Is the dress white and gold or black and blue? Rise of social media to blame for string of viral hits

Many debate the color of the original dress, seen in the center.
Many debate the color of the original dress, seen in the center.

By Ellie Schuckman
Opinions Editor

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the dress. That’s right, the infamous picture causing friendships to be ruined and people to question their own eyesight. But how has one picture of a hideous dress managed to spread around the world?

Social media.

On Thursday, Feb. 26, the world was suddenly divided. Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YikYak and Youtube became plastered with debates about the true color of a dress — some saw white and gold while others saw blue and black.

Walking into Eickhoff Hall was like stepping into a war zone — the heated arguments from each table rang with screams of “white and gold” vs. “blue and black.” In the past week alone, reports have surfaced regarding the picture’s origin, simply causing more debate.

The picture was first posted on Tumblr by Caitlin McNeill, a 21- year-old from Scotland, according to businessinsider.com. She explained that the dress, which is blue and black, was worn to a friend’s wedding by the mother of the bride. Debates about the color first began when the now famous photo was sent to the bride.

“When my friend showed the dress to her fiancé, they disagreed on the color,” McNeill said in the same article. “All of our friends disagreed.”

The picture was then posted on Facebook and Tumblr, where others began to comment about the color. It didn’t take long before it took off virally. 

People the world over are now obsessed with the dress, prompting psychological analyses and coverage in top-tier publications like the New York Times. But the dress obsession has highlighted an underlying issue — the fragile influence of social media.

In the past few years, we have seen a drastic rise in the amount of people tweeting and posting to other media outlets. All that it takes is one picture to get a few retweets, and suddenly it’s a viral hit. However, there is a thin line between virtual obsessions and reality.

According to Forbes.com, Internet Use Disorder may soon be listed as an actual mental health disorder. Psychologists at the University of Albany have recently found that social media itself is not only addictive, but those who use it excessively may be at a higher risk for substance abuse, according to a Huffington Post article from December 2014.

Now, that’s not saying that a picture of a lousy dress is going to cause a rise in hard-drug use. It’s simply the principle of the matter.

As a society, we are addicted to social media and often latch onto new ‘stories,’ yet we rarely see the harmful side effects of overusing technology. Of course, there are benefits of news being delivered within a moments notice via Twitter, but people must also realize that constantly having their faces locked onto screens is unhealthy to say the least.

It is mind-numbing how a picture originally posted on Facebook not only spread within a week around the globe, but also caused such uproar and heated arguments between friends — all regarding what color each individual saw.

Scientists have even stepped forward offering their opinions on the apparent color differences seen by many. According to USA Today, those who see blue and black are seeing the photo as overexposed, while those who see white and gold view it as underexposed.

“Color is our perception — our interpretation of the light that’s in the world,” said Arthur Shapiro, a professor at American University who specializes in visual perception, in a USA Today article.

No matter what color the dress truly is, the fact that it spread so far so quickly and caused such fierce debates, is proof of the power of social media. 

While there are definite upsides to social media, the negative effects must be addressed, so individuals can be wary of their use.

Social media has drastically become an obsession, an outlet highlighting the often blurred line of virtual worlds and reality.

ISIS claims responsibility for museum attack in Tunis

By Candace Kellner
Staff Writer 

ISIS claimed responsibility after the mass shooting that reportedly claimed 23 lives on Wednesday, March 18, at the Bardo Museum in the heart of Tunis’s capital.

The terrorist group posted an audio statement online that identified the attackers as Abu Zakariya al-Tunisi and Abu Anas al-Tunisi. According to CNN, ISIS said the two men used “automatic weapons and hand grenades” to kill and injure what they called “crusaders and apostates” in the museum.

Gunmen attack the museum with assault rifles (AP Photo).
Gunmen attack the museum with assault rifles (AP Photo).

The ISIS message also warned that this shooting was “just the start.” CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the audio statement. A U.S. official told CNNthat there is no reason to doubt the legitimacy claim. American officials are currently checking the platform that the statement went out on to see if it is linked to ISIS.

In a statement, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebei said that authorities have already arrested nine people they believe were involved in the attack, including four people who were directly linked to the massacre. According to CNN, the Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid identified two suspects in a radio interview as Yassine Labidi and Saber Khachnaou. Labidi, in particular, was “known to the security services … flagged and monitored,” Essid said.

While the attack occurred in Tunisia, a majority of the victims were foreigners that came from various backgrounds. Many were tourists who were visiting the Bardo came from cruise ships that had been docked in Tunis. The cruise ship companies told CNN that the casualties included people from all parts of the world three Italian and three Japanese citizens. Only three of the victims were Tunisian, according to Aidi. Another 36 people remain hospitalized and an additional eight people have been released.

Tunisian lawmaker Sabrine Ghoubantini told CNN that she is concerned that the terrorism will start impacting the state’s income.

“It’s really sad, and I hope it won’t really affect our economy,” Ghoubantini said.

Another parliamentarian, Mehrezia Labidi, believes that the message must get across to the jihadists that “life in democracy is better than” what terrorist recruiters are telling them.

“We really have to work on the culture, the level of ideas” Labidi said.

However, despite the discord, the Tunisians are unified.

“They are trying to terrify us. But the whole Tunisian people is unified — all the parties, all the civil society organizations, all the countries are unified,” Ghoubantini said.

A ‘Joyride’ for punks — Transit revisits the Rat

By Kris Alvarez

Staff Writer

On Friday, March 13, the Rathskeller buzzed with swarms of fans eagerly awaiting the return of Transit, a four-piece alternative/pop-punk ensemble from Boston. New Jersey’s own Cross Town Train, along with Rat veterans Save Face, accompanied the headliner and helped amplify the rowdy atmosphere of the overall performances.

Boynton of Transit crowd surfs during an engaging show. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Boynton of Transit crowd surfs during an engaging show. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

Transit fans tend to bring a significant amount of liveliness to the table when it comes to being an active audience. As anticipated, the pace of the night’s show remained consistent throughout, from the crowd pushing front stage for the microphone to Transit frontman Joe Boynton stage diving into the open arms of the audience mid-song.

