do, too. It should never be questioned. I want the people I care about to know how much I love them. I want them to feel it – like I feel my mother’s love – if I am ever not here to tell them I love them myself. My mother was a beautiful person. The portrait of a sunflower now on my body – a brilliant mix of yellows and oranges – is as gorgeous as she was. I don’t have to wait for the sunflowers to find me; one is always with me. She is always with me. I can rest my hand on it when I miss her. I can look at it when I need strength. With a glance down, I can remember why it’s never worth leaving a room angry. I can remember it’s never too late to show someone how much you care. I can remind myself of how fierce we are all capable of loving. I can feel at home with everyone I love. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 ubspectrum.com
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Crossword of the Day
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 FROM UNIVERSAL UCLICK
ACROSS 1 Member of the track team 6 Lost brightness 11 Bub 14 Music for a film 15 "Arrivederci!" 16 Longoria of TV 17 Place to get food quickly 20 "One ___ customer" 21 Muses' number 22 Homeowner's additional liability 29 Troublesome auto 30 Old photo tint 31 "Berlin Game" author Deighton 32 What the fat lady sings? 33 Musicians Redbone and Russell 35 Salinger work (with "The") 42 Argument flaws 43 "I need ___!" (desperate admission) 44 Alternative to com, edu or net 47 ___ ghost (is frightened) 49 Last Oldsmobile model 50 Traveler's plane upgrade 53 Cold-region gull relative
54 ___ and caboodle 55 Focal point 64 Bolivia's neighbor (Abbr.) 65 AM/FM apparatus 66 Donor 67 Mao ___-tung 68 Change one's story? 69 Dueling swords
DOWN 1 Submissions to an ed. 2 I, in Germany 3 Ringo's john? 4 Boot one on the field, it's human 5 Mary Lou of gymnastics fame 6 Capacitance units 7 Do simple math 8 Use it to get a snake eye 9 All eternity, poetically 10 Fizzled firecracker 11 Like a drudge's labor 12 Get an eye for an eye 13 Sway at high speed 18 Ending for "ball" or "bass" 19 Marathon company 22 Will be, to Doris Day 23 Send off, as broadcast waves
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) -- Once you ask that certain someone how they are doing, it's like opening the flood gates. You must be ready to lend an ear for a while! PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) -A special request made some time ago is likely to be honored at this time, and the end result is likely to be much more than anticipated. ARIES (March 21-Apri1 19) -- You mustn't panic when things go a little wrong today; keep your head above Edited by Timothy E. Parker January 23, 2013 water and do what DEFENSE IN THE MIDDLE By Sheldon Brecker you can to minimize any long-term hard56 Before, to a bard 24 Flier's seat choice ship. 25 Grammy-winner Etheridge or 57 Butting bighorn Manchester TAURUS (April 58 Literary tribute 20-May 20) -- You 26 Dentist's request 59 Shark's appendage must be able to 27 Sing Sing disorder strike a balance 60 Big shot 28 Hyperbolic function 61 "___ got it" (outfielder's call) between what you know is right and 29 Fond du ___, Wis. 62 Young batter's ball supporter what you know is 34 Black Panthers co-founder Bobby possible. Some63 Mos. turn into them where in there is the 36 Parasite's need solution. 37 Basic util. 38 React to a one-two 39 Actress Perlman 40 Asian tent 41 Teamwork deterrent 44 "Queen ___" (Ella Fitzgerald's nickname) 45 ___ Island (site of a New York prison) 46 Seattle-born rock genre 48 Have a prayer request 49 "All the world's ___" 51 Took a load off 52 "To ___, With Love"
GEMINI (May 21-June 20) -There are certain perameters you must respect today as you go about your business. You aren't likely to be allowed the freedom you are used to. CANCER (June 21-July 22) -- You have been entertaining a notion that is unusual for you -- and you find it both exciting and frightening. You must make a decision soon. LEO (July 23Aug. 22) -- Things may look good to you, but beneath the surface there are some unhealthy rumblings that you must pay attention to today. VIRGO (Aug. 23Sept. 22) -- You want to get your hands on something that really inspires you to new heights, but it may not be available to you just yet. Be patient.
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LIBRA (Sept. 23Oct. 22) -- You can do something traditional in an entirely new way today -- and attract a great many new participants as well. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) -- You may have trouble understanding why the rules are what they are -- but no matter what, you must be willing to follow them! S A G I T TA R I U S (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) -- Nothing is certain, but you are likely to have one or two hunches that are so strong you are tempted to interpret them as sure things. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) -- You are looking forward to something fun and exciting, but in order to prepare for it properly you'll have to put in a good deal of work.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 ubspectrum.com
Wrestling team gets first victory of the season
Bulls pull through to defeat Eastern Michigan
Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum
Senior John Martin-Cannon (above) defeated Jacob Davis of Eastern Michigan 17-5 in a major decision as he returned to the Bulls starting lineup this past Friday night to help lead them to their first MAC victory of the season.
