Men’s Soccer Narrowly Misses Playoffs

Despite a close 1-0 victory over Marymount University on Oct. 22 that left the Seahawks one win short of the playoff ticket, the men’s soccer team took a 3-0 loss during a home-game against Salisbury University that ended the team’s conference-competitive season.

The season began strongly for the men’s team with a 2-1 win over Eastern Mennonite University on Sept. 3, a 4-0 shutout against Penn State Altoona the following day, and two more victories (including a 3-0 shutout) that brought the team to a 4-0 standing one game short of the conference season.

However, following a close 2-1 loss to the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays, the team suffered two additional losses (including a 3-1 conference loss to Frostburg State University), bringing the team to 4-3 overall and 0-1 conference. Despite scraping a 1-0 conference win against Hood College on Sept. 24, the team suffered losses the following three games and took a 2-0 shutout loss to York College on Oct. 8.

With a 1-3 conference spread and 5-7 overall, it was looking grim for the Seahawks until an uplifting 3-0 shutout on Oct. 11 against the University of Mary Washington, a home conference game that brought the Seahawks closer to playoff competition. Senior forward Mark Jaskolski netted a goal with assistance from junior midfielder Frank VanGessel. After halftime, senior midfielder Brian Payne and first-year forward Matthew Braun secured two additional points to lead the Seahawks to their first win against the Eagles since 1981.

Despite their performance, the Seahawks took a 2-1 loss to the Wesley College Wolverines four days later. Even while securing a 1-0 victory against Marymount the following week, St. Mary’s needed to defeat Salisbury to get into the playoff season.

The Sea Gulls took a strong offensive in the first half with 10 goal attempts, all deflected by the seemingly driven Seahawks defense. Despite the strong performance and an equally solid defense following the second half up to minute 54, Salisbury managed three scores in the following 16 minutes, sealing the Seahawks’ fate with a 3-0 shutout on Oct. 24.

Seventh in the conference, men’s soccer finished the season with a 4-1 loss to Catholic University, leading to an overall 7-10 season and 3-5 conference spread. The conclusion also marked the first completed season for new head coach Alun Oliver ’04, who joined the Seahawks following former coach Herb Gainey’s retirement.

“Going into the season, everyone was excited for the fresh start with a new head coach,” said Assistant Coach Peter Krech ’09. “Our final record was not what we had hoped it would be, but to be honest, I thought there were a lot of good things that heppened throughout the season.”

Men’s soccer will be back next fall to take on the CAC Championship with stronger determination.

“Our seniors will definitely be missed for their contributions both on and off the field,” said Krech, “but I believe that we have a great young core to build from…they are up for the challenge that lies ahead of them.”

Miss Meghan: Birth Control Part 2

I recently have become sexually active with my boyfriend. How do I decide which birth control method is right for me?

-Indecisive

Dear Indecisive (continued from previous article),

Now that I’ve covered condoms, the pill, the patch, the shot, and the ring, let’s move on to diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, IUDs (intrauterine devices) and Implanon.

Diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges are between 84% and 94% effective when used correctly, and I wish more women would go back to these methods because they do not affect the hormone levels in your body. However, many folks see these as “dated” and they do require some planning of sexual activities. You need to get fitted at your gyno for a diaphragm, but they last a while. These methods take some planning on the woman’s part because they are typically inserted a few hours prior to sexual activity.

Finally, we come to IUDs and Implanon. Depending on your insurance, coverage of these items varies. The script for Implanon currently retails around $800, not including the price of the “surgery” from your gyno to implant the small plastic chip into your arm. IUDs are either plastic or copper, and the plastic IUD and Implanon affect the levels of progesterone in your body.

We suspect that the copper IUD neutralized the PH balance of the uterus so any egg that is fertilized does not plant onto the uterine wall. Some women report cramping, spotting, or prolonged periods, especially during the first six months. However, others report that while on these they no longer get a period, which over the course of the five to seven years that the device is in means that you are saving a bundle on tampons or pads. Up until recently, IUDs were only considered an option for women who had already given birth at least once or who were over the age of 25, but nowadays most gynos are more than willing to provide IUDs or Implanon for sexually active 18- to 25-year-olds as well.

