Author Archives: matthewalter

Feature Story: “Will We Ever Play Again?”

Matthew Alter 9-21-20

         It has been more than six months since student-athletes from Piedmont College were sent home due to COVID-19, and it is still a guessing game as to when Piedmont sports might return.

            Although Piedmont’s campus has been open for more than a month, most fall sports have been postponed until spring. Student-athletes are allowed to practice, but due to the pandemic, practices are very different. There are various health and safety guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as daily temperature checks, mandatory face coverings at practice and social distancing.

Even as athletes return to practice, it’s hard not to ignore the threat of the pandemic.

“I think as a student athlete, COVID-19 is always in the back of your mind,” said Conner Jelly, a junior baseball player. “For me, I’m always worried about if I’m going to contract the disease and what that would do mean for me, my team and even my season moving forward.”

As a spring sports athlete, Jelly is hopeful his team will not lose another season.

“We are trying very hard to keep everyone safe, but the protocols can only do so much,” he said.

            Piedmont Athletic Director Jim Peeples, has continuously updated student-athletes on the ever-changing guidelines of COVID-19 and trying his best to make sure both fall and spring sports can play in 2021.

“For me, my biggest task at right now is making it a possibility for our athletes to compete in the spring,” he said.

            Part of meeting that goal is determining what sports can play now. Following NCAA guidelines, the college has moved forward with allowing two fall sports — tennis and golf — to play in limited competition right now.

            “If we do nothing we learn nothing,” said Peeples.

            Student-athletes, like Jelly, are cautiously optimistic that sports will return in the spring. “I believe we will play again but at the same it’s hard not to think about what type of impact COVID-19 will have on the season.”

Rumble in the Bronx

Rumble in the Bronx, Matthew Alter

      On Sept. 2, tempers flared at the end of the Yankees-Rays game. In the top of the 9th inning, Yankees flamethrower Aroldis Chapman threw a high 100 mph pitch that barely went above Rays pinch-hitter Michael Brousseau. The count was 1-2, so it seemed intentional, but there was no way to tell for sure. The real issue escalated after the next pitch when Chapman blew a fastball right by Brousseau for strike three. After striking out, Brousseau was walking back to the dugout when his fellow teammates in the dugout began to voice their opinion to Chapman and to the Yankees dugout. Eventually, both benches cleared and met up at home plate to “discuss” their differences on the matter.

Because of the seemingly “intentional” pitch by Chapman, both Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and Aroldis Chapman were suspended, as was Rays manager Kevin Cash. After the game, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash shared some comments that lead to him being suspended for one game. Cash said, “I have a whole damn stable of pitchers that throw 98 miles per hour.”

The beginning of this feud appears to be the Yankees believing the Rays are intentionally throwing up and in on Yankee batters throughout this shortened season. “AJ (Aaron Judge) has been thrown up and in seven times in six games,” said Boone.

In my opinion, as a baseball player and knowing that there are unwritten rules in baseball, yes I understand why the Yankees would have an issue, but at the same time I think that having[AM1]  Aroldis Chapman throw high at a batter like that is wrong. If he were to have hit Brousseau, it could have done serious damage.

The next steps of this feud will have to wait until the playoffs as the Yankees and Rays do not face each other in the regular season for the rest of the year. Most likely this break will do good for both teams as level heads will prevail. The next time they would meet would be in the playoffs, and in the playoffs any perceived headhunting will quickly bring about action by umpires. Neither team can afford to lose star players throughout the playoffs.

            Their next meeting will demonstrate what is more important for the two managers: revenge or victory?


 [AM1]

“What Is Indiana?”: Matthew Alter

Hi, my name is Matthew Alter and I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I am an only child, but have a really big family, that I am extremely close with. I am a freshman here at Piedmont, and also play baseball. While my family has gone to several different places and gone through their own situations and scenarios to begin writing their futures, it is now time for me to start writing my own story, which begins in Demorest, Georgia.

Our family has had a lot of success in athletics and has produced a number college athletes. My dad, played baseball at Stetson University, my uncle played football at Butler University, my grandpa played football at Purdue University, my cousin played baseball at the University of Dayton, and lastly my other cousin runs track and cross country at Butler University.

Since the day I arrived on campus and to this day, one of the most common questions that I have been asked when meeting new people, teammates and even teachers, is “Indiana? Why are you here?” Or occasionally the sarcastic, “Indiana? Who is that?” every once in awhile. At the start of the fall semester I was nice about it and gave the subtle “Haha,” to avoid an awkward situation, but now when a new person asks me a question about Indiana, I try to get a laugh by saying, “Yeah, believe it or not it doesn’t snow all 12 months of the year,” or “Yes I am from the Hoosier State, and yes we do actually have WIFI.” I know sometimes I get annoyed, but then I have to remember that some aspects of life are completely different down here.

