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Chirps From the Nest: Who is Keith Wenning?

Chirps from the Nest 200There are minimal warm and fuzzy feelings that come to mind from riding a bus for six hours each way only to stand in the arctic of Dekalb, Illinois. That being said, the Northern Illinois game really was a great one and Ball State students are very grateful for the opportunity to have gone to that game. Last Wednesday, we loaded up five charter buses and departed to Huskie Land. Students were provided the bus trip, game ticket, and two boxed dinners all free of charge thanks to generous donations to Ball State Athletics.

miley

If we could get that exact group of people together for every single home game, our student section would have the magic of Disney World. When you put together 240 students who are willing to give up their Wednesday, stand in the freezing cold, and arrive back home at 6 in the morning, you put together a powerhouse student section. It was awesome to see home traditions carried over to NIU, such as the first down chant and crowd tossing after touchdowns. The creativity of the homemade signs were top-notch that evening, too. Jordan Lynch and Miley Cyrus anyone? I don’t think anyone is down in the dumps after that loss. NIU is a damn good team and as much as I hate to say it, Jordan Lynch is a hell of a quarterback. They outperformed us that last quarter, but we put up a heck of a fight all game. Our team is one to be respected. That being said, how come students at Ball State don’t know who is Keith Wenning? Check out this video of Keith Wenning interviewing students about none other than Keith Wenning.

As much as I love Ball State Football, it really sucks going to games at this time of the year. Midwest weather takes 90% of the fun out of the MACtion for me.  So what MACtion does work with Midwest weather? Basketball.

After watching the Cardinals at home a couple of times, I’m getting really optimistic about the season. It’s encouraging to see freshmen like Zavier Turner, Quinten Payne, Franko House, and Mark Alstork making such a huge presence on the court this early in the season. Zavier Turner has Freshman of the Year potential written all over him. He put up a tasty 19 points at the game on Monday against Southeast Missouri. Also putting up 19 points was senior Jesse Berry. Even more impressive was senior Chris Bond who put up a career-high 20 points. It’s pretty awesome to see your best defensive player throwing up the most points, and a few of those being dunks.

It’s really hard to get hyped about Ball State Basketball when we’re still completing a winning football season. I don’t think a lot of people’s minds have shifted over to basketball yet. However, this Saturday is the time to step away from the Scheu and come to Worthen because we play none other than *trumpet calls* Butler! I remember my first Butler game more clearly than any other sporting event in my time as a student at Ball State so far. It was my freshman year and I had just joined Charlie’s Crew. We were sitting in the front row of the Nest leading the students in cheers. Worthen was PACKED. I got chills the entire game from all of the screaming and cheering. The last minute of the game was probably the most stress my young heart has ever experienced and when we won at the buzzer, I legitimately cried and peed my pants a little (no shame, people!).

Is that going to be the scene again this Saturday? I sure hope so. We beat Butler at home two years ago. Last year, we played them on their home court and still managed to put up a good fight. Hell, we were even tied at halftime with them. Butler is our biggest in-state rival and I wouldn’t underestimate the Cardinals’ ability in beating them. So if you have a free afternoon, come out to Worthen at 2 pm on Saturday for hopefully the most exciting home game of the season!

If the thought of a packed Worthen Arena didn’t sell you, here’s another reason you should come: Jesse Berry’s shoes. I’m not kidding. These things shine like a ruby on that court. If only he would click his heels and say, “There’s no place like Cleveland,” maybe luck would be on our side and we could be MAC tourney bound this March. One can dream, right?

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Chirps From the Nest: Students buzzing about Ball State

Chirps from the Nest 200The CMU game had a lot of hype around it with the students, and then Mother Nature slapped us in the face. The members of Dance Marathon did a ton of work to promote Project 10,000 in hopes of reaching their 10,000 student attendance goal, but they fell short. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t a blessing in disguise. There were about 9,000 people at the game last night. How awesome would it be if all 9,000 donated just $10 to Dance Marathon? If you are a Dance Marathon member reading this, don’t feel bad about not reaching your 10,000 goal. Awareness for the cause was raised all around campus and now students are talking about BSUDM. It’s only a matter of time until they donate!