“Seeing a band like Transit in an up-close and personal venue like the Rat is always exciting,” junior marketing major Mike Smeaton said. “When people can get that close and energized, it really brings out the best in the show.”

Most of Transit’s set featured fresh tracks such as “The Only One” and “Too Little, Too Late,” but the band did not shy away from showcasing some of their senior material like “Skipping Stone” and “Long Lost Friends” from their album “Listen & Forgive.” The band also played “Nothing Lasts Forever” from their previous full-length “Young New England.”

Since the band’s previous show at the Rathskeller last winter, where they performed an all-acoustic set, Transit has put out their fifth studio LP  “Joyride” off Rise Records. The October 2014 release features the single “Rest To Get Better,” which the band put out a music video for on in September of the same year.

“I think (the Rat) has a lot going on,” Boynton said. “It’s just as fun as it’s ever been. The magic’s still there.”

Prior to Transit’s set, local punk outfit Save Face played a similarly eclectic collection of songs for fans both new and old. Pieces from the band’s preceding EP, “I Won’t Let This Take My Life,” encompassed much of Save Face’s set, with the exception of “Dog Years,” off their split EP with Brightener and a cover of “Gut Rot” by Such Gold.

Save Face plays to a packed audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Save Face plays to a packed audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

Save Face is made up entirely of students at the College and has opened for bands like Transit, Major League and Such Gold at the Rat in previous years. The group is in the process of recording new music and is looking to go back on tour this summer.

“We are so grateful for all of these opportunities,” said Tyler Cranden, guitarist of Save Face and senior marketing major at the College. “I honestly never thought I’d ever be on the same stage as these bands. These shows are so helpful for smaller name bands like ourselves because they help bring out new, first-time listeners that otherwise would have never heard of us.”

Being their first show in four months, members of Cross Town Train brought plenty of energy on stage to make up for lost time. Their set included several new tracks to be featured off the band’s next studio release, which they have recently started recording.

After this semester, the Rat’s reign as a haven for musical pandemonium will come to an end due to the Brower Student Center renovations. However, it’s safe to say that Transit and the band’s two openers have created yet another lasting memory for students to remember the venue by.

Mock lectures on her personal life and transgender history.  (Jonathan Edmondson / Arts & Entertainment Editor)

Mock advocates for trans-rights

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

For most students, Thursday, March 12, was a pretty normal day. It included studying for midterms and packing for home, all the while anxiously awaiting the moment they could finally begin their respite from the College for a few days.

Others, however, had coffee with the New York Times bestselling author and transgender rights activist Janet Mock.

Mock lectures on her personal life and transgender history.  (Jonathan Edmondson / Arts & Entertainment Editor)
Mock lectures on her personal life and transgender history. (Jonathan Edmondson / Arts & Entertainment Editor)

Mock, who visited the  campus to give a lecture in Kendall Hall, met with students and faculty in the Biology Building Lounge prior to the event for a series of intimate conversations.

Donning stiletto heels and a trendy outfit, Mock walked into the room and was greeted with enthusiasm and smiles by inspired students clutching her book to their chests.

In February of 2014, Mock published her memoir, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.” Many professors in the Women’s and Gender Studies department assigned Mock’s book to their syllabi this semester — a decision that was met with positive acclaim. Students were eager for the chance to talk to Mock one-on-one, including members of PRISM, who co-sponsored the event.

Later in the evening, Mock took the stage in Kendall Hall and was met with thunderous applause.

“Thanks for putting me ahead of ‘Shondaland,’” Mock laughed, referring to the Thursday night block of television that students were missing to see her lecture.

Mock’s lecture, “Our Bodies, Our Lives: Trans Women’s Legacy at the Intersections,” focused on Mock’s life and included a brief history of transgender rights activism.

Growing up in Hawaii, Mock faced conflicts with her community and family when she embraced her gender identity.

“It became a constant battle. It was something that went on from 11 years old until I was 16 or 17,” Mock explained in a private interview with The Signal before the lecture.

Yet the struggles she faced did not stop her from having success in her personal and professional life. Mock attended The University of Hawaii for journalism and later continued her studies at New York University.

“I think journalism became the track that I chose because it was a practical way to work as a writer,” Mock said. “I got internships at magazines that I read growing up and I guess People Magazine was my first major job, and I was there for a bit over five years working as a staff editor.”

While Mock enjoyed her time working for the magazine, she longed for something more substantial — a desire that led her to tell her own story.

In 2011, Mock came out publicly in an issue of Marie Claire magazine, which served as one of the her first major steps to becoming a transgender activist.

“Everyone that I loved in my own personal life knew my story, so I felt safe there … The next level was more of a political level,” Mock said. “Having worked in media so long, I never saw a story that represented me, that felt like me, and this was probably what also led me to writing my book. But it was Toni Morrison who said that ‘If there’s a story or book that you have never been able to read, then you should go out and write it.’”

Mock further explained that she wanted to publish her story specifically in Marie Claire because it is one of the smartest womens magazines on the market.

“I felt it was important that a transwoman takes up space as part of womanhood in a magazine that is for women, so that was vital to me. It was kind of the first step in me then being able to write my own story on my own terms in the memoir,” Mock said. “Journalism gave me really unique tools to make complicated concepts or life experiences accessible to people who may not have lived those same life experiences. My training as a journalist really helped me tell my story in a way that almost anyone who could read English could get.”

Publication of her wildly popular memoir was a catalyst for Mock’s success as both a writer and a trans-activist. After publication, Mock accepted a position as contributing editor for Marie Claire magazine. She also hosts a weekly culture show on MSNBC called “So POPular,” and is a correspondent for “Entertainment  Tonight.” She has been featured in many publications, including being named one of the “12 new faces of black leadership” in Time magazine.

