Changing the Game: The Evan Beutler Story

It is rare to see UWA alumni play professional sports today, with only a select few being the exception.

Just take a look at former UWA athlete and NFL superstar Malcolm Butler. Before he started playing for the New England Patriots and made the history making interception in Super Bowl 49, Butler played on the same Tiger Field that many UWA athletes perform on today.

Or, if football isn’t your sport, have a look at Tanner Rainey. Rainey was a starting pitcher for the West Alabama baseball team and now plays for the Cincinnati Reds.

With only a few athletes that leave UWA and go on to play professionally, Evan Beutler made history when he started his professional indoor soccer career.

What was usually a thin sheet of ice in the hockey arena was now replaced with the turf’s synthetic grass. Instead of feeling the heat from the sun, the lights from overhead provided a different atmosphere than anything he was used to.

The game he grew to know and perfect was suddenly something in the past, and all he knew was that the new indoor arena that he considered his playing field was nothing compared to the freedom of playing outdoors.

The rules he knew were irrelevant. He had to start over, learning how to master this now foreign sport in order to continue on his soccer career. Beutler says the new sport is like combining soccer, hockey and basketball all into one sport.

Evan Beutler is a professional soccer player in the Canadian Soccer League who grew up in the town of Enterprise. His journey to the professional level took him to places he never would have guessed upon graduating from his college team in Livingston.

“Using soccer skills and basketball defensive tactics with offensive movements, indoor soccer is highly intense and fast paced,” Beutler said. “The game is highly tactical where it’s more important to know what to do rather than simply being a good soccer game. “

When Beutler graduated from the University of West Alabama in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, indoor soccer is something that he never thought he would play. However, when the opportunity to play professionally for the Waza Flo, a professional arena soccer team in Detroit, Michigan came up he couldn’t decline.

“Evan is a class act, so I wasn’t surprised when he went on to play professionally after UWA,” said Matthew Thorne, head coach for the UWA men’s soccer team, in a March 2016 interview. “I’m delighted for him…he is the perfect professional and I was very proud to see him continue.”

As one of the original players from the first year with the men’s soccer program in 2012, Beutler scored a total of 13 goals in the 53 games he played for the Tigers.

“It really doesn’t surprise me that Evan was able to play arena soccer professionally,” said Brian Meadows, Beutler’s former teammate. “He was so talented on the outdoor pitch that I knew he could adjust to this new sport with ease.”

The transition from outdoor soccer to arena soccer was something that came with its own setbacks for Beutler.

“It was definitely a challenge,” Beutler said. “It was the same game, but with different rules and a different playing field. The sport itself was the same, but I felt like a was learning to play for the first time again.”

Although the basis of the two sports is the same, there are some key differences that make them completely different.

In arena soccer there are no throw ins, out of bounds or slide tackles due to the walls around the field and the “softness” of arena soccer.

Since there are walls around the entire field, there is no way to kick the ball out unless you clear the wall, Butler said. Players can use the walls to your benefit and harmonize them to your plays, but it’s a difficult skill to master.

With the lack of boundaries, the throw in is eliminated. In outdoor soccer, when the ball goes out of bounds in certain areas of the field outside of the penalty box and goal line the player of the team that did not have possession of the ball throws the ball back into play.

Arena soccer also has a designated spot on the field called the “time out box.” This area is designed for a player who makes a reckless penalty. The player must spend two minutes in the time out box leaving the team a man down for the chosen time instead of receiving a card.

All of these regulations play a major role in the plays that are made in outdoor soccer. They also affect the time clock and can cause a pause in the game Beutler said.

“The entire speed of the game is so new. With arena soccer, the play is almost continuous with no clock stops,” Beutler said. “It allows the game to flow more smoothly with no interruptions, but it does have its setbacks.”

His time with the Waza Flo came to an end when Beutler made the decision to move to play for a league in Canada, where is family is originally from.

Beutler now plays for the York Region Shooters, a professional outdoor team in the Canadian Soccer League. He attributes his accomplishments to the experience he gained here at UWA and through the transition and test of abilities that arena soccer gave him.

