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Nationals’ World Series win means a lot to fans

Jackson Todd

19 wins and 31 losses. Those are the numbers that keep sticking in my mind, even as I celebrate the first World Series Title for D.C. in my lifetime, because of what those numbers represent. The Nationals had 19 wins and 31 losses through our first 50 games, and we had a less than one percent chance of making the playoffs back in May. But we came back, with the best record in the Major League Baseball (MLB) over the second half of the season. The Nationals pulled it together. This was a season of defiance in an age where reliance on data has transformed sports, leading teams to choose younger and cheaper players over established veterans, the Nationals had the oldest team in the MLB. The Houston Astros, our opponent in the Fall Classic, represent the trend towards reliance on numbers over humans; they fired half of their scouting department last year. The Nationals were still sending advance scouts to the American League Championship Series (ALCS), because our General Manager (GM) is an old-school scout who trusts humans as much as numbers.

This was a season of the Nationals fighting trends, and nothing represents that better than our playoff run, one of the best in MLB history. The Nationals faced five elimination games over the course of the playoffs, were down in every single game, and came back to win all of them. We came into the playoffs as a wild-card seed, and beat teams that were some of the best in MLB history. Every single team that we faced was described as better than us.

The Dodgers had a better rotation, a better bullpen and a better batting order, but none of that mattered when we beat them in five games. The Cardinals had more playoff experience, but none of that mattered when we beat them in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). The Astros were one of the best offensive teams in MLB history, with the deepest rotation in the majors, but that did not matter when we beat them in seven games.

It is hard to describe how much this victory meant to Nationals fans. We have endured years of heartbreak from the Nationals, and with every loss that piled up we became more and more convinced that we would never break through. The teams that lost in past years looked better on paper than the team that won this year, with the Nationals coming into this year described as the third or fourth best team in our own division. None of that mattered though, because this team managed to stick it out and win.

Even when everyone else — even the fans — had given up on this team, they did not give up on themselves. They won the first two games in Houston, bringing the series back to D.C. with an enormous leg up and promptly got embarrassed over the next three games in front of the home crowd. The series was regarded as over; the plucky underdogs had surprised the giants at first, but had eventually fallen victim to a better team, and the Nationals were simply going to be a footnote of the Astros inevitable dynasty. The Nationals had not given up on themselves though, becoming the first team in MLB history to win the world series by winning all four road games.

In all of the interviews afterwards, the players expressed a single theme: that this team was fun. They won because they believed in themselves, their teammates but also because they had fun together. On Saturday, every other team had moved onto the next season, but not the Nationals. They were still having fun.

 

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Women’s soccer wins back-to-back titles

Angad Singh

Sports Editor

The Fighting Scots women’s soccer team’s sensational performance against DePauw set them up for winning the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) for a second consecutive year. The Scots’ performance against Denison University on Nov. 6 ensured their place in the final. Playing a familiar opponent, the team beat the Big Red 2-0, with Mila Zunich ’21 scoring just eight minutes into the game. Following Zunich, Miura Wiley ’21 cushioned the Scots’ lead against Denison. The Scots outshot the Denison Big Red 7-5, with goalkeeper Molly Hutter ’21 collecting the five saves and recording her seventh straight shutout. Going into the second half with a 2-0 lead, the Scots took the game, setting them up for the final against DePauw.

The Fighting Scot juggernaut continued ahead with the same momentum in the final against DePauw. It was a goal- less two halves against the De- Pauw University Tigers,but the Scots managed to find the back of the net in the second overtime, with Wiley scoring with just barely 56.3 seconds left on the clock, setting them up with an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championships for a second time in a row. On asking captains Mackenzie Goltz ’20 and Claire Davis ’20 on how it feels to win the conference back to back, Goltz stated, “This year we had to put our heads down and grind. A lot of us seniors had some scores to settle with teams that had beaten us in the past [such as] John Carroll, Oberlin, Denison. We were driven by the realization that we could beat these teams, and we just went out and did it.” Going off of what Goltz had to say, Davis continued, “It is a great feeling to be back to back champs and go to another school and win.We had a lot of doubters this season,so being able to prove them wrong was amazing.”

