February 2009 blog archives
Photos by Shane Epping
Storyteller Laura Simms and former child soldier/bestselling author Ishmael Beah kick off a four-day storytelling-focused community residency with a lecture in Jesse Auditorium Wednesday night.
“This is a real love story,” Laura Simms told the audience in Jesse Auditorium last night.
She’d just recounted her first night at home with the teenage son she’d adopted, Ishmael Beah, now the bestselling author of the internationally acclaimed A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Awkwardly tucking the 17-year-old into bed that night in 1998, Simms, a professional storyteller, shared an African story she’d learned three decades years earlier. As she spoke, Beah began to sing the song in the story, which Simms had never known. By coincidence, or fate, she was unwittingly telling a tale of the Mende people, Beah’s people.
What the Jesse Auditorium crowd heard is indeed a love story. It’s a story of a woman learning to be a mother and young man learning to be a kid. It’s an often-comical fish-out-of water story. It’s a story of healing and hope and cross-cultural understanding—complete with foreshadowing and folkloristic foundations, missteps and poignant moments.
Anyone expecting to be shocked by tales of bloodshed or outraged by reports of social injustices would have been disappointed by the former child soldier’s talk. Though alluding to “what war does to the human spirit,” Beah, now a 28-year-old U.N. humanitarian worker and philanthropist, spoke with quiet eloquence about everything from an ill-fated attempt to help an old woman in New York carry her groceries to the role West African reverence for storytellers has played in his relationship with Simms.
It was easy to see how Columbia-based Grammy-nominated storyteller Milbre Burch, whose Kind Crone Productions organized this four-day residency, might originally have conceived the Beah-Simms visit as a Mother’s Day event.
Topics may take a heavier turn this evening. Following a 5:30 p.m. reception and book signing in the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Simms and Beah join MU-affiliated human-rights activists Bea Gallimore, Arshad Husain and Ibtisam Barakat for the panel discussion “Narrative as a Pathway to Reconciliation,” to be held at 7:30 p.m. in Waters Auditorium.
Public and private events continue through Saturday evening.
For more information and a schedule, check out our Mizzou Wire coverage, or visit the Kind Crone Productions Web site.
Simms talks about the process of adopting Beah, whom she’d meet while he was taking part in a United Nations conference in New York.
Simms and Beah take questions from audience members, who ask about everything from Sierra Leone’s civil war to the process of writing a book.
MU students and faculty, as well as Columbia community members, fill much of the lower-level seating for the Jesse Auditorium event.
After the lecture, Beah signs copies of his memoir. A book-signing also will be held Thursday evening from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
After blowing a kiss to his mom in the stands, senior Michael Chandler waves goodbye one last time to the crowd at the Hearnes Center, where he avenged a previous loss to No. 7-ranked Cyler Sanderson with a 4-0 final score in the 157 pound weight class. Ranked eighth in his division, Chandler now has a season record of 26-5 with an overall career statistic of 94-37.
MU grapplers hosted their last home dual of the 2008-09 season with a match against No. 2 Iowa State. It was the last time that senior wrestlers Marcus Hoehn, Andrew Sherry, Michael Chandler and Raymond Jordan would compete at the Hearnes Center. Hoehn, Chandler and Jordan contributed three wins to the team’s total of five victories. The Tigers defeated the Cyclones with a final score of 18-15.
Redshirt freshman Troy Dolan takes a shot on No. 10 ranked Tyler Clark in the first match of the dual at 125 pounds. Dolan kept the score close, but lost 4-2.
Head coach Brian Smith congratulates senior Marcus Hoehn after he upset No. 3 ranked Nick Gallick with a 4-3 score in sudden victory at 141 pounds. No. 10 ranked Hoehn is now 27-8 with a career record of 58-38.
After defeating No. 18 Duke Burke in the 174-pound weight class by 6-1, No. 5 ranked Raymond Jordan says his figurative goodbyes to the home crowd who will not see him wrestle in a MU singlet at Hearnes again. Jordan extended his season record to 29-3. As a career Tiger, he is 117-27, which means he has averaged four wins out of every five matches.
Junior Nick Marable, ranked fifth in the country, finishes his signature double-leg takedown against No. 7 Jon Reader to contribute to his 3-2 victory.
Volunteer coach Ben Askren, assistant coach Shawn Charles and head coach Brian Smith watch Ben’s younger brother, Max, ranked fourth in his weight class, wrestle No. 1 Jake Varner at 197 pounds. Askren lost 9-4.