The Shooters recently won their league and finished the year as the regular season champions although they fell to a shootout against Hamilton City in the semifinals for the Canadian Soccer League.

“I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without all of the time I spent at UWA. The difficult level of the practices and the skill that the team holds challenged me to better myself on the pitch,” Beutler said. “UWA really helped me to become the player I am today and I am grateful for my time there.”

Hankins’ Finally Breathes Easy

She had promised to never give up, but the decline in her health was sudden and emotionally shattering. She started to prepare her family for the possibility of her passing as her condition worsened. Then, a miracle happened and she received a long awaited phone call.

 

She drew in her first breath on her own. The raw aching sensation which eventually emanated from her incision was nothing compared to the joy she felt from the transformation. Imagine taking your first clear breath at the age of 23. For the University of West Alabama student Libby Hankins, this was her reality:

 

“It feels good.”

 

Those were the first words Hankins said after her life-saving double lung transplant.

 

Since she was two years old, Hankins has struggled with cystic fibrosis, a disorder which causes a buildup of mucus that causes problems with nearly all areas of the body, especially the lungs and sinuses. After undergoing a six-hour surgery, she is now laughing and breathing clearly.

 

“I never thought I would be eligible for a transplant because of some of the infections that I culture,” Hankins said.  “That is why I was denied a transplant in Alabama.  Thankfully, Duke accepts high-risk infections, and I’ve been given a chance that I never dreamed could happen.”

 

On April 17, she received a call from Duke University Medical Center saying that she would finally get her new lungs. From the time she moved to North Carolina, she patiently waited 65 days for her transplant date.

 

Her surgery was a success. In an email, Hankins said her surgeon told her and her family that her new lungs were a perfect match and “not very exposed.”

 

She said she wishes that she could thank every person who prayed for her. There was never a time when she did not feel surrounded by prayers, and it made all the difference.

 

Maci Lankford, one of Hankins’ best friends and Phi Mu sister, was in the hospital the day she took her first breath. She said this experience has taught her to be grateful for everything she has and, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

 

“It was truly the most humbling experience I have ever been through, and I am just so happy for her,” Lankford said. “She deserves this more than anybody I know.”

 

Hankins said her only complications were that her stomach took longer to “wake up” from the surgery, and she did not pass her swallowing test. She could not eat any food for the first two weeks and only two ounces at a time for the first two months.

 

“It’s so hard to describe the pain,” she said. “At first, I could not feel the incision because the nerve endings had been sliced. When those feeling started to come back, the pain was considerable.”

 

Tubes were everywhere. Her hands were restrained so she would not pull them out. She had a large one in her neck to monitor her heart function and six chest tubes in her sides to drain the fluid and air from the space around the new lungs. The tubes coming out of her sides were connected to suction to help the lungs completely expand. She could not talk due to a ventilator tube down her throat for the first 12 hours.

 

Since Hankins’ doctors needed her to be awake and taking deep breaths, they could not give her an amount of medication that would make her sleep. She did have an epidural placed for the first five days which completely numbed her chest and abdomen. They were forced to remove it when she had an allergic reaction.

 

She said the days following her surgery were much more painful. To remove her old lungs, her breast bone was cracked apart and then wired back together. It was painful for her to cough and move, but they got her to start walking as soon as the ventilator was removed.

 

She was hospitalized for 12 days after the transplant. The morning after her discharge she started pulmonary rehabilitation at the Duke Center for Living. This was extremely hard on her.

 

“I thought I would pass out the first morning, but I made it.”

 

Hankins said she still has some kidney and sinus issues, but those are from cystic fibrosis, not her new lungs.

 

“Although I have beautiful new lungs,” she said, “the reality is that CF is still in every gene in my body and always will be.”

 

Hankins was admitted to Duke August 31 due to kidney issues. During her stay, they were able to rule out some causes of the problem, but they were not certain of the source. She had to deal with a catheter for a few days until her urologist felt that her medication had resolved the retention.

 

A combination of low blood pressure, fever and high heart rate sent Hankins back to the hospital September 22. The source was a UTI and sinus infection. They placed a peripherally inserted central catheter for a three week course of home IVs. She was discharged two days later.

