Author Archives: Davis B

A Name

Hugh might be the name that appears on the class roster, but it’s not the name I choose to go by. Hugh just doesn’t fit me, if I’m being honest, and I would hate for people to feel that I misrepresent myself to them. 

But the truth about my name and my overall identity require a back story of a personal nature. Rewinding to another lifetime, July 8th, 1999, I was born Santiago Leon Benavides in the capital city of Colombia, Bogota. At this point in time, Colombia was still a third world country and know to as one of the most dangerous countries on the planet. My birth mom knew she would not be able to care for me. In the most selfless act a parent can make, she put me up for adoption, in hopes that I would be blessed with a better life than what she could provide.

As a young infant, being only two and a half months old, I was adopted out of Colombia by the only two Americans that were willing to risk their lives to give a child a better life. After being adopted, my legal name was changed to Hugh Davis Santiago Barlow. Now, 21 years later, the yellow, red, and blue wristband that I wear on my right wrist every second of every day, represents my acknowledgment of my former life and where I would be if I wasn’t blessed enough to be adopted by two American’s I now refer to as Mom and Dad.

Since the beginning of my childhood, I have lived and breathed sports, it’s just how I was raised. When I began my first sport, baseball, at the age of 2, I never knew that it would grow to be more than just a game in my life. Sure I tried other sports, but they just weren’t for me. As you can tell by the picture above, baseball was where my heart was – and still is. The game continued to be a factor in my life, teaching me life lessons that I never though a simple game with a ball and a glove could teach me. The course of my life would ultimately be altered by baseball and quietly led me to choose Piedmont College as my place to further my education as well as continue my career.

Sports Feature Piece

For Piedmont College senior pitcher Sam Carpenter, and seniors around the country, the 2020 spring sports season was just beginning to ramp up. The Lions were (insert record) and battling to find their rhythm while preparing for a big weekend series at Lagrange College. Carpenter was scheduled to pitch the Friday night game. But just hours before the team was scheduled to depart, they were informed that the season was going to be put on hold due to COVID-19. Things only got worse from there.

Within a week of halting the season, the NCAA announced the 2020 spring sports season would be suspended. Heartbreak and shocked ensued, and Carpenter was no exception to these feelings.

“I was devastated,” Carpenter said. “Before the NCAA announced another year of eligibility, I couldn’t imagine my baseball career ending this way. For all of the seniors it was tough because this was our last year of playing together.”

Carpenter had been on a role before the season had been halted, leading Division III baseball in ERA for pitchers with more than 30 innings pitched. He had only given up 3 earned runs though 33 2/3 innings. When news broke of the NCAA’s decision to give athletes an extra year, it felt like everything was falling into place for Carpenter.

“After this spring semester I was going to take a few classes this in the summer to graduate,” he said. “When the NCAA announced that we will receive another year of eligibility, my family and I decided to push that semester back to the spring of 2021. This way, I will able to finish out my senior year.”

Carpenter quickly announced his intentions to return via Instagram and was met with love and support from both teammates and fans. The news spread fast and Head Coach Justin Scali was very happy with the NCAA decision to allow seniors like Carpenter the opportunity to return for another year.

“[Players] missed a good portion of the season and when you look nationally in baseball, there were four teams who had not yet played a game in 2020. It would be hard to imagine counting

the year for those players,” said Scali, who is in his 4th season as the Piedmont head baseball coach. “Sam has been a two-time all-conference pitcher for us and was having another great season. He has gone out on Friday nights for us the past two years and has been so consistent.”

Teammates of Carpenter shared the same feelings as Scali. Social media saw a large trend of athletes calling for the NCAA to “redshirt” every spring sport athlete to make up for canceling the season. Ultimately, the NCAA chose to do just that, and everyone was happy with the decision.

“We hurt for our seniors and our team as a whole,” said Zach Norman, a junior outfielder for the Lions, adding that he was elated to hear the Carpenter was going to be returning to finish what he started. “Sam and quite frankly all of our seniors deserved the chance to have all their hard work rewarded with a full season of baseball. This extra year gives them a chance to play a full season and go out with a proper send off.”

