The champ and I:

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Apr 302002
 
Authors:

It’s an odd feeling, standing on the driving range next to a golf champion.

Perhaps what’s more odd is the fact that I tower over this golf champion.

Can’t really help that, though. I was blessed with height and, thanks to a few cheeseburgers and microbrews, a little girth, too.

Lynette Duran, however, was blessed with something else.

The woman can hit a golf ball. She can hit it long. And she can hit it straight.

Last weekend, Duran hit the ball long enough and straight enough to give the CSU freshman golfer the individual title at the Mountain West Conference championship in Sunriver, Ore.

CSU will head to its second consecutive NCAA regional tournament next week, due in large part to Duran’s performance.

This past Monday, Duran was kind enough to allow me to join her on the driving range and see for myself just what it was about this Lakewood, Colo., native’s game that was so impressive.

Besides, I’ll do just about anything for free range balls.

As we hit golf balls together side by side, we started conversing. There was the usual small talk – where are you from, what year are you – but I quickly got to the chase.

“All right – favorite golf movie?” I asked.

After much deliberation, she replied: “I’d probably have to say ‘Tin Cup,’ but ‘Caddyshack’ is good, too.”

Now, even though I have a near-religious attachment to “Caddyshack,” I quickly discover Duran is as easy to talk to as her swing is smooth – very.

I’m finding my shots aren’t going nearly as straight (and often as far) as the champion’s. I’m a reasonable man, but I have my pride, here.

But when I learn Duran has been competing in tournaments since she was 9 years old, I don’t feel quite as bad.

My pain is further alleviated by the fact Duran WON her first-ever tournament at that same age – a juniors par 3 tournament at the Foothills public course in Lakewood.

Yeah, I’m not minding that old duck-hook near as much.

After all, for Duran, golf is (and pretty much always has been) the vast occupant of her time.

“I’ve been hitting the ball around since I was 3 (years old),” Duran said. “My dad, both my little sisters and I would go out whenever we could.”

Despite her near-constant time on the golf course, it doesn’t appear to be wearing on her.

“I just think it’s the life,” Duran said. “A lot of people want to have this life, to be able to play college golf. (Golf’s) a lot of my life, but it’s fun.”

You could say Duran’s fun came to a peak last weekend, when she shocked many by taking the first individual conference title in women’s program history.

“Really, I wasn’t surprised. That’s the level of play I expected from Lynette,” said Megan Menzel, CSU’s second-year head coach. “Being one of our top recruits, I expected her to fill some big shoes. She’s very calm and plays one shot at a time.”

That calmness helped Duran past her biggest obstacle in the tournament.

The leader after two rounds of play, Duran opened the final round with a double-bogey on the first hole. Most freshmen might have been shaken by such a start. Duran was motivated.

“I just told myself ‘that’s going to be my worst hole,'” Duran said. “I felt like I had gotten it out of the way early, and I forgot about it.”

Thanks in part to that forgetfulness, Duran finished the round with a three-over 74 and a one-stroke championship victory.

Pretty impressive stuff for a freshman.

Back on the range, it’s sadly apparent the junior (that’s me) has no golf game.

I’ll get a hold of one here and there, but on the whole I’m very inconsistent. Then there’s Lynette. Every ball she hits goes in the same place: straight ahead and far. Kawhack! Straight ahead and far. Kawhack! Straight ahead and far. This is like the golf version of “Lather, rinse, repeat.” On and on it goes.

Once the interview portion of the afternoon is over, we start talking like old dorm buddies – finals, career aspirations, party habits, etc.

Like many before me, I’m getting to know the person behind the champion. Duran is quick to make a joke or humor my 3-wood performance. I think her humor gets to me more than her golfing accuracy.

“She’s such a fun-loving and considerate person,” Menzel said. “You’re always looking for low-maintenance players and Lynette’s the whole package.”

The sun gets lower and I’m feeling pretty good about my afternoon. I got to know a fellow Ram, I got to know a great young lady and I got to know a champion.