 

When Hankins went in for her ENT appointment, they scheduled her next surgery for early November and extended her home IVs an additional 10 days.

 

Hankins is getting stronger every day. On October 25, she received the results from her six-month post transplant bronchoscopy. Her last recorded lung function before the transplant was 17 percent. It has now reached 99 percent. Before the transplant, she could not do something as simple as buying groceries.

 

“I knew that I was weak when I transferred from UAB to Duke,” she said, “but I did not realize that I was end stage until I saw it on my chart.”

 

Unfortunately, they had to extend her home IVs again until her sinus surgery.

 

On November 3, Hankins went back for her 23rd sinus surgery which lasted about two hours. Her doctor thought it would be a simple surgery but it did not go quite as planned. They made progress on her front left side by removing the polyps, or noncancerous growths, and infection with no issues.

 

Her right side needed a turbinectomy to remove some bone and tissue obstructing her nasal airway. However, her blood pressure continued to increase so they postponed the procedure. The surgeons will decide how to treat her right side when the packing is cleaned out in two weeks.

 

Hankins has labs drawn once a week to check the levels of her anti-rejection medications and pulmonary rehabilitation daily. She usually has at least two additional appointments a week with either physical therapy specialists or doctors specializing in infectious diseases, sinuses or kidneys. She has a transplant clinic visit twice a month.

 

The anti-rejection drugs have unpleasant side effects. Hankins’ hair thinned so much that she finally gave in and had it cut short. One of her pills, prednisone, causes weight gain and “moon face,” or the rounding of the face which often comes with steroid treatments.

 

“That has bothered me,” she said. “But, at the same time I am just so grateful to be alive that I can’t complain.”

 

After a year the prednisone dose will be reduced, and her doctors say that things will return to normal.

 

Even though she has never felt relief from cystic fibrosis before, Hankins has continued to keep a positive outlook on life and in turn, has touched the lives of thousands of people. One life in particular is one of her teammates, Tanika Smith.

 

Smith said it has given her a greater appreciation for life because someone made a selfless act that saved her best friend. This inspired her to happily accept to be an organ donor when she renewed her license.

 

“Libby herself has changed my life in a completely different way though,” she said. “She has shown me how to not only live life, but also love life and live each day like there isn’t a tomorrow.”

 

Other lives Hankins has influenced are those of her hometown community in Gordo, Alabama and the volunteers who have raised money for her cause. Transplants are an expensive burden for many patients, costing roughly $500,000. The Children’s Organ Transplant Association is a charity which helps communities raise funds for expenses related to transplants. The Gordo community and volunteers have raised over $150,000 for her through COTA.

 

Hankins said she has been more than blessed by the fundraisers. There have been fundraising events such as the GHS string band reunion concert, Easter “egging”, Que for the Cure and a baseball tournament. Volunteers have also sold merchandise such as t-shirts and bracelets.

 

The COTA page is still open for donations, but they have already reached their goal. Any additional funds will go toward Hankins’ monthly anti-rejection medications.

 

The surgery has not only affected Hankins physically, but also emotionally. It was hard on her to have to leave her home and school. She was so used to having her friends around her and being active. Until suddenly, it was not possible anymore.

 

She had to withdraw from the 2016 fall semester, but she passed her final Praxis test on September 12. She hopes to get a student teaching placement in Northport or Tuscaloosa so that she can live at her home in Gordo. Her doctors suggested that she live at home for at least a year due to the side effects of her anti-rejection medications.

 

After she graduates, she hopes to attend graduate school and earn her masters in correctional education. Her dream career would be to work with Down Syndrome children or in a juvenile correctional center.

 

“It is hard to see life go on without you,” she said. “More than anything, it is hard to know someone had to die for you to live.”

 

Hankins said if she could speak to her donor, she would tell him or her that they are in this life together now. She looks at her scars every day and thinks about how the person is sewn into her chest.

 

“No adventure I ever go on, no milestone I ever reach, and no joy I ever feel will be felt alone,” she said. “I want him or her to know that I won’t take a single breath for granted.”