The transition from leaving my home in Indiana and moving 8 hours away to North Georgia has definitely been difficult, and for sure made me grow up and mature very quickly. I initially chose Piedmont, because I have always dreamed of playing baseball in the south where you can be outside pretty much all year long, and where competition is top notch. Another reason for choosing Piedmont, was that my cousin was and assistant baseball coach here, but my plans were quickly devastated when he told me the news on how he will be leaving Demorest to move and coach baseball at Clemson University. Even with how big of a disappointment that was, with the combination of feeling sorry for myself for being by myself in the middle of nowhere pretty much, I look back and realize that if those things didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be where I am as a person now.

Now that I have been resident in Georgia for 5 months now, I have found out a number of different things, but the ones that in a way proved me wrong, is that not everyone talks like a hillbilly, or has a redneck, and especially that not every meal is fried chicken with collard greens.

Hand Soap vs Hand Sanitizer Presentation Educates Piedmont Students

Matthew P. Alter

4-24-2020

DEMOREST, GEORGIA- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Piedmont College students Briana Sellers and Anna Owenby presented a highly relevant session, “Hand Soap vs Hand Sanitizer,” at the 2020 Piedmont Symposium.

As the COVID-19 crisis began to unfold and President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force and state government officials communicated guidelines for how to stop the spread of the disease, one of the main preventative steps is to practice good hygiene, and most importantly, washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that you could use hand sanitizer if you were not near water and soap. This resulted in a debate as to which one was more effective, hand soap or hand sanitizer, and the pandemic provided additional proof points for this presentation.

Even though Sellers and Owenby had a hypothesis that hand sanitizer was more effective, their experiment proved that hand washing was better. “I think the biggest takeaway should be hand washing, when done correctly with hand soap, is the biggest remover of germs that cause diseases,” Sellers said.

Even though the timing of the pandemic and symposium lined up well, Sellers noted that she and Owenby had planned on doing this topic from the beginning because it was a part of a lab exercise they did in their microbiology class. “Our main source of information to prepare was the lab report we made up for our microbiology classroom assignment,” she said.

Sellers and Owenby worked for a few weeks leading up to the symposium to prepare, but they had to rethink the presentation once everything moved to online. “My partner, Anna and I, had to quickly become accustomed to the Zoom Format and learn how to use power point and screen share with it,” Sellers said. “We met and spoke about three times. Each time was a little bit of getting a feel for how we would present after things moved to an online format.” 

Dr. Julia M. Schmitz, associate professor of biology and adviser for the project, was involved in creating the presentation. “I helped guide the students in developing the experiment such as making sure they had the proper controls. The students wrote a lab report on their findings which I gave them feedback on. The students than used this information to create the presentation which they did together.”

Ray Schultz, retired biology teacher who also holds a master’s degree in biological science, agreed said the students’ findings make sense. “The combination of hand soap with warm water covers the hands more thoroughly, as you’re able to work it into skin, knuckles, fingers and fingernails. Hand sanitizer doesn’t have the same coverage. The chemicals in the hand soap neutralize the virus immediately, whereas the hand sanitizer is hit or miss.”

Many students found the presentation to be very informative and influential, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic that is currently going on. One student noted in an anonymous feedback form for the session that Sellers’ and Owenby’s findings were very helpful.

“I really enjoyed your presentation and thought it gave very interesting and useful information, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the student wrote. “I also believed that hand sanitizer was more effective in killing germs, so it helped me learn how to keep myself even more safe by washing my hands instead of using hand sanitizer.”

New Addition To Piedmont Baseball Coaching Staff

DEMOREST, GEORGIA- Hayden Craig, the newest member of the Piedmont College baseball coaching staff, looks to help coach and guide young men in the program to reach their full potential on and off the field.

“To be good at something you need to practice for 10,000 hours,” said Craig.

The former high school teacher turned college baseball coach but had just earned a head baseball coaching job at Adrian high school in Michigan, he jumped at the opportunity to come to the south to coach, where baseball is a major power. Played collegiate baseball at Adrian College (Michigan). Craig is the position player and hitting coach at Piedmont.

 “It is a dream come true to be college coach,” said Craig.

 To Craig this isn’t just a job, it is his passion. He takes great value in relationships with his players, and takes pride in respecting each player as a person. “Be a good person first, then coach baseball,” Craig said.

His goals in baseball are to keep climbing the ranks and end up being a head coach somewhere or reach the professional baseball leagues as a coach.

In his first year as assistant coach at Piedmont, so far he has learned a lot about the game and about coaching from the other coaches in Justin Scalli (head coach), Luke Harris (assistant head coach) and Barrett Courtwright (student volunteer-assistant). He plans to continue learning about the game from a coaching standpoint and help the Lions continue to get better each day.

The Lions are now 8-5 in the 2020 season.