Hey, like I said, anything for free range balls.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Club sports: overlooked, underrated

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Apr 302002
 
Authors:

Well folks, it’s the last column of the year, the last chance to have my two cents published for all to read.

There are so many things to write about and not enough space, as always. Of course I’d love to discuss the Avalanche’s Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night. And you know I’d love to write a little about my Boston Celtics, who are going to win the series against the Philadelphia 76’ers tonight. However, let’s stay away from the pro sports for now.

Instead, I think I’m going to stay close to home in this column. For the last eight months I have been the club sports reporter at the Collegian. In fulfilling the responsibilities of this job, I saw many a CSU sporting event in the last two semesters. From rugby, to lacrosse, to cycling, I covered the vast world of sports that are not varsity programs on this campus. I’d like to share with you a few of the things I saw.

First of all, I saw some great games. Whether it was the CSU hockey team’s upset of Utah State last semester or the lacrosse team’s Hughes Stadium debut, one thing all the games had in common was that they were almost always competitive. The CSU club sports programs are first-rate, and many are some of the best teams in the country.

Another constant at the club sporting events was a man. Not just any man. This guy was at almost every contest I attended, but he wasn’t there simply to cheer on the teams. The man I’m talking about is named Bill Hill, the club sports director for CSU. His support and organization of the club sports program were unbelievable and a big part of its success. He was also helpful to me in getting contact information and made my job a lot easier.

Oh, and another thing I saw, well, in this case something I didn’t see, was any fans at the events. Case in point, at last weekend’s baseball doubleheader between CSU and Fort Lewis College on campus, I quickly noticed that there were more Fort Lewis fans than CSU supporters. Parents and students from Fort Lewis had made the long journey from southern Colorado while CSU students, whose dorms are within sight of the baseball field, were nowhere to be seen. I know this argument has been made before, especially when some varsity sports struggle to bring out fans, but really folks, this is pathetic.

Some of the clubs at CSU are nationally recognized and respected programs that seem to have more popularity in other states than they do here. Many of the teams are at “virtual varsity” status, meaning that they do all the same things varsity programs do (travel, compete against other universities, buy new equipment) without the funding that varsity teams receive. This means that many of the students and their families incur the costs of keeping the team going or the team must engage in rigorous fundraising activities.

So next time your on your way home, to the gym, out for the night, or whatever, I implore you to stop and take a look at the CSU athletic fields.

There you will find the club sports of CSU, as always, overlooked and underrated.

Jason is a junior journalism major.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

CSU should verify degrees for free

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Apr 302002
 
Authors:

Do you ever wonder how far that tuition dollar really goes?

CSU will not verify your degree with outside employers who call to do a background check. According to Sue Coulson, the verification has been outsourced to a company called Student Clearing House that, for a $7 fee, will verify the existence of your degree.

Coulson claims that the service, that callers are referred to when they call the records office to verify a degree, allows the records staff to spend more time working with students.

Uh, how’s that, exactly?

See, if someone calls, and then you refer them to a third-party, well, that seemingly could take as much time as just looking up the information in the first place. The phone’s already been answered, information is already being given; why not just answer the original question instead of making life more difficult for someone who has just associated a CSU student’s name with a glitch in their day?

Is that a good thing for former students looking for jobs? More importantly, does that put CSU students as a disadvantage?

Seems like it might.

Further, it seems that the records office isn’t quite sure what the solution does for students’ marketplace competitiveness. Surely, they’ll be looking into it.

Of course, many of us would like to outsource the routine events of our day in an attempt to have more time, but that’s not always an option. Seems like this plan isn’t necessarily a good option, either.

Does the university need to spend more money in the records office to provide a full time or part time individual who only does degree verifications? Seems like a good solution.

Better, at least, than “saving time” at the expense of students’ employment opportunities.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Student FYI: Are you interested?

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Apr 302002
 
Authors:

When I began to brainstorm about what I was going to write on for this week, I feared I might not be able to come up with something very creative.