Senior Night for UWA Volleyball Team

The University of West Alabama volleyball team fell to Shorter in a five-set match on Friday. The 3-2 loss brings the Tigers season to 17-14 overall and 9-9 in conference play while the Hawks increase to 20-6 for the season and 15-3 in the conference.

This was an especially hard loss for the Tigers as it was also senior night for four of the team members. Callie Murphy, Yanesha Johnson, Abigail Ames, and Elizabeth Woodard were all honored for their achievements in their time at UWA.

UWA lost the first set 27-25 after an error on a UWA attack. The Tigers came back to win the second set 25-19.

The Hawks fought back in set three to regain the lead at 25-19. The fourth set saw a UWA victory with a final score of 25-11.

Set five was a tough battle for each team with UWA trailing 8-5 before swapping sides of the court. The Hawks tied things up 12 all, and eventually caught the last three points taking the match.

Johnson lead the Tigers on both sides of the ball with 19 kills and 20 digs. Woodard grabbed a season high with 16 kills.

Ames lead the team on defense with 24 digs, while Murphy had 52 assists and 10 digs.

The Tigers will finish up their season with two regular season games at Union on Thursday and Christian Brothers on Friday.

Sumter Academy Holds Fall Festival

Sumter Academy held their annual fall festival on October 25 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Margo Bryan, a member of the PTA, said they raised around 3,500 to 4,000 dollars. This is how much they usually make each year. She said was pleased with the turn out.

“I think we have a good turn out every year,” said Bryan. “It’s always better when the weather is nice like this.”

Bryan said the money raised from the booths and food goes straight into the PTA account. They help with projects that the school cannot afford to pay for, such as math curriculum and the accelerated reading program.

She said she and two women who helped her arrived at the school at eight in the morning to set up the tables and booths, make signs and decorate. They also had to make sure the parents were lined up to work their shifts.

Volunteers included sororities, fraternities, and the softball team from the University of West Alabama, as well as parents, teachers and PTA members.

“If we didn’t have those groups coming out to help, we would not be able to do this,” said Bryan. “It would be really hard because we are from a small school and it takes everybody to make it work.”

One volunteer was Lauren Dunkin, an Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority member, who worked the goldfish toss. She said she enjoyed working with the kids and seeing them dressed up in their costumes.

“We’ve been doing the fall festival since my freshman year,” said Dunkin. “I think it’s just a good way for us to give back to the community and show that we are more than just Greek organizations. I think it gives Greeks a better name.”

The festival had its annual Brunswick stew, as well as hotdogs. The Grandparents club set up a booth where they sold popcorn, caramel apples and nachos.

Bryan said the Brunswick stew is a big hit. The church group who cooked it has been making the stew since the school opened in the early ‘70s.

There were many games set up to play. A few of them were a ring toss, duck pond, hole in one golf, go fish and pie throw. Children had the chance to win prizes such as candy, goldfish and toys which were ordered from Oriental Trading. There was also a haunted house and train ride.

Emma Edmonds, one of the participants who is six years old, said she enjoyed the musical chairs. She won and got to choose a baby doll for her prize.

Four tickets, which cost $1, were required to play each game. There was also an option to receive an armband for $20 which allowed the child to play any booth as many times as they wanted.

Parents were also able to play a game of bingo while their children played.

“We do it because it’s fun and the kids love it,” said Bryan. “It’s a lot of work, but hearing how good of a time everyone had makes it worth it.”

“Never Go Back” is a good warning for anyone watching

Almost everything about “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” can be summarized as “average.” A predictable action movie that only manages to impress in two ways, the fight scenes and how Tom Cruise looks so young at the age of 54.

The almost two hour movie follows the titular Jack Reacher as he tries to uncover and bring down a massive conspiracy while being assisted by a major in the military police and a teenage girl.

Because Jack spoke with the major a few times on the phone, he instantly comes to her rescue when the conspiracy at work tries to have her killed for investigating it.

If only a few phone calls was really all it took to make people willing to risk their lives for you.

As the duo begins their investigation, they pick up a teenage girl Reacher after there was an attempt to assassinate her after the villains believe her to be his daughter.

