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The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

Getting out of dodge: How to grow up using dodgeball

MATT SERGEANT
Contributor

My brother, five years my senior, and his friends started playing dodgeball in the summers together to keep in touch when they went their separate ways at the end of their adolescence to respective colleges, and managed to keep the game alive for a few summers as they made their way towards separate majors, separate apartments, separate significant others and separate lives. Somewhere in the mix, I was invited to tag along.

I remember following my brother’s big blue Camaro in my somehow less cool Hyundai Sonata as a 16 year old with a six-week old license. I remember how grossly overdressed I was, black fleece and straight legged blue jeans. I remember meeting in the center of the court and reminiscing about middle school capers and current events and really just being a fly on the wall to this strange, at least in my mind, adult world of such far off concerns as “rent” and “real jobs” and “relationships that didn’t start in homeroom.”

Someone brought a boom box and someone else brought a ludicrous mix CD sporting such fan favorites as “Tunak Tunak Tun,” a ridiculous Indian pop song, “Build Me Up Buttercup,” random sprinklings of hardcore gangster rap, and what felt like every bad anthemic single that came out from 1998 to 2003. Two people were picked as captains and the captains picked two teams. We lined up against the wall, and a friend of my brother’s from childhood wearing a day-glow green t-shirt with the sleeves cut off and shorts so short they’d make Daisy Duke blush (who is now married with a kid on the way) takes a deep breath and screams over some Third Eye Blind song: “3…2…1…DODGEBALL!”

Some five years later I stand holding the same chain link fence staring at the faces of the next generation, my friends with their younger brothers in toe, and this time I’m fighting for sonic dominance with “Semi-Charmed Life.” I had become the de facto leader wearing obnoxiously loud clothing and singing along to every worn out anthem of our youth. I was no longer Dan’s little brother. Somewhere along the foggy road of time I had shed that skin and blossomed into this weird symbol for innocent adolescent debauchery, rebelling against the oppressive authorities of small town decency with silly outfits, annoyingly loud and obscure music, and bags upon bags of flamboyantly colored kick balls in varying states of disrepair. Somewhere along the line, I was promoted. Somewhere I became Sarge. And I loved every second of it.

Then I moved. I left my Americana hometown behind in a cloud of dust as my Sonata pulled out of my parents’ gravel driveway with “Born to Run” blasting from my dilapidating speakers, middle finger pointed straight up as I intentionally doubled the speed limit as I left the town limits for the last time. I fulfilled the adolescent cliché of running away from your deadbeat small town life and heading out into the big bad world with nothing but a deck of smokes in your pocket and a story to tell. It felt great.

Except it didn’t.

I should have been ecstatic. I mean, for the first time since I graduated from the crib, I would not have to sleep in bunk beds. I was not living with my parents. I was a senior in college and it was the middle of July, with the summer spilling out in front of me like water from a garden hose. And I was happy, for a while.

Then the first Monday came and went, the day where I would finish patching popped balls and speed to the court to set up before kids started to trickle in, and I didn’t think about it that much. Another Monday came, and I restlessly paced the house, being plagued by a feeling that I was forgetting something so outrageously obvious that I better well find it now before someone calls me on it. Another week went by and I took the balls I had saved out of my trunk and stared at them, running my fingers over the rough raised rubber, dribbling them and listening to the soft “doink, doink” as it bounced off the pavement, wishing there was someone around so I could ask them to throw it at me, so I could feel that horrible visceral sting, look down at my skin and see the subtlest imprints of the rubber in my flesh as blood rushed to the wounded spot, making my skin blush, like it was embarrassed that it got hit. I was alone in a big house, lying down on my brand-new queen size mattress, and wishing to God that it was a bunk.

I went back later to see the parents and pick up some home cooked leftovers. It wasn’t the first time I walked these hallowed grounds after a period of absence with a sense of solemn reflection. Whole semesters used to fly by without me fighting the makeshift lock to enter the court. But still, the air was different because it was now officially a memory. I had moved; next summer would be spent scouring the Earth for a writing job, not assaulting high schoolers and old classmates with playground balls. As a man who is as allergic to maturity as I am, this was a tough pill to swallow.

The asphalt was the same. I walked to the court and stared at it; the glare from the sun made it sparkle. The amount of DNA embedded in that asphalt from all of us, the sweat, spit, blood and skin cells from an ill advised, but oh-so-badass dive to get Mike out and send half of your team sprinting back in as the tides turn and the Dodge-Gods smile in your favor. It wasn’t just the physical traces we left behind, we left years there. All of the weird social drama that infects all of us at that age was filtered through the lens of a chain link fence. Friendships were cemented, relationships blossomed, relationships went horribly wrong, relationships started again, there were bitter fights and bursts of laughter, all with a Wu-Tang Clan soundtrack.