Surgery is also an option, but is costly and permanent. Vasectomies (men), tubal ligations (women), hysteroscopic sterilization (women), and hysterectomies (women) are all surgical procedures. If you have made the decision to never have children, this may be a great option. Many women and men below the age of 35 find it difficult to convince a doctor to perform the procedure for fear that the patient will later change his or her mind. If this is the choice for you, please work on creating a convincing argument for it.

Now, I hope providing you with all these options hasn’t made the decision any harder than it already was. Choosing the method right for you depends on your memory skills, cost, comfort with your body, insurance, and what will work best for your body. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a good gynecologist and a communicative partner to discuss your options with.

Sincerely still enjoying every time I see that boat,

Miss Meghan

Boats and Committees: News from the Trustee

My oh my! There sure has been a lot of excitement floating around campus these past few weeks. I would insert a joke about the mold to the tune of “holy moldy!” or another reference to the “love boat,” but I don’t want to be cliché. Though I am not one of the 350 students who was evacuated from Caroline and Prince George Halls, don’t think I have turned a blind eye to how this disruption has been affecting every facet of this campus community. You may be reading this article from your original residence on-campus, but please realize that we are all still directly affected. When our neighbors are uprooted, our whole campus community is in flux; our family is displaced. All in all, I am extremely proud at the open doors and listening ears that students have been displaying as they rise to help their fellow classmates. And by the time this article is published, the Sea Voyager will be floating in the harbor as the ship and the students get acquainted with their new home for the next few weeks. I feel this is a very ingenious way to deal with an unfortunate situation. Though President Urgo didn’t exactly “buy” us the ship, he and the administration were extremely clever in finding a way to sew the torn piece of cloth back onto the fabric of our home by the river. Let this time be a testament to our resilience as a family unit.

Also, some of you may or may not have heard through the rumor mill about a Public Safety Student Advisory Committee. Well, if you’ve heard, you heard right and it’s on the way. After much dialogue with concerned students and insightful members of administration, I was able to characterize the student-Public Safety relationship as a bit abrasive. Unfortunately, this sentiment was one that existed from the time I joined this community almost four years ago. To remedy this relationship, I came up with the idea of a Public Safety Student Advisory Board that would serve as a permanent mechanism of communication between the student body and Public Safety. It would be a way to aggregate and report student concerns to Public Safety and for them to relay developments back to the student body. This board would be a way to keep both bodies accountable. As of right now, it’s in its last stages of development and I am super excited to get it up and running.

Now, you may be wondering what I’ve been doing amidst all these changes. My main two jobs have been listening and talking. I’ve tried my best to reach out and communicate with anyone who has been affected in any capacity and listen to their stories. Whatever your joys, concerns, or frustrations have been, I have done my best to objectively listen to them all and take down questions that I can then ask to relevant members of administration. Secondly, I’ve been talking. Any information I’ve received I have sent it out to you all as soon as I could. I feel like one of my main objectives was just as simple as making people feel like they were in the loop and connected. I’ve been asking questions and giving you the best answers I could find out. Some members of the press have also contacted me and I’ve done my best to give a well-rounded account of student opinion. As always, if you feel like I can be doing anything better, keep me accountable and let me know! Also, I know that many of you still wonder how a situation this grand could have just cropped up in the middle of the semester. I’ve heard those concerns and they will be addressed as soon as the water settles. I will be sure to let you know what precautionary measures are in place as soon as I find out.

Finally, be on the lookout from a message from Alex Walls, the Student Trustee in Training, about the start of the selection process. This year has been zooming by and before you know it will be time to pick the next Student Trustee! Remember to add Maurielle Student-Trustee on Facebook. I care about each and every one of you. Please let me know what you need from me so I can represent you all in the best way I can!

