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Sports Feature: Coach Peeples How Division III can Teach The Game of Life

Everyone at Piedmont college knows Jim Peeples for his illustrious 15-year coaching career where he captured 12 USA South Tournament Championships and eight regular season championships with the men’s baseball team. What many people don’t know is what he has done to keep his coaching ways carry on to future coaches since being appointed the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for Piedmont.

“Since I’ve been hired at this position, I try to be involved as much as possible in the hiring of future coaches because I feel it is critical, we bring in someone that shares the same goals we share in the department,” said Peeples.

The goal Peeples wants every coach to have is how to be a better mentor for not only a sport but for life. Peeples expresses that Division III sports isn’t just about games but being a life coach first and a college coach second.

“To be a mentor to these young adults, you have to do something intentional because you got to want to pour into someone to get the best out of them,” Peeples said. “I have to thank Dr. Mellichamp for telling us always to hire someone that is going to change a person’s life and make them a better leader.”

Peeples’ viewpoint on coaches stems from his philosophy on Division III sports —the “game of life” is just as important as the game on the field.

“We’re doing this for the development of the young people to get a chance to be a part of their lives for four years and to play a role in their personal development truly. We get to use sports as a way to teach them the game of life,” said Peeples.

Although not required to, Peeples makes a point to show up to almost every home game for any sport going on around Piedmont. Student-athletes have noticed this dedication.

“He’s been to every lacrosse game for as long as I can remember, and he always shows support and cheers for us both on and off the field,” said men’s lacrosse goalie for Zach Czulada.

“He treats all the student-athletes like his children supporting them and setting a vision to follow to create chances throughout our college careers,” said women’s soccer midfielder Nicki Boyd.

To be more particular, Peeples wants to give rise to all the Piedmont seniors that were taken away their last couple of months of being an athlete for the college due to the COVID-19 virus. Peeples continues to preach about family and staying together through a rough time.

“In sports, we’re all about routine and so trying to find a routine right now where everything has been canceled is pretty crazy,” Peeples said. “It certainly is a challenge for the students and especially for the seniors but worry not because just like a game throws difficult challenges at us, so does life. In all things, try to keep a positive attitude about it because this virus will pass just like those difficult moments in a season or in-game.”

Justin White: Adventurer and Recreational Man

Being part of the sports staff on the Royal Caribbean and the Allure of the Seas before coming to Piedmont, Justin White has always known how to have fun and bring adventure into his life. White lives his life by the “send it” mentality and continues to send the vibe around campus.

“I actually got the send it mentality from Larry Enticer who performs stunts with his snowmobile and says ‘send it’ every time before a jump. I live by that motto because life is too short and sometimes you just got to go for it,” White said.

Being the coordinator of campus recreation and wellness is no easy task, but White manages to run the fitness center and provides more than 30 events in a calendar year. He doesn’t mind putting in the work to make sure all the students enjoy themselves.

“I want to make sure the students love the outdoors as much as I do, and I’m always up for a new adventure with friends to share wonderful laughs and memories,” White said.

One of those students who has shared in White’s adventures is Lucio Ruiz, a sophomore business administration major.

“Justin always makes sure everyone is having a great time, and I’ve enjoyed the bowling event he put on this past year,” Ruiz said.

White never had a hard transition into Piedmont since his job as a sports staff member made it easy to shift into his new position.

“The people I worked with on the cruise ships were very like-minded and were from all around the world. I worked with people from England, Slovakia, China, and Brazil.”

With all the adventures he had while traveling on a cruise ship, White managed to escape a lot of trouble, including a GI virus.

“I’ve dealt with a lot of broken bones with passengers, but never expected an outbreak on the first couple days on the job,” White said. “The CDC came on board, and I remember one day I walked up and down 300 flights of stairs sanitizing the rails for eight hours.”

Whenever White isn’t running the fitness center or providing events for the students, he is the adviser to the Klimbing Klub, helping it grow massively in the past year alongside President Noah Wood.

