Return To Action: Softball Edition

     Softball! That’s right, softball is making a comeback this spring. The softball team didn’t get the chance to play its season last year. It’s been a struggle getting through this past year without college athletics, but we found our way through and spring sports are now back. 

Sarah Duncklee throwing the ball to Melanee Terry at first.

     Zoe Alyward said, “I’m super excited for the season to start! Super nervous, though, to see everything fall out with COVID and how the games will go.” The team members are very excited to get back to action so that they can play with their teammates and grow as a team as they did in the fall. Zoe is a freshman and she is very excited to observe how the team plays together and get to know everyone on the team. She thinks the team looks really good. “We all realize that we have each other and we all know to practice how we play.  And we all are more than ready to play some softball.” Zoe thinks the older team members are extremely ready to play this season. They have all been putting in lots of work on and off the field to be able to make this season happen. Zoe also said,  “Softball is all some of us have right now, so it’s everything we’ve been waiting for.” 

     Sports are a big part of everyone’s lives because people have something to cheer for when they watch sports. But for athletes and coaches involved with the team it’s much more than something to cheer for. 

     Coach Alissa Edwards is extremely excited for the season to start and for the opportunity to get back on the field so that the team can play some outside competition. Coach Edwards said, “The girls have worked so hard this past year on properly preparing in order for us to be successful this season. This year the girls and I have really focused on continuously being grateful for any and every opportunity we have to step on the field or even be together as a team!” 

     The team looks ready to go Coach Edwards said. There have been a lot of rough patches, such as injuries, but the women have been doing a great job of picking one another up and making adjustments. Coach Edwards said, “We have a lot of very strong upperclassmen that have done an outstanding job of leading not only vocally, but also by example.” The softball also has many freshmen. 

     The freshmen have come in very determined and have already had such big impacts. Coach Edwards said, “I am definitely thrilled to be able to coach such a great group of young ladies. I’m looking forward to seeing all the success that’s to come for this upcoming season.” 

     This season has been a long time in the making and for Coach Edwards, it’ll be her first year in charge of the head coaching duties for the UMPI softball team. So even though this season is going to be a bit different with all the masking and distancing, Coach Edwards and the softball team members are in good spirits because they will get to play. 

     So get your UMPI softball apparel and bundle up at home and watch the softball team play this season. Buckle up and let’s get this season started!

Return to Action

     Who’s ready for some UMPI baseball? Yes, the UMPI owls will be playing their spring sports this year and this includes UMPI’s baseball team. UMPI baseball has been waiting a long time to return to action and play games.  UMPI’s baseball team was turned around on its way to Florida last year and it left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths. 

     The pandemic has changed sports for the time being. When athletes play now they have to wear masks on the field or the court or wherever they play their prospective sports. 

UMPI Owls at Practice.

     The spring athletes are very excited to turn to play. Among those excited this season are baseball players Roberto De La Pena and William Stinson. 

     William said, “I’m very excited to be able to go out and play for my last year. Team looks good overall. I’m hoping that the work put in, in the off season will show. I think we are all ready for the season considering the amount of obstacles we’ve had to overcome with COVID.” William has played for UMPI all four seasons on the baseball team and is chomping at the bit to get going so that he can play one last season with his father, Coach Roger Stinson, at the helm. 

     Another senior coming back for a fifth season is Roberto De La Pena. He is commonly known on the team as “the Grandfather.” He earned this nickname because he is the oldest player on the UMPI baseball roster. Roberto said, “My excitement for this season has been a long wait! This is my last year and I worked very hard to get here.” Roberto comes all the way from California. He’s had to sacrifice a lot to come back a fifth year so that he can play his senior year of college baseball here at UMPI. 

     The baseball team members are very excited to be free of this COVID mess, even if it’s only seven innings at a time. Not to mention they all get to play together again, which everyone is very happy to do. Roberto also said, “The team looks good. We are young and need to work on some things, but I believe we should be good. I’m ready for the season.  I’ve dealt with a lot in the last year, and I’m ready to finish as an UMPI Owl.” Both of these players have been nothing but loyal to UMPI and live by that loyalty. 

     Speaking of loyalty, Coach Roger Stinson has also been here for quite some time. Coach Stinson said, “There are many words a person could use for the excitement level that I have for this season.  But I truly think the best word to use is thankful…. This has been a long time coming.” 

     Coach Stinson mentioned how proud he is of the players for going through the COVID protocols and not letting it get to them.  He is thrilled to rack up a few wins and show the UMPI community that the team is headed in the right direction. He thinks the freshmen need to work their way through the nerves of playing college baseball. Once they get through that, things will be looking up for the Owls. 