There was something about the cold rain that actually made attending the game feel magical. I think the students realized that there was no avoiding it and they were already at the stadium, so they might as well make the most of it. And that they did! Because the bleachers were all wet, the students stood the entire game. There were also a lot of characters in the crowd last night. We had a banana, a horse, and an M&M just to name a few. There was also numerous posters and signs, most begging mom to send money. The hype of an ESPN game combined with a winning season and support from Dance Marathon members was exactly what the student section needed last night to tolerate the rain.

So where do we go from here as students? Northern Illinois, obviously. It was announced a few weeks ago that 40 students would be taken on a fan bus to NIU. The 40 would be the top point earners in the Charlie’s Crew Student Rewards Program. Well, 40 is great, but it’s not enough. Due to two generous donations, we are able to take an additional 200 students to Dekalb for arguably the best game of MACtion of the season. One of the concerns from Athletics is that 200 more students would not be interested in taking the bus trip to Northern. I think after last night’s game and the sense of unity that came from students suffering together in the rain, students are going to come together to support the Cards and reaching the 200 student target should not be a problem.

In addition to the football buzz, there’s a lot of talk of basketball season on our campus. The men’s exhibition game had a great turn out in The Nest (for an exhibition game, that is) but that may have done more harm than good. I don’t know much about Marian University from Indianapolis, but I’m guessing we should have easily beaten them, and it was far from easy. The Cards didn’t grab the lead until there was about 3 or 4 minutes left in the game and I think for some of the students the damage has already been done. With Coach Whitford taking over, we had high hopes for the program. There was a lot of talent on the team last year that never seemed fully harvested by Coach Taylor. I think we were all waiting to see great plays by Majok Majok or Jesse Berry, but were all sadly let down. Now I know it was only an exhibition game, but it’s hard to stop thinking that this could be another very long season for the Cards. We can only hope that the team communication improves quickly so that we can start this season off strong.

Not quite a buzz enough is the Women’s Basketball team. I don’t think very many students realize that we were final 16 in the WNIT tournament last year, and that was with 7 players. 7! With new players on the team, plus a ton of experienced leadership among returning members, this women’s season could be a very hot one. I know women’s basketball usually gets a bunch of eye rolls, but our team is definitely under-appreciated by the student body. I hope they realize sooner rather than later that we actually have one heck of a women’s team.

When it comes to MAC teams, I think other conferences in general overlook our teams. However, with schools like Ball State and Northern Illinois, the MAC is making a name for itself in the world of college sports. I think this is going to be a process that changes the culture of a Ball State fan and student. But then again, sometimes I dream big. Until next week, chirp on Ball State.

Chirps From the Nest: How to Use the Internet

Chirps from the Nest 200Sometimes we hear a song or watch a video that inspires us, and sometimes we watch a movie that makes us want to change the world. Sometimes, this happens more than once in a week and takes your life by storm. This past weekend was fall break for Ball State and that was the perfect opportunity for me to browse my Netflix and YouTube to watch things other than the fox video (although that is still admittedly a weak spot for me).

The first thing I stumbled across was another wonderful Kid President video. If you haven’t heard of Kid President, YouTube the shit out of him. You won’t be disappointed. Through his quirky kid humor and innocence, he inspires people to make the world a better place. Watch his latest video and movement, #Socktober.

So my next question is, what are we actually using the Internet for? What led you to read this post? Are you a die-hard Ball State fan looking in every outlet to brush up on your football stats and trash talking? Were you wasting time on Facebook or Twitter instead of whatever work you were supposed to be working on? I’m not complaining that you’re reading this, but what can we learn from the Internet so that it is not purely for entertainment?

Kid President really speaks to this in his Socktober movement. Instead of wasting time by watching Miley Cyrus videos (okay, we can do that sometimes), why don’t we help the less fortunate? Use the Internet to find an organization that you feel passionate about and help them. If we can make it happen, let’s do some good for those in need.

One of my childhood Christmas traditions was going to the Dollar General with my mom and little sister to pick out presents and basic items needed to live, and then driving them to the local women and children’s shelter. It was always fun to pick out the cutest robe or slippers for the little girls, but I never really understood what that meant. I knew these women and children came from abusive homes and were in the shelter for their own protection, but it never occurred to me that while I come home and have the dilemma of which pair of slippers to put on, these ladies might not even have one pair to warm their feet.