“Justin has been a mentor to me. He has taught me so much in the past three years I’ve been at Piedmont,” Wood said. “He is an amazing leader, and I am truly grateful to have him as my boss and friend.”

White continues to travel around the world and wants to inspire students to seek travel. He currently keeps track of his travels on a map he has posted in his office and circles the destinations he’s visited.

“My next travel will be with my girlfriend and grandmother. We plan on going to Italy and then after that a trip to Iceland with just my girlfriend.”

Short Review: After Hours by The Weekend

The Weekend’s song “After Hours” is the third teaser installment of his album “After Hours,” which will fully release on March 20. The song keeps a depressing tone but then picks up an upbeat and banging vibe you can jam out to. Abell’s lyrics pick up a theme of devotion and a strive for love. The song seems to be an apology to his ex-girlfriends and lets us know he is this dark, druggy tortured character who is taking all his pain out on others by being an alpha partier, long “After Hours.”

Long Review: Sonic the Hedgehog Movie

When another gaming movie was scheduled to be released Valentine’s Day, the gaming community was certainly concerned if it was going to be yet another flop for the genre. Instead, Sonic the Hedgehog was able to bring a video game into an entertaining and comical movie.

When the first trailer dropped on April 30, 2019, fans of the popular Sega video game had nothing but negative comments to say about the design of Sonic in the movie. Director Jeff Fowler responded to the fan backlash on Twitter.

“The message is loud and clear. You aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen”.

The new and improved Sonic design hit the ground running, and it was all thanks to feedback from the community and Director Jeff Fowler for listening to fan feedback.
The movie is set when Sonic is forced to flee his homeworld in order to escape the evil Dr. Robotnik, who is trying to use his super-speed for evil.

Alone in our world, Sonic has no one to talk to but himself and “us” as he can occasionally break down the fourth wall Deadpool style. Voice actor Ben Schwartz’s portrayal is unique in being able to invoke that thrill-seeking spirit Sonic is known for. There are times where Sonic’s constant talking gets a bit too cartoonish, but the character evolves once he’s forced out of isolation in order to escape the clutches of Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carey) and he befriends Tom Wachowski (James Marsden).
From there, the plot is as straightforward as the 1991 Genesis game. Go fast and make a mad dash to collect those rings. Defeat the villainous Dr. Robotnik and on to the next scene.

It’s a movie about friendship as James Marsden’s “Tom” is looking to find meaning within his own life while Sonic is looking for a friendship with someone. They both end up finding what they’re looking for while trying to escape the clutches of Dr. Robotnik.
One might think it is hard to go against such a beloved blue, fast, energetic hedgehog, but the opponent is just as animated. Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik brings reminiscing times of his Ace Ventura character. Showing that he still has overwhelming acting talent in him.
The film, however, does suffer from implementing too many visual effects we’ve seen used countless times before in films, often with more creativity. For example, a few may remember the scene from X-Men Days of Future Past, where Quicksilver cleverly shifts things around while running. You’ve seen it done before. It’s just done by Sonic now.

Sonic the Hedgehog stands out the most when it stands by the video game material showcased in the film. Director Jeff Fowler does an exceptional job putting in as many easter eggs from the Sonic games as possible, to the point where even hardcore Sonic fans have to watch the movie more than once to catch them all.

If you’re a Sonic fan worried whether this movie could genuinely catch the essence of nearly three decades worth of history of Sonic the Hedgehog, don’t be. While it lacks in some of the deeper cuts in Sonic lore, such as trapped animals in aggressed robots and Mystical emeralds, the essentials are all here in the highly scrutinized title character that should keep fans more locked into the story.

While this family-friendly action, comedy stumbles from a simple story and focuses too heavily on visual cinematic clichés, Sonic the Hedgehog is propelled by the fantastic acting of Jim Carrey and Ben Schwartz. Their game of cat and mouse has you at the edge of your seat the entire film.

If you’ve been a long time Sonic fan and been here since the start on the Sega Genesis, then this Valentine’s Day, Sonic the Hedgehog is the love letter you’ve been waiting for.

Piedmont’s Café: Chartwells a Bait and Switch Business?