At the end of the dual, fans line up to gather signatures from their favorite MU wrestlers.
Photos by Shane Epping
More than 15,000 fans filled the Mizzou Arena to watch their Tigers defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-47 on Feb. 14. Photo by Shane Epping.
Valentine’s Day was not lost on several female MU fans in the front row of the students’ section. Top (left to right): Andrea Hoffman, Ann Oldenburg and Candace Clayborne-Harris. Bottom: Allison Sicking, Molly Krutek, Kayla Wohldmann and Sarah Bourne. Photo by Shane Epping.
During a timeout, head coach Mike Anderson encourages freshman guard Miguel Paul to focus. Photo by Shane Epping.
Junior guard J.T. Tiller, the admiration of above-mentioned fans, takes it to the hoop. Tiller scored 11 points and had 4 assists. Photo by Shane Epping.
Senior forward DeMarre Carroll, another Valentine’s Day fan favorite, scored 13 points and had 3 defensive rebounds. Carroll did his part to hold Nebraska to only 47 total points. Photo by Shane Epping.
Coach Anderson gives a quick shout-out to fans sitting above the tunnel where players and coaches enter and exit the arena. Photo by Shane Epping.
Story by Ryan Gavin
Following Mizzou’s 70-47 Valentine’s Day massacre of Nebraska on Saturday, a third-consecutive sellout crowd was moving toward the exits in a celebratory mood. Over the loudspeakers, Matchbox 20’s song “How Far We’ve Come” began to play. Although it may have been a random selection, there couldn’t have been a more perfect fit.
Two weeks ago, the team was just a vote getter and assumed to be a beneficiary of a weak early schedule. No longer. With the Nebraska beatdown and comeback thriller against Kansas last Monday, Mizzou (22-4, 9-2 Big 12 Conference) moved up to No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and to No. 11 in the AP media poll.
Still, to get a grasp on where this year’s Tigers have come from, it’s important to look back on the Nebraska road loss at the start of Big 12 play. At the time, Mizzou was 14-2 with some nice wins against USC, California and Georgia, but the Tigers lacked defining victories. Many college basketball experts expected the Tigers to fall back to the middle of the pack once conference play began. The 56-51 loss at Nebraska seemed to affirm those beliefs.
“I thought the game at Nebraska really helped us,” Anderson says. “It changed our approach. The games are getting bigger, so the key is how you deal with it.”
And so the Tigers didn’t collapse; instead they became resilient. With nine wins in the 10 games that followed that loss, and with the loss to Kansas State the only blemish, Mizzou is one of the hottest college basketball teams.
“Tiger basketball is about never giving up,” coach Mike Anderson says, his basketball philosophy echoing the team’s mentality this season. “We’ve got some guys who will fight and scratch and claw to give themselves a chance.”
Speaking of chances, Mizzou has an outside shot at taking the Big 12 regular-season title. What once seemed far-fetched is now not so impossible. First, the Tigers have to take care of business on their end by beating Kansas in Lawrence and Oklahoma in the regular-season finale at Mizzou Arena. Secondly, fans need to clench their teeth and cheer on the Jayhawks against Oklahoma on Feb. 23. If the scenario were to play out, Mizzou would finish a game ahead of Kansas and tied with the Sooners but would win the title based on the head-to-head victory.
To even be discussing the possibilities this late in the season speaks to how far Anderson has brought this team. Mizzou is 15 years removed from its perfect 14-0 conference season in 1994, which was the last time the Tigers won either a regular or postseason title in men’s basketball. And with this week off to prepare for a road contest against last place Colorado, Anderson doesn’t plan on letting his foot off the accelerator.
“I don’t ever take it easy on them,” Anderson says with a laugh.
At the third annual Beauty and the Beast event on Feb. 13, more than 4,000 fans showed up at the Hearnes Center to cheer on the MU wrestlers against Central Michigan and the gymnasts against Illinois. Although the grapplers lost 22-14, the gymnastics squad broke several records and extended the Tiger record to 16-7 against the Fighting Illini.
Junior Sarah Shire claimed her fifth all-around title of 2009 with a career-high of 39.525, including a career-tying best of 9.925 on the balance beam and floor exercise.
Taking a break from competing alongside the wrestlers, Liz Straatmann watches fellow MU Tiger Nick Marable take on Trevor Stewart in the 165 pound weight class where Marable lost 2-0.
