Writer lives for summer sports

“Peanuts! Come get your peanuts!” is music to my ears as I sit at the baseball stadium on a warm summer’s night.

The smell of popcorn and hot dogs fill the air while I hear the crack of the bat as it hits the ball down the third baseline. I’m surrounded by friends and family who have the vocabulary that comes with the sport, and there is the occasional crazy drunk man who sits a few rows in front of us and entertains us with his outrageous comments.

I would be more than happy to spend the rest of my life at the ball field. Some may say the sport can be slow, but the environment itself is worth the attendance. I have two brothers and a father who have all played the game since I could remember. I could even consider myself being raised behind the diamond, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All right, enough of my blabber jabber about the “feel” of baseball. The thing I don’t understand is how people can call it a “slow” game.

You tell me the next time you’re up to the plate, and you hit a 100 mph fast ball over the left field fence.

Yeah, right. If that ain’t fast, I don’t know what is. The talent and skill needed to play the game is at a level not many can handle.

On the defensive end, imagine being in the outfield and the ball comes soaring through the air in your general area. You have to time the ball and estimate where it could land and then sprint as fast as you can to get to that exact spot. If your timing isn’t on, you lay out and slide on the ground with your arm stretched to its full length and grass fills your mouth.

Amazing, I say. Amazing.

Another sport I could consider amazing is one most people look down upon: soccer. That sport takes some major skill.

Playing basketball, you run and use your hands to control the ball. Playing volleyball, you can squat, dive and jump, but you use your arms to dig, pancake and spike the ball. Players are obviously not able to use their hands in soccer, and that is incredibly hard. Let’s go outside and run, kick and control the ball while the other team trips, kicks and tackles us to the ground.

Holy cow. I get exhausted just thinking about it.

A lot of fan conflict in this sport comes from the lack of goals and the low-scoring games. Considering what I said before, it’s understandable why it is so difficult to do so.

When you think about sports like football, you see higher scoring games. If you really think about it, each team only crosses the goal line a few times a game—the touchdowns are just worth more. So if football’s touchdowns only valued one point, people wouldn’t like it just like they don’t like soccer? 

NASCAR is another sport where the environment has a big play in the fan base.

When I hear about being at a NASCAR race, I always hear about how people camped out in the parking lot for days watching every race. People are having barbecues and sitting in their lawn chairs enjoying the sound of the cars wizzing by. You can’t tell me that doesn’t sound nice.

There are many movies that have fast cars supplying the entertainment: “The Fast and the Furious,” there’s six of those with a seventh on its way; “Cars,” which is a 117-minute movie about cartoon cars and NASCAR races; and “Gone in 60 Seconds.” If the human race can sit in a theater for hours and watch films on fast cars, why can’t we go out and enjoy the real thing? 

Summer is a time to enjoy these things. Now stop fussing, pull up a chair, relax and watch the game.

Dancers put best feet forward for Spring Dance Concert

Challenging himself physically and mentally has brought Khalob Spotten into the world of dance.

Spotten, a freshman pre-engineering major from St. George, is a scholarship dancer for the Dixie State University Dance Company.

Spotten began ballroom dancing at fifteen and continued the interest into college, enrolling in one of DSU’s ballroom dancing classes. His instructor encouraged him to speak to Li Lei, the director of the company and a dance professor. This led to an audition, which then led to his place on the team. 

He is currently enrolled in several technique classes: modern, jazz and ballroom, though his favorite dance genre is ballet.

“I really enjoy ballet because it takes a lot of strength, technique and coordination to execute ballet dances well and to fit with the style of the dance,” he said.

One of Spotten’s favorite elements of dance is partnering.

“I really appreciate, enjoy and put a lot of thought toward aspects of partnering and the dynamic of partner dancing between a man and a woman,” he said.

Spotten also said he has begun exploring improvisation in dance, and the subsequent freedom improv can provide.

“I enjoy feeling the music and getting rid of any social faux pas or inhibitions you have of what’s socially acceptable and doing what the music inspires you to do,” Spotten said.

However, Spotten is not without his challenges. Spotten said many of his fellow teammates began dancing as young as three and, as a result, are more used to the rough-and-tumble side of dance.

“They have calloused bodies, and it’s second nature to them,” he said. “Sometimes I’m not as resilient to injuries.”