One of the most questionable and controversial things on Piedmont’s Demorest campus has got to be the dining hall. From flies being on food to suddenly being a high-class place to eat, Chartwells has never been able to keep the consistency of the dining hall intact.

One Constant factor we have noticed is that when rolling out food, Chartwells never forgets to serve burgers, no matter what day it is, and continues to throw out the same formula of food throughout the week.

It seems even the classic bait and switch strategy has been implemented to attract future students. High-class meals are on display during special Piedmont events such as Freshman Orientation. Low-quality food returns throughout the rest of the school year.
We are all aware that Chartwells is a business, and they must do whatever they can to make profits as a business should do, but we should be valued since we are the source of the business throughout the school year. Nevertheless, whenever the café is not held to its standards, we let Chartwells know by posting our opinions on the Piedmont app and we let them hear it!

“Am I the only person that thinks the food at the café is outrageously bad for the price we pay per year?” said sophomore Jason-Lee Vaughan, a student who lives on campus.

As it stands, even if we didn’t want to eat at the café, all students who live on campus are required to have a meal plan, with the cheapest plan being “seven meals per week.” Many of us would argue and say the plan is anything but cheap since it is estimated to be around $1,581 per semester. This is why we, as students, continue to press and demand the quality of food throughout the year, and not just for special events or Sunday brunch when the church visitors stop on by for a meal.

Don’t get us wrong though, Chartwells has definitely attended to these issues in the past by providing surveys and committee meetings to address our individual concerns and complaints. And we’re grateful. But the issue is constant and there needs to be a permanent solution.

Overthinking

I’ve probably asked myself this question time and time again. Is being alone truly a choice or a result of actions we as humans have made? Loneliness can come in many forms, and the biggest motives that may trigger such effects are anxiety and depression. Over the past year, I’ve struggled with anxiety and as I thought about it, I realized I’m thinking about it too much; The culprit was overthinking. Overthinking has caused me to question even the simplest things in everyday life. I hated feeling this way and spent countless hours on the internet searching why I’ve been acting like this for the past year. I came across two things that would help stop these crazy thoughts, and I feel thankful for it every day. The first is just to write whatever came to mind and let it empty my head, so it isn’t trapped inside. The second is meditation.

Writing every single thought that crossed my mind helped and even started to expand my writing skills. Ever since I’ve entered college, I found writing not to be a chore or like an actual homework assignment; since I get to choose the topic, I feel passionate about. I didn’t have this freedom back in middle school and high school since the teachers always handpicked the topics, and they were always flat-out boring. I guess that’s why I always found writing and English classes to be difficult because I never had the freedom to “free write.” Writing clears all the clutter from my mind and allows me to grow as a person. I feel that every time I write; I’m starting to understand life more and appreciate the small things life has to offer. When I write, everything in life sort of starts to slow down and it’s just me, a pen, a paper, and my thoughts.

When I first found meditation, I was in a very dark place. But meditation helped me control my anxiety and put my thoughts into a more creative way of thinking rather than having paranoid thoughts. I would lie down on my bed, plug in my headphones and start breathing exercises through an app called “Headspace.” Because of this app, I was able to become more aware of my surroundings and channel my thinking into more of my writing. In the long run, I hope to accomplish many goals but I’m certainly not going to be a victim of overthinking anymore, thanks to my writing and meditation.

Lions PRIDE: 2019 Alternative Spring Break

Instead of taking a traditional style Spring Break, a group of Piedmont College students embarked on a journey to help build houses for the Habitat for Humanity in Sebring, Florida.

“The goal of the Alternative Break program at Piedmont College is to provide students, faculty, and staff with a service opportunity outside of the Habersham County area,” said Dr. Kim Crawford, Associate Dean of Student Life.

Not just any regular Piedmont College student can attend an alternative spring break. The requirements are having a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit a student resume in person to the Director of Career Education, Lisa Mann, and get recommended by two Piedmont faculty or staff members. The total number of students that got to attend this year’s alternative spring break was 11.