Protecting Our Community: Keep Private Lives Private

In response to the opinion editorial, “Dear St. Mary’s We Need to Talk,” published in the last issue of The Point News, I would like to address the importance of protecting our community.  The writers of the editorial had admirable intentions in raising awareness about preventing sexual assault and stressing the importance of supporting our friends who have survived sexual assault.  However, in an attempt to protect potential victims, the protection of the survivors was compromised.

Now, while the editorial did not provide specific names of the survivors, it referenced an easily identifiable group of people on-campus, the Orientation Leaders.  This was a violation of discretion.  We live on a small campus; we are all neighbors, and we have seen everyone’s face at least once.  To point out any particular group, be it a sports team, a club, etc., would endanger its members’ privacy.  The survivors belonging to those groups could feel targeted because attention is being drawn in their direction.

When the survivors are targeted, this not only endangers their privacy, but also their well-being.  Sexual assault is something that may define one particular moment in the survivors’ lives, but it is a moment that affects the rest of their lives.  It is a traumatic experience, one that causes fear and distrust, and one that is haunting.  As with all traumatic, private experiences, this is one which can only comfortably be shared with those whom the survivors have chosen to trust because to retell the story puts them in a position to relive that moment.

Therefore, remember that any traumatic experience belongs to its owner and that story must not be divulged to anyone without their consent.  Should that person learn that his or her story has been shared without permission, this forces the person to relive that moment without emotional or mental preparation.  Reliving is not solely confined to a short flashback of that life-changing instance, but it can encompass triggered thoughts and feelings that the person then has to battle with yet again.

There are not only emotional and mental consequences of targeting a group in which a member has been sexually assaulted.  Survivors are put at risk for another attack by the assailant. If the survivors are targeted, so too are the assailants: if they fear that their victim has made open accusations against them, they may seek retribution.

So, I ask that when anyone wishes to raise awareness about sensitive topics that they please be aware of the potential harm they could be doing.  Please, only draw attention to the issue without drawing attention to the people.

Also, research the issue thoroughly in order to make sound factual claims.  The sample referenced in the editorial does not accurately represent the number of on-campus assaults.  Nor does it address the fact that males are also victimized by sexual assault and that women can also be sexual offenders.  There are no concrete gender role divisions in sexual assault.

As a disclaimer, I would like to add that I am by no means an expert on sexual assault or its consequences.  Should anyone wish to learn more about sexual assault on campus, or in general, please refer to one of the following:

  • The First Responders Network at 301-904-2015
  • Meghan Root, the Sexual Assault/Wellness Advocate at 240-895-4289
  • National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE

Sexual assault is a very serious subject that does need to be addressed.  St. Mary’s, be sensitive, be protective of your fellow students and friends.  Let us prevent future victimizations, and protect the survivors by keeping their stories close to our minds and hearts, but out of the public realm.

Point: Harry Potter Should be Considered a Classic

Ever since “Harry Potter” became an international literary sensation, the topic of whether or not the series could ever be considered a classic has been a hot debate. I think that one day, the “Harry Potter” series will become a classic.

I am a huge fan of the series – so much so that I’m not ashamed to admit that I used to write fanfiction about it when I was in middle school. But that’s beside the point. “Harry Potter” will not become a classic because of its popularity, but instead it will become a classic because of its lasting power and timeless relevance to kids, adolescents and adults everywhere.

Young kids read “Harry Potter” because they love Harry as the hero, someone young and brave who can use magic, fight dragons, and defeat the bad guy. Adolescents relate to Harry on a more personal level. He has embarrassing moments with his romantic interests, is nervous around girls and jealous when the one girl he loves is with someone else. Adults respect Harry because he is so young, but still an incredible hero who overcomes all odds to vanquish evil.