For Spotten, though, challenging himself is one of his main motivators in all areas of life. For instance, Spotten learned how to ride a unicycle, which will be featured in one of his dances.

“I look for things that prove to be mentally and physically challenging and that are going to stretch me,” he said. “Unicycling is a good thing in that respect.”

Spotten said such challenges can be tasking, but by managing his time wisely and devoting his time to his love for dance leaves him up for them.

“I feel it’s important to push yourself and to try things that are unfamiliar, and that’s what life has been for me this past year,” he said. “It improves every area—mentally, academically, socially—when you’re able to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone. “

A fellow dancer, Kandalyn Russel, a freshman communication major from Salem, said Spotten’s  dedication and positive attitude always comes through.

“He is super dedicated,” Russel said. “He’s always here early and always stays late to pratice. He’s constantly working to make himself better.”

Spotten said his dance instructors have helped fuel his love for dance, particularly Lei.

“She is so influential to me, personally,” he said. “For her, it’s not just about dance, but it’s about character and developing well-rounded human beings, not just well-rounded dancers.”

Because of his opportunity to work with professionals and fellow dance lovers, Spotten is able to continually push himself as far as he can go.

“Just do everything to the fullest because that’s what it takes with anything,” he said. “If you want to do something, do it all the way.”

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Obama’s sequester helps him in long run

Like it or not, the sequester is upon us and government spending needs to be cut, but the president may have alternative motives than just reducing the budget’s deficit.

Politics is a baffling profession that continues to annoy me—even though it is necessary. On occasion, politicians play with money, programs, initiatives and bills to promote a hidden agenda, at the cost of the general public.   

Obama’s actions have proven to me there are more objectives to this sequester than meets the eye: political seats and legislative power. Let me explain my far right thinking before I give some examples.

Obama’s administration blames everything but itself for the problems this country is enduring. Many of Obama’s initiatives and bills have been shut down or are currently held up because the U.S Senate and House of Representatives have a hard time agreeing on legislation.

This is due to the different parties that control the legislature. Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives by 32 seats, and the Democrats have a majority in the Senate by eight seats. Imagine what laws Obama’s administration could pass if both the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats.

Obama could be playing his cards to accomplish just that. The plan is to make cuts to areas that affect key voters and then blame the Republicans.  Just look at a few examples of recent cuts.  

Remember, Obama just used more than $900,000 of our taxes to fund his gaudy and luxurious golf tour.

The administration admitted to releasing more than 2,000 illegal immigrants in February and more than 3,000 in March. According to the administration, this was due to budgetary reasons. Minorities continue to be one the most pivotal groups of people in national elections.

According to elections exit polls, Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in the 2012 election, so he needs to keep improving this number. 

The administration also proposed cutting tuition assistance funding to individuals serving in the military, but Democrats in the Senate saved the day by providing a plan to keep the tuition assistance. According to an Oct. 2, 2012, article published in U.S. News by Elizabeth Flock, the military vote numbers in the 2012 presidential election were the least in the past decades.

The Obama administration could gain a significant advantage in voting if it was able to tap into the military votes.    

Another two cuts are easily visible for the purpose of dramatic effect by the administration. The funding for White House tours has been cut, and funding for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll has been threatened. How much can these programs cost? Certainly an egg hunt doesn’t cost more than $900,000. It’s just another targeting stunt and a way to threaten.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said it best in a Fox News interview on March 6. He said the administration is using the sequester to inflict “maximum pain for political gain.”

In this same interview, Fox News reporter Laura Ingraham quoted an email sent from the United States Department of Agriculture’s budgeting office to an agency region director who had a question about how much latitude he had in making cuts. The email response he got read, “However you manage the reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact will be.”

What sort of impact could this possibly be referring to, and why be so vague about this impact? People use ambiguous wording to hide or mislead those who are not in connection to the referred information. Something sketchy has to be attached to such vague wording.

As I keep researching the Obama administration’s funding cut decisions and details, it becomes more clear there are alternative motives to the madness. Why else would he continue to make long campaign trips? Obama strives at all cost to gain more voters so the Democratic party can win the U.S. Senate in 2014. This would allow him to pass more of his agenda-filled legislation.

Gas tax will hurt more than it helps

Buying gasoline is a part of an average Americans’ life. 

The average American pays $3.68 for a gallon of gas, according to AAA. Gas prices could be increasing more as there is talk of a new gas tax to be passed by Congress. 