“The application process required students to submit an essay on why they wanted to go on the trip and students had to complete a Compass Reflection form after the trip; to talk about their experience,” said Megan Ramsey, Compass Program Coordinator.

At the 2019 Lion’s PRIDE research day event, students were asked to answer why they wanted to attend and even took the time to reflect on their personal experience and share anything they learned or took away from the trip.

Nicole Thomas, a junior mass communications major, said she loved to bond with others while volunteering and this experience is a great way to travel.

“This opportunity allowed me to learn more leadership skills and increased my appreciation of diversity,” said Thomas.

Savannah Cantrell, a junior art education major, emphasized that the 2019 Alternative Spring Break was one of the most humbling and rewarding activities she has ever participated in during her time at Piedmont. Although she worked hard each day, she reminded herself that these homes were potentially going to someone whose home was destroyed or have never owned their home.

“I learned to work alongside other Piedmont students while developing new relationships with the other team members on the construction site. The relationships I have built impacted me whether it was a Piedmont student, a Habitat for Humanity worker, or a Caravanner,” said Cantrell.

Alyssa Emmet, a junior mass communications major, said she found herself during this trip and capitalized on meeting people she would have never met without this trip.

“I learned several facts about Habitat for Humanity and found out I’m capable of doing more than I thought,” said Emmet.

Ashley Dean, a sophomore nursing major, found the opportunity to meet and work alongside many great people who are selfless with their time heartwarming.

“The most rewarding part of this whole experience was getting to meet some of the families that will be living in these houses that we helped to build,” said Dean.

Leslie Lopez, a sophomore business marketing major and graphic design minor always wanted to volunteer. She found that alternative spring break would be the perfect opportunity to explore and meet new people that have been volunteers for a while now.

“Alternative Spring Break reminded me to appreciate all the opportunities that I have. It also showed me the true meaning of “all help counts,” said Lopez.

Areli Albarran, a sophomore nursing major, applied because she wanted help to enhance her sense of vocation through the community service.

“Through the Alternative Spring I strengthened my leadership, communication, problem-solving skills,” said Albarran.

In the end, the students who attended the trip learned many things from home improvement to self-improvement, but one thing that will stay hard to perfect is to become one.

“It can be difficult for everyone to be on the same page, said Albarran.

Disaster Strikes Piedmont College: What Caused the Mysterious Fire?

On March 29, 2019, Piedmont’s Swanson Center for Performing Arts and Communications broke out in a devastating and unknown fire that killed 28 people. Seconds later a massive explosion near the theatre stage sent everyone in the building into a state of chaos calling for help.

The call came into the 911 Habersham center at around 10 a.m. and reported the fire and multiple injuries to Habersham EMA Director Lynne Smith.

“As things progressed we were requesting additional units, the coroner and mobile morgue,” said Smith.

Piedmont Police Chief Jim Andrews said agencies showing up at the scene of the disaster included the Cities of Demorest and Cornelia fire and police departments, Habersham County EMS and Medical Center, Sheriff’s Office, Habersham County Fire department, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Homeland security, 911/Emergency Management Agency, Habersham Search and Rescue and the District Two Public Health Administration. A helicopter, drones and rescue dogs also were at the scene searching for victims.

Local EMS ran into the buildings saving some of the victims and brought them to the medic station for immediate medical attention. Smoke was seen billowing from the Swanson Center by onlookers and the fire wouldn’t seem to give out.

“It took a lot to put out the fire, and there were over a hundred total victims injured in the fire,” said, Jason Davey, the assistant fire chief for Habersham County.

Rob Moore, the Public information officer for Campus Police, said, “there were 28 confirmed fatalities, and the bodies had to be removed from the building due to the severity of the fire.”

Everyone at the scene is in disbelief at what happened to one of the safest colleges in Georgia.

“At this moment, it is way to early to determine the cause of the fire and state fire investigators are in route to find out what really happened at the Swanson center.” Said Moore.

Zachary Moore: Greek Life is Life Changing

As one of the newest additions to the Student Affairs Department at Piedmont, Zachary Moore has introduced Greek Life to the students of Piedmont and intends to expand on this fraternity/sorority experience.

