DeShazo deepens leadership conversation with OBU athletics

 Courtesy Photo/ The Bison Kevin DeSazo 

 Payne Moses

Assistant Sports Editor 

Monday Oct. 19 keynote speaker, author and consultant Kevin DeShazo spoke in front of all Oklahoma Baptist University athletes.

DeShazo is a current resident of Oklahoma City and is married to his wife Megan with three boys Gabe, Noah and Asher, according to his personal webpage deshazo.me. 

For the past nine years, DeShazo has spoken to universities and professional sports organizations about how “to create championship culture,” per DeShazo.

Partnering with Culture Wins, a division of GiANT Worldwide, DeShazo directs his messages to athletic programs specifically on how to curate social media to amplify their institution in addition to instructing athletes and coaches on how to develop into leaders.

In his keynote speech to the OBU athletes Monday, DeShazo based all of his topical points on his most recent book entitled “Keep Chopping Wood,” which was published May 19, 2020.

A short synopsis of the book states: “Keep Chopping Wood is a short story and field guide about what it takes for ordinary people to live extraordinary lives” (per amazon.com). 

While DeShazo only touched directly on his newly published book in the initial stages of his message, his beginning analogy of chopping wood is worth noting.

“If you don’t put wood in your fireplace that was chopped that day, it’s not useful, it’s not ready, it’s not prepared,” DeShazo said. 

“That wood is wet, so you throw it in your fireplace and it’s just going to flare your house with smoke. The fire could potentially just burn your house down because it wasn’t ready. It wasn’t prepared to do what it was made to do.”

By utilizing this analogical comparison, DeShazo related it to how athletes respond to pressure situations, prepared or lacking so.

“In a pressure-packed situation, you don’t head into those moments to not be useful,” DeShazo said.

“You don’t play into those moments like ‘Man, I wish I would have done the work.’ So, do you have the kind of mindset to show up today and do the work, when nobody’s watching, when its inconvenient?”

Through the speech holistically, DeShazo hammered the fact of living life not to stay in the comfortable, the convenient, but instead to strive in uncomfortable and purpose-driven living.

In this way, DeShazo pinpointed having a vision and belief as the most important aspect of an athletes’ reason for competing.

“That’s where a lot of people are, right,” he said.

“They’re really frustrated with where they are in life, but they have no vision for where they want to be. So, all they know is they’re frustrated, but they don’t know why because they have nothing that they are striving for, nothing that they’re running toward. It’s in the ratio to drive you toward that vision, ‘I want to run a marathon’ but I can’t right now. That’s okay because I have a vision to be a marathon runner.”

However, DeShazo rightly provided the understanding that many people are overwhelmed by such large visions and hoped to dispel such concerns by consoling words.

“I’m not being overwhelmed by the bigness of the vision, by the bigness of the goal,” he said.

 “I’m just doing the natural next step. And the key factor, you need to have allies walk alongside you. It’s really hard to get better alone. You have to have people who are committed to the same standard that you are committed to.”

More than merely breaking visions into daily goals, DeShazo spoke to how dealing with our internal mindsets is the simplest, yet hardest barrier to overcome.

“There’s one thing we can control: you,” he said. “There a billion things you can’t control, but focus on the one thing, the one thing you can control is you and your perspective. Your perspective determines your reality. Nothing is good about a bad experience, except for how you find it. You lose a game, you get down, you get overwhelmed, you get negative, you take yourself out of it. You can say ‘Hey, we didn’t do our best, but here’s what I can do to grow’.” 

Whereas DeShazo stressed this concept of owning your inner mindset, he then revisited the idea of reaching a vision with teammates, however with habits as the focus.

“If you want better habits, create a group of people around you that embrace and embody those habits and hold each other accountable for those habits,” he said.

“That’s why I talk about if you show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. If the people you’re closest to aren’t committed to the same standards as you are, you are always going to fall back to them. It’s really hard to pull the people behind you. But if you want better habits, you have to have a better culture period.”

Having just introduced culture, DeShazo explained how leaders, either team captains or otherwise, have the greatest influence on their team atmosphere.

“Leaders define culture,” he said. “If you want a better organization, if you want better teams, you got to have better leaders. Leaders define culture. If you are leader and you are in this room, you are a leader. Not your coach, not a professor, it’s not the A.D. You are the leader. If you don’t like the culture on your team, look at your leadership.”