As if Kid President didn’t flood me with enough feelings about helping those in need, I then stumbled across the movie Unconditional. The film is a Christian drama inspired by the true stories of Joe Bradford, who grew up in a rural area of Tennessee. When he developed kidney disease, Joe and his wife Denise were forced to move to a low-income area of Nashville. When they arrived, they were confronted by the needs of the underprivileged children in their neighborhood. Joe and Denise began to reach out to them and many of the fatherless children embraced Joe, who became known as “Papa Joe.” The movie also follows the story of Samantha Crawford. When her husband Billy is tragically killed, Sam loses her faith and will to live. A death-defying encounter with two children leads to a reunion with Joe, her oldest friend. As Sam watches Papa Joe care for and love the kids in his under-resourced neighborhood, she begins to believe that the love of God is always reaching out to her.

Now whether or not you believe in God, Unconditional depicts the reality that is life in the projects. Committing crime in order to survive begins in childhood. Education opportunities are at an all-time low. The comforts of life and technologies as we know them don’t really exist for these people in extremely low-income housing. I think this ties directly with what Kid President is saying, too.

It’s time we use the Internet to make the world a better place. Instead of sharing a picture on Instagram of what you had for lunch (guilty as charged), share a picture to raise awareness for an issue in this world and/or for an organization trying to make a difference. If you don’t have the financial means to donate to an organization, at least spread the message of the group to your Facebook friends or Twitter followers as surely somebody will feel inclined to donate. The holiday season is right around the corner and what better time to start thinking about those in need? Let’s use the Internet to make this old world a better place to live in.

Chirps From the Nest: Homecoming

Chirps from the Nest 200It’s Homecoming Week, Ball State!

This year’s Homecoming theme is There’s No Place Like Homecoming and let me tell you they are really going all out on the Wizard of Ozness on campus. So let’s take some time to talk about some of everyone’s favorite old events and traditions and some of the new things appearing in Homecoming week.

Red Brick Relays

This is a new one this year. It has replaced the residence hall scavenger hunt event. The relays this year were a series of challenges related to the Wizard of Oz including racing around in ruby slippers, stuffing overalls with straw, and a Fear Factor style challenge that required reaching your hand into a bin full of bugs to reach the object at the bottom. A little Cowardly Lion courage challenge right there. The relays are another residence hall event and it definitely meets the quirkiness that residence hall freshmen and sophomores love. For a residence hall event, it’s definitely more crowd pleasing than the campus scavenger hunt. Thumbs up on this event Homecoming committee.

Homecoming Village

Homecoming takes over Martin St. and basically has a little pep rally in the street. The band, cheerleaders, and Code Red dancers come out to get the team hyped. And then the highlight is getting to hear people like Pete Lembo and Keith Wenning speak to the crowd. There are other activities to do such as a zip line, mechanical bull, photo booth, and student bands performing. Another perk is that many of the businesses in the village offer food specials during that time. This was the second year of the Homecoming Village and all I hope for next year is warmer weather. Cold weather and waiting in long lines to do any of the activities make it a little less than exciting to be there.

Residence Halls Dinner

If any of you are familiar with Noyer dining hall, they shut down all normal food operations and go balls to the wall Homecoming themed dinner. We’re talking dining employees dressed in the creepiest ways as Wizard of Oz characters, plush dogs in baskets on the tables, multiple ice sculptures, and hundreds of dollars on Wizard of Oz cutouts and decorations. The food is alright, but it just has clever thematic names for otherwise cold and normal dining hall food. You also wait in line for about 40 minutes just to get your dinner. It’s cute and Homecoming magical, but the food isn’t any better and you wait in line far too long.

Talent Search

Why is Ball State so talented?! Seriously, where do these people come from? I’m not sure why Air Jam sells out in Emens and this show doesn’t because the talent here far exceeds Air Jam. The winners this year at the talent show were contemporary clog dancers. It was straight up hip-hop dancing with clog shoes. How cool is that?! This is probably my most highly recommended Homecoming event because it gets under appreciated. The talent and the actual production of the show is just awesome. Now if only I could actually make it in the damn show…

Bed Races

Bed races were on Wednesday this year. Like what in the world were you thinking Homecoming committee? That was the greatest Friday afternoon activity ever. Any way, it was the usual crazy costumes and beds crashing down Riverside. If you’ve never seen the bed races, I recommend it even though Wednesday is a really stupid day to come into town to watch them.