While the movie has action sequences that are hard to remember an hour or so after watching, the hand-to-hand fights are satisfying as many bones are broken through out the course of the film.

One of the main problems of the movie are the characters. Lacking in depth, most characters can easily be summed up in a couple of words and rarely deliver much in the way of interesting lines.

The most interesting character is the main antagonist, an unnamed man that hunts Reacher constantly through out the movie.

An ex-military man unable to go back to normal life after starting to relish in hurting people, he seeks to hurt Reacher in any way he can to the point of explicitly targeting his daughter in hopes of causing deep, emotional harm to Reacher.

Overall, the movie doesn’t do much to impress and be remembered. It might engage well enough during its fight scenes, but everything else will leave you disappointed.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” will be playing in the University Theater from November 4 to November 10

Chicago Cubs erase a century deficit with a trophy

On Wednesday, November 2nd, the World Series came down to one game after the Chicago Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit in the series. Many people stop to stare at the game with the possibility that the Chicago Cubs may have a chance to end a 108 years without a championship.

With the expectation of the Cleveland Indians to win it all by going up 3-1 after game 4. Game 5 was going to be the game when Cleveland gets their dreamlike ending by having their NBA team, Cleveland Cavaliers, and their baseball team winning a championship. The Chicago Cubs continue to fight until the very end by winning game 5 and game 6 by showing that their dream of winning a World Series will be kept alive.

LeBron James and some of his teammates of the Cleveland Cavaliers were in attendance for game 7. LeBron James was one of the few celebrities in attendance at the game. Charlie Sheen, actor, Jim Thorne, former Cleveland Indians player and Bill Murray, were all at attendance at the game.

Anthony Rizzo, first baseman of Chicago Cubs, said, “I’m in a glass case of emotion right now.” He said this to David Ross, catcher for Chicago Cubs, as they were talking in the dugout in the 5th inning as they had the lead.

With the game going into extra inning, the game came down to the Chicago Cubs getting one out to end their season with a championship. When Kris Bryant, third baseman for Chicago Cubs, fielded the last out for the Cubs and the game was over. Chicago fans from everywhere begin to celebrate.

On Friday, November 4th, the city of Chicago celebrated their baseball team with a parade. The parade turned out to be the 7th largest gathering of people in history with at 5 million people in attendance.

Many fans old and young celebrate for the Chicago Cubs on their success and many fans were happy to see the end of 108 years for a team to not have a championship. Many fans celebrate in many different ways, but the relief of fans to see the Chicago Cubs go down as World Series champions.

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, “It’s really great for our entire Cub-dom to get beyond that moment and continue to move forward.

As the offseason approaches, many teams are worried about who they will keep and who they will let go for the team. The Cleveland Indians are now the team without a championship in 57 years and counting. Now they are the team with the longest running streak in baseball currently.

With the end of postseason, the Indians must decide a couple of offers for many of their players and their intentions of being back in the World Series of 2017. As well as the Chicago Cubs, wanting to win a back to back World Series Championship as they have done in 1907 and 1908.

 

UWA loses to rival on Saturday

Valdosta State took West Alabama Saturday at Tiger Stadium giving the Tigers a loss on their own turf after five repeating wins.

Valdosta State improved their season stats to 7-2 and 5-2 in the Gulf South Conference play. West Alabama put their opportunity to compete in the NCAA Division II Playoffs in danger. Tigers stats drop to 6-4 and 6-2 in Gulf South Conference play.

“There is going to be a team in the playoffs with three region losses,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “We still have a shot. We are not 100 percent in, but we are not 100 percent out of the picture either.”

UWA leads the game in the first half, with a score f 15-14. Nevertheless, the third quarter rolled around and the Blazers lead the game 30 – 15.

“Momentum swings hurt you if you allow them to,” Gilliland said, “the fumble we lost on the kickoff turned the momentum and we never did anything to turn it back.”

CJ Savage fumbled the ball giving Alex Brock, of the opposing team, the opportunity to recover the ball at the Tiger four yard line.

“Their offensive line protected well, but we needed to get to the quarterback better, needed to execute better,” UWA nose tackle Michael Williams said, “it starts up front and then ricochets all the way through the defense.”

