Category Archives: Columns

Sports directly influence higher grades

By J.D. McKay

Every year when football season rolls around, it seems like a few kids have quit because their parents did not like where their grades were. To me, that is ridiculous. Sports certainly do not decrease a student’s academic performance.

The most obvious reason is eligibility. To be eligible, an athlete must be passing five classes, which should be achieved regardless by most FC students.

Another reason to work hard in the classroom is college sports. Go listen to any college coach or recruiter talk to a group of athletes or athletes’ parents. Near the beginning of their talk they will say, “When we find an athlete we like, the first thing we look at is grades. If their grades are good, we stay interested.” After hearing this hundreds of times,   athletes have figured out that to play a college sport we need to succeed in school.

Athletes also have to work harder in their sports workouts or practices than most students have to in their normal day. That hard work prepares them for academics. Since athletes have had experience pushing extra hard in those last 400 yards in workouts, they know how they need to push through those last few math problems that have been harder than the rest.

Lastly, according to James Pivarnik’s research at the Michigan State, fitness improves test scores. Pivarnik used 317 students in grades six through eight. He put them through a series of tests that measured fitness like strength, percent of body fat, flexibility, and endurance by doing exercises like push ups and shuttle runs. His results showed that the fittest group did 30 percent better than the most unfit group, and the most unfit group did about 15 percent worse than the average students.

Everyone has heard that athletics teach young men and women important life lessons like teamwork, working through adversity, leadership, and responsibility. People are not just saying those things; sports produce traits that help in the classroom. For some reason, the dumb jock stereotype has gone hand in hand with sports for several decades, but the research certainly does not support it.

Column: Columnist shares her story with eating disorders

By Madi Brown

*Bagpiper sports editor Madi Brown shares her story. Her parents have read this column. For objective coverage on this issue, check out today’s print issue.

I looked in the mirror and I saw my ribs, I saw the deterioration of my muscles under my skin, and my hair fell out in chunks as I tried to brush it. My body was screaming for help, but I could not see what was wrong with me. In my mind I was the skinniest I had ever been, and it still was not enough.

There were multiple factors that led to this, but one of the biggest ones was what I witnessed growing up. My mom is beautiful but for the longest time she did not believe it. She watched her mother hate herself because of her weight and because of that, she learned to do the same. I watched my mom talk down to herself my whole life, and it was instilled in me. What my grandmother passed down to my mom, my mom passed down to me. Our problem was never physical. It was mental.

Growing up, I was always more aware of my body, and I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I became obsessed with wanting to be skinny, so I joined sports and tried to keep myself active.

I started running in grade school, but I was 13 when I realized I could not live without it. Running to me was a way to ensure that I would not get fat, but I was never satisfied. Even though my motives were wrong, I had a healthy lifestyle. It was not until my junior year that I began cutting foods out of my diet, such as meat.   

I did not make dramatic changes to my lifestyle overnight. It was a perfect storm.

It happened so gradually that I did not know I was hurting myself until it was too late.

It started off with me eating smaller portions of meat, which eventually led to me cutting out meat all together. I cut everything from my diet until I was living off of tomatoes and crackers.

I was eating around a thousand calories a day, and on top of that I was exercising two to three hours a night. I had no idea how abusive I was being towards my body because I was blinded by the scale. In December 2016, I weighed 140 pounds By April 2017, I weighed 112 pounds. The problem was it was never enough; I never felt happy with my body.

That summer I decided that I wanted to try waist training, because if it worked for the Kardashians, obviously it was safe for me. I remember putting it on for the first time under my clothes and nearly puking because it was so tight. I was so twisted at the time though, and I actually saw it as a challenge. Over the next few months, I wore the waist trainer and I got to where it was not tight at all. I still was not satisfied with myself. It was like I needed to feel the pain. One day I decided that I was not feeling the effect as much so I would wear it all night while I slept. I continued to do that for three months, while I was still not feeding my body.

After not eating meat for six months, my hair started falling out. When it first started, I was only losing around 50 strands a day, which I was told was completely normal but as it continued it got worse. I was afraid to brush my hair because I got to where I was losing 300 strands a day. I was not the only one who began to notice the changes.

I remember the first time my dad felt concerned for me, we had just went out to dinner and he gave me a hug and said he could feel my bones. After that, my family started making comments about how my clothes were too big and my face was always pale. They looked at me with pity, as if I had this disease that was killing me. I knew I was not healthy, but I refused to believe that it was my eating habits. I did not want to believe that this miracle diet was actually hurting me. As time went on, I started to become so exhausted that I would come home and sleep instead of eat. I remember one time when I actually slept for over two days without eating.