It was quiet, though, and I was wearing jeans instead of short shorts, and there was no Indian pop rock to annoy the neighbors. I stood in the center and watched the wind blow, watched leaves twinkle down from their perches. The fall was here, winter was on its way, a hard rain was a-gonna fall, and the clock kept ticking. I walked to the gate, locked it behind me, and turned around to see six years of kids trying not to grow up, trying to find Never Never Land together in a cage behind an ice cream shop.

FDU biology majors attend symposium at William Paterson

TOM GRACIANO
Contributor

Many FDU students often wonder what it is that a biology major actually does when he or she says, “I have lab today from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.” or “I have to run an experiment in research today.”

Well, like many FDU students, biology majors dedicate countless hours of independent time outside the classroom. Except our time isn’t always spent studying in the library till 2 a.m., making flashcards, or writing lab reports; it’s spent “in the lab.”

On April 14, seven biology majors – Khrystyna Romanyshyn, Martha Mahady, Alexander Tess, Emma Quigley, Jessica Dingman, Mona Gardner and Tom Graciano – attended the 6th Annual William Paterson University Undergraduate Research Symposium in Wayne, N.J.

This is an event where biology majors get to present their research experiments and data to fellow undergraduate science majors, science professors and researchers from the tri-state area.

FDU students were represented within three major categories: Ecology and Evolution, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Behavior/Physiology/Biochemistry.
Several FDU biology majors received awards this year.

Gardner and Graciano placed first in the Behavior/Physiology/Biochemistry category, while Dingman placed third in the Ecology and Evolution area.

All of the research students in attendance would like to thank their faculty research advisors: Dr. Edith Myers, Dr. James Salierno, Dr. Patricia Melloy and Dr. June Middleton for all of their guidance and knowledge throughout the year.

These students and others will be presenting their research at the upcoming FDU-Drew Biology Symposium.

That event is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 30, from 5 to 6 p.m. in Lenfell Hall.

Green Day becomes Green Fest; Campus-wide tradition increases presence

HELENA RIEDE
Contributor

Green Day is an annual, campus-wide tradition at Fairleigh Dickinson.

Yet instead of just celebrating one day of green this year, Green Fest will be held from April 23 to 26.
This year’s theme is water conservation.

Beginning with a kickoff in the cafeteria at lunch on Monday, April 23, the events to follow are meant to entertain while at the same time educate students about the importance of water conservation.

Also on Monday, at 7 p.m., there will be a viewing of “The Last Mountain,” a documentary about the struggle between a coal mining company and a small community regarding the future of the last great mountain in Appalachia.

Following the film, there will be a Q&A session with attorney Joe Lovett, an advocate for the Appalachian Mountains.

The festival continues on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with a Hot Topics session on “fracking,” or hydraulic fracturing.

On Wednesday, a series of events will occur throughout the day, starting with student presentations from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the vendor fair will be set up outside of Hennessy Hall. Simultaneously, Greek/club competitions will be happening, and are always great to watch.
Green Fest will conclude with a reception on Thursday, April 23, featuring keynote speaker Roberto Mukaro Borrero, as well as student awards.

Borrero is a specialist in indigenous cultures who serves as an advocate and educator. He has spoken at several universities, museums and United Nations conferences, and FDU is honored to host him at this year’s festival.

Green Fest 2012 will be an opportunity for the campus to come together for a great cause that affects each and every one of us, while having a great time.

The writer is a member of the FDU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

Once a basketball great, Iverson now ponders options

HANEEF ARBUBAKRR
Contributor

Raw, natural, electrifying entertainers who the country watched shoot out to stardom.

Troubled, controversial, rebellious, misunderstood icons that America witnessed spiral from their peaks to dark depths.

There are many similarities with the late great singer Whitney Houston and the NBA’s former problem child, Allen Iverson.

With the recent passing of one of the greatest performers the world has ever seen and the financial troubles of a world-renowned athlete, Whitney Houston and Allen Iverson have been taking the media by storm. Some have made the comparison between the two stars.

However, this piece is not about Houston, but more about Iverson.

More so about the one-time Associated Press High School Player of the Year in both football and basketball.

More so about the 1996 NBA’s number one overall draft pick.

More so about the eleven-time NBA All-Star.

More so about the two-time All-Star MVP.

More so about the four-time scoring title winner.

This piece is not about Houston, but more so the 2000-2001 MVP, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history and, at 6 feet tall and 165 pounds, arguably the toughest player ever.

This is about the man involved in a controversial bowling alley brawl as a high school student.

This is about the man who had a reputation for challenging his coach and authority, not wanting to practice and having poor training habits.

This is about the man who has been involved in numerous non-basketball related incidents that ended ugly.