The Tigers tried to push there way back to the top when Seth Knotts blocked VSU’s punt. Later, Austin Grammar scored with a failed kick attempt to follow.

“We knew they were a good team and had a good defense coming in,” Grammer said. “Still, you are not going to beat anybody with five turnovers and that starts with me. Their defensive line did a great job of getting their hands up,” Grammer said, “you have to make plays to win the game and we didn’t.”

Saturday the Tigers will take on Malone University at Tiger Stadium closing out the regular season.

New Attendance Policy at UWA

The University of West Alabama has updated their academic catalogues, and changes have been made to several policies. One of the biggest policy changes made was to The University’s attendance policy.

For many years The University had a 2/3 attendance policy that stated “A student cannot receive credit for a course if he/she does not attend at least two-thirds of the class meetings, regardless of the reason for the absences.”

Having a campus wide attendance policy made UWA an “attendance-taking institution.” With institutions like these the professors and administrators are required to submit, to the federal government, accurate attendance reports on students to ensure the attendance policy is being followed. Attendance-taking institutions depend on those records for accurate financial aid records for the students.

“Every instructor must present accurate records as to student attendance,” said Provost Dr. Time Edwards.

The federal government will take financial aid back from those students, attending a proclaimed attendance-taking institution, that are not attending their classes and misusing financial aid.

“If you get federal financial aid but you never show up for your classes all that aid gets taken back,” Edwards said. “If a student goes into the term a little ways and stops attending they (the federal government) calculates how much is left over and they expect to get the remaining percentage back.”

The University has decided to change the attendance policy to make financial aid and attendance taking processes simpler for faculty and students. If an institution is a nonattendance-taking institution there are no reports that must be sent in and no campus wide policy on attendance.

The current UWA attendance policy states “Students are expected to display responsible judgment in regard to class attendance and to know and follow the attendance policies for each of their classes. It is also the student’s responsibility to keep a record of absences.

Faculty members are expected to keep an accurate record of attendance in all classes, recording all absences, including those due to late registration or change of course. A written attendance policy should be distributed to students in each class, and it is a faculty member’s prerogative to consider attendance records in determining grades.”

Each instructor is responsible for writing, distributing and adhering to their own attendance policy at the beginning of the term.

“If we can change our status and make things easier for everyone then that’s what everyone has decided to do,” Edwards said. “By changing this policy it actually puts us in line with other schools.”

Most of the other universities in Alabama have nonattendance taking statuses as well. This includes the University of Alabama, the University of North Alabama, Auburn University and the University of Montevallo.

“I kind of like it because it gives individual instructors the freedom to set their own attendance standards,” Edwards said. “Most professors had their own attendance policy that was more stringent. It’s almost like the campus policy was an unnecessary fall back.”

Time to Party in the Jungle with TKE

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Iota Upsilon chapter of Tau Kappa Epslion at the University of West Alabama were selling wristbands for their annual event called the “Jungle Party” to raise money for Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

David Sullivan, president of TKE, said, “We plan on having a good time with the people here at UWA and the visitors that come. We, also, plan on having good music provided by our two DJs and for everyone to come out and meet new friends because the money will go to a good cause.”

TKE is selling wristbands for $5 dollars this week for their annual event. When a student buys a wristband, they can get into all three of the events held at the TKE’s house for all three days.

Sullivan said, “We couldn’t have one last year due to technical problems. We plan on reaching the same goal from two years ago when we made over $900 dollars for Saint Jude’s Hospital. We plan on Saturday being our biggest crowd since it will be after the [UWA] football game.”

The event will be held on November 10-12th. This event will take place at the TKE house which is located at 647 Hopkins St. Livingston AL. TKE will be selling these bracelets until the end of Wednesday, November 9th. People that arrived at the event without a bracelet will have to pay $10 dollars at the gate. They will, also be selling shirts at the event for $15 dollars, as well.