Air Jam

If you’re Greek, you love it. If you’re not Greek, you probably couldn’t care less about it. If you’ve never seen Air Jam, it’s the annual lip-sync contest. Last year I was on the only residence hall team to compete and it was awesome. But no one really cared about us because the event is so overpowered by the Greeks. Give all organizations a chance to be represented or make it a Greek-only event. Air Jam sold out early in the week so it still reigns as the most popular Homecoming event.

Parade, Tailgate, and Football

I decided to just group these together because they all kind of mesh together into one exhausting Saturday. The parade is a great way for the community and alumni to get involved in the Homecoming festivities, but I think most of the student population is still hungover from the night before and don’t put the parade on their priority list. But don’t worry- they’re up in time to tailgate! Oh Ball State. Just trying to maintain Ball So Hard University. Hopefully they can stumble their way into the Scheu on Saturday because it’s Operation 20K day! Athletics has a goal of 20,000 fans to fill the stadium as we take on Kent State. Will you be there?

Happy Homecoming Ball State! See you at the game! Chirp Chirp!

Chirps From the Nest: Chirp Chirp Toledo

Chirps from the Nest 200

I think the Toledo win was exactly what Ball State fans needed. It was that reassurance for those who were doubtful of our team’s ability. That being said, sometimes I think I analyze the student population the wrong way, and this time I thought I’d take a sample of students and get their reaction to the Toledo win. This is what they had to say.

“The game gave me another reason to love the school I call home. Seeing my fellow Cardinals rally together for the last quarter was a rush.”

“I wasn’t able to attend the game. I however followed it on my phone and was having a heart attack most of the game because of how back and forth it was!”

“It was one of the more exciting games I have watched here at Ball State. The crowd was great too, it was really cool to see a packed Scheumann stadium and the amount of people who stuck around for the whole game was really neat.”

And then there was this reaction:

“I did not go to the game hahaha.”

Well, I guess we can’t win them all. I asked my former roommate what she thought of the game, and I guess our minds are a lot more alike than I realized.

“It’s awesome that Ball State won again, our team is really good this year. And we should always have a good crowd turnout like this game. But, it was definitely the most boring home game so far.”

YES. It was SO boring. It was Family Weekend, and families please stop raining on our parade. I’ve never understood why parents would sit at the 50-yard line of the student section right behind 6 rows of students standing, and then continually complain about students blocking their view. C’mon parents! We love you, but you’re a real buzz kill to the fun environment that normally surrounds the student section at a football game. Yes, Athletics, you got your attendance numbers. But once you remove the Family Weekend crowd from that picture, it’s going to be difficult to retain students. Games are going to get a lot colder, and even a little liquid happiness from the tailgate isn’t going to keep a student at the game if they’re not having fun watching the game.

I’d like to take the chance to let another student’s voice be heard. My friend Aaron is very knowledgeable on college sports and he’s a great Ball State fan. I think he provides some great student insight, so the rest of this post is from the wise words of AarBear himself!

Overall, it was a solid win for the Cardinals. Toledo came into the game seeking some revenge after we beat them at home last year when they were ranked. I knew they were going to give us their best, and for our team to weather the storm and outplay the Rockets was HUGE.

The keys to the game were minimizing turnovers, and limiting the yardage of Fluellen. Last year at Toledo Fluellen was a BEAST. He ran all over our defense. This year, however, they played much better against him. While he got 129 yard on the ground, it was over the course of 27 rushes, and he never ran for longer than 13 yards. I honestly believe that was a major part of the win. Other than that, the team just played a complete game, and Wenning had yetanother solid, 300 + yard performance. If they can keep playing at this level, they have a solid chance of finishing with 9+ wins again. The major challenges are going to come with AQ school Virginia this week, and when Jordan Lynch and NIU come to town later this year. Hopefully we can weather the storm and take the MAC!

Happy October and we’ll see you at the Scheu for Homecoming! Chirp Chirp!