Goltz, Davis, Zunich, Hutter and Kelsey Stone ’21 join Wiley in the NCAC All-Star team. With Wiley’s last minute con- ference goal, she advances to the highest goal-scorer of the season for the Fighting Scots with a total of seven goals, a goal ahead of striker Holly Thompson ’21. Hutter on the other hand, recorded her eighth straight shutout, the keeper was kept busy against the tigers getting a career high of nine saves. Her performance was instrumental as the DePauw Tigers outshot the Scots 17-7. But it was in overtime that the Scots came back with a sensational performance, outshooting their opponents 3-1 and heading home with a win. Thinking ahead and contributing their win purely to the team as a whole, Huttersaid,“This win feels amazing because our team has worked so hard this year to get to this point. Our effort level is unmatched, and our team is a unit, everyone played a role in bringing back the trophy.”

Against 21st ranked Case Western Reserve University, the Scots hold a record of a 16-13-6 series lead, with Case taking the victory in overtime by 1-0. On their road ahead Hutter stated, “All of our focus is on the NCAA tournament and facing Case Western. I feel so lucky to be on this team and this is the best team I’ve ever been a part of.” Echoing Hutter, Davis continued, “The team culture and attitude is very positive this year, every- one wants to win. We are play- ing for each other and always have each others backs on and off the field. I have had the time of my life playing and winning games this year, and I am not ready to be done yet!”

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Seniors look to go out with a bang for Coach Moore

Chloe Burdette

Managing Editor

As North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) schools prepare for the 2019-20 basketball season, their main goals include stacking wins and playing cohesively as a team. But as the Wooster Fighting Scots men’s basketball team prepares for their season, many players have another big goal in mind — to make it the best year yet for their beloved head coach, Steve
Moore. Moore will retire at the conclusion of the 2019-20 basketball season after 33 remarkable years at the College of Wooster.

Many players on the team thank Moore for his inspiring words and leadership as their coach. “Words can not express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to be coached and mentored by Coach Moore,” Khaylen Mahdi ’22 said. “I am genu- inely excited to have one more season to learn from him and be a student of the game under his teachings.” Keonn Scott ’21 echoed Mahdi’s statement, explaining that “Coach Moore has meant everything to us. We are playing for him.”

Danyon Hempy ’20, one of the seniors finishing his career as a Fighting Scot this year alongside Moore, appreci- ates Moore for his mentorship on and off the court. “Coach Moore has been one of my biggest influences throughout my entire life,” Hempy said. “He has taught me so many things about life and basketball skills and for that I will be forever grateful. He continues to in- spire me every day. I think I speak for everyone when I say that Coach Moore will be dearly missed. One of the best to ever do it!”

Coach Moore himself cherishes his time at Wooster to get to know his basketball players, and the sense of to- getherness that each team provided throughout the years. “Of course our successes on the court will be cherished. But I think the best memories will be of the quality of the men that I have had the opportunity to coach, how they treated people, how they represented our College and team in the community, how they have made our program a source of pride for the College by their play on the court and by being men of character,” Moore explained “more than anything else, I appreciate how they handled themselves, and supported one another and the families of our loved ones when tragedy struck our program numerous times.”

With the loss of four seniors last year, three of which were starters, the Fighting Scots knew that many players were going to have to step into their new roles with a vengeance and play harder than they have ever played before. “I think we still bring back a lot of talented players that can fill the role of those we lost. Dontae Williams ’22 is still back and will play a huge role in dominating the paint, Scott is going to come in huge after losing Reece Dupler ’19, Trenton Tipton ’20 is going to replace Eric Bulic ’19 nicely as well. We have an extreme amount of talent at every position,” Hempy said.

“Once we are able to under- stand our roles as individuals and find a rhythm on the court together as a team, the rest is history,” Mahdi added. One of the ways that the Fighting Scots can honor their coach is through playing harder than ever, and by following a golden rule: never be satisfied. “We never want to be satisfied with where we are at as a team. We are constantly driven by being able to get better. I think we have — we are never complacent and want to be the best we can be,” Hempy explained. Along with the teams’ drive, Mahdi called on help from the fan base in order to give their team an extra boost. “We need to bring more energy and this year we have the guys who will  bring just that. Energy also relies on our fan base! This being Coach Moore’s last season, I am going to need the Wooster stu- dents and the fan population to be as passionate and intense as possible every single game.” If one thing is for sure, everyone in a Wooster uniform on the court, including Moore, will make sure that this season is a memorable one. “I am determined to work harder than ever, and to be passionate and enthusiastic in order to help our team be in the best position possible to play well,” Moore said. “I want our team to work hard and improve every single day and I want our team to be playing our best basketball to- ward the end of the regular season and in tournament play.”