This is a man who upset conservative America with his baggy clothes, du-rags, tattoos, jewelry and braids.

With reports of Iverson being broke, after earning a reported $200 million over his career, many have decided to chime in on the falling star.

The 36-year-old grabbed the nation’s attention once again when a Georgia judge garnished his account in order to pay off a hefty jewelry bill, according to TMZ.com. The same jewelry that once made him a controversial and polarizing figure.

After reports of his financial collapse, he drew attention from another sport.

According to news reports in February, the Major Indoor Soccer League’s Rochester Lancers offered Iverson a contract to play in their league.

Iverson stood to make $20,000 a game with a $5,000 bonus for every goal he scored, according to Foxsports.com.

On average, 12 goals per game are scored in the league.

One would think that an offer like that, for a man who is reportedly broke, is nice, but for the former NBA star it is a sad reality.

It is saddening to see an indoor soccer league offer Iverson, who has no notable experience with the sport, a contract of that magnitude. It’s sad because the only reason the Lancers made the offer was because Iverson was reportedly in desperate need for money.

However, there would have been benefits for both parties if this deal had gone through.

Iverson would have gotten some much-needed cash and the chance to show what athleticism he has left. Meanwhile, the Indoor Soccer League would have made money off the viewers tuning in to see the former MVP attempt penalty kicks. Tickets and merchandise sales also would have increased with the signing of Iverson.

However, is that the last memory you would want to have of Iverson?

I would rather not see Iverson at all than see him embarrass himself playing soccer for the Rochester Lancers.

I’d rather him not become a circus act, laughing-stock or reality TV star because that is what would be next on his to-do list if he signs that contract.
Instead, I would rather him make an attempt to play in the NBA Development League and work his way back to an NBA position.

Iverson once refused to play in the “minor league,” but after recent financial woes, he has softened up his stance, stating that he’s willing to play in the Development League, if it gives him a chance to return to the NBA, according to SBNation.com.

I’d rather him play there to get himself in shape and prove himself while earning money playing the sport he knows and loves.

Last week, a team president in the Dominican Republic told The Associated Press that Iverson would play for his team, but Iverson’s manager refuted that statement, according to news reports.

Many other teams might be hesitant to take a 36-year-old, injury-prone coach’s headache, who is two years removed from the NBA. Many would rather try their luck on a young, humble player who attracts less attention.

Even players closer to Iverson’s age, like Gilbert Arenas, is a safer pick mainly because he has played more basketball recently.
However, with the shortened season and injuries becoming more frequent, some teams may need help at the guard position and maybe this is where Iverson will get another chance.

And maybe this time around he’ll manage his budget the right way.

ABC offers Safe Haven

SAKARRA FITE 
Contributor

On an unusually snowy Saturday afternoon, Oct. 29, The Association of Black Collegians (ABC) opened the doors of Fairleigh Dickinson University to small children for our annual Halloween Safe Haven.

The purpose of Safe Haven is to invite kids from underprivileged New Jersey neighborhoods to enjoy an afternoon of food, fun and, most importantly, CANDY.
The majority of the children invited to this event do not have the opportunity to trick or treat around their town because it is unsafe; many of them who attended live in Irvington, Newark and East Orange.

ABC provides them with the comfort of a safe environment and plenty of activities and food, which we feel should be afforded to every child, everyday.

The Safe Haven committee this year was headed by ABC’s secretary, Kaity Glovich, and she did a fantastic job of planning interactive events for the children.

The usual structure of the program includes crafting, face painting, games and our favorite part, trick or treating around the dorm rooms on campus.

This year’s unexpected October snow prevented us from going into the dorms, but did not stop us from having our fun.

We instead had an impromptu scavenger hunt within the Student Center, with candy and treats hidden in every room, high and low.

The ten kids who braved the cold to come to our event had a great time, and all wanted to know when they could return to do it all again.

Some of them even spoke about attending FDU when they grow up and sported FDU buttons on their shirts, provided by ABC’s advisor, David Jones.

The event was a success as always and many FDU students came out to help.
As newly-elected ABC president and a former resident of both Newark and East Orange, I understand the importance of these events, and felt honored to have my club host.

Something so easy as donating a Saturday and some candy to kids can make a world of difference.

The youth in certain areas are deprived of the luxury of being carefree and we not only give them a warm meal and security, but also open their eyes to college and hopefully make a large enough impact on them that they will strive to attend FDU or any university.

Also, we as ABC members are aware that one day is not enough and have decided to do another Safe Haven in the spring semester for Easter, as well as other community service efforts concerning the youth.

Like always, we encourage FDU students to volunteer ideas as well as time to help us achieve our goals.

I am excited to have more and more children participate each year, and open the eyes of others to the huge difference a small effort can make.