Chirps From the Nest: What Does the Fox Say

Chirps from the Nest 200It’s family weekend this weekend at Ball State and my little sister is coming to visit. This will be her first, and probably only, Ball State football game that she goes to. While discussing getting a ticket for the game she asked if she needed to pre-order a ticket or if she could buy it at the game. She was worried about getting a ticket because she didn’t want it to sell out. Can we just imagine that for a minute? A sold out Ball State football game? We’re about to play our biggest at-home rival and the next home game will be Homecoming, and I can guarantee we will not sell out. I guess this is just another sad tale of Ball State students slacking and the Muncie community really not caring enough.

Speaking of slacking, I’m at that point in the semester where college is draining every ounce of life out of me. Exams, research projects, and debates are my entire existence right now. So rather than pondering the meaning of life or giving my dating advice, I’ll let some experts inform you on a deep life question: What does the fox say?

In case you’re not really sure what in the world you just watched, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Now more importantly, we don’t always like to show some love to other MAC teams. I think it’s time we suck it up and high-five the Ohio marching band. I dream of the day the Ball State band jumps on the bandwagon of viral music video halftime shows.

Chirps From the Nest: There’s Something in the Water

Chirps from the NestBall State is going crazy and I think there must be something in the water. We are a couple of weeks into the semester and people are starting to get off their rockers. There’s a couple of factors that I’d like to think are the main reasons for this mental chaos. The first issue is that professors think it’s a great idea to pile on the exams all in the same week. The next issue is that people are getting homesick. The third issue is that everyone is breaking up. WHY is everyone suddenly breaking up?

So now I’d like to talk about college relationships. Obviously, I’m the best person to give my input on this since I’ve been single for four years. Let’s talk about the reasons why I’m still single. One, I have too much school spirit. I’ve determined that no one wants to date someone who walks around in the afternoon wearing her PJ’s just for the Pajama Slama theme at the volleyball game. Two, I’m an RA and the only people who understand the RA life are other RA’s, so that sure limits the playing field. And three, I hang out with too many gay boys. That’s just a personal preference of friends on that last one. Since I’ve been single for my whole college career, I’ve had a lot of time to kick back and observe the college relationships and I must say, I think I’m content with the single life.

My favorite relationships are freshman relationships. A lot of people come to college with some high school baggage, mainly a bad relationship they should have left at home. The absolute best ones are the ones with promise rings. Like seriously, what in the world is a promise ring? What is the function and why are you throwing those promises out the window in the first month of school? Then, after the big break up, comes my favorite part: the rebound.

As we all learned in Bridesmaids, “Every girl needs those slutty college years. To experiment, get it out of your system. Find out what you like.” Fair enough, but come on kids can we not make it so obvious? Some of my favorite stories to eavesdrop around campus or in the halls are “I walked in on my roommate and their new boyfriend/girlfriend.” This is also a good Bridesmaids moment to say, “Get your shit together, Carol.” You invite that “friend” over to study, but then you “study” some other topics and next thing you know you’re failing your test the next day. So now you’re stressed because you just failed, and you think your friend and all other human beings are jerks and ruining your life, and you start thinking about wanting to go home to your comfort zone where life was easy, and then you think about all the jerks at home. It’s a vicious cycle! And it seems to attack everyone at college at some point.

Movies and books and our traditional older generations have drilled the idea in our head that there is nothing sweeter than a high school sweetheart story. If that doesn’t work, then just go for the next best thing: a college romance. I think we’re too actively looking for that. Maybe that’s just me, because during my freshman year I was hoping I’d meet my future husband and that he would sweep me off of my feet. Instead of feeling pressured and rushed to find your soul mate in the nearest dining hall to you, why not just slow down, build some true friendships, and see if anything blossoms from there? What happened to the casual date night? Does that even exist anymore?

Maybe I’m entirely wrong on all of this, but I’m having too much fun living the college life and building lasting relationships with friends to worry about finding my soul mate. So if you’re in college, relax and make some friends and enjoy the journey of college. And if that doesn’t work, I sure hope we can get a good water filter around here because you all are going crazy.

Chirps From the Nest: Where Did the Magic Go?

Chirps from the NestSo much for my hopes and dreams of Ball State fans finally having their act together. We were clearly going to win the Army game and they still left early. I don’t get it. If we’re losing at halftime, they leave. If we’ve got a big lead and it doesn’t look like there’s a chance of us losing, they leave. What is the problem Ball State? Do we really have to have nail-biting games every single week for you all to stay for the entire game?