Games Without Fans

     Watching games is always fun because it gives you something to get loud and cheer about. Not only that, but when someone hits a big shot, you can just feel it in the air. But since the Coronavirus hit, things have changed. Fans have not been allowed into gyms to watch games but rather are forced to watch via livestream or on TV or maybe even look at the stats after the game.  

     What some people might not realize is that this doesn’t only affect the fans.  It also affects the players themselves. According to Nick Perfit, “Not having fans makes the games feel more like scrimmages. Not hearing the cheering from the fans after big plays changes the game a lot. Your team has to make its own energy since the crowd can’t.”

     But even though Nick, like many, sees this pandemic as a struggle for sports fans and players, he views it also as a challenge for society as a whole. And even though the games may be different, Nick still believes that the team appreciated playing even more this season, when team sports were canceled at so many schools. 

     Fans give these players an extra spark that allows them to play the way they do. It may be easier to compete without the fans in big moments, but it also takes away the feel of the big moments at the same time. This in result takes away a key aspect of the game. Now when playoffs come around, there’s no such thing as home court advantage because those fans are that extra advantage. 

     According to K.J. Minter, “It’s different at first because you’re so used to seeing and hearing the fans’ energy throughout the play of the game and now it’s more so on your team to come up with that extra spark. 

     Getting that extra spark from the bench is tough because all the players are already tired from the play of the game. It’s also very different so the players aren’t used to having no one else but themselves to cheer for the team. Even when all these athletes were younger, there were the parents from both teams there to cheer and support their children’s teams. 

     It’s frustrating not being able to go to the games and support your team in person. But at least games are still being played during this tough time that we’re facing around the globe. These games give us something to look forward to as well since they give us a feel of normalcy for a few hours. 

     It’s nice to remember how things used to be because it allows us to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. We can think about how life’s going to be after this pandemic. Once life returns more to the way it was, there will be less stress for everyone and it will allow fans to come back and do what they do best: give that extra spark. 

Did Someone Say UMPI Football?!?!

  You heard it here first folks! The University of Maine at Presque Isle is getting a football team. Its initial season will be the fall of 2021 semester. Coach Roger Stinson has decided to step up and help coach the team along with his assistant coach, Roberto De La Pena, by his side. Cullen Marrella, the head strength and conditioning coach, said, “I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and can’t wait to show what UMPI can do.” 

     They hope to get 12 games for their initial season. As a matter of fact, they have their opening game against the New England Patriots here at UMPI on Park Family Field. 

One of the NCAA Footballs UMPI’s team will use.

     Most of the athletes on the UMPI sports teams are expected to join the team. UMPI decided to start a football program because a lot of students had requested one. Also, President Rice thought it would be a good idea to approve this because football is the most watched sport in the U.S. He believes that if we had a football team, we could potentially draw more students to attend UMPI as well as get more local fans to come to the games and support the school. This would help the school as a whole because the more money the games bring in, the more it helps our programs when it comes to getting bigger and better things. This includes things such as equipment and facilities, as well as just our overall campus life. 

     Coach Stinson has started his search for football players around the country to bring back here to Maine. The main resource he’s using to find players is NCSA. It’s a website that stands for Next College Student Athlete. This website is where players make a profile with videos of themselves playing the sport that they would like to play in college.

NAC Conference Meeting Overview: Spring Athletics

   Usually the North Atlantic Conference meets every year so that the athletic directors from all the schools can come together and create their schedules for the season ahead.

     This season is unique. As everyone already knows, COVID took the world by storm last year and all spring sports were canceled. The advantage we have this year is that we know that COVID is still a pretty big deal. Thus, we can plan for it.

How Has COVID-19 Affected UMPI Athletics? 2.0

 

     In our first article on how the coronavirus has affected UMPI athletics, we focused on the baseball, volleyball and golf teams. We took a look at the differences the coronavirus has made as well as its impact.  In this section, we will focus on the soccer and cross country teams. 

     COVID-19 made soccer practice extremely difficult. According to Courtney Richard, they had to be separate from their teammates for three weeks. On the upside, the soccer team didn’t need to wear masks during practice as long as they maintained a safe social distance of six feet. “For the first three weeks we couldn’t share equipment,” Richard said. 

     After those three weeks, the players were finally allowed to share equipment, but they still couldn’t have contact with their teammates. During practice, the soccer team had three groups of five to six teammates per group. The athletes had to keep their masks on until they got on the field, because once they were on the field, they were more than six feet away from one another. 