In his closing minutes, DeShazo investigated how the model of belief is like the glue that holds leadership, culture and habits together. He especially made his message clear by using an unmistakably familiar biblical story.

“Peter commanded,” DeShazo said. “Peter is us. He [Jesus] says ‘Walk out’ and he [Peter] starts walking on water. Man walking on water, man walking on water because of belief. They looked around and saw the waves, and as soon as he saw that, the belief sank, and he sank. You either rise to your level of belief or fall to level of your unbelief. Belief drives behavior.”

Maintaining a spiritually driven final statement, DeShazo left OBU athletes encouraged in knowing why belief truly matters based on Jesus’ ministry.

“You weren’t made average, you weren’t made mediocre,” he said. “You were made on purpose and for a purpose. When you wake up into that, and believe that, things change. The crazy thing in the Bible it says you have to believe it’s going to be better for you spiritually, and that means you’re going to do greater things than I [Jesus] did. I have no clue what that means, but I can’t fathom that we’re going to do greater things than He did. That means we have power and authority if you believe you were made for that.”

OBU first football scrimmage

Courtesy Photo/obubison.com

Devin Miller

Sports Editor 

The Oklahoma Baptist University Football team will be playing in an intersquad scrimmage on Thursday, November 5, 2020.

The intersquad scrimmage will take place at the OBU Crain Family Stadium at the Hurt Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

The game will have free admission, but will have a maximum capacity of 1,000 spectators.

The wearing of face masks will be required for entry and must be worn throughout the game as well.

Social distancing and the use of hand sanatizer stations is heavily encouraged, while in attendance.

If you are unable to attend on Thursday night, there will be a livestream of this scrimmage, courtesy of obubison.com.

The famous trio representing the livestream broadcast will include; John Brooks, Todd Miller, and Scott Wanish. The livestream will also be run with the help of James Hill and Andrew Cox.

Prior to the intersquad scrimmage, the seniors will be recognized while they will now play in their final matchup for OBU’s football program.

According to the OBU Bison Athletics page, “The game will feature two 15-minute halves with the clock running like a typical game. It will be an offense versus defense game with a special points system for certain outcomes per possession.”

Game details found on obubison.com include; “All fans will enter through Gate 2 on the E side of the Hurt Complex.

Capacity limited to first 1,000 fans.

Masks required.

Fans will be screened (screening questions and temperature check) prior to entry.

Social distancing protocols within the facility are strongly encouraged.

Parking will be available in the Gold Lot S of the Hurt Complex on University, as well as E of the Noble Complex.”

Looking back on last season, the OBU Football team went 7-4. 

“OBU is led by head coach Chris Jensen, who enters his eighth season as the leader of the football program. The Bison are coming off their most successful season since joining NCAA Division II and the Great American Conference, going undefeated against their GAC rivals from the state of Oklahoma for the second straight year and finishing with a 7-4 overall record in 2019.”

Head Coach Chris Jensen was hired in 2012 and has led the OBU Bison football team to a 5-0 second straight record over schools in Oklahoma.

Throughout the past seven years, Jensen has completed a 30-47 record (.390), with an additional conference record of 18-37 (.327).

Festival of Fools hosts annual Halloween show

 Courtesy Photo / The Bison 

Top: 

The improv troupe, Festival of Fools, includes: (clockwise from left) Jacob Brown, Ethan Wood, Kaeley Mastin, Bayleigh Platter, Larashleigh Wallace, Justin Glover, Garrett Wheeler, Anna Smolen, Anna Caughlin, Zack Coake, Gabe Barnes. 

They have hosted several shows this semester. 

Mastin introduces acts and games during the show. She and Wood are co-captains of the troupe.
Check out the improv group next semester!

 Morgan Jackson

Arts Editor

Thursday, Oct. 22, Festival of Fools, Oklahoma Baptist University’s resident improv troupe hosted their annual Halloween themed show in the Potter Auditorium located in Raley Chapel, cleverly titled, “Night of the Living Fools.”

Festival of Fools is made up of students with various areas of study and interests who all share a common love for all things comedy and improv. 

This year, the group is led by co-captains Kaeley Mastin and Ethan Wood. 

