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Hauptmann Helmut Schmidt conducts an inspection of Marder III unit from the Panzerjäger-Abteilung 19 of the 19. Luftwaffen-Feld-Division in February 1944, Eeklo, Belgium. In the last photograph, Hauptmann and one of his Luftwaffe officers watch as the platoon of Marder III rolls by en route to its next posting in Zedelgem.

Big win tonight for Denison’s Men’s Swimming & Diving Team, as they edged Kenyon College for the D-III National Championship and became the first new team to win the title in 31 years.  Since 1980, Kenyon has won that event, often by large margin.  I was there for three of them in college, when I worked as the team manager for Big Red.

At the end of the meet, after they’d won, the Lords would all be frolicking in the pool, and they’d count down their championships.  At this point, they were in the high teens, and they’d add one more at the end, as if to say it was a sure thing.  That was the worst of it. It wasn’t that they’d not deserved it with their labor, it’s that they expected it, and that no one could challenge them.

When I had been looking at colleges, I looked at both, as I was a swimmer with aspirations, and the difference between Kenyon and Denison couldn’t have been more night and day.  Kenyon wasn’t interested in you if you weren’t perfect, I remember a particularly demoralizing meeting with coach Howell when I came in as a prospect. It was clear that there was no place for me in their program in any capacity.

Denison wasn’t like that.  Coach Parini was interested in making all swimmers better.  I spent my freshman in year in the slow lane, and I didn’t make the conference team, but I did swim in some dual meets for the team. I came off my freshman season in bad shape, and my doc said that if I did another season, I’d likely be facing surgery for my shoulder. I left the pool, but not the team, spending the next three years on deck six days a week from September through March, taking splits, working the deck during workouts, and running the timing system and microphone during the meets.  Gregg cared about every person in that program, and wanted the best from them in all the things they did.

If Gregg taught me one thing, it was this: There is no stress when you are where you wish to be.  Challenge yourself. Find that intersection of talent and challenge and exploit it. I’m glad to see that his hard work with the Denison program has finally earned him a Mens’ Championship to go with the Womens’ win in 2001.

Proud to be a Denison alum. Proud to be a product of that program.

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This project was practice/experimentation in the actual physical idea of light diffusion from a suspended installation.  The media is cut-up white ripstop fabric, usually used for sailing purposes and lexan polycarbonate plexiglass cut into fragments.  The pieces are then randomly sewn together in 4 web-like sheets, then suspended in layers.  Working on this project make me realize how I work best and what direction I need to take the installation.  It’s design needs to be more organic and free-flowing than that of what my initial designs have seemed to be.  It’s arguable that my notions of my visual mock-ups as designs are flawed.  In hindsight, those visual mock-ups, while very useful to describing the project to others, are not to be treated as actual design ideas.

From here on it, it’s experimenting time.

A Leibstandarte Division StuG III assault gun moving out forward in a snow covered Ukrainian village to engage Soviet tanks during Manstein’s offensive to retake Kharkov in early March 1943.

Public Bodies, Private Lives

I was having a discussion with some of my friends about my Division III (My senior thesis-like project, for those of you not familiar with Hampshire College), which deals a decent amount with the idea that women’s bodies are public— in the sense that they are comment on, critiqued, and touched beginning at an early age, and we got to talking about a couple of comments an ex-boyfriend had made about my body. Specifically, “You’re modest on top” (for those of you who, like one of my friends, don’t get that, he was saying I have small boobs) and “You’d be really hot if you toned your ass.” My friend’s response? “What I gather from this is that your ex-boyfriend was an asshole.”

The problem? No, he wasn’t. In fact, he was incredibly sweet and kind, constantly telling me how beautiful I was, how I was too pretty and too smart for him. He was liberal-minded, intelligent. Hell, he was even comfortable around gay men— not just not homophobic, but 100% comfortable around gay men, unlike a number of straight men I know.

So if he was such a nice guy, why did he feel the need to make these comments about my body, comments I still think about to this day? A number of things, many of which I will be addressing in my Division III, but most notably a society that gives others the right to comment on women’s bodies. I am a woman, so despite the fact he thought I was attractive, despite the fact I was aware of my own flaws, despite the fact that if I made similar comments about his body he’d have been horribly offended, MY body, unlike his male body, is up for display and judgement. Because I’m female and he’s male, because we have both been raised in a society that tells men that women’s bodies are there for their consumption, and tells women the same thing— that they are to be consumed— MY body is not wholly my body. It is as much a public thing as it is a private thing, it is as much an object as it is a capacity, it is not just a body, it’s a female body— so therefore, it is societies’ body as much as it is mine. 

So being a nice guy isn’t a defense for sexist jokes or inappropriate comments— it enables these comments. It would be easier if the men who made these comments were assholes, if my ex-boyfriend wasn’t a sweet guy, because then we could write them off. But no, the nice ones, the good ones, the men women want to be dating enable this as much as the one’s women don’t, the nice guys enable this as much as the assholes, if not more. Because the nice guys have an excuse, and no one calls them on it.  

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Absolutely crazy play to end a Div III college football game.

Portrait of a Marder III tank destroyer driver from the Panzerjäger-Abteilung 19 of the 19. Luftwaffen-Feld-Division taken in February 1944, Eeklo, Belgium. He is wearing the field grey version of the Black Panzer Uniform.

My Thoughts on Small College Athletics

A couple of days ago, I posted a lengthy piece on Facebook that related to small college athletics (not basketball-specific) that has caught quite a bit of attention an has been shared quite a bit. 

As such, I thought that I would share here…..enjoy!

This may be a little lengthy (o.k…..I think that it’s probably the longest post that I’ve ever had), but I’ve had a few thoughts on the brain that I wanted to share, so here goes.  If you take the time to read the whole thing, this may provide a good amount of insight, and (hopefully) cause you to think a little different about collegiate athletics.

Since I’ve been involved in collegiate athletics for 20+ years now (wow, where has the time gone?), I often get asked a lot of questions about intercollegiate athletics.  Some are great questions.  Some, well, not so much.  Some come from people that are well-informed….and others, well, again, not so much. 

I often hear comments about the large sums of money that coaches make at the collegiate level.  I hear people talk about the prima donnas within collegiate athletics.  People have commented to me about the “corruption” in athletics.  I hear about how student-athletes aren’t really going to school to get a degree, but just to showcase themselves for their professional career. 

Then they bring up the subject of student-athletes getting paid…..oh, good Lord.  Unions are now a topic of discussion. 

Then people want to talk about television contracts, the money involved in bowl games, the CBS contract with the NCAA for March Madness (and the rest of NCAA championships - except, of course, football). 

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