At the end of the Army game, there were probably just a few hundred, if that, students left in the student section. This is really frustrating to me, Athletics, and other student organizations trying to make a difference in attendance. Charlie’s Crew, the club of which I am president, piloted the Student Rewards program last year and it helped a little bit with attendance. Whenever a student swipes their student ID at a football, women’s volleyball, or men’s and women’s basketball game, they will earn reward points. The points then translate into prizes such as free pizza, t-shirts, sunglasses, and lunch with Pete Lembo. Pete’s a pretty good incentive if you ask me. This year’s football games come with an added bonus: if you swipe your ID during the fourth quarter, you can earn bonus points! Great idea, right? In theory, it’s awesome. In actuality, students are swiping their ID at the beginning of the fourth quarter on their way out of the Scheu.

I’m not sure what options we have left. We have a very talented football team that our students are not appreciating. Heaven forbid we lose this upcoming Toledo game. Our student section is done for then.

Speaking of the Toledo game, that weekend should be a very exciting one for Ball State. Obviously, Toledo is our biggest rival at the Scheu this year. If we can beat them, our momentum can hopefully carry us pretty far in the season. That weekend is also Family Weekend on campus. This is a great chance for parents to come to Muncie for the weekend and supply their kids with beer at the tailgate (one can dream, right?). Hopefully the stands will look a little fuller that weekend.

Also that weekend, the MAC Social Media Tour is making its stop at Funcie, Indiana. Approximately 4 Ball State fans will have to opportunity to cover the ultimate game day experience. From my understanding, the MAC Social Media Tour is stopping at each MAC school at some point during the season. Fans will use social media to report their game day experience all the way starting at tailgate and ending with post-game festivities. I would assume there would be some all-access passes handed out and potentially a trip to the press box. For a die-hard Ball State fan, this is a great opportunity that should not be missed! If you want a chance to be chosen for this social experience, follow @MACSports and @JGuyMAC on Twitter.

While I’m talking about social media, let’s just take a second to discuss the former student body president, Malachi Randolph. He has recently stepped down as president due to his social media scandal. On the night of September 4, he had a series of derogatory tweets about Chinese people. To further the embarrassment of this situation, he is an international business major. Last I checked, China makes up a large portion of the world’s population and I would assume at some point he will be doing business internationally with China. What would possess someone in such a high student leadership position to publicly tweet such racially insensitive tweets? If you want to see his tweets and learn more about the situation, the Ball State Daily News has a great series of stories covering the incident.

Ball State, we have to get our act together. We are losing the beginning of the year magic and school spirit that floats in the air. The Toledo game and the Homecoming game is right around the corner, and if either of these events are any less than magical I will probably have to punch somebody. Please, if you have any suggestions on how we can make students invested in our teams, let me know. We’re riding the struggle bus way more than we should be. Sigh. CHIRP CHIRP.

Chirps From the Nest: Ball State is the New Black

Chirps from the Nest 200I was watching an episode of my new favorite show, Orange is the New Black, when it made me stop and think about life a little. Now if you haven’t seen the show, make some friends that have Netflix and go watch it. You’ll be hooked; I promise. To give you an idea of the premise of the show, it is about a women’s correctional facility and a woman’s struggle to adapt to prison life. Now that’s a very vague description of it, but that’s all you need at this point. So on this particular episode, an inmate is preparing for her release and is asked by a visitor where she wanted to go on her first night out.

Stop and think about that. Where would you want to go? If you had had everything familiar taken from you, including the freedom to come and go as you pleased, and could suddenly pick one place to go, where would you go? Would it even feel the same as before? What would you do there?

So I was sitting there thinking about life, and I think I would choose Ball State. I’m hoping this isn’t the eye rolling oh-boy-here-she-goes-again Ball State’s Biggest Fan type of thing. It feels good to be in an environment, a community, where I know I am appreciated and accepted for whomever I want to be and where I can truly appreciate those around me.

Sometimes I like to just listen to what students are saying on their way to class or in the halls. Sometimes I like to just sit outside and people watch. One of my favorite locations is outside of Pruis Hall between the library and the theater; there’s a solid mix of people that walk through there. I highly recommend that everyone get a good pair of sunglasses that really allow you to get a good stare in. Because do you really know the great variety of students whom you go to school with?