On Thursday, November 10th, there will be a meet and greet the brothers of the TKE fraternity. On Friday, November 11th, there will be two live DJs performing at their TKE house from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. On Saturday, November 12th, DJ Bay Meezy and DJ Krunchtime will return to the event, but there will be a live performance from 2Smooth, YBL, and many more. The MC for that night will be Cole Makin’ Moves, who has done it two years ago.

Tarron Daniels, also known as DJ Krunchtime said, “I look forward to the event because 2 years ago went very well, a lot of people came out and support all of us performing and we plan on having another successful year.”

For more information about the TKE’s annual event called the Jungle Party, a person can go to the café between the hours of 11.a.m to 2.p.m. to see buy a bracelet or ask for any details about the event. If a person is not able to make in between those hours, a person can find a brother in the TKE fraternity to buy a bracelet from or to answer any questions.

ITS CUFFING SEASON AND THIS REVIEW CRITIQUES ‘COUPLES’

From October 25-28, UWA students, faculty and staff were able to attend and experience the UWA Theatre production of ‘Couples’ by Rich Orloff.

Directed by Kristopher Kuss and Rebekah Horton, the play was a series of six 10-minute scenes portraying couples and their dynamics in very different ways. At the end a speaker lead a talk-back session to speak and interact with the audience. I attended the opening night when nerves were at an all-time high and the excitement filled the air.

What I found most interesting is that the audience was on the stage during the entire production. It was very intimate being in the same presence as the actors. The set props were on wheels and easily exchangeable between scenes. The floor was covered in hundreds of photos donated by the theatre crew and others in the Livingston community. I believe the pictures symbolized the relationships we all have with different people. The backdrop changed with each scene by projector and reflected the setting of each place.

In the first scene, “Matterhorn”, we are introduced to Jerry and Arleen. They are a married couple with kids visiting Disneyland. It’s a hot summer day standing in line but the tension between the couple is boiling. They argue the entire scene and it climaxes with the couple agreeing only that they hate each other. They each seemed comforted by the fact that they agreed on something and they had some effect on one another. The scene ended with them smiling and taking their turn for the Matterhorn.

Scene Two, “Heart of the Fire”, is set in an East Village bar. We meet Julie as she’s writing a stern letter to an unknown person. Her brother, Paul walks in and she becomes immediately infuriated. Their mother is dying and her last wish is that her daughter comes to see her. Julie does not want to placate her mother because of the harsh feelings she harbors for her mother. Paul gives her the address and exits. We see Julie contemplating her choice as the scene ends.

In “Afterglow”, we meet Lena and Glen. They’ve both recently met in a grocery store and they are lying in Glen’s bed. Glen and Lena both compliment the sex they had while they get dressed. Glen suggests doing again sometime but Lena wanted to leave it at great sex and nothing more. The scene ends with Glen asking Lena for her number and she agrees to give it to

Scene four brings us to Susanna and Bret. In “Invisible Woman”, the two meet up at a bar and Bret asks Susanna an innocent question about how she is doing when the scene paused. Susanna stands out to the audience and explains what it’s like to be an invisible woman. The scene eventually resumes and the two finish their conversation as the lights dim.

“Right Sensation” is set in Paula’s bedroom where things are getting steamy with Stewart. They kiss but as his hands roam the more hesitant she becomes. She eventually reveals to Stewart that she is a breast cancer survivor with the scars to prove it. She had undergone a mastectomy with an implant to normalize her body, but she is still afraid human touch. Stewart reassures her that he is accepting of her body and they resume where they left off.

The last scene, “Oh Happy Day”, stars Larry and Elliot. The couple is one of the more functional ones of the entire play. They talk about their lives and memories past. That day was their anniversary so they exchange gifts accordingly after some light banter. The scene ends with them gazing into each other’s eyes.

The most enjoyable part was the talk-back speaker at the end of the play. It was led by Dr. Debbie Rose, a UWA faculty member. She interacted with the audience and brought up the dysfunctionality of each couple and all the different dynamics of the scenes. It was interesting getting to hear what the other audience members thought of the play.

In my opinion the production was wonderful. The combination of couple dynamics, audience seating and the talk-back made the show great. You could participate and give input which appealed to me and many audience members.