“Our mission is to empower members through diverse learning experiences to achieve academic excellence, engage with local and global communities, and cultivate leadership while fostering those lifelong relationships,” Moore said. “Greek Life is a life changer. It really does mean a bond with your organization and I know that if I ever need anything or anything is going on in my life that I have my fraternity brothers to lean on and help me out.”

In his senior year of college, Moore’s mom was diagnosed with cancer and his fraternity surprised him by helping him out with a philanthropy event. Although he planned the event by himself, Moore was thankful for the donations and support his brothers gave to him during this time.

Moore wasn’t always interested in Greek life. “At first I didn’t want to join a Greek organization because I didn’t drink, and I still don’t drink or party,” he said.

During his undergraduate orientation at Austin Peay State University, a young Moore came across the fraternity called Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) and he said. “The two people that were there were just very casual and welcoming,” he said. Moore ended up getting invited to an interview, but it actually wasn’t an interview and instead the fraternity surprised him and gave him a bid to join. Moore ended up graduating with a bachelor of science in communication.

Moore attended Ball State University in Indiana for graduate school, finishing with a master of arts in student affairs administration in higher education. When looking for a job Moore missed the southern culture and hoped to return to his roots. Moore found Piedmont to be the perfect fit and feels lucky to have found this job.

“I am really fortunate to have hit my three favorite components of student affairs with orientation, Greek Life, and student activities,” he said.

Will Sargent a sophomore sports communication major who works with Moore as a member of the fraternity said, Moore has been a tremendous help to the program.

“I think his position with the school is really beneficial to Greek Life here. Whether he is helping us with administration, planning out events, or whatever problem arises he is always very eager to help out in whatever way he can.”

Kobhe Macias a sophomore applied health science major who works with Moore on the Campus Activities Board (CAB) said, Moore is there for students, even when it’s not a work-related matter.

“Zac is a great person,” he said. “He is the type of person you can go to when you’re dealing with things and need guidance.”

Moore plans on creating a foundation where everyone on campus will find Greek life fresh and shy away from the stereotypical movie credentials.

“I want to see the organizations truly make a difference on the individual members and as well as leave an impact on campus.”

Christian Castro: The Story of a Mediocre Writer

My Life had always loved boring Gainesville, GA with its clumsy, curly city. It was a place where I felt happy and safe. I found it comforting that I finally found a home where I didn’t have to say goodbye.christian castro

My name is Christian Castro. I was born in Gainesville, Georgia on December 10, 1997, and my ethnicity is Puerto Rican. Growing up sports was a significant part of my life as I moved a lot as a child. I moved around because my dad had many job opportunities as an engineer. He was an entry engineer, facility engineer manager and now is a staff engineer today in Cornelia for Ethicon Inc. I lived in Puerto Rico, New Jersey, Switzerland, and Georgia. One thing I can take away from being in these different areas across the world is that they all have one thing in common, sports unites them all.

(keep in mind my writing skills were awful in middle school and high school)

When I first arrived at Piedmont college, I was an undecided major, and I explored every major. I took English 1101 & 1102 my Freshman year and surprised myself with my writing getting A’s. I didn’t enjoy writing so in the spring of 2018; they added a new sports communication major and decided to try the class out. When I joined Joe’s Sports Communication and Society class. I started to then enjoy my writing and put the passion I had towards sports on paper. I ended up enjoying what the sports communication major had in store and declared it my major in the fall of 2018. I consider myself to be a mediocre writer and hope to learn a lot in this class.

My favorite sports are baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. My favorite teams to watch are Braves in the MLB, Falcons in the NFL, and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. I keep up with a lot of trades in sports and try and see if any underdog teams can come out their slumps as I always cheer for the underdog.

I used to play a lot of sports, but I stopped playing sports on a team when I was 17 years old as I felt I wasn’t good enough to compete at a high level. I still play them from time to time as a hobby and for fun. My passion for sports has always been there, and I’m trying to see if I might like writing for sports as a future job.