For Carpenter, the extra year is a blessing and a chance to continue to work and grow as a player. His work ethic told him he wasn’t ready to be done just yet. “I write down something after every outing about something I need to improve on. No matter how small that task can be.”

Although Carpenter says “everything was clicking” for him during the short 2020 season, he is eager for next year when he thinks the young team will show significant improvement.

“The 2020 team was such a young inexperienced team, so it was so much fun watching freshman have a huge impact so early,” he said. “It will be awesome to see them grow as players.”

“Messiah” Long Form Review

A fictional story that takes place in today’s society, Netflix’s original television series “Messiah” follows the storyline of a skeptical CIA officer as she is tasked with investigating a man who is either a divine being or an impressive con artist. The series, created and produced by Michael Petroni, debuted on Netflix Jan.1, 2020 with its first season consisting of 10 episodes.

Appearing in the city of Damascus, Syria, a man is seen preaching about believing in God and having faith that he would deliver the city from ISIS. The man gathers a small crowd who take interest in what he is saying. However, as an unbelievably large sandstorm is seen headed for the city, all but the man preaching choose to seek cover. The city is covered by the sandstorm for nearly a month but as the storm lifts, it is known that ISIS has withdrawn its militia from the city. A group of 2,000 or so Syrians believe this to be the work of the preacher man they now refer to as Al-Masih and follow their new-found leader into the Syrian desert. These events lead to the CIA becoming involved in following Al-Masih.

The CIA officer Eva Geller, who is played by Morgan Monaghan, follows this man across the world in hopes of learning the true nature of his character. Referred to as Al-Masih, which is the Arabic word for messiah, Mehdi Dehbi plays his character to perfection. A perfect mix of quiet confidence with a hint of mystery, Dehbi does a true justice to his role as Al-Masih.

With no real background given on Al-Masih, it leaves plenty of room for the show to make his character dynamic in character structure and personality. The show also does a great job of giving the audience bits and pieces of background on Al-Masih through Officer Geller and the CIA learning the true identity and upbringing of Al-Masih. This allows the show to build on the Al-Masih character without having to do separate flashback scenes or irrelevant character-building scenes.

The plot line of the show is both fitting for entertainment and complex enough to stir a true discussion of “what ifs” surrounding Al-Masih. As far as entertainment goes, the show fulfils its title of thriller mystery, with plenty of action scenes to go alongside the attempted debunking of Al-Masih and his actions. The show does a fantastic job of balancing the major story line with other smaller but significant ones around its supporting characters. All the smaller plot lines do a great job of working off the major one and continue to help build the mystery that is Al-Masih.

During the show, Al-Masih performs many miracles in front of the public as well as in front of cameras. Some of these events, mirror those of Jesus Christ from the Bible and ultimately lead to a discussion of Al-Masih’s legitimacy as the true messiah. However, outside of the show, it sparks conversations that explore and challenge the ideas of faith and religion. Would the world be able to accept that the messiah has come back? With today’s technology, word and video of any miracles would spread quickly across the world. Even with video proof of events, there would surely be plenty of conspiracy theories or those who claim the events to be fake. Petroni knew this would be the reaction if these events occurred in real life and was sure to include equal reactions throughout the series.

Overall, Michael Petroni and Netflix created an entertaining series that is well worth the watch and is sure to perplex your mind about the mystery and possibility of a divine being.

“We Were” – Keith Urban Short Form Review

In the single “We Were”, country music superstar Keith Urban teams up with fellow superstar Eric Church. Reminiscing on a former love, Church and Urban recount the feeling of a young love they never realized wouldn’t last. The song, which was written by Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tindell, expresses wanting to get a love back that just isn’t there anymore. The song is beautifully written with a laid back vibe. It’s worth 3:09 of your life.

College, a Rollercoaster of Emotions

For many of us, all we heard about college from the adults in our lives before we got here was that it will be, “the greatest time of our lives.” What they failed to mention, was the physical and mental roller coaster of a journey that we were going to embark on.

 

Everyone loves to highlight the great parts of our lives; making new friends, finding your passion in life, going to parties, enjoying freedom and so much more. And they’re not wrong, college is amazing. But, intentional or not, the bad somehow seems to be left out.