I knew I had to write some sort of farewell to assure some closure for myself as well as for each of you, my devoted readers. I also knew however, that I wouldn’t have enough space here to say everything I wanted to say. So I attempted to contact the RamFYI service to see if I could get my manifesto e-mailed to each of you.

RamFYI is the ever-so-efficient daily mailing sent to each active student e-mail address on file with the university. Some of you may be unfamiliar with it, as it quite frequently sneaks into new mail listings hidden among the “enlarge your penis in 5 seconds,” “grow a third breast in 2 days,” and “earn 5K/hr while working at home” barrage of instantly deleted messages.

RamFYI is delivered in an attempt by the university to “facilitate university business and to help build a sense of community.” As far as I can tell from the informal surveys I’ve conducted, the only community RamFYI has helped to establish is one in which the unifying sentiment is of malevolence for this system.

Though the university maintains its position that “this service is intended to ensure that students do not receive messages about subjects of no interest to them,” I have yet to receive a message from this service that was of even remote interest to me. What I do find to be of interest though is that “there is no provision to ‘opt out’.”

With all of this in mind I thought to myself, “I know my manifesto would qualify for RamFYI because it’s interesting and contains a great deal of need to know information for all of the students on this campus. And so, I submitted my manifesto to RamFYI accompanied by a request that it be posted in the following day’s mailing. What I received in return was this message:

“Your message to sfyi@colostate.edu was not read. This is an automated reply. You will receive no other response to your message. If you have questions or need help with the University’s student email system, see “About RamFYI” at:

http://sfyi.colostate.edu/help/.”

And so it goes that you will not be provided the opportunity to read all about the revolution I envision so that you may instead be informed about such pressing issues as the Golf Scramble being planned for May 5. You will not learn of my plan to end world hunger or my scheme to stop the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor.

You won’t know how I plan to make quality education available for all who desire it and you’ll be unaware of the blueprint I will use to rid this world of hatred. I wish you luck however, if you do happen to make your way out to the golf tournament at Collindale Golf Course this weekend.

I sincerely thank you for allowing me into your thoughts each week.

Good luck to each and every one of you in future endeavors. May you experience the fulfillment of success but never at the expense of the humility of failure.

Veronica Garcia is a senior majoring in sociology.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Nevada doesn’t want nuclear waste, but look at the plates

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Apr 302002
 
Authors:

There are lots of license plates out there.

Arizona has one with a desert landscape, some lizards, a cactus and the message, “Protect Our Environment.” Wyoming has its cowboy, some Utah plates have their arches, and colorful Colorado, of course, has its mountains. Sometimes, specialty plates are made, such as Pennsylvania with its “Flagship Niagra” plate with, you guessed it, two old school wooden sailing boats. Nevada, too, has its specialty plates. The most recent fund raising specialty plate sports a mushroom cloud, an atom and Einstein’s energy formula.

If I were to walk into a room and see fourteen rhinoceroses trying to teach calculus to a group of woodchucks, oysters and cucumbers, the sight would surprise me much less than Nevada bureaucrats. I mean, sure, having a car with a nuclear mushroom on the back does have its appeal from a “Coolness /_” fire and explosions!” point of view. But the timing stinks.

The major problem is with the Yucca Mountain Project. Last February 14, President Bush sent a Valentine to Nevada, asking, “Would you be my nuclear waste dump?” Seventy-seven thousand tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste are to be dumped 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, should attempts by many state leaders to thwart the plan fail.

The reasons for hating the project are simple. First, many scientists have come forward, saying the 20-year, $2 billion research study on the plan’s safety and efficacy neither provided guarantees of safety nor efficacy. Second, many people are sad at the idea of many, many trucks roaming Nevada transporting the waste – spills and accidents do happen, and it would suck to have to drive through highly radioactive goo on your way to the casinos.