Yet even Mock admits that her success has been “exceptional” and outside the norm for most transgender individuals. This is why she continues to tour the country, speaking at universities in hopes to educate, spread awareness and give advice to anyone grappling with gender or sexual identity.

“My biggest piece of advice would be that nothing is wrong with you, that your experience of self, identity and community is valid and that you should surround yourself with people who validate you and affirm you,” Mock said.

After hearing Mock’s journey, it’s clear that she is living a happy and fulfilling life, and hopes for the same for those around the world.

“We need more spaces of affirmation — building that communal support and care that you need, whether it’s through friends, a GSA group or great teachers and counselors who kind of ‘get it,’” Mock said.

“I think that’s what we need more of — people who kind of ‘get it.’”

Contemporary ‘Cinderella’ film fuels feminism

By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
Review Editor

The stars of the new “Cinderella” movie are no strangers to breathtaking sights and settings. Lily James (Cinderella) stars in “Downton Abbey” where the vintage set and costumes are praised, while Richard Madden (Prince Charming) is known for his role in “Game of Thrones,” a show that lacks anything but eccentric settings. It is no surprise then that Disney and director Kenneth Branagh continued the recent trend of bold color schemes and elaborate designs in their latest fairy tale come to life.

Set in England, Cinderella’s family home is filled with wild energy and covered wall to wall with different belongings and trinkets from around the world that starkly contrasted the uptight and well-kept palace of the Prince. The film itself was more focused on contrasts than any other element. And of course, no fairy tale is complete without the contrast of the hero and the villain — in this case the innocent Cinderella against her evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett). Both leading ladies were featured in stunning costumes designed by Academy Award winner Sandy Powell. Playing up Lady Tremaine as more fierce than evil, Powell dressed her in late 19th century-inspired fashion that included bright green and cheetah fabrics that exaggerated her matching red hair and lipstick featured in every scene. Whereas the simple Cinderella, known for kindness rather than her beauty, wore rags in her hair to highlight that beauty really does radiate from inside rather than out.

Keeping with costumes, the most important element to Cinderella, of course, is her ball gown and glass slippers. Bringing them to screen was none other than Helena Bonham Carter as The Fairy Godmother, sporting her own frilly white dress. Although missing the song “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” the simply dreamlike, blue dress was reimagined from its animated original, with added butterfly details to both the dress and the slippers. The dress encapsulated the magic that made the original idea of Cinderella so timeless.

In fact, most of the movie felt ambiguous in relation to time period and development. This, in turn, gave it a timeless feel that Disney loves to capture, sending a bigger message than just the fluff of costumes and true love.  Cinderella’s stepsisters wore big, bright mismatched outfits that reflected their equally big personalities. Despite what was supposed to be considered outer beauty, their mother knew that marrying them off for either love or advantage would be a challenge. Cinderella, on the other hand, had no costume to hide behind. She only had her courage and her kindness to guide her in her challenging life that included an abusive stepmother and a bleak future.

Brilliant costume and set designs add magic to ‘Cinderella.’  (AP Photo)
Brilliant costume and set designs add magic to ‘Cinderella.’ (AP Photo)

With an entire movie that seemed to be focused on costumes, the focus on Cinderella’s honesty makes her an endearing and relatable character for the audience. She contrasted every other character on the screen, making her identifiable, as Disney reminded the audience that, though everyone feels alone at some point, courage and kindness can help us find our way.

James added an element to the film that I was not expecting from traditional Disney. Although the company has been trying to rebrand the princess image with hits such as “Frozen,” I was pleasantly surprised about how they went about the often thought as weak and damsel in distress character of Cinderella. I, myself, always saw Cinderella as a hard worker and someone I could look up to, though it was more common to see her as a maiden waiting for a man to save her. James didn’t portray a Cinderella looking for a prince to save her. Rather, she played Cinderella as a young girl searching for her own happiness on her own terms. After meeting “Kit,” Prince Charming, in the woods she is not concerned over his status or wealth, but rather how she felt happy around him. This updated Cinderella showed that standing up for yourself is the key to unlocking happiness, and romance is something that can compliment that happiness without being the be all and end all for a girl’s life.

In fact, Cinderella never asked for a savior, she asked for equality. Essentially, Disney wrote what might be considered their first feminist character. This is especially shown through the lack of depth in the character of Prince Charming. Madden was given little to work with in terms of dialogue because the focus wasn’t on his journey — it was on his transition from boyhood to manhood that was ignited by Cinderella. Although it is still a treat to see Madden sporting a sword and royal garb, it was his humility that brought his character to life. Madden and James made magic come to life by demonstrating that being yourself is the best self you can be.

Kenneth Branagh took a 1697 fairytale best known for its outdated, 1950 animated adaptation and completely updated the tale. Staying true to the heart of the film while ditching the original message — “a dream is a wish your heart makes” — Branagh and the cast gave a performance that praised hard work, dedication and staying true to oneself.

Woodley leads ‘Insurgent’ with fierce prowess

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

There’s something strangely intriguing about the world of the “Divergent” series. It’s set way in the future, and the only place left in America is Chicago. The crumbling city is surrounded by a giant wall, and inside lives the only remaining citizens on Earth. They survive by living by a new set of government — one that divides its denizens into five factions. There’s Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite and Dauntless. Citizens are born into the faction that their parents live in, and when they come of age, they take a test that will place them in their “true” faction. It’s up to them whether they stick with their old faction or pick the new one.

The point of this system? Each faction is responsible for a part the success of the city (Amity deals with crops, Candor runs the judicial system, etc.). In theory, this actually seems like something that could work. And it would — if it weren’t for Tris and the rest of the Divergents.

‘Insurgent’ features a diverse cast of interesting characters.  (AP Photo)
‘Insurgent’ features a diverse cast of interesting characters. (AP Photo)

It should come as little surprise that, of course, our heroine is “different.” She is a Divergent — she does not fit into any of the factions. Rather, all of the factions apply to her in some way. But by the time “Insurgent” starts, we already know all of this. Tris (played by the always impressive Shailene Woodley — more on her later) and her lover, Four (a strong Theo James), are on the run from Erudite, who is trying to take over the city.