At first, only a one percent increase would be added to every gallon that would be purchased, which would only be 3.9 cents more per gallon. However, by the year 2015, the tax would be raised to two percent, causing prices to go up to 6.8 cents a gallon.

The U.S. government would raise the tax, and then the state governments would have the option to raise their state gas tax as well. 

The money collected by the new gas tax would go toward The Highway Trust Fund, which uses taxes to improve highway conditions and pay for construction. 

While our roads need all the help they can get, the American people cannot afford this new tax.

Speaking as a college student who has to pay tuition and other expenses, gas is pricey as it is. I also live 15 miles away from the campus, so my gas does not last long.

If the price is raised, I would have to stop doing extracurricular activities that are farther away from my house because I could not afford the gas.

Some feel that the new tax will encourage drivers to be more eco-friendly. In a 2012 article on Forbes.com titled “Should We Raise The Gas Tax?,” written by Michael Kanellos, “Fuel taxes will also encourage consumers to buy efficient cars. Carpooling, which could cut traffic, could become more popular.”

While this might work in big cities, it would be hard for towns the size of St. George. We do not have public transportation systems that can take residents where they need to go. Car pooling could be a possibility, but you are restricted with the activities you may want to do after work.

The new gas tax might help with the highways in our country, but Americans will not be able to afford to drive on them.

You can go to utah.gov/house2/representatives to find your local representative and ask them to keep the gas tax the way it is now.

Tech Sassy: Internet radio not confined to Pandora

The Internet is at it again, trying to make us pay for our music, but don’t worry; there is a way around it.

Rumors have been buzzing on sites such as abclocal.go.com for the past month about Pandora Radio imposing a 40-hour monthly limit on free accounts. This was the case once before back in 2009, although this time it will only affect mobile versions, and for the average Internet radio user, it didn’t cause too much of a problem originally.

Now that phones are getting smarter and buying music is more expensive, some users are concerned about running out of plays. As one of those concerned users, I’ve started looking into other options for my Internet radio fix.

The first option I looked at is my go to on the Xbox platform, but I’d never looked at it as a mobile option. It’s called iHeartRadio, and it works very similarly to Pandora with a few added benefits.

The first obvious benefit is that there are no monthly limits. It is also nice to be able to use the same Internet radio service across all of my devices. It works with smartphones, computers, tablets, and even video game systems.

Another aspect you get from iHeartRadio that you rarely get with other options is the ability to listen to local and Satellite radio stations and make your own.

When the app is booted up, it scans for your local stations, including any other cities within range. You can also scan for cities across the country. All of the aspects of iHeartRadio make it a great alternative that won’t quit working on you 40 hours in.

While iHeartRadio is an excellent option, it can sometimes be a complicated option. A simpler option that is just as effective is Slacker Radio.

Slacker Radio allows you to create your own stations based on song or artist. Similar to Pandora, it cycles through what it considers similar artists or songs, and you can favorite or ban them on the station. Weeding through the music gives you a chance to fine-tune your station.

What I really love about Slacker is that it gives you more information related to the artist. It gives all of the same information as other sites, like the biography, song title and group members, but it also has a list of the group’s other songs, all of their albums, and bands who are similar to them in music style. 

Having access to all of that information makes it easy to explore and maybe even find new artists.

Even if you aren’t concerned about running out of play time with Pandora Radio, I’d recommend checking out the competition. Every option is going to have different bands, different songs, and of course a different layout to explore.

Burger retains original shape, image after 14 years

It’s always nice to find something lost years ago in an unexpected place, but this was not the case for a St. George man who found a burger he had purchased years ago in a coat pocket.

Dave Whipple, a sophomore general education major from St. George, purchased the hamburger for 79 cents at a McDonald’s in Logan on July 7, 1999, for an experiment on enzymes and how they work.

“I bought it to show that the bun would grow mold and thought it would be a good example of how enzymes work,” he said.

The burger proved not to be the example anticipated because the bun was hard with no mold, and the patty was petrified two weeks later. The specimen refused to spoil. The theory is that if it’s dead to begin with, there’s nothing there to perish.

After the experiment, the hamburger was put back in the sack with the receipt in David Whipple’s jacket pocket. The family then moved to St. George in 2004.

Beverlee Whipple, David Whipple’s wife, found the burger after seven years and thought it was some kind of joke.

“I asked him what I should do with it, and we agreed to set it back on the shelf in the closet,” she said.