Lastly, many people in Nevada simply wonder when enough will be enough. The reason Nevada is offering nuclear plates is because of the state’s 1952-1992 history as being the continental U.S. nuclear test state. Many state citizens throughout the years have claimed ill effects from the state’s nuclear legacy, effects which are likely true. To have the state again become a storehouse of radioactive waste is a slap in the face.

With all of these fears and complaints in mind, why in the name of Oppenheimer’s bathtub is the state issuing nuclear license plates? The official reason is that, for better or for worse, many Nevadans feel patriotic about the fact that their state helped develop weapons for the Cold War and ensure national security. The unofficial reason, of course, is that the state wants people to buy specialty license plates to increase revenues and many Generation Xers certainly would love to have a nuclear holocaust blessing their automobiles.

Does the plate look that cool? I think so; it is a really neat looking piece of automobile identification. It is obvious, though, that some Nevada bureaucrats forgot about consistency.

There is a saying that you should believe not what people say, but rather what they do. What message is Nevada sending to President Bush and the EPA? Many Nevadans “say” they are tired of their state being the nation’s wellspring of nuclear unsavory, but hey, if they can make a buck exploiting their nuclear legacy, then why the hell not?

It may seem trivial, but chances are good that these plates are severely reducing the credibility of many Nevada state legislators and their protests against the project.

Why should we in Colorado be sad about Nevada? Well, Nevada is kind of close to us, sort of. But the take-home message, really, is to keep a watchful eye on all our government officials, be they local, state or federal. Take a look at what they talk about, and see what they actually sign into law. Odds are good that these will contradict each other.

If this is so, the odds are also good we should not vote for them again.

Ken is a microbiology grad student.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Women’s golf team earns second consecutive NCAA invitation

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Apr 292002
 
Authors: Special to the Collegian

For the second season in a row, Colorado State University’s women’s golf team will be playing in the NCAA golf tournament.

The Rams received word Monday that Coach Megan Menzel’s team will be one of 21 schools competing in the NCAA Women’s Golf West Regional, hosted by Stanford University.

The regional will take place May 9-11 at the par-72, 6,168-yard Stanford Course. Eight teams and two individuals from each of three regionals will adavnce to the NCAA Championships May 21-24 at the Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, Wash., hosted by the University of Washington.

The Rams enter the regional having finished third in last week’s Mountain West Conference Championships.

Freshman Lynette Duran won the individual title on the par-71, 6,180-yard Meadows Course at the Sunriver Resort.

Duran, who formerly played at Green Mountain High in Lakewood, Colo., took over the individual lead following two rounds of play in the three-day, 54-hole competition. She shot a final-round 74 to finish at three-over-par 216 for the tournament.

Duran’s teammate, Mayumi Motoyama, shot a 224 and finished in ninth place to give coach Megan Menzel’s team two of the top 10 finishers in the tournament.

Colorado State, which was second through two rounds, finished third in the meet by shooting a three-day total of 898, 16 shots behind three-time defending MWC champion New Mexico, which finished at 882.

San Diego State was second, 893. BYU was fourth, 900, UNLV fifth at 905, and Wyoming, sixth at 954.

All five of Colorado State’s players finished among the top 25 individual finishers. Besides Duran and Motoyama, Bridget Johnson and Stephanie Linnell each shot 232 and tied for 18th, while Kristen Campos tied for 22nd, 233. n

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

CSU softball team falls to the Rebels

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Apr 292002
 
Authors:

The CSU softball team has fallen and cannot get up.

The Rams suffered another sweep Sunday, this time to the UNLV Rebels (7-7 in Mountain West Conference, 27-31 overall), extending the team’s losing streak to seven games while lowering its conference record to 4-11 and overall record to 17-27.

The Rams blew leads in both game one – a 10-4 loss – and game two – a 2-1 loss, which according to head coach Mary Yori, has been the story of the team’s season.

In game one the Rams held a 3-0 lead on the Rebels going into the bottom half of the fifth inning. However, starting pitcher Megan Masser could not hold the lead as she gave up five runs to the Rebels.