The Erudite leader, Jeanine (a wickedly icy Kate Winslet), wants to rid the place of Divergents and keep the peace the best way she knows how.

Of course, our heroes can’t let her get away with this. So they develop a plan, join with the Factionless (those who were rejected or chose to leave their original faction) and set out to kill Jeanine, or at least stop her plan.

If the plotline sounds cliché, it’s because it is. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Girl falls for guy. Guy and girl team up to save the world. Girl gets captured. Girl gets away. Girl is extraordinary … you know the rest.

Yet, despite this, “Insurgent” is a drastic improvement over the original “Divergent” film. Stuffed with action-packed sequences and quips of witty dialogue scenes, “Insurgent” rumbles on like a freight train.

The film, based on the book of the same name by Veronica Roth, does not waste time recapping what was previously explained in exhaustive length in the first installment. Instead, audiences follow Tris and Four on their epic adventure. The storyline may scream cliché, but expert acting from a young cast and careful direction gives a fresh spin on an old plot.

Plus, there’s no denying that the world Roth has created is utterly unique. Sure, it may sometimes march to the same beat as “The Hunger Games” or “The Maze Runner” series, but “Insurgent” has enough originality to make it feel fresh. Tris is not as whiny as Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss, and there’s no unnecessary love triangle to deal with. Tris and Four are in love, and there’s no doubt about that.

Luckily for viewers, the film focuses more on the action than the romance anyway. Tris isn’t dependent on her man for self-satisfaction or verification. She’s one of the strongest female characters in the young adult world, and that’s thanks in part to Woodley’s focused and dynamic performance.

By the end of the film, the world of the “Divergent” series has taken a dramatic turn. For those who haven’t already read the books, it’s unclear where the story could go next.

But as long as Woodley’s on board, I’ll follow the series anywhere.

Lacrosse drops in rankings

By Anthony Caruso
Staff Writer

Borup leads the Lions in goals this season. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Borup leads the Lions in goals this season. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

The College’s women’s lacrosse team is .500 in their last four games, having rotated wins and losses during this time.

On Tuesday, March 10, they were able to defeat Cabrini College, 16-6, at Lions Stadium. They scored seven goals in the first half and nine in the second. Cabrini was able to score three goals in each half.

Senior Kendal Borup led the Lions with six goals while her teammate, junior Courtney Natalicchio, had three. Seniors Ava Fitzgerald and Erin Healy and sophomore Mia Blackman each chipped in two goals each.

Cabrini was led by Lacie Doubet and Bree Thompson, who scored two goals each.

Sophomore goaltender Kelly Schlupp made three wins while picking up her second win of the season. Cabrini’s Megan Barlow made five saves in the loss.

The Lions lost their first game of the season on Saturday, March 14, against Messiah College. They mounted a huge second half comeback but fell one goal short, losing 12-11 in Grantham, Pa.

The College scored four first-half goals and seven in the second half. Messiah had eight in the first and just four in the second.

Borup once again led the Lions in goals, this game with four. Natalicchio and Fitzgerald added three each, and sophomore Nina Costantino scored, as well.

Messiah goalie Alexa Dipeso had 13 saves and picked up the win. Schlep had seven saves in the loss.

Then, the College rolled past Rutgers-Camden, 17-1, on Tuesday, March 17, at the RUC Community Park in Camden, N.J. The Lions had 11 goals in the first half and six in the second.

The Scarlet Raptors were held to just one goal in the first half. Borup had four goals in this game for the Lions. Fitzgerald, Blackman and freshman Amanda Muller scored three goals each.

Costantino scored twice, while Healy and sophomore Ana Baranowski added solo goals.

Schlupp picked up the win and made one save before being replaced by freshman Christina Fabiano at 44:09.

In their most recent game, the Lions lost to Gettysburg College, 13-12, in Gettysburg, Pa., on Thursday, March 19.

Gettysburg jumped out to a 9-4 lead at halftime. Then, the Lions outscored them 7-2 in the second half to tie the game at 11-11 to go into the extra session.

The game went into overtime as Gettysburg scored two goals in OT while the Lions scored once.

Borup recorded five goals for the visitors while Natalicchio added four more. Fitzgerald added two goals, and Muller added one more.

Shannon Keeler had six saves and picked up the win. Schlupp dropped her second game while making four saves.

Randolph helps the team finish seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Track and Field compete at Championships

By George Tatoris
Staff Writer

Randolph helps the team finish seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Randolph helps the team finish seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

The track team sent six athletes down south to North Carolina to compete in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, March 13, to Saturday, March 14, the second largest group that Head Coach Justin Lindsey has seen in his time working for the College.

The women’s relay team finished seventh with a time of 3:53.29, a second faster than their seed time. The effort earned the team All-American honors.

For the relay team, comprised of seniors Joy Spriggs, Michelle Cascio and Katelyn Ary, junior Kristen Randolph and freshman Emily Mead as an alternate, this achievement is the apogee of an already exceptional indoor season. Randolph, who ran the third leg of the race, attributed the success to the focus and determination of the team.

“The four of us truly had our eyes on achieving this since the start of our training in the fall, which certainly kept us focused on the goal through the ups and downs of the season,” Randolph said.

She also mentioned the “strong connection” between the team’s members.

“Most of all we believed in ourselves and weren’t intimidated by the level of competition,” Randolph said.

And what a competition it was. Spriggs was cut off as she was handing the baton to Cascio during her leg of the race — the first — by a runner from Washington University, resulting in the disqualification of that school.

“I was very upset, but in the end, we became All-Americans,” Spriggs said.

Spriggs also finished 16th with a time of 60.84 seconds in the 400-meter event. Spriggs concedes that this was not her best time, but also knew it would be a tough race because she was coming off of an injury.

“I was honestly just happy that I made it into the 400,” Spriggs said.