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Oprah’s book club presents The Water Dancer

Kamal Morgan

Contributing Writer

Oprah’s annual book club presented their selection this past September: Ta-Nehisi Coates’The Water Dancer. This is Coates’ first novel and his fourth book overall. His book, Between the World and Me won the National Book award for nonfiction in 2015 and was a finalist for 2016 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

The story takes place in the 18th century where we meet the protagonist Hiriam Walker, who is the offspring of his slave mother and his white master. It starts off as he is driving his half-brother in a carriage, and gets into an accident off a bridge known for transporting slaves that are sold off plantations. He nearly drowns but is rescued by a supernatural power where he is ‘conducted’ off the river and onto land. This near-death experience leads him to want to escape from the watch of his slave master-fa- ther and become a free man.

The Water Dancer is not just a story about a man’s attempt to gain freedom during slav- ery. It does not succumb to the pleas of those who want to show the cruelty and vio- lence of antebellum America where black bodies were not just property, but flesh to be distributed and dispensed of when convenient. Coates creates a story that focuses on black love; how slavery was not just about the symbols that are associated with slavery, but the rupture of the black family in the process. Coates did not use the traditional ‘master’ and ‘slave’ titles, but replaced them with the Quality (master) and the Tasked (slaves) to create a new narrative where the slave has a voice and they can define and give a human value to themselves.

The status of slavery made black people cherish the love of family, their connections with one anoth- er and the memories they created from it. Survival was the goal, but freedom meant nothing without the emotional connection of family. In this book, Coates repeatedly shows how, when the Tasked escaped from slavery they were still not satisfied. Their bodies were freed, but their family still lay in bondage. Those who were freed still felt a suppressed agony because they would never feel the warmth of their partners and children.

Coates brings a human angle that many forget exists into the neo-slave narrative. Our family and the memories we make with them is what keeps us alive ev- ery day. This is the power which Coates wants his readers to ac- knowledge when we think about slavery and its effects on us. It is not just about the cruelty that was endured, but how the power of love has led black people to survive in an oppressive anti- black America and how we will continue to defy the odds no matter the circumstances.

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A brief commentAry on japanese rock And talk

Andrew Kilbride

An unfortunate aspect of having an Anglo-centric pop culture is that modes of entertainment not in English often get over- looked. Even though English is sort of an international lingua franca, for better or for worse, a small percentage of the world actually speaks it as a first lan- guage. Yet, this said percent has a near-monopoly on promoting and canonizing popular art. Because of this, I want to highlight music either from non-English speaking countries or places that aren’t really a part of American discourse.

To start this off, I’m going to wax poetic about Japanese rock and talk about some of my favorite releases under this umbrella. In later articles, I hope to discuss music from less-discussed places that I’m unfamiliar with, but I feel like this is a good place to start because Japanese rock isn’t nearly the cultural powerhouse that,say,anime and J-pop are.

1. Boris – “Akuma No Uta”

Picking a favorite Boris album is damn near impossible because they have so many,and they genre- hop way more than most artists. That being said,“AkumaNoUta” is a pretty good start, with its reasonable runtime and face-melting “Ark of the Covenant” riffage by noise making extraordinaires,Wata and Takeshi Ohtani. It’s more intense,urgent and plain fun than 99 percent of the music out there.

2. Haru Nemuri – “Harutosyura”

I don’t really know where to begin with this one. Her sound mixes J-pop and post-hardcore in a way that I never really thought was possible. Haru Nemuri’s high-pitched and often fast vocals sound really surreal over heavy guitars, which in turn are juxtaposed with electronic and pop-adjacent production flourishes. I really have no idea how this record is as good as it is, but I love it.