TOM DINKI Staff Writer The clock counted down to the final seconds of the third period as sophomore Justin Heiserman and his opponent stood at a standstill. The buzzer sounded. Heiserman was victorious, having won a 3-1 decision. The Bulls (1-7, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) had won their first dual meet of the season over MAC rival Eastern Michigan (6-10, 0-2 MAC) at Alumni Arena on Friday night. Buffalo took an early 16-6 lead against Eastern Michigan. After two straight majordecision losses, it came down to the final match between Heiserman and the Eagles’ Khodor Hoballah. After losing the last two match-deciding events, Heiserman was put in another familiar situation – to fend off the opposition to seal the win. “[Head coach Jim Beichner] told me to do my ride on top,” Heiserman said. “Put him to the mat, try and turn him. If not, try and ride him out for the whole two minutes.”
Heiserman pulled through and led his team to a 19-14 victory and its first conference win of the season. The Bulls had high hopes coming into the season, aiming to rebound from a sevenwin season and bringing in four wrestlers who were ranked in the preseason. But the team’s starting lineup has been decimated by injuries. Dominant senior 174-pounder John Martin-Cannon was back in the lineup after missing the Virginia Duals, where the Bulls were swept. Cannon delivered with a major decision in a 17-5 win over Jacob Davis. “At the beginning of the year, we expected to be making a run for a top-20 spot, so we’re really disappointed this year in the results so far, but it hasn’t been as much our guys’ fault as it has been just bad injuries,” Beichner said. “So it’s not an indicator of our guys and their ability and all that kind of stuff. It’s really just been an unfortunate season full of lots of injuries.” Cannon earned seven takedowns throughout the match, moving him into fifth all-time in Bulls’ history in that category.
Senior Mark Lewandowski, who recently became a member of UB’s 100-win club, was able to earn a 10-3 victory in the 165-pound weight class. “We had a really good week of practice,” Heiserman said. “Everybody bought in and went as hard as they could. That’s all we need to do from here on out.” This was the first of four straight conference meets for the Bulls, who will wrestle at Ohio (3-3, 2-2 MAC) next and come back for a two straight home meets against Kent State (6-3, 2-0 MAC) and Northern Illinois (7-5, 0-3 MAC). Beichner would like to see his team healthy the rest of the way. “I would like to see 10 starters in the lineup,” Beichner said. “If you put 10 starters in the lineup, this would be a whole different season.” The Bulls’ next match at Ohio is slated for Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Email: email@example.com
Off and running
Track and field records record-breaking day JARED BOVE Staff Writer The track and field teams traveled to Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday to compete in their second meet of the season: the Cornell Upstate Challenge. The teams both secured second-place finishes in the seven-team competition. The men’s team won three events and broke two school records. Junior sprinter Miles Lewis ran his way into the Bulls’ record books with a first-place finish in the 60-meter dash. Lewis finished the race in 6.76 seconds, a school record. “We think Miles Lewis has a good chance to win the [Mid-American Conference] Championships in the 60 meters and the 200 meters,” said head coach Perry Jenkins. Lewis also placed first in the 200-meter run, with a 21.56, which was .07 seconds off the school record. The men also saw success from sophomore Austin Price, who turned in another first-place finish for the Bulls in the triple jump. Price’s first-place mark of 50’0.75” surpassed his best jump last week at the Eastern Michigan Triangular by almost three feet. “It’s been a long time since we had another 50-foot triple jumper,” Jenkins said. “For [Price] to win the triple jump against some good jumpers from Cornell and Syracuse really tells you a lot about Mr. Price.” Sophomore Chris Reape also made the record books on Saturday with a performance that earned a second-place finish in the high jump event. Reape’s 6’11.50” jump bested the school record of 6’10.75”. “I’ve been impressed with both of our high jumpers and the way they’ve performed so far,” Jenkins said. “Chris Reape is a talented young man and I think he’ll be somebody that’s going to be in the hunt for that MAC Championship.” The men’s team ended the day with 116 total points, a score that was second only to Cornell’s 211.50 points. The women’s team also had a very strong showing on Saturday, finishing behind only Cornell, the host. Buffalo had three athletes finish first in their respective events. The top three spots of the women’s weight throw went to seniors Shante’ White, Erin Miller and Kristy Woods. White’s first-place throw