     After every practice, the team members would usually gather and talk a little bit. But with COVID-19 around this year, they weren’t able to huddle up after practice. “Practice was very separate and more individualized compared to last year,” Richard said.

     Cross country team members also had practices this fall. According to runner Campton Tinkham, COVID-19 didn’t play a significant factor in their practices.  This is because cross country is more of an individual sport. Since the runners on the team were already spread out, they were able to avoid wearing masks for the most part.

     “We didn’t really have a problem with sharing equipment because there is not really anything to share.” Practice was fairly simple for the cross country team. They would line up 15 feet apart and warm up. After the runners got loose and warmed up, the coach would give all runners their run for the day. 

     Most sports this year have taken a hit when it comes to extra circumstances and rules. But the university is trying to keep us as safe as possible. Fortunately there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and we will make it out of COVID-19. 

     It’s just a matter of working through it and doing your individual job whether that be just as a student or as a student athlete. If we all play our part in keeping our community safe, that’ll be one less place the government has to worry about as a whole when it comes to the spread of the virus. And remember, there’re always better days ahead.

Coronavirus: The New Normal

Things are getting crazy in today’s world! Almost all students from the University of Maine at Presque Isle have left campus and have gone home. Most schools nationwide are shutting down. Classes are now to be taken online. They are either over video chat each week or just making sure students do a certain amount of work.  All this is in an effort to stop the spread of this deadly virus. This virus is medically known as COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus. It has taken the lives of many and has caused us to shelter in place. This virus is taking the lives of older citizens, but people of all ages are getting this virus. The number of deaths that have occurred around the world is what has us taking precautions.

At first when we heard about the virus, we didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been. Being a student from UMPI, I was definitely worried about traveling across the country to get home. This virus doesn’t need a host. Not to mention Washington State is the epicenter of the Coronavirus. But in times like these, you definitely want to be with your family. Nothing was going to keep me from being home.

Life is definitely different from before. Multiple professional athletes have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Among the NBA players who have tested positive for the virus are Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart. There are plenty of other professional athletes from different sports who have come down with the virus. Therefore there are no more professional sporting events for the time being, to try and prevent the spread throughout teams–as well as the fans–because they are equally as important to the sports world.

Photo of what many sports arenas across the country look like right now.

Now leaving the world of sports, as mentioned before, we have been ordered to shelter in place. People can only leave for the essentials. Businesses are shutting down to minimize the number of people out of their homes.

This doesn’t just affect popular people and big businesses. This also affects smaller businesses and less well-known people. One of these is Scott Corley, a truck driver at Columbia Distributing. “I’m still working, but the company I work for has lost half of their business. This is thanks to restaurants and bars closing down,” Corley said. He  continued on about his personal life and said, “I don’t go out anymore on weekends. I used to go to movies with the family but now can’t thanks to this virus.” Corley shared a story about delivering to a QFC (local store). He said they ask you questions before you can go into the store and Corley was the only one in the store who wasn’t wearing a mask.

A few businesses that are still working through these times are Burger King, Dominoes, McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. These fast food restaurants are only open for carryout or drive thru. Some stores have remained open so that people can make food at their homes and do their best to stay home.

Life for me personally is different because I am very outdoorsy and like to hang out with my friends. Since we’re trying to stop the spread of the virus we can’t hang out with our friends at this time. We need to keep six feet of distance between ourselves and the next person.

This ain’t even the biggest problem! The biggest problem is that there is no cure for this virus in sight. So things could potentially get worse. Doctors are taking every step they can to try to come to a solution. They just don’t know what to do, which is a problem, because this gives the virus more time to spread. All in all, we are hoping doctors can find a cure to this outbreak so that we can return to life as usual.

 

The Story of the Nixon Administration

“All the President’s Men” is a movie that stars both Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Both of these actors are very successful and have both won the Lifetime Achievement award. In this particular movie, they both played reporters for the Washington Post investigating Watergate. The Watergate break-in was a political scandal in the United States involving the administration of President Richard Nixon. It unfolded from 1972 to 1974 and led to Nixon’s resignation. The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration’s subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972, failed break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. What the Post did was important to the freedoms of the First Amendment because the Post discovered the truth of the Watergate scandal.

If Bernstein, Woodward and their editor, Ben Bradlee, didn’t pursue this story, the American public wouldn’t see the presidency and the nation’s political institutions the same. A long-term effect of the Watergate scandal caused widespread distrust by the American public. They stopped trusting political institutions. If the facts of the scandal were never reported by the Washington Post, politicians would be able to get away with their lies with no consequences. So, politicians are more accountable because journalists are watching them.