Upon completion of their meet, members of the gymnastics squad cheered on the wrestlers in the remaining upper-weight bouts, including Max Askren against Eric Simaz in the 197 pound division where Askren won 12-5.
Junior guard Zaire Taylor nails the winning shot for Mizzou with just 1.3 seconds left in the game. It marks the second game-winning shot Taylor has hit for the Tigers in the team’s past three games. Photo by Karen Stockman.
From blowout loss to blown opportunities to full-blown celebration, Mizzou’s 62-60 thriller of a comeback against bitter rival Kansas was an instant classic in the Border Showdown.
At halftime, the Tigers (21-4, 8-2 Big 12 Conference) trailed 30-16 as a result of several missed shots and suffocating defense by the Jayhawks (19-5, 8-1). Mizzou shot just 24.1 percent from the field, 1-for-10 from thee-point range, and was out-rebounded 30-15. Then coach Mike Anderson walked in the locker room.
“Coach Anderson just looked at us and laughed,” Carroll says. “He said, you guys left your game at home.
“The game is 40 minutes, not 20.”
The 15,061 fans at Mizzou Arena had plenty to celebrate in the comeback victory. Photo by Karen Stockman.
The Tigers made several runs at Kansas, cutting the deficit to three on several occasions before letting the Jayhawks’ lead balloon again.
Finally, with just 30 seconds left, Leo Lyons drove in and got fouled, with the Tigers trailing 58-56. The first shot swooshed through, and it seemed as though the nervous energy was about to burst forth from the 15,061 fans packed in to Mizzou Arena.
Every set of hands reached skyward, grasping for hope to complete the improbable comeback. Then, the second one clanged off the back of the rim before rolling back through. It was tied at 58. Goosebumps were visible on arms waving around pom poms, giant foam fingers and anything else they could find in the sheer pandemonium.
Senior forward DeMarre Carroll carried the Tigers on his back, leading the team with 22 points and seven rebounds. Photo by Karen Stockman.
With 49.7 seconds left, J.T. Tiller hit a shot to give Mizzou its first lead since the Tigers were up 11-10 early on. The fans’ roar became deafening, and the walls of the arena were literally vibrating with the impassioned crowd, almost as if in celebration of Mizzou’s undefeated home season this year.
On the other end, Kansas answered with just more than 23 seconds left, meaning the Tigers would have the game’s last shot. Lyons held the ball for what seemed an eternity to the hoarse but still screaming crowd. Finally, he kicked it to Zaire Taylor, who had just hit the winning shot on the road against Texas last week.
A pump fake threw off the defenders, allowing him to drive. And then he drained it.
“What can I say?” Anderson asked coyly afterward, grinning and fully enjoying the moment. “The kid’s got some moxie. He’s got some heart.”
Tiger fans storm Norm Stewart Court in celebration of Mizzou’s comeback victory. Photo by Karen Stockman.
The joyful exuberance flowed forth from the stands, as it later did from the eyes of Tiller and others in the Tiger locker room. The crowd flew by ushers, who knew it was an exercise in futility to try to turn back the tide of gold pouring onto Norm Stewart Court.
“This is one of the reasons I came here,” Anderson says. “You can make this place a tough place to play. We have to give them a reason to come, and when they come, we have to give them a reason to stay here.
There couldn’t have been a better finish to a game that ended like a childhood fantasy. Convincing fans to see the rest of this storybook season shouldn’t be a problem.
Carroll rejoices with teammates and fans following an emotional comeback in which the Tigers rallied several times. Photo by Karen Stockman.
Senior forward DeMarre Carroll, surrounded by a flock of Jayhawks last year at Mizzou Arena, was named the Big 12 Player of the Week. Photo by Shane Epping.
Tonight’s Border Showdown against Kansas has been looming on Mizzou’s schedule all season long, but as the Tigers have continued their hot play, ESPN’s featured game on Big Monday (8 p.m. at Mizzou Arena) has gotten bigger.
Mizzou (20-4, 7-2 Big 12 Conference) is back in the polls this week, coming in at No. 17 in the media poll and No. 19 in the coaches poll. And who happens to be right above them? Kansas, of course. The Jayhawks (19-4, 8-0) will put their undefeated conference record on the line against Mizzou’s unbeaten home record this season. Something’s gotta give.