of 60’6” was a season best for her, while Miller and Woods each threw personal bests. In the women’s 60-meter dash, freshman sprinter Malayah White placed first with a time of 7.68 seconds. White also finished third in the 200-meter dash, running the race in 25.24 seconds. Junior Donna Jeanty recorded a first-place finish in the women’s 500-meter run with a time of 1:14.49. The women’s 4 x 400 relay team and the 4 x 800 relay team both achieved second-place finishes in their event. The collective women’s team result was a score of 103 points, second to Cornell’s 216 points. Head coach Vickie Mitchell was impressed with her team’s performance on Saturday, but she stressed the importance of staying focused. “I don’t think anyone is really overly satisfied or content with where they’re at right now,” Mitchell said. “This meet has just made us hungrier.” The Bulls will be back in competition on Friday, Jan. 25, at the SPIRE Midwest Invitational in Geneva, Ohio. Email: sports@ubspectrum. com
Diaper dandy AARON MANSFIELD Editor in Chief An injury is never a good thing. When your floor general, who is also your second-best player, misses a lengthy period of time, it’s a very bad thing. And when that situation plays out for a team that is already struggling mightily, it’s borderline devastating. The men’s basketball team has found little solace in its rough start. The Bulls are 6-12, and when they narrowly bested fellow Mid-American Conference bottom-feeder Bowling Green (6-11, 1-3) on Saturday, it marked Buffalo’s first win against a Division IA opponent since Dec. 8, 2012. Ouch. A quick glance at the top of the stat sheet following Saturday night’s game reveals nothing extraordinary. Junior forward Javon McCrea led the Bulls in points and rebounds. Yawn. We’ve all grown accustomed to that sight. Scan to the next-leading scorer, though, and you’ll find a name UB fans will come to admire in the next few years: Jarryn Skeete. The freshman point guard scored 16 points on striking 6-for-8 shooting to go along with six boards. Skeete played 32 minutes, third on the team behind McCrea and the squad’s leader, senior guard Tony Watson. Skeete never would have had this chance to shine as a freshman if the everyday starting PG, sensational, lightning-quick junior Jarod Oldham, had not suffered a broken wrist over Christmas break. In the seven games since Skeete has taken over as starting point guard, he has averaged 8.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. After the game against Bowling Green, head coach Reggie Witherspoon praised Skeete for his progression and ability to step up. “I said to someone yesterday [Skeete] is getting a lot of minutes for a freshman, for anybody,” Witherspoon said. “If he keeps his attitude at an ‘A’ game, he’s just going to keep getting better.” Skeete’s numbers aren’t groundbreaking, to be sure, but they’re impressive when you consider he is a true freshman who has been thrust into a new system on a struggling team. His best attribute, however, has been his control. He never appears the least bit flustered. It has been said that the best point guards are “always quick but never in a hurry.” Skeete has embodied this saying as he has averaged 1.4 turnovers per game this year (2.1 since taking over as the starting point). Oldham was phenomenal when he ran the show last year for the first time. He was also surrounded by weapons like Mitchell Watt and Zach Filzen, much greater than the arsenal at Skeete’s disposal. Oldham averaged 2.7 turnovers per game. My point is this: the Bulls weren’t going to be ultra-competitive this year in the first place. It’s time to accept it. This team just isn’t nearly as polished and talented as the 20-win squads of recent years, and it would probably lose to the 2011-12 Bulls by 20 or more. So when a team is gearing toward a run next season, it’s essential to develop the players who will be integral to that team – not play narrow-mindedly and aim to win every game with this year’s team, which isn’t going anywhere. It’s a rebuilding year. Skeete couldn’t find his way off the bench before Oldham went down. The youngster was averaging 10.9 minutes per game and he was hardly noticeable. Now he’s a legitimate threat. Teams actually have to game plan for him. Skeete surprised Bowling Green head coach Louis Orr. “The one thing I saw when I watched him on film: he may not have shot the ball great, but he kept shooting, so he must have believed that he could make the shots he was taking,” Orr said. “The coach gave him freedom … the coach believed in him. He was a tough cover tonight.” The situation reminds me of this year’s football team at UB. Freshman running back Devin Campbell stepped up when star junior Branden Oliver went down with injuries. Campbell had three 100-yard games and utterly dominated a couple games. Oliver’s turmoil kept him from breaking a few records, certainly, but look at the big picture: The football team was not a legitimate threat to win the MAC this past season, but the Bulls have a prayer this coming year, and that’s largely because of the two-headed running back monster that the injury created. And so it is with the men’s basketball team, which appears poised to be a solid squad again next year. What will Witherspoon do when he gets Oldham back? Play Skeete at the 2? That’s the likely scenario, but I really have no idea. I just know it’s important that heading into next year – the senior season for McCrea and Oldham – the Bulls have two dynamic, seasoned scoring threats at guard. It’s all because of an injury. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org