Over time it became such a hot topic with the family they didn’t want to get rid of it.

The burger made a brief appearance on eBay Inc. when David Whipple’s daughter discovered that odd things sell for high prices. At one point the highest bid was close to $2,000, but David Whipple and his family decided not to sell because its value may be greater in educating others about fast food.

The burger is now 14 years old and has gotten a lot of attention in the last 30 days after making an appearance on “The Doctors” on The CW, which aired in March.

Possession of a burger that is older than the average teenager is novel, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that people around the world consume a significant amount of this seemingly dead food every year.

David Whipple’s family sees the burger as an opportunity to eat better, which definitely includes less fast food.

“The only time we eat fast food is if we are on a long trek and there is nothing else in sight,” Beverlee Whipple said.

David Whipple himself admitted to indulging in foods that would have been better for his health.

“Having a non-perishable fast food item sheds a lot of light on what we put in our body,” he said. “Our bodies are living organisms, and we need live food to nourish them.”

David Whipple has no intention of getting rid of his 14-year-old hamburger. In fact, he has started a collection from several other burger places, such as Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box and Arctic Circle.

David Whipple recently took the family burger on a trip to Disneyland. He introduced the burger to Mickey and Pluto.

“The burger is a member of the family now,” he said.

No one can be sure the future of the burger; however, David Whipple is eager to share it with anyone who is interested.

“I haven’t made a dime off off this guy,” he said. “I will keep it in hopes that it will have a positive impact on folks seeking better eating habits.”


Installation artists to display work in Holland Centennial Commons

Art students have been hard at work preparing installation art pieces to be displayed in the Holland Centennial Commons.

There will be four installation pieces on display in various locations in the building.

Installation art is a fairly modern form of art where pieces are created with a specific location in mind.

“Installation pretty much means that it’s meant for a specific site, and it incorporates sometimes two-dimensional and three-dimensional art forms or manipulation,” art professor Dennis Martinez said.

Martinez started teaching installation art classes this semester and decided to approach Librarian John Burns, the library liaison to the art department, about having projects created in the class to be displayed in the Holland building.

“We thought this would be helpful since this is such a public building,” Burns said. “We have a lot of traffic that comes through here.”

Not only will the location be helpful in getting exposure to students’ artwork, but the process they have to go through will benefit them as well.

Burns, with the help of Martinez, put a proposal through the HCC committee, which would identify sites where the artwork would be displayed, the amount of time it will be displayed, and address any concerns.

In order for students to display their work, they have to be approved by two committees that will review their installation pieces.

“The whole idea is obviously to help the students get a little more acclimated to how it’s going to be if they decide to create installation art,” Burns said. “Obviously they’re going to have to go through some type of a jury process and presenting stuff to galleries and rejection.”

Martinez said four installations are being created by three students per installation. Two of them are literary themed with one on the third and first floor. Two more are natural science-related with one on the fourth floor and the other on the second.

Chelsea Martinez, a freshman art major from St. George, and Ed Fox, a freshman art major from St. George, are constructing a storybook with a fairytale theme. It will be displayed on the third floor by the children’s literature section.

Chelsea Martinez said the class has given her certain skills in installation and has created the opportunity for her work to be seen by others.

“[The class] gives you the capacity to fill the space and have people talk about your work,” Chelsea Martinez said.

Fox said installation art requires visually seeing the piece in its space.

“It’s about the environment and the viewer’s reaction to the space,” Fox said. “You want to picture the art and where it’s going.”

Chelsea Martinez said the experience will benefit her in any future art endeavors.

The projects will be on display in the Holland building when they are completed. Martinez said he projects the installations to be completed on Thursday.

Not only is the student experience beneficial, but the people who come in contact with the installations will get to appreciate their unique nature.

“I really think that part of a library is not only to have great things to read but beautiful things to look at,” Burns said.

Rain leads to additional baseball games in California

After getting rained out in Hawaii, Dixie State University’s baseball team will bat two days earlier in California and take on University of Hawaii at Hilo and Azusa Pacific University.

While in Hawaii, DSU opened up with UH-Hilo. The Storm played the first two games and then the games got rained out for the next two.

“We were actually in the seventh inning of game three,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “We were winning 3-1 and a tropical monsoon hit. We are going to make those games up next week in California.”

DSU went to Honolulu to play Hawaii Pacific University to finish up the week. It dropped the first three games.