The Tigers’ play of late also has garnered attention in the form of league awards. Senior forward DeMarre Carroll was named the Big 12 Player of the Week, while junior transfer Zaire Taylor was honored as Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
Carroll averaged 22.0 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 59.4 percent from the floor in wins at Texas and Iowa State. Taylor had 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting against Texas, including a game-clinching layup with 5.5 seconds left.
Mizzou is asking fans to wear gold for this evening’s game, coming into which each team has four or fewer losses for the first time since 1990. This might be the fastest Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball this season.
Mizzou Arena was packed for last season’s game against Kansas. Photo by Shane Epping.
The 2009 football recruiting class was announced Wednesday at the Clinton Club of Mizzou Arena, setting the table for another strong season for the Tigers. The crown jewel of the class was five-star recruit Sheldon Richardson.
Ranked as the fourth-best player in the nation, as well as the top recruit in the state, Richardson has the option of playing nearly anything he wants. Except quarterback, coach Gary Pinkel added jokingly, suggesting there might be a better use for the 6-foot-4, 275-pound player. Mizzou also secured the state’s 10 highest-ranked players, accomplishing the staff’s goal of securing the borders.
“Sheldon wanted to stay in the state of Missouri, and I think he’s a tremendous athlete,” Pinkel said. “I think we might have four assistant coaches fighting over him because he can play a number of places. He’s such a great young guy; we’re certainly thrilled he’s a Missouri Tiger.”
Texas continued to be a fertile recruiting ground, as the Tigers landed All-American running back Kendial Lawrence. Though short in stature, the 5-foot-9 back was the top runner in the football hotbed that is Texas. Mizzou also had six other Texans joining the team, which means more than 25 players from the state will be on roster again next season.
“Kendial’s a real talented player,” Pinkel said. “He’s a strong runner and has great quickness. Certainly, he’s an impact player with the football. We’re real happy he decided to come.”
With starter Chase Daniel and backup Chase Patton graduating and moving on to the NFL, the quarterback spot is about to become a hot topic for Mizzou fans. Last year’s top recruit, Blaine Gabbert, remains on the roster, while the Tigers added high school seniors Blaine Dalton from Blue Springs, Mo., and Ashton Glazer from Springdale, Ark. All three will be in a heated competition, starting this spring.
“Having two quarterbacks, and with Blaine Gabbert here as a freshman a year ago, having those players be able to come in here and compete, it’s really, really important,” Pinkel said. “Let the competition begin. The great thing about our program is that it’s all based on competition. There’s no pecking order.
You deserve it if you earn the job.”
Rivals.com, the authority on high school football rankings, has Mizzou rated No. 35, ahead of more than 40 bowl teams from last season. Rankings have yet to be finalized as of this posting.
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February MU faculty, staff and students, as well as Columbia community members, pay homage to famous black orators by performing their historic speeches. The series, “Great African American Speeches,” starts tomorrow, Feb. 4, and runs through Feb. 26 in Memorial Union’s Bengal Lair.
Feb. 4, 11:30 a.m.-noon - Wilma King reads Charlotta Bass’s “Acceptance Speech for VP Candidate of the Progressive Party” and Fannie Lou Hamer’s “Response to the DNC.”
Feb. 4, 2-3 p.m. - K.C. Morrison reads Barack Obama’s “Victory Speech.”
Feb. 10, 3:30-4 p.m. - Christopher Okonkwo reads Malcolm X’s “Speech to the Africa Summit Conference.”
Feb. 12, 2:30-3 p.m. - Danielle Walker reads Nannie Helen Burroughs’s “12 things the Negro Must Do.”
Feb. 13, 12-12:30 p.m. - Addae Ahmad reads Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet.”
Feb. 17, 12:15-12:40 p.m. April Langley reads Francis Harper’s “We Are All Bound Up Together.”
Feb. 18, 2-3 p.m. - David Brunsma reads Stokley Carmichael’s “Black Power.”
Feb. 19, 12:15-12:40 p.m. - April Langley reads Maria Stewart’s “Why Ye Sit Here and Die?”
Feb. 23, 2:30-3 p.m. - Danielle Walker reads Shirley Chisholm’s “I Am For the Equal Rights Amendment.”
Feb. 25, 10:45-11:15 a.m. - Charles Nilon reads “Ten-Point Program and Platform of the Black Panther Party.”
Feb. 26, 2-3 p.m. - Roger Worthington reads Barack Obama’s “A House Divided, or the Race Speech.”