After pitching to one batter in the sixth, Masser was relieved by freshman Melanie Mahoney, who failed to stop the bleeding, giving up four runs as the Rebels charged out to a 10-3 lead.

UNLV starter Nicole Truax cut the Rams’ final rally at one run and finished with the victory, allowing four runs on 10 hits while pitching a complete game.

Game two brought a tighter match-up, but the results were the same as the Rams again failed to hold on to the lead late in the game.

Katie Benton, who made her third start of the season after recovering from shoulder surgery, scored the Rams’ lone run in the top of the fifth, giving her team a 1-0 advantage.

That advantage, however, was short lived as the Rebels came back to score runs in the sixth and seventh innings on Masser, who pitched the entire game for the Rams while losing her 11th game of the season.

CSU’s series of losses puts it at the bottom of the conference with four home games remaining before the MWC Tournament May 9-12 in Provo, Utah. n

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Inform the public by lifting gag order

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Apr 292002
 
Authors:

Public business is public business.

That’s why we strongly urge the powers that be to lift the gag order surrounding the case of Troy Graves.

This community agonized through a summer of uncertainty. There were many sleepless nights shared as we wondered who was out there and when he might strike again. As the case faded into obscurity, we wondered if there would ever be any answers to the string of questions surrounding the sexual assaults of last spring and summer.

Now, just as we’re beginning to see that there are some answers, the courts have taken those strands of information away from our outstretched fingers. The cloud of uncertainty, early morning darkness and blindfolds has been replaced with a veil of legalese.

How is it that information can condemn a man?A/ Surely this community, the town that handled the assaults, can handle the information that the police have on Graves. Surely, we can work with that knowledge to provide the fairest trial possible.

Judge Terry Gilmore will begin hearing arguments on lifting the gag order on Thursday. We strongly encourage him to lift the order and to return the public’s business to the care of the public.A/

There’s more at stake here than a possible prison sentence or execution; the reputation of our appointed and elected officials is on the line. Yes, the rights of the accused need to be protected, but so, too, do the rights of the public to know how a terrifying crime was handled.

Certainly, they understand that stealing the very truth from the populace is not the best way to go about healing the city’s wounds.

Don’t they?

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Standardized tests: one size fits all?

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Apr 292002
 
Authors: Kat Mackenzie

We’ve all had to fill in those little bubbles with a #2 pencil for hours on end; yet only a small portion of twisted individuals actually enjoys taking standardized tests. From the Iowa Test of Basic Sills in grade school, to the ACT and SAT in high school, there is no doubt that standardized tests have followed us throughout our school career. These standardized tests affect all of us, either directly now as students, or as future parents and teachers.

You, as college students, know the weight institutions put on your performance on the SAT and ACT. Do you think it’s fair that a grade on one test should determine your acceptance into college or graduate school?

These tests are bad, not only because we have to spend hours filling in tiny bubbles, but also because they’re not an accurate measurement of teaching ability or a student’s knowledge.

Despite the fact that these tests are quick, easy to administer and cheap, they are unfortunately also gender, racially and economically biased. Standardized tests are quick because they assume all people learn by the same method of teaching, and can be tested in the same manner.

“We are more than just a number,” said computer science major, Eli Palmer. “And should be treated with the respect and compassion we deserve.”

These tests put low-income students and minorities at a disadvantage. They are written by middle-income, white men who produce tests that measure the knowledge and experiences valued by middle class, white men.

To spread out scores, test writers often produce questions that tap into knowledge gained outside of school. Yet, all the standardized tests I’ve taken haven’t included questions regarding breakdancing, tagging or Japanese Tea Ceremonies.

Author Barbara Miner described a section on a standardized test devoted to “world” history, in which 45 of the 57 questions on it referred to Europe, and only 12 were about the rest of the world. Poor scores due to biases are very detrimental to not only the self-esteems of students, parents and teachers, but also to the funding these schools receive, or in this case, don’t receive. It’s ridiculous to rely on biased tests to close the gap between rich and poor.