“It was 0-0 and Yuto Kata got thrown out at the plate for the third out of the inning, and that kind of swung the momentum huge to their side,” said second baseman Colton Yack, a senior communication major from South Jordan. “After that they just started rolling, and we couldn’t get anything going.”

The Storm only scored three runs combined in all three games.

“Our offense has been doing really well this year,” Pfatenhauer said. “Going into that series, we were leading the conference in hitting, but we did not manage to do very well against their pitchers.”

Pfatenhauer said during game three they got their momentum going a little bit. He said it was a tough trip with the time difference and playing eight games in six days.

UH-Hilo happens to be in California the same week as Dixie. So the Storm will be heading down two days early to fit in the last two games of that series.

Pfatenhauer said their goal is to finish with a record of 5-3 for the series in California.

Since this is the Cougar’s first year in the Pacific West Conference, this will be Dixie’s first time playing APU.

“[APU is] struggling a little bit in conference, but they have had a really good program over the years,” Pfatenhauer said.

But he said his men have a lot of motivation this season and will give this game their best.

“We had a lot of goals coming in to the season,” Pfatenhauer said. “The guys felt a little light in pre-season when they weren’t ranked higher. Then we started playing well and got up to No. 14 in the country at one point.”

But then Dixie went 3-5 over its next eight games and dropped out of the rankings.

“They understand that every weekend is important, and they understand that every weekend we are under the spotlight,” Pfatenhauer said. “So we just have to keep doing what we have done all year.” 

Pfatenhauer said earlier Dixie’s pitching wasn’t that strong, and its offense was carrying them.

“We didn’t pitch very well the first weekend [of the season], and we have just progressively got better,” said Mike Dedrick, a senior accounting major from Cedar City. “We still have work to do, but some of the guys have stepped up and thrown well. We have really improved.”

Pfatenhauer said the pitchers who are shining this season are Dedrick, senior Sam Friend and senior Austin Christiansen.

Dixie will play APU on March 29-30 at Cougar Baseball Stadium in California.

Students zero in on end of March Madness

The Big Dance, the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four. This is March Madness.

Millions of Americans devote the whole month of March to basketball, and it is no different at Dixie State University.

Dixie Sun News polled 100 students and asked who they thought would be the national champions this year, and the University of Miami received the most votes with Duke and Gonzaga close behind. 

All three teams have held the No.1 position in the rankings and have suffered losses to lower-ranking opponents. 

However, students think Miami can put past games behind it and win.

“Miami has the ACC player of the year,” said Calee Drew, a junior English major from Las Vegas. “They are in the running to win.”

While Drew said Miami can win, many students feel Duke is the future champion.

“Duke has a good coach and is experienced when it comes to March Madness,” said Marquece Galway, a junior communication major from Los Angeles.

Duke has made 37 appearances in the Big Dance and is expected to make it far every year. Duke has a storied basketball program, and students said that is why the Blue Devils always do so well in the tournament. 

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been the head coach since 1980 and helped coach nine national players of the year.

Torrey Harkness, a junior communication major from Los Angeles, said Duke is so good because prospective players know how successful they have always been and want to play for an accomplished program.

“Players want to be a part of the team,” Harkness said. “It is a tradition at Duke.”

Another popular team this year among students is the Indiana Hoosiers; the team was ranked No. 1 during the season but suffered losses to unranked opponents, which dropped them from the top spot.

However, Nathan Porter, a junior communication major from Riverdale, said Indiana is the team that will win it all. 

“They have been the most consistent out of everyone,” Porter said. “They don’t have many off nights.” 

The current season has provided basketball fans with many upsets, and more are expected to happen during the tournament. With every first-ranked team suffering loses to lower-ranked opponents, the door for the championship is left wide open.

Galway said lower-ranked teams like Arizona could make it to the Final Four and upset some major players along the way.

“Arizona is a good team,” Galway said. “They are underrated.”

Galway said Arizona has a fast offense that will be able to keep up with any high-ranking opponent, and its defense can block shots under the rim.

No matter what team wins, students have strict traditions that must be kept during March Madness. Whether it is filling out six brackets or devoting a whole day to watching basketball, students stay true to the sport.

“My family fills out brackets and then we have a competition to see who had the most right,” Porter said.

Students are excited for the tournament and will have their eyes glued to the television to see who pulls out the victory.