Ary also ran in her own event, the 800-meters. She finished 13th with a time of 2:14.94. Ary may have been disappointed by her performance, stating that she did not do “as well as (she) hoped,” but she remained ecstatic over her team’s performance in the relay.

“Standing on that podium with the three of them was such a dream,” Ary said.

Junior Jake Lindacher, the only participant from the men’s team, finished 13th in his event, the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 8.35 seconds.

Lindacher was also disappointed with his performance. The junior had earned All-American honors in his first outing at the NCAAs last year, having placed eighth in the 60-meter high hurdles with a time of 9.15 seconds, but failed to qualify this year.

Lindacher attributes his disappointing finish to a slow start and having been off-balance during the first two hurdles. He maintains that, with the amount his technique has improved over the past year, he should have done better.

“If I ran what I was capable of, I would’ve placed much higher,” Lindacher said.

Despite the lackluster finish to the indoor season, Lindacher was excited to start the outdoor season, which started on Friday, March 20, at the University of Miami’s Hurricane Invitational.

Senior Erik Moutenot and juniors Laron Day and Michael Larkin finished second, third and fifth, respectively, with times of 55:07 for Moutenot, 55.18 for Day and 55.75 for Larkin.

The long-distance runners fared well in the 1500-meter event, as well. Sophomore Brandon Mazzarella finished third with a time of 4:00.16, and junior Dale Johnson was right behind him at 4:01.39.

In the 400-meter race, Ary finished sixth at 57.06, and Spriggs finished in eighth at 58.57, surpassing even Division I runners.

On the field, sophomore Tracy Prentice landed fifth in the pole vault with a height of 3.00 meters, and junior Courtney Paciuli finished eighth in the long jump with a distance of 4.79 meters.

Softball picks up six wins in Florida trip

By Michael Battista
Sports Assistant

Hourihan throws a complete game in a Lions win. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Hourihan throws a complete game in a Lions win. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

The softball team spent spring break in Florida, but instead of playing on the beach or in a theme park, the Lions were playing some great games against tough opponents. The team, after playing eight games down in Clermont, returned home with six wins.

The women played against Concordia University (Wisconsin) and SUNY Oneonta on Saturday, March 14, and like the season opener, they split the two.

The Falcons of Concordia were held to only two hits thanks to the performance of freshman pitcher Sam Platt, leaving the rest up to the offense. The team was able to come up big in the third inning, scoring three runs courtesy of freshman Bria Bartsch, who tripled to score a run. Along with another run in the seventh, the Lions were able to come out with a 4-0 win.

When asked about her success, Phelan said it was all thanks to the work her team had done.

“I give all the credit to my teammates,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to score those runs if they were not getting on base ahead of me. As a team, we just need to stay in the mindset of one pitch at a time. That’s how we win games, by stringing hits together.”

The team hoped to could keep the momentum going against a tough SUNY Oneonta team later that day.

Oneonta would strike first, however, scoring two runs in the first inning and keeping the Lions down for most of the game.

The team tried to get something going in the last inning after junior Deanna Utter singled to bring in a run making in 2-1, but the Red Dragons would hold on to capture the victory.

The next day would bring two more games, as Sunday, March 15, saw the Lion’s facing the University of Massachusetts Boston and Western Connecticut State University.

The Beacons of UMass may have left the Lions scoreless in the first, but the same could not be said for the second inning. The College amassed seven runs as they batted around.

The Lions’ pitching was also able to keep the Beacons down until the fourth inning when they scored four runs. However, the combined effort of Platt and junior Ashtin Helmer helped the team keep the lead and secure the 7-4 victory.

The team then went up against the Colonials from Western Connecticut, who came out swinging and kept it close the whole way through.

After giving up a run in the second, the Lions would bide their time and efforts until the third, when juniors Jamie Purcell and Phelan singled in runs to make it 2-1. The Colonials would battle back, however, scoring three in the sixth off a few stray hits and an error.

Down by two in the seventh, the Lions needed to get something going, and Phelan did just that. With freshman Morgan Gualtieri on base, she tripled into the outfield bringing the deficit to one run. Then, freshman Jess Stevenson singled in Phelan to tie it up.

When asked about her team’s success and missteps during the game, Phelan said it all comes together when it needs to.

“We are a very young team, and no matter how experienced a team is, there are going to be hiccups early in the season,” Phelan said. “We came together and had some clutch play from every single person in the lineup.”

One of those clutch plays came from freshman Madison Levine, who in extra innings was able to single in the winning run, making the final score 5-4.

With a two-game winning streak under their belts, the Lions went into the next game on Tuesday, March 17, with ambitions to keep the momentum going against Hope College, but were silenced, 9-2.

It may have been a desire to bounce back after the last outing, but the Lions came out very strong right off the bat against Plymouth State University. The team plated three in the first and received solid outings from pitchers Platt and Hourihan once again in a 6-0 victory.

The final two games in the Florida outing came on Thursday, March 19, against Utica College and McDaniel College, both wins for the College.

The team now has to prepare not only for classes to restart, but for their next games on Wednesday, March 25, at DeSales University, and Levine thinks the team’s only going to get better.

“As we continue to clean up little things,” Levine said. “Individually, the team will be stronger as a whole.”

Georgia State busts brackets across nation

By Kevin Luo
Staff Writer

Coach Hunter and his son celebrate an NCAA Tournament upset win.  (AP Photo)
Coach Hunter and his son celebrate an NCAA Tournament upset win. (AP Photo)

Each year, March Madness is one of the most exciting events in the world of sports. Obviously, there’s a lot of exciting basketball, and everyone likes monitoring the success (or lack of success) of their bracket. However, one of the things that sets March Madness apart from other sporting events is the opportunity to expose some incredible stories as many lesser known teams and players are brought into the spotlight of not only the sports world, but of the entire country. 

This year, the tournament darling may not have made it as far as in previous years, but their run was still plenty memorable and generated many new fans for the team: none other than the Georgia State Panthers. 