The other members of the group are: Bayleigh Platter, Garrett Wheeler, Anna Smolen, Larashleigh Wallace, Gabriel Barnes, Justin Glover, Anna Caughlin, Zack Coak and Jacob Brown.

The energy present in the room prior to the show was nearly tangible. 

It is evident that many friend groups carved time out of their night to ensure that they had the chance to see the last improv show of the semester. 

Halloween costumes were encouraged, and it was fun to see some audience members arise to that occasion in a big way.

The show was hosted by troupe members Garrett Wheeler and Zack Coak.

After a fittingly spooky introduction, the show began with short-form comedy games that had the crowd laughing and fully engaged. 

The audience very eagerly supplied the hosts with scene suggestions, showing their committed interest to the show.

One particularly fun game that was played is known as Half-life. 

The actors would act the same scene out, cutting the time in half each time- starting at one minute and ending with a seven second scene.

Anna Caughlin and Bayleigh Platter both committed to hilarious, energized characters who were miners having a squabble over territory. 

The end result was truly ridiculous, and had the audience booming.

Another memorable game was The People’s Court. 

The troupe divided into two teams to debate a very serious issue: cake v. pie. 

Host Garrett Wheeler served as a judge for the decision, deciding which arguments and objections were worthy of further explanation.

There was a brief intermission, during which, co-captains Ethan Wood and Kaeley Mastin hosted a costume competition for the audience members. 

There were some truly inspired costumes in the audience, including some old ladies, Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, a scientist and other highly creative concepts. 

The troupe awarded the top three costumes with prizes.

After intermission, the troupe moved into more long-form improv. 

A Halloween-themed game led to hilarity involving a graveyard (sometimes you just have to be there). 

Overall, the show was a great success and a wonderful way for the troupe to wrap up their fall semester.

“With the success of the past two shows, I’m looking forward to next semester, especially to see how much we can push to improve and deliver even more quality shows,” Wood said.

Festival of Fools had been hard at work prior to this performance, practicing on Thursdays and Sundays from 10 to 12 p.m. 

Their rehearsals later in the semester were open to students, allowing those interested to get a look inside the process, and allowing them to participate in games if they wanted to. 

These rehearsals created a fun environment for everyone involved and provided a good outlet for those who desperately need a laugh. Festival of Fools is expected to hold auditions for the troupe next semester.

Bison off the Hill: Henry Contich

Courtesy Photo / The Bison
OBU business management alumni and former member of OBU’s swim and dive team Henry Contich

 Features Assistant

OBU has fostered some of the most accomplished people in today’s workforce.

However, one of the largest hurdles that these individuals face is finding a job in their field right after graduating college. 

Business management graduate Henry Contich currently works for Bass Underwriters, an insurance firm based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

“I am the assistant manager of the catastrophic program,” said Contich.

“[This] basically means I help my boss analyze what might be considered a high or low risk that the company might take on. For instance, if someone repeatedly has damaged property then they might be considered more ‘high risk’ than someone who doesn’t if that makes sense.” Contich previously interned for this company before he graduated, and they offered him a job right when he graduated because of this.

“Initially I didn’t expect to go into insurance after I graduated,” said Contich.

“I didn’t think it had much to do with business management…but when I got here I kind of realized that I used things like excel and I analyze various things daily that kind of coincides with what I learned at OBU, so I’m definitely thankful for that.”

Contich commented on how he responded to receiving the job he currently holds so early in the game.

“I didn’t really expect to get a management position off the bat, which is what my degree really focused on, but the position I’m in now still uses a lot of elements that go along with management,” Contich said.

Contich described what his job looks like on a daily basis.

“It’s on a smaller scale…a large portion of my job day-to-day is filled with responding to emails and answering phone calls…but I still use a lot of things I learned.”

Last week, Contich passed his first insurance exam out of three he needs to take to get his license. 

Once he has his license, Contich plans on working at Bass Underwriters.

“I passed the first course and there are three courses total,” said Contich.

“I plan on staying in insurance for a while…as of right now I see myself at least staying here another five years or so then after that who knows where I’ll be with my career. I think that by then I’ll probably know substantially more about insurance and will probably have a better idea of what my next step is going to be.”

Contich originally got in contact with the manager there through his neighbor, who works at the same firm.

 “I think the key to getting a job close to your chosen field is to be open minded,” said Contich.

“I don’t think you can really expect to get an amazing job immediately…it takes work and requires you to build connections which you kind of begin doing when you accept an entry level position.”

Contich then went on to explain the importance of interning somewhere in your chosen field before you graduate.

“You learn way more out in the real world then if you were in a classroom,” said Contich.

“I mean OBU gave me some valuable tools, but I think that the experience I gained from interning and working [at Bass Underwriters] is something that I couldn’t imagine I would’ve learned in a classroom.”

Contich reiterated the importance of internships.

“Hands on experience is in my opinion, something that can’t be substituted,” Contich said.

“Once you graduate school, I’ve kind of come to realize that you never stop learning, you just learn in a different way…and at a much quicker pace.”

Here at home: the Round Table

Courtesy Photo/The Bison

Nathan Goforth

Contributing Writer

“It’s an informal time for interested students to workshop their writings, get criticism, hear feedback, appreciate the joy of writing, ect.” – Andrew Hill

Originally created in fall of 2016, the “Inklings’ group was the early iteration that would eventually be remade into the Round Table today, the “Inklings” were a group dedicated to fantasy literature such as Tolkien, Lewis, Sanderson, Orson Scott Card and many others. 

However, due to scheduling strain, and the natural business of school life, the group was discontinued in fall of 2019.

However, this year, there was an effort made to draft the spiritual successor “Inklings.” Assistant professor of English Dr. Lindsey Panxhi rewrote the “Inklings” into the “Round Table” creative writing group on campus today. 

Created by Panxhi and supported heavily by assistant professor of English and TESL Dr. Jessica Rohr, the Round Table is a group dedicated to the art of creative writing, storytelling, poem crafting, playwriting and the glories of revision and review in an academic yet friendly environment. 

“I decided to name the group The Round Table this time, because I wanted to emphasize the idea of gathering in fellowship and in the pursuit of embodying virtues and truths in fiction,” Panxhi said.

While the Round Table may have a history of previous discontinuances, this iteration is quickly growing in popularity.

While the club is composed of many creative writing majors, it is not required for any student to have a writing major/minor – only an appreciation of the art and a willingness to help those who attend each meeting. Currently, the club has twenty-two members (Dr.s Panxhi and Rohr included). However, word of the club’s presence has led to most of those members recently having joined and petitioned for it to become a weekly event. The ‘Slightly-Less Round Table’ now meets unofficially, as a gathering of friends with an interest in creative writing, and together form the ‘Entirely Round Table’ when Rohr and Panxhi are able to attend.

Currently, the club is maintained by Andrew Hill and David Goforth, who together manage the shared Google Drive folder that allows the members to share their writings for the week without issue. 

Though, officially, neither claim status as ‘President,’ as the group is not an official OBU sponsored club, and merely just a gathering of friends and writers.

The group usually meets and spends a brief moment talking about their day before beginning with lobbying a story – that is, reading aloud and having a peer review of that story – until every story each member submits has been read. Due to the popularity, though, there is a 500-word limit for each story every week. While it is unfortunate that whole stories can not be read, it does keep suspense and members coming back just to hear more of each other’s works. Elia Tyson, freshman with a major in Creative Writing, spoke about the Round Table’s fellowship saying, “I enjoy hearing stories that the others have written, and getting the fellowship and inspiration from them as well as getting feedback on my own stories. It’s the concept of writing friends helping writing friends.”

COVID has, unsurprisingly, affected the group. Previously, the Round Table would be held at either at Panxhi or Rohr’s home for party games, reading and overall fellowship. However, group dynamics is relatively unchanged, and now the Round Table meets in the GC Gathering room. Panxhi has expressed an interest in returning to those functions, saying “I hope COVID conditions end soon, so we can fellowship more off campus.”

It is encouraged for new members to feel free to write and share their stories during the meeting sessions. Mary Brannon, a freshman with a double-major in graphic design and creative writing, said “It’s helpful to hear different perspectives on my own writing. When I read it yourself, I don’t notice everything, everyone notices and thinks differently about what I wrote. It’s a helpful insight.”

The group is open for new students to join at any time, meeting on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m.. In the GC’s Gathering Place.

OBU Debate now ranked number one in the nation

 Public Release

The Oklahoma Baptist University Debate team now boasts a national number one title.

OKBU competed in its third consecutive virtual debate tournament last weekend (Oct 23-24) hosted by South East Arkansas College. 

The team competed in the International Public Debate Association, and is now ranked number one in the nation. 

The team also posted its third consecutive second-place finish and celebrated the first individual division champion of the year in Violet Webber the Junior Varsity champion. 

Morgan Martin also finished as a quarterfinalist in JV. 

In the novice division, Emily Vann, Ayssa Rodgers, Imani Jackson, Ryanne Nelson, and Caitlin Hurlbut finished as Octofinalist with Samuel Peek and Sydney Collier finishing as quarterfinalist. 

Samuel Peek, Caitlin Hurlbut and Ryanne Nelson also earned first through third best speaker awards. 

The team will compete next at a virtual tournament hosted by Louisiana State University Shreveport Nov 7-8. 

Right Top: 

From left to right back row: Jade Stauffer, Caitlin Hurlbut, Sydney Collier, Samuel Peek, Jacob Bryan. 

Middle row: Morgan Martin, Mitch Sadler, Alyssa Rodgers, Emma Busby, Josh Morgan. 

Front row: Violet Webber, Ryanne Nelson, Imani Jackson, Emilie Vann, Scot Loyd.

Modified visitation opens upon campus

 Courtesy Photos/The Bison

 Zoe Charles

News Editor 

 On Oct. 9 visitation reopened at OBU. Visitation among dorms had previously been suspended due to COVID concerns.

While visitation is modified, in an email sent out to students Residential Life reported, “[. . .] so excited to welcome your friends from around campus into our home! Please be respectful and follow our community guidelines to ensure the safest visitation experience.”

According to an email sent out to students on Oct.9 the following rules have been put in place to help guide visitation protocols and expectations:

1. Your visitors must be OBU students.

2. Your guests can visit between 12 pm and 11pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

3. You must check in to the lobby at the RA desk.

4. Your visitors must remain in the lobby that you checked in to! The RAs at the front desk will ask for your ID as a placeholder in the lobby you check into! They will also take note of the time you checked into the lobby.

5. You will have two hours to hang out in the lobby, if there is a wait for the lobby you are using. If there is not a wait, you can hang out for longer!

6. You will need to come to the front desk to let your visitors inside the building. You will need to stay with your guests while they are in the building. There is a restroom that your male guests can use located beside the RA desk.

7. Physical distancing and masks will be enforced during this time. Please be respectful if an RA asks you to comply with these measures.

8. Your guests are not allowed in your room.

9. The lights must remain on in the lobby and all feet must stay on the ground.

10. If you are hosting a small event, you may reserve the Lobby for a total time of 2 hours. Come to the RA desk to do so.

11. Failure to comply with these rules (masks, physical distancing, room capacity, visitation guidelines) will result in an RV and potential loss of visitation privileges.

According to an email sent to students by Erin Guleserian, Director of the Residential Experience, the following lobbies are opening for visitation: WMU – four lobbies, The Lodge – one main lobby, two side lobbies, and two study rooms, Agee – two main lobbies, Kerr – main Lobby, WUA – center building and Taylor – two lobbies and three study rooms.

If students do not respect these rules disciplinary action will follow. Such includes “for minor visitation violations [students] will receive a $10 RV. For a repeat violation, [students] will receive a $50 RV. After [a] third violation, the fine will continue to double, and [the student] will have to meet with the Dean of Students and will be put on academic probation.”

When asked why Residential Life decided to open up the modified visitation Kaleb Miears, Resident Director of The Lodge and The Village Apartments said, “Res Life has attempted to be thoughtful and mindful of student’s well-being both physically and socially. While we want students’ physical health to be maintained, we wanted to allow the student body more space to have safe social interactions. Allow visitation in the lobbies of the dorms because we can help to maintain safe physical distance, while allowing students some normality to their living situation.”

Miears also said in response to the question of how COVID had changed practices within Residential Life that, “COVID has really impacted a lot of what we do in Res Life. Our RAs/CLs are working more than they ever have been doing health screenings, sanitizing the lobbies, and ensuring that our dorms are safe for students’ health. We have also had to be creative in how we plan events, engage our students, and how the entire residential life role looks. However, our staff have been incredible and our priority in all of this is to make sure our students have the best living situation possible.”