 

The stressful nights of homework and paper writing fail to make the cut. Spending all night studying for an exam – to still not be pleased with the grade – isn’t mentioned either. And the pain of losing upper classman friends to graduation is a forgotten afterthought.

 

The craziest part of all of this is that you can experience all these different emotions in the same week or even the same day. Early mornings with classes and exams can easily turn into long afternoons and nights spent with friends and peers.

 

All of this can be extremely taxing on both body and mind over time. According to a study done at Harvard Medical School, constant stress can lead to memory loss and brain shrinkage.

 

For both mental health, as well as physical health, it is vital for college students to acknowledge and deal with the highs and lows in college. If we really want to make the most out of our time in college, trying to pretend it is all bliss 24 hours a day isn’t going to cut it. Self-care is important.

 

College students should set realistic expectations for what they expect they semester long journey to be, factoring in both the good and the bad. Doing so will truly allow us to live in the good moments while not being crushed internally by the bad ones.

 

Being realistic and prepared also permits you plan out how to make the bad moments a little less bad. For example, knowing you will need an extra hour of sleep goes a long way towards making your next day a little bit easier. And trust me, there’s not a single college student who will say otherwise.

 

Finding a healthy release from the stress of college is another game changer. Being able to take a break from being a college student, even if it’s just for a short period of time, can do wonders for your journey on this emotional rollercoaster. Whether it’s an hour in the gym or a four-hour hike in the mountains, finding an escape is a lifesaver in college. It could also be something as simple as getting an extra hour of sleep. According to research done at the University of Surrey, patients who got an extra hour of had changes in genetic expressions that helped, protect against diabetes, cancer, inflammation and stress.

 

The rollercoaster of emotions that is college is one that is exciting, yet challenging. Some days it makes you feel superhuman while others it makes you question your self-worth. But with preparation, we can make these years “the greatest time of our lives.”

The View of Adoption

“You’re adopted? I’m so sorry.” At the time when these words were said to me, I didn’t think too much about it. It wasn’t until returning home that night and lying in my bed reviewing my day, did the gravity of the encounter truly come to light.

 

It was the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, a summer in which I spent most of my time at the church my family and I attend. Along with 30 or so other students from the local high schools, I was accepted into the summer student internship program.

 

On the first day, as we began our studies, we were performing simple ice breaker exercises to get to know our fellow interns as well as our teachers. It was during one of these sessions that the event occurred.

 

As we went around the room each intern was supposed to describe a trait they believed they received from their parents, be it physical appearance or characteristic trait that was passed down. I knew the question wouldn’t apply to me, but I never expected it to be a problem. As everyone went around the room, it eventually came to be my turn. I politely declined the question and hoped to move on.

 

But what ensued in our little classroom was an awkward moment, that really shouldn’t have been so awkward. And I believe it represented a large view of American culture and its views on adoption.

 

Upon explaining to our teacher that I was adopted from Colombia and that I knew nothing of my birth parents’ physical or characteristic traits. The instructor could only simply muster, “You’re adopted. I’m so sorry.”

 

And just as the awkwardness came, it was gone. Onto the next student answering the question. And I was happy to leave it at that. Until that night, when I laid down, and the question wouldn’t leave my mind, “What did she mean by ‘I’m sorry?’”

 

My teacher apologized for the fact that I had been adopted. She treated it as if it was something to be ashamed of, or that my life was now poorer because I had been. She apologized as if she expected me to be embarrassed.

 

But the instructor couldn’t have been more wrong.

 

From the little I know about my birth parents, my life would be nothing near what I am blessed to have today. My birth mother and father were not married and neither of them had a lot of money. Their original reason for putting me up for adoption was the fact that my mother knew she could not afford to take care of me.

 

At the time, Colombia was a mess. In 1999, the civil war between the gorillas and the government raged on, drugs dominated much of the country and the government and the country had failed to get out from under its “third-world country” status.

 

If anything, my birth mother’s courageous and selfless choice to allow me to be put up for adoption many have very well saved my life.

 

Adoption is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should it be viewed as negative by parents, adopted children or outside parties. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, approximately 120,000 children are adopted every year in the United States. Adoption is one of the best things that can happen for a child when done correctly. It’s nothing to be sorry about.