Remember Kevin Ware, the backup point guard for Louisville who suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history? Yes, that Kevin Ware. After a year off from the game to recover from his compound fracture, he made his return to the world of March Madness this year as the starting point guard for the Panthers. Even if you had tried to forget that moment, seeing him back on the court in a big game was a great sight for anyone who saw Ware suffer that gruesome injury.

The biggest storyline for this team was the bond between head coach Ron Hunter and his son, star player R.J. Hunter. There have been some other significant father-son relationships in college basketball. This season, Bryce Alford is being coached by his father at UCLA (and they’ve been quite exciting). Last season, Doug McDermott was coached by his dad at Creighton. This father-son college basketball relationship just had a different feel to it as an outside observer.

There’s just so much passion in both of these men, and you can feel it when you watch Georgia State play and when you see their press conferences. The first sight of this was after Georgia State clinched their berth into the NCAA Tournament. After they won the Sun Belt Tournament, Coach Hunter was so excited, he tore his ACL while celebrating. He rolled around the sideline on a chair scooter during their games this past week. 

That’s when the end of the Baylor game happened. Baylor was up two with the clock winding down when R.J. got a pass at the top of the key and launched a three.  Nothing but net. The shot sent shockwaves around the sports world and caused coach Hunter to fall out of his chair on the sideline. After the game, R.J. told his sister he was going to be on “One Shining Moment,” the yearly March Madness montage. I think “One Shining Moment” this year could just be that play on a three-minute loop. 

Even as Georgia State got eliminated from the tournament, we saw more from the father and son that made the country smile. First, there was the huge hug between them as R.J. exited the game for what is believed to be the last time (he has one more year of eligibility but is expected to be a first round pick if he enters the draft). Then, there was the final press conference where Coach Hunter broke down when talking about his love for his son. 

So although the clock struck midnight early for this Cinderella, that didn’t stop Georgia State from having one of the most memorable runs of any team in recent March Madness history. They had their “One Shining Moment,” but this won’t be the last we’ve heard of them.

The history of El Clásico

By George Tatoris
Staff Writer

Ronaldo celebrates a win.  (AP Photo)
Ronaldo celebrates a win. (AP Photo)

On Sunday, March 22, Alcalá de Henares, a medium-sized city situated in the community of Madrid, was unusually desolate at 8:50 p.m. The few people on the sidewalks seemed to be in a rush — the kind of rush during which someone looks for shelter after a sudden tornado warning in, checking the windows of every bar they passed, each one fuller than the last. The only people that could be heard were sitting on patios speaking in a hushed, nervous chatter, their eyes glued to a flat screen television that faced outside. It was the night of El Clásico. And this was the calm before the storm.

While the game went on, the streets were empty except for crowds of two or three people huddled outside bars, peeping at the game through the window. Only the distant echo of cheers on television sets could be heard on the streets.

To understand why a sports rivalry can render a bustling city like Alcalá, a ghost town, one must first look at the history of Spain. Don’t worry, I’ll make this brief. In fact, I won’t even start from the beginning.

Barcelona, a part of the culturally distinct Catalonia, and Madrid, where the royal crown resides, have always had a spotty history with each other, and things escalated with the War of Spanish Succession. What happened was, the king of Spain died without an heir, and a fight broke out over which family would get control of the kingdom: the Hapsburgs or the Bourbons.

Madrid supported the Bourbons and Catalonia supported the Hapsburgs. The Hapsburgs lost and the royal family in Madrid decided to punish Barcelona for betraying them by stripping them of almost all of their independence.

Thus began the hate-hate relationship between Madrid and Barcelona, and what a relationship it’s become. Even now Catalonians want sovereignty from Spain. Just last year the territory held an illegal referendum (which FC Barcelona supported) on the issue. Gives the common Barça chant “Independencia!” a whole new meaning, no?

Now, I’m not saying that Real Madrid fans want to rob Barça fans of their independence or Barça fans want to assassinate Spanish royalty in the name of their respective teams. What I am saying is that El Clásico is just one piece of the complicated puzzle that is Spain — a country so small that things like soccer, politics and history end up fumbling over one another like one massive game of Twister.

El Clásico is not just a sports rivalry. It isn’t a Yankees vs. Red Sox type of deal. It’s something that could only have come from Spain.

Baseball opens season with annual Florida trip

By Jessica Ganga
Nation & World Editor

The Lions finish their trip with five wins and five losses. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
The Lions finish their trip with five wins and five losses. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

It was nothing but sun, clear blue skies and great baseball for the Lions during spring break. The College’s baseball team traveled down to Winter Haven, Fla., for their annual spring trip where they played 10 games and ended their busy week by splitting their games evenly with a record of five wins and five losses.

After a number of postponed and cancelled games, the College finally got a chance to play some ball. The team opened their season against the eighth-ranked University of Southern Maine, ending with a tough 12-5 loss. Southern Maine got on the scoreboard early in the first with a hit on the first pitch of the game.

The Lions looked like they would have the chance to rally in the fifth. Sophomore Ben Varone led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left-center field. Junior John Rizzi followed with a base hit, but Varone was thrown out at the plate. Junior Patrick Roberts later ripped a shot to second that hopped into right field, allowing two runners to score. In the end, however, senior Connor Smith took his first loss of the season for the College.

The team split a loss and a huge win with two great pitching performances on the second day of their trip against St. Norbert College. Despite the loss, junior Steven Volpe pitched six-and-a-third innings, striking out six with only one earned run.

In the second game, before junior Evan Edelman took the mound, his teammates put up five runs in the top of the first inning, putting Edelman at ease as he threw his first pitch of the game. Edelman went six innings with just one unearned run in the sixth. The Lions offense scored seven more runs after the first to take a commanding 12-1 win.

The offense continued its high-scoring into the third day with a crushing 17-0 win against Centenary College. Senior infielder Anthony Cocuzza had a big game that day, knocking in a career-high six runs in six at-bats on three hits. In his second at-bat in the seventh, he drove in two runs with two outs, which called for a different approach and mindset before stepping into the batter’s box.