One thing you can take away from what Bernstein, Woodward and the Post did is to follow your dreams no matter how hard it can be. These journalists risked their reputations and even their lives to bring the public the truth.

If you could only watch one movie, it should definitely be, “All The President’s Men.” If you take this advice to watch this movie, you’ll learn about how tough the job of being a reporter really is. You’ll also learn about the risks that come along with getting a story out there.

Scene from All the President’s Men.

Priests’ Misconduct

“Spotlight” is a movie about an investigative journalist group who work for the Boston Globe. They got a story about a priest named John Geoghan who was molesting children in his parish. Michael Rezendes, Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer were all reporters sent out to interview victims of this abuse. These reporters were determined. They wanted to provide proof that this priest was sexually abusing children of the Roman Catholic Church.

The biggest takeaway from this movie is that sexually abusing people of the Church is not only personally violating them, but it’s also wrong spiritually. The people who attend these churches come to listen to the priests because they’re supposed to be the good guys. Whenever you need advice or anything at all, it’s common that people turn to their priests. So to learn that priests are violating those people’s trust by using them just so that they can abuse them is wrong. Also, John Geoghan wasn’t the only priest who was doing this to his followers. Spotlight discovered that priests were molesting people throughout many Catholic Churches in Massachusetts, the U.S. and beyond.

Cast of Spotlight.

The reporters at one point in the movie went to a law firm to talk to some lawyers about this scandal. The takeaway in that is that the lawyers knew about what was going on with the priests and they helped to cover it up anyway. Just imagine if it were you who was being molested. How would it make you feel when you find out that people who could have done something about your struggle and your pain chose to do nothing and instead watch you suffer? The average person would not have known about what was happening in the Roman Catholic Church, but the people who suffered obviously knew. These reporters gained the admiration they deserved for uncovering this horrific scandal.

If you choose one movie to watch, make it “Spotlight.”  It doesn’t even feel like a movie, it feels more like a documentary. It takes you through ups and downs throughout the movie, but it’s logical and it’s all true to life.  Most important, truth and justice prevail.

UMPI Baseball: What to expect

 

Good luck, men!

It’s about that time! Baseball season is right around the corner for your UMPI Owls, looking to turn things around after a rough couple of seasons. With a new season brings a lot of change. The Owls brought in 11 new faces to the club this season, 10 of whom are freshmen. The other is a sophomore.

This is Roger Stinson’s third season as UMPI baseball head coach. Since he’s taken over the reins of the team, he has been trying to rebuild the team. This season he feels fairly confident that he has done that. He thinks that the youth of the team this year is their strength. “If the youth goes, we go,” Coach Stinson said. Coach was also fairly surprised at how fast the team came together, considering the mix of all the new faces and the upperclassmen. After seeing the team together for the first time, his thoughts were “Look out, here we come.” These thoughts that Stinson has are definitely flowing throughout the team. Although an area of concern is still pitching right now, Coach Stinson has everyone taking a crack at pitching to see what he’s got for pitching options this season.

Upperclassman Jordan Hanscom also talked about the team and the upcoming season. He, like Coach, was also really excited for the upcoming season. He said that they have a “really good core with young guys gelled well. The energy was definitely different and definitely looking forward to the season.” Hanscom is a junior and his aspirations are to get 20 hits this year and hit his first collegiate home run. But as a team he wants to be in the playoffs this year. With all the change, Hanscom kept saying, Why not us? There are six teams in the NAC and four make the playoffs. Hanscom thinks they should be able to get a one or two seed in the NAC playoffs. Hanscom believes the biggest thing is they need to stay together as a group, and to win and lose together. For this season to be a success for Hanscom, “We’ve got to be in every game and can’t lose by more than 3 runs at the end of games.

We also caught up with senior Roberto De La Pena. He believes team chemistry is definitely a strong asset this year for the team because “we got guys that love baseball. If you don’t love it, you won’t put 100 percent in.” De La Pena wants to pitch better than he has over the past few seasons. He also wants to win more games this season and he wants the team to play the right way. He defined playing the right way as “giving it your all and always hustling.” For this season to be a success, De La Pena believes that the members of the team need to take care of business. De La Pena also believes that the team members need to take extra swings and ground balls outside of the team practices.

Coach and his players have a renewed focus this season with eyes toward a playoff berth, as well as working as a team rather than individuals. Brotherhood is everything with a team. The closer you are off the field, the better the team seems to play on it. Everyone on the team is super excited to get the season going because this team really seems to want it, compared to teams from the last couple of seasons.

One thing’s for sure: you can definitely expect an exciting season from your UMPI Owls. So buckle up and get ready for this season, because it’s going to be a ride you won’t soon forget.