3. Les Ralliz- Dénudés – “77 Live”On one hand, I suppose it’s kind of tragic that Kyoto’s Les Rallizes Dénudés never released an official studio album because they defi- nitely would have released a bunch of classics. On the other hand, its impossible to imagine them beyond their live bootlegs of long, minimalist jams centered on hypnotic repetition and sustained guitar feedback. Even without any official releases to their name, they perfected a radical sound that the American psychedel- ic bands of the ’60s only hinted at. 4.Endon -“ThroughtheMirror”Endon are listed on RateYour- Music.com as “Avant-Garde Metal,” which I’m adding because words and genre signifiers aren’t really enough to convey how strange Endon are as a band. Their instru- mentation is almost always ugly and chaotic, with the band having two DJ-like electronics manipulators in leu of a bassist, and their vocals are screamed and distorted buzzsaws that ignore language in favor of onomatopoeic sounds. Anything they touch is gold. 5.Sigh-“ImaginarySonicscape”Most of the bands I mentioned earlier do a decent amount of genre-hopping over their career, but here Sigh unashamedly alternate between black metal, techno, jazz fusion and soft pop, often doing it multiple times within a single song. This record shows how amazing music can be if the artists aren’t afraid of transcending the often self-imposed confines of their genre.

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Hozier concert places trust in the audience

Megan Tuennerman

A&E Editor

While there may be debate over how to pronounce his name, there can be no argument that Hozier’s performance at the Akron Civic Theatre on Nov. 7, as part of his Wasteland, Baby! tour, was powerful and raw.

Before one can comment on the spectacular performances themselves, one must try to ex- plain the Akron Civic Theatre. It is a truly unique building, with a parrot patterned carpet in the lobby, a night sky ceiling in the theatre and the overall feel of a themed show at Disney World. This 1920s movie palace is beautiful,unique and worth the trip to Akron by itself. But then, under the night sky of the theatre,appeared opening act Angie McMahon.

From Melbourne, Australia, McMahon has the sweetest disposition and a captivating singing voice.Onstage,just her and her guitar, McMahon’s performance was genuine and honest,as she cracked jokes, admitted to worrying that the fly of her jeans was down and sung with a deep,melodic voice that captivated the entire audience. That deep, soulful voice was balanced by songs that were relatable without trying too hard. McMahon stated that one song was about being tired and thinking you are allergic to gluten, then later sang a song with the lyrics “I don’t want to buy fried chicken, I want to sleep.” Later she changed the  mood a little bit by singing a song about the moments when you do not want to hang out with friends,but then they call,and you are happy.

McMahon set the mood for the rest of the concert — powerful but calm.Hozier entered the stage without much ado— no big introduction, no big light show — simply the band, some spotlights and a song.Letting the music speak for itself,Hozier did not speak until about three songs into the set. As I sat in the audience, I wanted to close my eyes and internalize the beautiful songs that were being performed,butIwasalso captivated by the movement onstage.There were few bells andwhistles:the stage was set with an armchair, a few globes, some books and the band.

I felt myself drawn to the movements of the performers on-stage.It was not scripted dance,it was not fake—itwas true talent and enjoyment. The show relied mostly on lights to change the stage with different colors and patterns. The back curtain was used as a projection screen,making the audience feel as if they were part of a music video. Together, the lights and the projection worked to add to the amazing performances on stage and emphasize the powerful messages that Hozier is not afraid to put in his songs.

In between songs, Hozier pondered the role of music in contemporary life,and questioned why music has to allude to contemporary issues,why can’t it state the issues out- right? And so, he has decided to change that aspect of music with some of his new songs. Hozier explained that he is using this tour as a way to ‘test’ some unreleased songs, and while during the rest of the show we could record and take pictures, he asked us if we would put our phones away during the un-released song. It was a moment that made me feel respected;he admitted that he was purely asking this in good faith, but that he trusted us.This act of faith really summarizes the concert for me.In a world with so much controversy trust is often lost,especially in big groups. Yet, Hozier is willing to trust groups of fans night after night. It was powerful, it was honest and it was pure. It did not matter who we were,why we were there or even how big of a fan you were of Hozier — you were there and you were important.

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