I think we get trapped in this bubble as students, and I would assume so too as an adult in the professional world. We’re told to accept everybody and embrace diversity and those around you. We think by verbally saying, “yes, I accept so and so who is different from myself,” that it qualifies us as being a diverse person, but have you ever stopped and considered where people come from? Who is that Asian boy in your class that is being stereotyped yet again as being so smart but you don’t realize that he’s an only child who’s pressured by his parents and culture to achieve great things? Who is that fabulous gay guy you smirk at for his short shorts even though you wish your legs were that great and don’t understand that nobody at home accepts him? Who is that transfer student who has lived in Muncie all their life but went to Ivy Tech for a year and just wants you to sit with them at lunch so they feel like they belong at the university?

What I’m saying is, great people surround us! We are given ample opportunity go beyond our personal horizons and expand our knowledge, without even going to class. We are surrounded by people who can teach us so much simply by having just one casual conversation. But we gravitate towards our comfort zone.

It’s really unfortunate that so many opportunities are wasted because students are afraid to step out of their comfort zones. They are 20-something years old and they still ask permission to do things they think their parents might disagree with. This is college. This is thousands of people, hundreds of organizations, and countless ways for you to figure out who you are. Who are you? Do you know?

Over the next few years, if you can embrace those around you, you’re going to learn things you’ve never even realized you didn’t know. You don’t have to be an extroverted over-the-top social butterfly to learn from these people. They’re in your classes, they’re your neighbors, they’re walking on the sidewalks with you; there are people that are different than you everywhere.

In my three years at Ball State, I have questioned nearly everything I believe in. I have changed my major and something about my life plan nearly every semester. It’s exhausting. I call my parents and they don’t usually understand what I am saying or why I am making the choices that I am, but my mom always says, “I trust you. You make the right decision.” And that’s what college is about: making decisions and when they don’t turn out like you hoped, you learn from them and adjust your plan, heck, that’s what life is about. Where can you go that you can grow into the person that you’ve always been trying to be? And if you had to take away everything in your life, where would you go on your first night out?

Chirps from the Nest: And Then There Were Fireworks

Chirps from the Nest 200Yesterday we introduced you to Jen Zarate, the newest contributor here at OTP and the person taking over the reigns of Chirps From the Nest. As you can see from her bio, Jen is a BSU superfan and I’d say it’s safe to say that her first game as an OTP columnist was quite the one to witness. I’m not saying her being on staff set off a karmic chain reaction that resulted in a 20+ point beatdown. I’m not saying it didn’t. – Ed.

All I can say is thank God we won. We all know the kind of fan base Ball State has. Lose one game and they never come back. I’ve never seen such a big turn out from the students and a fairly sober turn out at that.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this first game. The Student Government Association held the pregame Countdown to Kickoff during the tailgate time, but not at the tailgate town. This was one of those food-and-inflatables programs that are supposed to draw all the freshmen out and make them think it’s cooler than tailgating. Regardless of what they thought, it worked because I think the entire freshman class was at that game. And then there was the video board. It was super cool and people got to see their own faces on the big screen. Right on Athletics for leasing that bad boy.

And then there were the fireworks. Not the metaphorical kind either. Freshmen students and the cheer squads lined the field as the team ran out of the foggy inflatable helmet. Then there were fireworks. And boom goes the dynamite. The best part was that not only did we get a fireworks show when the team was introduced, but we got fireworks every time we scored and at halftime. I’m wondering if this is going to be a new routine, because, if it is then shoot, Muncie, we’re getting real fancy here.

Ball State students living it up at the White Out

Ball State students living it up at the White Out

So back to these students, I’ve never seen such a group. The entire stands were packed. Even when some people left at halftime, there were still more people there than at the beginning of the good games last season. Tonight, lives were changed. Dramatic, I know. But kids embraced their inner Cardinals and some kind of magic happened. Even when we were losing at halftime, we stayed. Even when they didn’t realize we were a second-half team, we were chanting “I believe that we will win.” And then there were the emotional messes like me who cried when the team ran out and the fight song started playing, but that’s just me. The point is, some kind of Ball State spirit took over tonight and I think it’s going to be a good season. I think we might have finally broken through to the fair-weathered student fan. Until Toledo that is. We’ll see what happens then.

* You can find a complete album of Jen’s BSU season opener adventures by visiting here.