Although women score lower on the SAT, women have higher grades in both high school and in their first year in college then males. Between 60 percent and 65 percent of the time, scholarships go to men because of their higher scores on just one test, while women earn higher grades over a 4 year period.

Does this seem a little unfair to you, ladies?

The concept of standardization is leaking into our classrooms as well as our tests. “Teaching to the test” rather than teaching for genuine learning is what standardized tests are making schools do. When funding and time is devoted to test preparation, other areas of the curriculum are affected. In many instances, teachers are forsaking cultural studies and lessons in art and music in an attempt to save time for test prep.

All these tests do is reinforce memorization of facts and formulas instead of promoting active, critical thinking. Standardized tests do not measure creativity or problem-solving abilities. A student’s ability to learn or understand information relative to what they are taught is not measured by these tests.

Standardized tests assume students’ knowledge can fit neatly on a bubble sheet. This one-size-fits-all approach to testing ignores the way economic circumstance along with cultural differences interact with achievement.

Non-biased, shmon-biased, if we are to call our country a “melting pot,” shouldn’t we create tests that judge all students fairly?

Kat Mackenzie is a senior majoring in psychology.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Mettle, true mettle, lies within, but is rarely tapped

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Apr 292002
 
Authors: Sarah Laribee

He was angry about being expelled from school for forging a doctor’s note.

To exact his revenge he targeted teachers within his high school. And when the rampage was over, thirteen teachers, two fellow students, a policeman and one more angry, viciously violent black-clad gunman lay dead at his own hands after one more viciously violent high school massacre.

This time it was a student in Germany. And this time he targeted teachers, not his peers. But heinous acts of violence are heinous acts of violence.

And, as always, out of heinous acts come acts of true mettle.

Rainer Heise is a sixty-year old art and history teacher at the Erfurt, Germany high school where the shootings took place last Friday. When he heard shooting, he opened the door to his classroom and saw in the hall a masked figure in black, holding a shotgun. The figure held the gun to Heise’s chest, and removed his mask. It was one of Heise’s students.

Heise told the student to shoot if he had to, but to look his victim in the eyes as he did. The gunman, 19-year-old Robert Steinhaeuser, looked his teacher in the eyes and said, “That’s enough for today.” Heise locked his student in the classroom and went to fetch authorities.

At times like this, it is human nature to sit back in awe of a man like this. It is human nature to want to be like him, to hope that in a similar situation we would act in a similar fashion. It is a normal thing to wonder where our world is going, to wonder why it is spiraling so rapidly into the bogs of moral decay. It is natural to think that, in a world as scary as this, we need more people like Heise.

Which actually may be our problem. We are all subject to sudden bouts of uncontrollable passion when times get a little heated. Chaos seems to smack us around a little while stirring up all sorts of heroic sensibilities about how we’re going to act from now on. Chaos gives everyone an opinion.

But things tend to settle down as they do, and it is easy to settle back into a comfortable ambivalence when the pressure is not on. It is easy to wistfully wish there were more people like Rainer Heise as we ourselves are drowning in the abyss of papers that finals week so wrathfully brings.

Because truly, we all want heroes and we all want to live in a world where there are men and women of caliber and passion.

But very few of us really want to be those men and women. Not really. We say we do in theory, of course. No one ever checks the “I want to be a self-centered schmuck” box. But in practice, we have far too little time to devote to the cultivation of our true heroic selves, because that paper is due at 1:10 p.m. tomorrow and we haven’t even started writing it yet.

Of course we need more people like Heise. We need more people who live a life of passion and truth and honor, regardless of where they stand on whatever issue you happen to be on at the moment. People of courage will act as people of courage all the time. But more to the point, we need to become people like Heise. Because one does not all of a sudden become heroic when one looks at a black-clad figure with a gun. One calls on all the mettle within one’s soul – mettle that’s already there – and does the right thing.

Sarah Laribee is in the English education program. She urges all of you to be well, and do the right thing. And she thanks Peter for the column suggestion this week.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm