How the Nuggets structured not one, but two, perfect comebacks

Gabriel Melmed
Contrbuting Writer


By design, the NBA isn’t particularly friendly to underdogs. Professional basketball requires a very specific body type, which only a handful of adult men worldwide have. As a result, the gap in skill level between the most talented and least talented professional basketball players is considerably wider than that of soccer, hockey or baseball. Basketball also allows more opportunities to score than any other major sport. NBA teams play 82 games over the course of the regular season, followed by a playoff tournament of four best-of-seven games. All of this adds up to a league in which skill prevails over luck. It’s the reason the NBA is a league of dynasties and in which final outcomes feel inevitable. It’s also the reason that comebacks in the NBA taste sweeter than in any other league.

         In a league where precious few games and even fewer series are won on accident, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit stands alone as the most heroic and unlikely comeback a team can make. Before this season, only 11 teams had completed this dauntless task, the most recent being LeBron James and the Cavaliers during the 2016 NBA Finals. Recently, my hometown Denver Nuggets became the only team in NBA history to do so twice in the same playoffs. Through two rounds, the experience for Nuggets fans like me has been an odyssey of despair, adrenaline and euphoria that has reminded us all of why we love sports.

         The Denver Nuggets, who I’ll refer to as “we” from now on, are today’s most lovable off-the-beaten-path NBA team. Our two most notable players are Jamal Murray, a tough and feisty Canadian guard who until this season was known as a streaky B-tier star, and Nikola Jokić, a vertically challenged, goofy-looking seven-foot Serbian who makes up for his lack of athleticism with brilliant scoring and superlative passing. The two stars are rounded out by a cast of mostly young specialists whose collective buy-in, combined with the basketball minds Jokić and Head Coach Michael Malone, makes the whole team greater than the sum of its parts. We mounted these comebacks against much more prototypical NBA teams in the Utah Jazz and L.A. Clippers, each led by young and athletic American stars.

         It’s hard to overstate just how impossible these comebacks looked before they happened. After losing three straight games to the Jazz, we looked like outmatched frauds, losing badly to a team we were projected to beat. I was incensed, yelling obscenities at the players and referees as if they would change their behavior if I yelled loud enough. But on the cusp of defeat, Murray hypnotized himself and in his otherworldly state, produced a flurry of epic scoring performances unlike anything Nuggets fans have seen before. All I could do was laugh in awe of the late-blooming stone-cold assassin that had just saved our season. All culminated in a nail-biting Game Seven which came down to one final shot that the Jazz just barely missed — the only fitting way to end such a thrilling series.

         The Clippers series was less thrilling — no games were particularly close. The Clippers, championship favorites in the eyes of many, dominated three of the first four games before the momentum shifted almost instantaneously towards us. The next three games were the sweetest kind of victories — the kind that of medium margin-victories against complacent superstars, two of them second half comebacks, that allow the underdog to gloat at everyone who forgot how dangerous they were. A chance to say, as Damian Lillard most recently declared, “Put some respect on my fucking name!”

         At the time I’m writing this, things don’t look good for the Nuggets. We’re down 2-0 against a LeBron-led Lakers team that looks poised to go to the finals. No matter what happens, I’m proud of this team. We put together a run that no other team has ever put together, a run powered by the qualities all athletes strive for — grit, teamwork, resolve and an audacious desire to keep fighting.

C.O.W. sororities introduce anti-racism series

Chloe Burdette

Editor in Chief


On Thursday, Sept. 17, the student body received an email administered by two sororities on campus, Kappa Epsilon Zeta (KEZ) and Delta Theta Psi (Theta). The email detailed the new event series that the groups will unveil within the next few weeks called “G.R.E.E.K. — Generating Respect, Empowerment, Efficacy (and) Knowledge.” As described in the email, the series was created in response to Wooster Greek Life’s silence and lack of accountability on many social issues, such as homophobia, racism and sexual harassment — all concerns that have impacted certain Wooster students directly. 

Explaining the rationale behind creating this series, KEZ President Maresa Tate ’21 said, “I want us to be held accountable. I want us to actively listen to people. I want us to call each other out.” Tate continued, “I want us to not dismiss and disregard others’ experiences simply because it is not our own. I want Inter-Greek Council (IGC) to enact policy changes that ensure the space is welcoming for all — whether you are in Greek Life or not. It doesn’t matter who started it, but who will continue it and who is open to the uncomfortable reality that we have all been perpetrators of discrimination, bias and harassment whether we know it or not, or whether we like it or not.”

Anyone, regardless of their affiliation with Wooster Greek Life, was invited to attend the event.

The series comes as a response to many concerns that The College of Wooster students and alumni posted to @blackncac, an Instagram page where BIPOC students and faculty of schools in the North Coast Athletic Conference can share their experiences and have an opportunity to amplify their voices.

“In late August, a first-year student from Wooster anonymously shared their feelings and experiences on the @blackncac account and Wooster Greek Life was mentioned,” Camille Carr ’22, co-diversity chair for Theta, stated. “I was unimpressed with how unnecessarily defensive Wooster folks can get when BIPOC students share their stories of being disenfranchised and marginalized.”

Olivia Friedman ’22, the other diversity co-chair for Theta, echoed Carr’s statement. “I am tired of performative responses without real acknowledgment of Greek Life’s role in the issues and the willingness to change,” Friedman said. “This occurs in my group as well, as it does in every group on campus, and we wanted to create a space where people can be heard, really heard, and change can arise from it.”

The first event in the series, titled “Creating an Anti-Racist Space in Greek Life,” was held on Sept. 20 on Microsoft Teams. The event was moderated by impartial non-Greek member Cesar Oswaldo Lopez ’21 to ensure discussion would stay safe, productive and efficient. 

Megan Gronau ’21, president of Theta, described the first half of the event’s agenda. “We created an anonymous survey where both Greek members and non-Greek members could share their stories,” Gronau stated. “A few of the stories were shared at the event, with the permission of the individual. At this event, and all events to follow, people are able to speak their truth directly in the meeting.” 

Lopez, who facilitated the meeting, explained the role he played in the second half of the event. “I facilitated a series of questions that arose in response to stories shared via the @BlackNCAC Instagram account, primarily aimed towards the hosts of the evening, but also addressed to the largely Greek audience present,” he said. At the conclusion of the event, he added, “I think the evening was a good start to necessary conversations that are being demanded on campus, especially in reckoning with the environment that Greek Life creates at The College of Wooster.”

Along with Lopez as the moderator, Carr, Friedman and Gronau helped plan the event from Theta while KEZ Diversity Chair Catera Clark ’21 and Sexual Assault Representative Kennedey Bell ’21 aided in the discussion and planning of the event. IGC Co-President Isabella Ilievski ’21 appreciated all of the work that was contributed to start this series. “I’m looking forward to the positive change this series can make,” Ilievski said. I hope every Greek group will attend the future events as change is needed in everyone.”

Upon reflection of the event, Carr hopes that the College and, most significantly, the Greek community, can take accountability. “I really hope we can become better at taking responsibility for racism that has taken place in the past by at least listening to people and not letting our defensiveness rule our actions — this is the least people can do. I think blatantly dismissing or gaslighting someone when they are being vulnerable and sharing their racial trauma is messed up,” she said. Tate added, “I want change to not be something just said, but done.”

English Department to Host Virtual Movie Screenings

Artemis Swanson

Staff Writer

Megan Tuennerman

Managing Editor


As health restrictions limit traditional extracurricular venues, academic departments look for alternative opportunities to provide enjoyable and educational events for their majors and minors. In that vein, the English Department has planned out a new monthly event in the form of a virtual movie screening. Each month, the department will be choosing a film to screen to students in the department, as well as a few additional invited groups from around campus.

Departmental assistants Holly Engel ’21 and Jenna Stanton ’22 have been working hard with Department Chair Leslie Wingard and the department’s administrative assistant, Nat McCoy, to create a fun and entertaining way for students to engage virtually with one another. Engel emphasized how important building a space for community was when planning this event. “Through this event, we hope to foster community and bring people together at a time when togetherness is particularly difficult. Even though everything is still virtual, we’re handing out popcorn beforehand that students can snack on as they watch the film — something that will help us stay connected while watching even though we won’t be together physically. Off campus students are able to participate as well because we’re sending them popcorn in the mail, and the screening  is virtual. All they’ll need to join us is the Microsoft Teams link.”

The screening is not intended to only be designed for English majors and minors, as Department Chair Leslie Wingard assures. “We are purposely creating interdisciplinary social groups at these monthly virtual movie nights this semester,” she says. Of these social groups, the department has invited students from the French and Africana studies departments, as well as the Wooster Chorus and Word of Mouth poetry club, to the first showing occurring this week. In addition, the department plans to extend event invitations to other departments and activity groups for future screenings, with invitations being sent to the Education and Arts departments and the basketball team for next month.

The first showing, a piece known as Poetry, is a 2010 South Korean drama written and directed by Lee Chang-dong. The department is screening the film on Friday, Sept. 25 from 7-10 p.m. The film has reportedly received rave reviews from previous viewers. Furthermore, Engel explained that there will be a Q&A session after the movie with professors (Dr. Christopher Kang and professor and poet Daniel Bourne) and English students (Sierra Foltz ’21 and Brian Luck ’22), facilitating a discussion on poetry, writing and teaching in the context of the movie. They are hoping that “having people from so many different disciplines will make for an interesting, engaging conversation.”

It’s okay to not be okay in a pandemic

Aspen Rush

Contributing Writter


If you had asked me a year ago to predict what I would be doing right now, I would have guessed studying abroad, working at the Voice, writing my junior I.S. and going to dance parties. I never would have guessed I would be taking a gap semester, living in my hometown and working two jobs. I swore to myself I would never end up back here. It feels like I fell asleep in February and woke up in an alternate reality. Somewhere in between those months, I’d lost the person I hoped I would be. The person I am now seems a far cry from the successful college student I was in January.

This isn’t another article to tell you about how you should be taking this time to better yourself or to find happiness in the small things. I beg of you, please stop trying to tell me to find the bright side in a pandemic. This is a time of loss. Some of us have lost people, lost graduation, lost closure, lost jobs — and the list goes on infinitely. At the very least, we all have lost time. The months taken away feel like years; a pre-pandemic world feels like a dream. I’m beginning to forget what it feels like to dance with my friends, or to hug my grandparents.

In March and April, I scrolled through Instagram to find people picking up quarantine hobbies like knitting or embroidery or chicken raising. I tried to do that. I have a quarter-inch scarf I will never finish knitting sitting in my closet. To everyone who picked up hobbies during this pandemic, I admire you. I was too caught up in my own emotions that all I could stomach was a couple episodes of “Too Hot to Handle.”

Now that the initial shock of the pandemic has faded, it seems that most people have continued on with their lives, only minorly inconvenienced by masks. While some students have returned to campus or found comfort in their hometown friends, I feel I have lost my community. However, I know I am not alone in feeling the intense loneliness of distance.

While I will not tell you to find a silver lining in a pandemic and I can’t even say that better times are coming (thanks, global warming), I will tell you to open yourself to all of the ugly emotions. Mourn your canceled study abroad or your graduation. Allow yourself to mourn the things you have lost, no matter how small. You don’t have to juxtapose your loss with everyone else’s. Mourn every single thing the pandemic has taken from you. As we grieve, be gentle with yourself and be gentle with everyone around you.

RBG wants you to vote

Abigail McFarren

Contributing Writer


This Viewpoint was written on Tuesday Sept. 22 and facts may have changed by the time of print. 

Shock. Fear. Grief. Those emotions washed over me like a tidal wave within the first minute of my hearing the news about the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). I was spending the evening with my roommate, who is just as insanely politically active as I am, and one of our STEM major friends, who is less intensely consumed by politics. We were about to start watching a movie and could not bring ourselves to press play until a good 30 minutes later because of all the potential consequences running through our minds. We barely had time to truly grieve this enormous loss because of all the uncertainty her death created. Who would be her replacement? Who would get to choose her replacement? Would Republicans act with any sense of decency and follow the precedent they set in 2016? Now, three days later, some of those questions have clear answers; others, not so much.

In 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February, eight months before the general election in November. President Obama put forth a name to replace Justice Scalia: Merrick Garland. However, the Republican-led Senate refused to even vote on the replacement because, in their opinion, it was unfair to appoint a new justice when the election season was already underway. At the time, multiple Republican senators said that they would hope to be held to the same standard if a similar incident occured during an election if  a Republican were president. Those senators have since proven that those words were a bold-faced lie. Republican senators, with the exceptions of Senators Murkowski and Collins, have expressed their intentions to move ahead with a vote on President Trump’s nominee, and President Trump has said that he fully plans to put forth a nominee on the Supreme Court by Saturday, Sept. 26. This puts the court in the position to have three liberal justices and six conservative justices, a position that would be hard to come back from for at least 30 years, and could put so many civil rights at risk.

 We do not have to sit quietly while this is happening. There are ways for us as citizens and voters to make our voices heard. First, make sure you are registered to vote. It can be completed online in Ohio and takes about five  minutes. Call or email your senators if they have not already agreed to vote “no” on the nominee. Use their past words against them. Senator Portman of Ohio supported holding off on voting for President Obama’s nominee but now says he plans to fully support President Trump’s. In 2016, he even went so far as to write an editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer to support his opinion. Call his office and remind him of that. Volunteer to phone-bank with candidates across the country. Electing Democrats is still incredibly important.

Even if we are not able to stop RBG’s replacement from sitting on the court, Justice Breyer is 82 years old. It is important that we elect Joe Biden so that Justice Breyer has the ability to retire and we can replace him with a younger justice. Also, there is still potential to flip the Senate. Volunteering in competitive Senate races can make a huge difference. And most importantly — vote! This is so incredibly important for our generation. Our age range voted in record numbers in 2018 and we saw the results. If we turn out, our votes can make a difference.