When asked about the modified re-opening of visitation senior nursing major Natalie Gorzovalitis said, “I am glad we finally have some form of visitation, especially with the temperatures dropping, we are not able to meet outside as comfortably. Having a communal space besides the GC actually allows for better opportunity for interaction. It does seem strict but that should be accounted for before someone attempts to go, they have been fully informed and should not complain if they https://www.okbu.edu/student-life/student-housing/images/housing-options.jpg break the rules and get an RV.”

Junior chemistry major Caileigh Lavigne said, “I’m glad that visitation has reopened. When visitation was not allowed, I was kind of frustrated that we could not go hang out with our friends or do anything in dorms. We were allowed to hang out with them without our masks while we were eating, so why could we not hang out with them with masks on in a dorm? With visitation open again, I feel a lot less awkward; I don’t have to be surrounded by hundreds of others in the GC or be awkwardly separated in the library trying to work together without being too loud.”

When asked about whether or not she felt safe with the reopening of visitation sophomore family and community service major Grace Fairlie said, “ I feel somewhat safe. People haven’t really been perfectly following the rules and regulations so that is what makes me feel unsafe. However, when the RA’s actually enforce everything it is better and safer.”

Lavinge said, “I do feel safe in the dorms with the new policies. They are still requiring masks and social distancing, so I don’t feel unsafe. I think that RDs and RAs are doing a great job at making sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing.”

“I do feel safe with the new COVID policies and procedures but sometimes I think the screening process needs more accountability, along with the quarantine and isolation and contact tracing,” Gorzovalitas said. “I can spot ways there can be loopholes to the contact tracing because not all students are trained in contact tracing like some others. I have also heard students saying people are not staying in when they are supposed to be quarantined, such as going to the grocery store.”

Sophomore nursing major Audrey Branham said, “I do feel safe under the new COVID procedures because I can personally practice more social distancing and precautions when I feel like I need to based on my particular situation.”

When asked about hopes for visitation in the future Branham said, “I obviously hope that we could have visitors in our rooms, especially for people such as siblings or for people that always hang around each other. But I understand that with the danger of COVID, it is probably safest and most likely that lobby visitation will be the limit until COVID is no longer an issue.”

For questions pertaining to visitation rules and regulations students should contact their Resident Directors.

A day in the life of a student athlete

 File Photo/ The Bison

OBU Women’s Lacrosse Team 

 Shay Morgan

Assistant Sports Editor

COVID-19 has been around since the beginning of 2020, and many have started to adjust to the new way of living that has become the norm. 

Changes have been made since the beginning of the semester in terms of COVID protocol, which has been beneficial to the sports teams on campus. 

Contact sports are now able to practice in full contact, and masks are only limited to those moments of contact, not for entire practices. 

Women’s lacrosse has seen some relief with the loosening of restrictions around COVID. 

The women are now able to get back to their normal, full-contact practices and they can breathe a little easier without the constant requirement to wear a mask. 

Although lacrosse is an outdoor sport, the amount of contact that the women utilize each day in practice, and eventually in games makes COVID a daunting threat to these women. 

“COVID effects lacrosse specifically because we are a high risk for transmission sport. We are going to have to get tested 72 hours prior to every competition, which is good to give us all a peace of mind, but isn’t going to be very fun,” said senior nursing major and lacrosse goalie Olivia Ward. 

The reality of wearing masks for lacrosse players is that it has had implications on the players periphery, and breathing ability, with lacrosse being a high cardio sport. 

Lacrosse players wear eye protection gear such as goggles or helmets, as well as a mouthguard. 

“As an athlete we now have had to wear masks while lifting and running and during practice outside. It messes you up mentally but also makes it difficult to enjoy the sport I’ve always loved,” said Ward. 

The addition of a mask to all of the business on their faces initially is a hard adjustment. The mask also blocks the athlete’s downward periphery, similar to what many other athletes have experienced. 

Practices are now the best form of team bonding that athletes can get due to COVID, and even then, social distancing is enforced whenever possible.

“It stops those team events. No dinners. No movies. I feel like it has been a lot harder to bond with my team than in years past,” said Ward. 

Sports teams rely on forming a bond between teammates, and COVID has prevented that from happening. 

The pressure of school, sports and COVID do not have much to relieve them, like socializing or going out to do fun things. 