“Here, a fly ball or ground out won’t score a run. Instead, I use my same approach as when I’m up at the plate with no runners on,” Cocuzza said. “I trust my hands and swing enough to allow me to hit hard line drives in the gaps for doubles with this simple approach.”

Freshman Joe Cirillo notched his first career win that day. Cirillo faced 29 batters and threw for eight scoreless innings, an impressive start for his first collegiate game.

The next game would result in a 14-6 loss for the Lions against the College at Brockport, but the team would end up taking a close 5-4 win against Benedictine University the following day.

Against Keene State College, the Lions were down six runs until the fifth inning, when the team broke out by scoring four runs to cut the deficit to just two runs. The team then tied with Keene in the top of the sixth, eventually coming back to win a close 9-8 game.

The Lions split two games between Washington and Jefferson College with a win in their first game and a loss in their later. In the first game, Volpe was able to get his first win of the season and sophomore Eric Teesdale recorded his first career save.

In the last game of the week, the Lions were unable to get a win against the University of Wisconsin-Las Crosse, falling 5-2 to their opponent. Even with the loss, however, senior Josh Limon had an exciting game, leading off the seventh inning with the 100th hit of his career in his 95th career game.

Now that the team has begun their season, they are taking each game day-by-day to their goal of the season: winning the NJAC.

“We focus on one game, one inning and one out at a time, but our first long, term goal is winning the NJAC,” Cocuzza said. “From there we can set our sights on regionals and the World Series, but the first objective is winning the NJAC tournament.”

The Lions have their first home game against Ursinus College on Thursday, March 26.

SFB funds College’s final Ratfest concert

By Jackie Delaney
Staff Writer

Musical and dance performances, such as Ratfest ’15 and Synergy’s Spring Spectacular, were funded by the Student Finance Board at the meeting on Wednesday, March 11.

The College Union Board requested an additional $1,835 to hold Ratfest ’15, an event to commemorate the Rathskeller bar in the Brower Student Center as it closes this semester. The last Ratfest brought Saves the Day and Man Overboard to campus in the spring 2013 semester. Besides hosting bands, CUB would like to provide a “farewell” to the popular dining location this year by bringing a food truck and DJ to honor the Rat. The event was funded $1,570.

Synergy Dance Company presented for the “Spring Spectacular,” the group’s annual dance recital. Through this event, “Synergy brings a great dance presence to the TCNJ campus.” The event was partially funded for $3,712.

Continuing the theme of springtime, the sophomore class council requested $5,665 for “Springback,” an event held every year to promote class unity between the freshman and sophomore classes. The event, which will feature a dunk tank, gladiator joust and mechanical bull, “engages students in a stress-free atmosphere” to celebrate spring and spend time with peers.

The event was fully funded and will run from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, on the Travers/Wolfe Lawn.

Next, the Union Latina Student Organization requested $3,915.60 for “Copa Night,” which is a Latino Awareness Celebration event held annually by the organization. Through this event, the organization wants to be able to “bring live entertainment to the community,” showcasing Latino music and celebrating Latino Awareness Month in April. By bringing a live band to campus, attendees will be able to “experience and appreciate the vivacity and infectious rhythm of Latino music.”

The board was torn on funding for food, drinks and the photo booth that the organization requested. It agreed to allocate $3,741.50 for the event, which will take place on Thursday, April 16, from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Travers/Wolfe Lounge.

Student Government then requested $5,504 for a T-shirt Swap to “promote school spirit and encourage students to attend sporting events.” The Homecoming Spirit Week T-shirt swap in October collected at least 350 T-shirts to donate to Goodwill, according to Vice President of Student Services Navid Radfar. The event, however, was denied funding.

The Deaf-Hearing Connection proposed next for funding for Deaf Awareness Day. As part of the day-long event, the Deaf-Hearing Connection proposed to bring Matt Hamill to campus, a deaf individual and well-known boxer.

The event was allocated $3,124 and will be held Wednesday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Student Government was denied funding for the TCNJ Wellness Expo, which focuses on “enhancing the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of students, faculty and staff.” This event, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., will feature yoga, a stress management course, massages, therapy dogs and Jazzercise classes.

CUB then proposed for a bus trip to the St. Bart’s Concert Series in New York City, which was fully funded. The TCNJ Chorale will be performing with the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble, Magnificat, and CUB hopes to provide a bus to provide students, faculty and staff an opportunity to attend the event.

Student Government’s final request was for funds for a trip to “The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project” at Columbia University. This event, held on Saturday, March 28, is open to educators across the nation and offers free workshops and keynotes. The trip was fully funded for $1,500.

Next, Financial Management Association asked for $2,450 to fund the “Spring Excel Modeling Seminar,” which is a program designed to “teach students the applied skills of using excel to build financial models.” FMA said the largest benefit of this event is that it “will differentiate TCNJ students and increase their ability to get competitive jobs.” The program will be held on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was funded $1750.00.

The Society of Creative Endeavors approached the board for its previously tabled proposal to bring Crispin Freeman to campus. The event, “Mythology & Meaning: A Night with Crispin Freeman,” will feature a panel by Freeman, who is a well-known actor and voice actor. It will be held on Friday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Auditorium. The event was fully funded for $6,500.

Finally, TCNJ Musical Theatre requested $200 to fund posters advertising for its annual “Cabaret Night.” The non-ticketed event provides performance opportunities for club members outside of major productions. 

The proposal was fully funded, and the event will be held Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, in the Library Auditorium.

*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.

Around the Dorm 3/25: Biggest NFL move, MLB breakout player, McIlroy’s Masters chances

In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Otto Gomez, asks our panel of experts three questions: What team had the biggest changes in the NFL offseason, who in the MLB is due for a breakout season and can Rory McIlroy complete the grand slam with a major win this year?