Do not respond to RBG’s death with silence. Respond with the full force of your political power. May her memory be a blessing, and maybe even a revolution.

A Roundtable on the Philosophy of Love

Kaylee Liu

Features Editor


Last Thursday, Alexandra Gustafson, a class of 2016 graduate, was welcomed back to The College of Wooster to give a talk during the weekly Philosophy Roundtable (hosted by the Philosophy Department) about her research at the University of Toronto, titled The Phenomenology of Love. She’s currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Toronto and is what graduate students call “ABD” – all but dissertation, which really just means that she’s on the last leg of her journey to being addressed as Dr. Gustafson. Her dissertation asks the ever-relevant questions of what it feels like to love, not just what love is. Does love feel the same for everyone? How do we know we’ve fallen in love with someone? Is it by the way they make us laugh, or how a text back from them makes us grin like idiots and feel like we’re having a crush for the first time all over again? Or as Gustafson puts it, “One day, I realized that I’d fallen in love with someone without noticing that I’d been falling — how was that possible?” Questions like that are what inspired her to research the way that love feels. This may not seem like a philosophical question – philosophy does, after all, tend to conjure up images of boring blackboards of logic and marble busts of dead Greeks — but according to Alexandra, “philosophy is actually primarily concerned with the things that happen in our day-to-day lives.” Personally, as an aspiring philosopher, I’m inclined to agree. There’s something for everyone in philosophy, even for the true romantics. Attendee Max Shiffman ’23 remarked that he “thought the speaker did an excellent job and talked about a subject [he doesn’t] normally consider from the perspective of philosophy which is always interesting.” 

During the talk itself, Alexandra provided two examples of a loving couple on the eve of their 12th anniversary. In the first example, one of the lovers can’t help but smile as she thinks about how happy and grateful she is to be in a relationship with her wife. In the second example, the lover unconsciously smiles because she’s empathetically happy for her wife: she sees her happy wife and thinks “Good for her.” While we can’t define or quantify love, most people would agree that there seems to be something missing in the relationship in the latter example — Gustafson referred to it as an “impoverished” version of love. What’s the missing piece? Is it because the former example feels like adoration and the latter feels a little more transactional? But is there really a difference if they’re both in happy, successful, long-term relationships anyway? I think there is, but I have no idea how to explain it. When asked for his thoughts on this difference, Professor Evan Riley gave this rather eloquent statement — “Love has been on the philosophical agenda for thousands of years — at least since Plato’s Symposium. So you might think that philosophy would have nothing more to say about it. Yet I expect that Alexandra is really on to something fruitful in her basic methodological presumption that directing our attention to the phenomenology of love —  to what it feels like, for both lover and beloved — will pay fresh theoretical dividends.” Professor Riley is also “looking forward to hearing more about the development and defense of this thought in her dissertation.”

On reflecting on her time at Wooster, Gustafson a told me that “it was at Wooster [that she] learned to love philosophy.” That’s rather lovely, don’t you think? It’s also understandable, considering that the philosophy department is both dedicated and rigorous. Wooster is “where [Gustafson] learned to trust [her] instincts and ask the questions [she] wanted to,” and I, for one, am grateful that the College has prepared her to ask the eternally compelling question of what love feels like. We’ve all got an investment in the topic — during the talk, Gustafson  stated  that she couldn’t comment on how the love of a 30-year marriage felt because she hadn’t experienced it, and a professor unmuted himself to yell, “It’s awesome!” — so I suspect that her eventual dissertation will be engrossing even to those of us who don’t care for philosophy. Humans love love. We talk about it, sing about it, write about it, cry about it. Many of us will spend years searching for it. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we don’t just look for it; we live for it. Gustafson  has a wonderful piece of advice on finding love:  “You don’t have to choose between your head and your heart — that’s a false dichotomy.” So good luck to all of us, and good luck to Gustafson  for the completion of her dissertation, though I suspect she won’t need it given her philosophical acumen. A closing remark from Gustafson :“If ‘philosophy’ means ‘the love of wisdom,’ then it’s impossible to do philosophy without love. I think that makes it pretty important to think about.” 

If this article has moved you to care about love or philosophy, Professor Riley encourages you to consider attending future Roundtables. Helpfully, he told us that the “Philosophy Roundtable will be held on Microsoft Teams this semester starting at 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 pm  most Thursdays See the schedule under “Events” via the departmental web page. All members of the College community are welcome to participate — just ask to be put on the list of interested parties and we will make sure you get the relevant reminders and links.” If you’d like to take Professor Riley  up on his offer, please contact him at, or Patrice Reeder at

The Official Student Newspaper of the College of Wooster since 1883