The story may be something that we’ve heard before, but that doesn’t make it any less lasting. J.K. Rowling created her own magical world and a set of hugely lovable characters. We’ve all read the good versus evil story a million times, but there are also some bigger social issues captured in the story of “Harry Potter.” The issue of questioning authority, like Dolores Umbridge and Gilderoy Lockhart, comes into play. Readers are taught that just because someone is declared a leader doesn’t mean they deserve the power they have been given. The problem of an untrustworthy government is also presented. It is shown how the public can often turn a blind eye and how this can lead to bigger problems. Rowling also demonstrates how the press can be used as propaganda and as a way to propagate terrorism. In the line of terrorism, Rowling also shows the faulty decisions that a government can make in its weak attempts to defend its people.

Many people bash the series’ chances at becoming a classic by stating that it’s no “literary masterpiece.” That’s true, the writing’s not spectacular, and “Sorcerer’s Stone” was the first book that Rowling ever published. You can’t really hold that against her, since, for example, Harper Lee’s one and only novel is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” But the title of “classic” should not be confused with literary masterpiece. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a classic as something “serving as a standard of excellence; of recognized value.” “Potter” may not be a standard because of its writing, but maybe it will create a new standard for relatable and loveable characters and the kind of book that is relevant to people of all ages and at all times. It’s not the first to do this, obviously, but it sets the bar pretty high.

Now, “Harry Potter” is mostly loved by fans because of the sense of nostalgia they get when they remember waiting in line for hours to get that new “Potter” novel. What will happen when a new generation of readers picks up the series? And the next?

I think that “Harry Potter” will be around for a while. The series won’t be overshadowed by the movies because the books have so much more to offer than the films ever could. “Harry Potter” brought a whole generation together by teaching them to love reading again, something they forgot about with all the television shows, computer games and video games competing for their attention. I can’t wait to share “Harry Potter” with my future children, and have them share it with their children. “Potter” is an international sensation now, and I think it will become an international classic in decades to come.

Counterpoint: Why Harry Potter Shouldn't be a Classic

I’m all for Harry Potter. It’s true: I was one of the first generations to enjoy the J. K. Rowling novels. My brother was the first in the family to buy them, and I followed suit and read all seven as quickly as I could. I laughed at the Weasley brothers, cried when Dumbledore died, and hated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named as much as anyone else did. But I am not an advocate for the Harry Potter fan club rooting for the books to be considered a “classic” piece of literature.

Yes, the saga has been praised for its ability to improve children’s desire to read. And while that is significant and is well-deserved credit in a world where reading is a venue to educate one another, literary critics deem “classics” as pieces that transcend beyond the stereotypical hero and villain novel, i.e. Harry Potter.

While the school of witchcraft and wizardry is unique, the stories built within them are not. How many times have we seen the group of friends fighting against a higher power (Harry, Ron, and Hermione vs. Lord Voldemort)? The best friends turned lovers (Ron and Hermione)? Good defeating evil (the finale)? If we took the time out to replace the world of Hogwarts, and put this story in the context of a novel in a high school setting, the storyline is clichéd. We’ve all seen Harry, the leader, Hermione, the nerd, and Ron, the klutz, and we’ve grown to love them.

While Rowling’s writing is built for child-level learning, the content of the novels are not. Death is one of the most significant themes, especially as the series progresses. The series grapples with death and the struggles that accompany it. However, the mere idea of death within a children’s series does not constitute for the merit it needs to be considered a masterpiece.

In short, Harry Potter is meant to tell a story, and to sell a story. As I said, I enjoy reading Harry Potter books, I do (the movies are a different story). Yet the conversation in regards to its ability to be regarded a “classic” has yet to be proven to me, especially in literary terms. We look at novels like “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and realize how intricately delved these are into issues within our society: racism, class structure, the lives of Southerners during the nineteenth century. But does Harry Potter truly grapple with these same issues that are prevalent today?

The purpose of Harry Potter is set out to entertain and inspire children; so was every other children’s book that I read when I was in elementary and middle school. I encourage devoted fans to remain faithful to J. K. Rowling and Harry, and I expect nothing less. But it takes more than just a multi-million dollar fan club to produce a classic piece of literature, and I find it difficult to believe that Harry will ever surpass his current level of admiration by adoring, faithful fans to captivate the public on a level considered to exceed basic levels of literary thought.