1. What has been the biggest move of the offseason in the NFL, and what impact will it have?

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Kevin: There have been a lot of big moves this offseason, but I’ll say the biggest deal was the rich getting richer in Seattle. The biggest question mark with the Seahawks these past two seasons has been the weapons around Russell Wilson. That question was answered in a big way this offseason when they traded for Jimmy Graham. Graham is arguably the second-best tight end in the league (behind Gronk). He’ll be great as a red zone target and security blanket this year, and he’s the best receiver Wilson has played with in the NFL. How is anyone going to stop Seattle in the red zone this season (unless they choose to run a quick slant on the one-yard line)?

Matt: The biggest move of the offseason is one that comes in the front office, not on the field. The Philadelphia Eagles have given head coach Chip Kelly complete control of personnel decisions, effectively making him the team’s general manager, head coach, life guru and czar of Philly. Kelly has wasted no time taking advantage of his new power by shipping away his top three playmakers in favor of injury-prone or underachieving players. This experiment will end one of two ways: with a division title in Philly, or the more likely option of Bradford, Murray, Mathews and Alsonso all tearing their ACLs on the same play two games into the season as Kelly runs back to college. This would effectively leave the Eagles franchise in shambles for years to come. 

Chris: The biggest offseason move would have to be the running back swap performed by the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only did they take LeSean McCoy and turn him into a young, stud linebacker by the name of Kiko Alonso, but they then went out and signed DeMarco Murray to be the running back of the future. Murray is coming off the best season of his career and has proven to be a durable workhorse that can carry an NFL offense. While I do not think Chip Kelly will use Murray as often as he was used in Dallas, Murray will be able to provide the fast-paced Eagles offense with tough yards and a nice change of pace when needed. The combination of bringing in a Pro Bowl caliber middle linebacker while keeping an All-Pro running back could spell a Super Bowl run for the Eagles.

Kevin gets 3 points for his jab at Carroll. Matt gets 2 points for pointing out the problems with Kelly’s dictatorship and Chris gets 1 point for comparing Murray’s worth.

2. Which baseball player is due for a breakout season in 2015?

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Kevin: My breakout player for 2015 is Christian Yelich, outfielder for the Miami Marlins. The 23-year-old Yelich had a very good 2014 season where he won a Gold Glove while hitting .284 with 21 stolen bases and 94 runs scored (fifth in the NL) in the leadoff spot for Miami. This offseason, Miami traded for Dee Gordon, who is expected to be their new leadoff man. This will allow Yelich to move back to second or third in the everyday lineup where he will have more opportunities to drive in runs while getting fantastic lineup protection with Stanton behind him. One of the problems many young players have is that they are impatient at the plate and swing at too many bad pitches. This is absolutely not the case for Yelich. He was 10th in the NL in walks last year with 70. Overall, I expect Yelich to become a household name this season and get out of Stanton’s shadow in the Marlins outfield.

Matt: Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs will have a breakout season and cruise to the NL Rookie-of-the-Year award. Bryant, the Cubs’ top prospect, has been lighting the field on fire this spring. He’s been hitting an astounding .435 with eight of his 10 hits being for extra bases, and six of those have been home runs. This is unheard of for a prospect. He has played nine spring training games and is already being compared to Mike Schmidt, the best third basemen in MLB history. I fully expect Bryant to spark the Cubs’ rebuilt franchise — along with their other top prospects expected to make the leap to the big leagues this season. This could catapult that franchise from the laughing stock of the league to a legitimate World Series contender.

Chris: A guy I would love to see break out this year is Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura. After a scorching start to his 2013 season, Segura earned an All-Star Game invitation thanks to a .322 batting average and 26 stolen bases. Ever since his visit to the mid-summer classic, it has been a rough patch for the young shortstop. In 2014 alone, Segura had to deal with getting hit in the eye by a Ryan Braun practice swing, and he also suffered through the unexpected passing of his 9-month-old son. That could cause anyone to go through an incredible slump. But now, heading into 2015, Segura is back and ready to break out. A decreased workload in the offseason along with some tweaks to his batting stance and swing has Milwaukee excited for a big season from their former All-Star.

3. With the Masters coming up in April, can Rory McIlroy win his third-straight major and complete the career grand slam?

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Kevin: I think Rory can definitely win the Masters. He’s had some struggles recently, but he plays his best in the big tournaments, as he won the last two majors in 2014. Some people might think he’s cursed and haunted at the Masters after his horrid performance four years ago when leading after three rounds. However, if that performance was really going to affect him, he would’ve fallen off the golf map. The complete opposite has happened, and he’s grown a lot as a golfer and become one of the best in the world. He won these last two majors after breaking off his engagement with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Clearly, he was going through some conflicts in his personal life and that might’ve been affecting his golf game, which is such a mental sport as is.

Matt: While McIlroy is the number-one golfer in the world right now, he may also be the most inconsistent. It seems like every time Rory gets on a roll and wins a few tournaments, he collapses, shoots a +6 and misses the final cut. I expect McIlroy to compete this year but not in the Masters. Augusta is a course that demands patience and restraint, something that Rory has not been known for in his young career. Rory never plays his best golf early in the year. He excels in the summer when he has had time to shake off the rust. In his three tournaments this year, McIlroy has only made the cut once, proving he is off to a yet another slow start.

Chris: Rory McIlory is the best player in the world of golf right now. He has drawn comparisons to Tiger Woods as the next face of the sport. However, in a McIlory vs. the field situation, I have to take the field on this one. Augusta National has never been an easy course for Rory to play, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him struggle yet again. Although he has taken the last two majors, he has not been the dominant force as of recently. A guy whom I would really like to see give McIlroy a run for his money is Jordan Spieth. Spieth is a young force to be reckoned with, coming off a nice win at the Valspar Championship just a few weeks ago. While McIlory is the world’s number one, he will come up short.

Kevin gets 3 points for talking about the importance of life outside golf. Chris gets 2 points for picking the field and Matt gets 1 point for noting Rory’s inconsistencies.

Kevin wins Around the Dorm 7-6-5.

The College of New Jersey Student Newspaper Since 1885