Even though this event is over I would highly suggest attending the next UWA theatre production in the spring when it is announced. The crew worked very hard for this performance and I have a firm belief that they did a wonderful job and will continue to do so with other productions.

Halloween here there and everywhere

What people now know as Halloween comes from a long line of other fall and harvest festivals from various religions. The modern holiday of Halloween came out of the Gaelic holiday Samhain. Samhain means “summer’s end” and marks the end of the harvest season.

Beginning in the 16th century, people would go from house to house in “disguise” reciting rhymes and verses in exchange for food. Throughout time this became known as trick-or-treating in the U.S.

In the Christian church, Halloween began as a part of a collection of three days called Allhallowtide.  This celebration was designed to honor the saints and pray for those who had recently passed.

In the seventh century All Hallows’ Day was officially moved to November 1, which is the same day as the Gaelic holiday Samhain. There is no true insight as to why the date was changed, but it had stayed the same for hundreds of years.

The celebration of All Hallows’ Eve made its way to North America in the late 18th century.  Since its introduction the popularity of the holiday has grown increasingly into what it has become today.

There is a wide range of traditions and celebrations for Halloween across the world today. In Mexico, the celebration is called “Día de los Muertos,” or the Day of the Dead.

This celebration lasts for two days, as the spirits of those who have passed are believed to come down from the heavens to reunite with their families. Altars are made and decorated with fruits, candles, flowers, and special breads. For the children, there are toys and candies left as well.

On the last day of the celebration the people go to the cemeteries to clean the tombs, listen to music, and reminisce about their loved ones.

On the other side of the world, in France, the celebrations are a little different. The holiday is increasing in popularity, but most people still do not celebrate it.

“Halloween is mostly for kids,” said international student Léa Raynaud. “People do not decorate their houses.”

Raynaud said that some college groups would hold parties with a Halloween theme where people can dress up if they would like. There are also some parents that will take their children trick-or-treating, but not every one does. It is up to the parents.

“I did that as a child,” Raynaud said. “My parents let me dress up and took me around to get candy. Not everyone does it. It’s not very popular there.”

Children do, however, learn about the traditions and origins of Halloween typically from their teachers in elementary school.

The UWA campus is not one to shy from traditions. There were two Halloween themed parties held on campus by two of the fraternities, Delta Chi and Sigma Pi. Many students look forward to these events each year.

“I love the Halloween parties each year,” said sophomore Ski Mason. “Dressing up is always the best part, plus, I get to see what all my friends are going to be and just have fun for the night.”

Start of the NBA Season

On Tuesday October 25, 2016 Derrick Rose, point guard for the New York Knicks, scores to first basket of the game against the 2015-2016 champions Cleveland Cavaliers. The new season shows signs of new life for the 2016 – 2017 season.

Point guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving said, “Winning is a challenge, but repeating will be too because there are 29 teams in our way again and they all come back stronger.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the New York Knicks in Cavaliers’ home opener. During the award ceremony, fans watch the Cavaliers’ banner being raise into the rafters of the Quickens Loans Arena, many fans were anticipating the chance of a repeat with the team with LeBron James, the small forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, leading the way with their win of 117 – 88 win.

As the season opener starts, the Golden State Warriors lost their home opener to the San Antonio Spurs in a blowout 129 – 100.  Kevin Durant led the team in points with 27 and also grab 10 rebounds, as well. It was not enough to stop the Spurs’ Jonathon Simmons, who had 20 points off the bench, and company from winning the game.

The season opens for the NBA picks up where it had left off with free agency, and the eye-opening trades and the idea of “super teams” and competition. Fans, players, and even the commissioner had some input on the situations with players making these “super teams.”

The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver said, “I don’t think having 2 super teams is good for the league.” He, also, defends Durant on his right to be a free agent and his right to make his own decision.

Even with that being said, many players made sure that they made their presence felt. On Wednesday October 26, 2016, Anthony Davis scored 50 points even though it led to a lost for the New Orleans Pelicans home opener against the Denver Nuggets.

This year leaves a lot of questions for the league and how it may turn out. Fans must watch the season to see how the rest of the year will turn out. Tune in to ESPN and TNT for all the action in the NBA.