My parents wanted to get me help, but I refused. In the end, I was the only one who could fix my problem. I found support from a friend who I had met at my church, and we began to go to the gym together. This was my turning point, seeing everyone around me striving to be healthy and not skinny. I began to become more educated about nutrition and changed my life. It has been a long recovery, but I have never been healthier or happier. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, but it is not a physical issue, it is a mental one. The problem was people believed this was a physical issue of mine, as if I could stop whenever I wanted to. My body image issues were something I struggled with my entire life, and it look a long time for me to learn how to be okay with me. I was my own worst critic because I never believed I was good enough.

That was the lie I told myself.


Column: Romeo Langford should go to Indiana

By JD McKay

After having Southern Indiana in the palm of Romeo Langford’s hand for the last three years, all eyes will be on him for one last night on the court that could one day bear his name. Being a Hoosier, I am hoping he goes to Indiana, but the other two schools he is looking at, Vanderbilt and Kansas, both have their upsides.

The Case for Indiana

The reason for Langford to go to Indiana is simple. He would go to IU to stay in state, and possibly become one of the most loved athletes in Indiana.

The reason to not go is almost as simple, 16-15 overall, 1-2 vs rivals, and no postseason.

The Case for Kansas

Kansas is the most consistent team he is looking at. They have not had a losing season since 1983, and have won the regular season conference championship every year since 2004. Plus, Kansas seems to consistently go deep into the NCAA tournament and has a top 5 recruiting class.

The only reason to not go it because it is far from home, and playing that far from where he played high school seems wrong.

The Case for Vandy

Vandy is the best academic school on this list. If Langford wants to stay for four years, Vandy is the best choice. Vandy also has two five-star recruits.

Vandy was worse than Indiana last season, finishing with a record of 12-20. Plus, they have never had a one-and-done player.

Langford’s announcement is scheduled for April 30, at 7 p.m.

Column: How to fix the NBA Playoffs

By JD McKay

The NBA playoffs started last Saturday, April 14, and will not end until the first week of June. As a reference, in that time period the New York Yankees will have played just over a quarter of their games. Plus, we all have a pretty good idea of what is coming. Warriors vs Cavs part IX.

That predictability is the reason I will not be tuning in until Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The NBA needs to take a page out of the NCAA’s March Madness when it comes to people being interested. That tournament is the only time of year when non-sports fans and sports fans come together to see if the Cinderellas can do the impossible or tune in to see if a 16 seed can beat the 1 seed.

The NBA does not need to go to one-game playoffs, but four best-of-seven series is too much. They should start the first round with a best-of-three series. That could give the underdogs a chance to beat the super teams they have to play in the first round. Then go to a five-game series, followed by the seven-game conference finals and seven-game NBA Finals.

While we are talking about the playoffs, I thought I would tell you what is going to happen. I think the Eastern Conference Finals will see the Milwaukee Bucks losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the West will have the Oklahoma City Thunder losing to the Golden State Warriors.

The Finals will be less interesting than last year. The Warriors will sweep the Cavs, and a few weeks later Lebron James will join the snake Kevin Durant and the Warriors.

Just kidding.


Column: The Yankees will win World Series

By JD McKay

The 162-game marathon is on and being a Yankees fan, I am excited to see The Giancarlos Stanton and Aaron Judge Show dominate baseball. But, as it is for most Americans, my excitement will wear down and I will be looking forward to the playoffs and All-Star break. So while excitement is still up for the season, I will tell you what will happen.

I expect some typical performances from teams. The Reds will finish last in their division, the Nationals will choke in the playoffs, and the Dodgers will find some other pitcher to go with Clayton Kershaw and have the best staff in baseball.

Now, for a few bold predictions. The Minnesota Twins will play in the ALCS. They had a surprisingly good season last year, and I expect them to build on their success. The Reds will lose 95 games, but Joey Votto will win NL MVP. He is one of the best hitters I will ever see. He consistently hits 320 and gets on base 45 percent of the time. Lastly, Shohei Ohtani will be overhyped and after the season be viewed as a bust. He is a rookie who has played in Japan for five years and finally took his talents to the MLB, but the MLB is not the Nippon Pro Baseball League, so it will take more than just one year to adjust to the MLB.

On to playoff predictions. The wildcard games will see the Red Sox beating the Blue Jays, and the Cardinals beating the Mets.

The Divisional Series will have the Yankees beating the Red Sox. Twins beating the Astros. Cubs beating the Cardinals and the Dodgers beating the Nationals.

The NLCS will have the Cubs playing the Dodgers for the second straight year, but with different results. The Cubs will beat the Dodgers to go to the World Series again.

The ALCS will have the Yankees playing the Twins and just like last year’s American League wildcard game, the Yankees will need to come back from a deficit but will end up winning the series.

The World Series will see two opposite teams playing each other. One team that has won 27 World Series and is hated by most Americans, pitted against The Lovable Losers, who won their third World Series over 100 years after their second championship. However, I will be one of the few people in Southern Indiana excited about the outcome of the series, as the Yankees will take World Series number 28 in Wrigley, almost 220 days since the Opening Day.