Even though COVID has become more normal to society every day, it still takes a mental toll on people, especially those under a large amount of stress, like student athletes. 

“I’ve had to learn to be more independent and how to deal with feeling alone,” said Ward. 

Through all of the madness and uncertainty of COVID, it is important to stay in touch with loved ones, and make sure that those you care about are doing well throughout this pandemic. 

“I just want everyone to continue to stay safe and healthy and remind them to reach out to someone if they are struggling. I know how rough it is, for athletes and non-athletes, but reaching out can really help,” said Ward. 

There are many resources on campus, such as the MFT Kemp Clinic, as well as trusted individuals, whether they be friends or superiors. 

“Don’t be afraid to talk to professors or coaches about how you really are because they can make a huge impact,” said Ward.

To keep up with the lacrosse team’s season and calendar, go to obubison.com to find their schedule, roster and statistics.

Ministering during a time of illness

Courtesy Photo / The Bison

 Collyn Dixon

Assistant Faith Editor

Covid-19 is the greatest obstacle for the church today. 

The CDC recommends distancing from one another to slow the spread of the virus. 

The obstacle occurs, because the church is called to gather and minister together to support those in need. 

The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCRID), Division of Viral Diseases of the CDC sets recommended guidelines for communities of faith about gathering together and coming in contact with other persons. 

According to the NCIRD, “millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life… [but] gatherings present a risk for increasing spread of Covid-19 during this Public Health Emergency.” 

“[The] CDC offers these suggestions for faith communities to consider and accept, reject, or modify, consistent with their own faith traditions, in the course of preparing to reconvene for in-person gatherings while still working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” 

The recommendations stem from keeping facilities clean, physical distancing and training church staff to keeping an eye on personal health, planning for when someone is sick, creating back-up plans for absentee staff members and posting signs to ensure proper practice. 

Some of these recommendations are: “clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces… allow time for cleaning and disinfecting… limit size of gatherings… promote [physical] distancing at [gatherings]… limit touching [of shared community objects]… staying home if sick… establish procedures when [a person has Covid-19]… implement flexible sick leave… and post signs… that promote… protective measures.” 

“This guidance is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or any other federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA),” according to the NCRID. 

As the CDC has set out its recommended guidelines, ministries such as ReachGlobal and the Director of ReachGlobal Crisis Response Mark Lewis, give a guideline for all ministries that are continuing during the pandemic. 

Lewis responds to many questions that are causing anxiety and worry within the church community and is making sure that ministry can still be properly done. 

“Everything has changed [and] everyone is affected,” Lewis said. “Online services – keep same rhythm [as if attending service], e.g., times, content.

Utilize technology to support ministries… Use online forums, group discussions, chat boards. 

Buddy system for church members to check on each other. Neighborhood prayer walks –ask how you can help.

Shopping ministry for more vulnerable / infected. 

Door knockers telling people to call if they need help. 

Emphasize online giving, request additional resources for benevolence and to meet church financial needs now.” 

Lewis’ model recommends an online format, but a format that can be easily molded to shape a church that is now doing in-person services. 

“We do not fear, we are children of the King,” Lewis said. 

“Ignore [comments such as]: event is overblown, Media is creating panic, waiting and seeing, this won’t last long comments, no impact on ministry [and] no impact on finances.” 

Lewis commented on how church should respond.

“[The church should] embrace [a somewhat new standard]: Nothing is certain, this is the new normal, adapt ministries, embrace [physical] distancing, new ministries to focus on trauma and counseling, prepare for the next wave [and] raise funds now,” Lewis said. 

The church, both local and universal, ought to respond to this crisis in a manner appropriate to the gospel of Christ.

Lewis recommends some ways the church can be God’s hands and feet while abiding in social distancing. 

Lewis recommends “prayer, reading the Bible, and devotionals for personal spiritual growth… praying for leaders, [being involved with] online community groups, purposefully meditating and prayer walking through neighborhoods.” 

Keeping in touch with communities, both inside and outside the church is essential. 

Making sure that everyone’s needs are met. 

“Love others – From your own home, check-in by phone with others who you know do not have a strong support system. If you aren’t aware of someone’s support system, reach out to them to find out how to best encourage them,” Lewis said. 

The ultimate goal of the church at this time is to adapt to the environment of the times and respond to whatever crisis is at hand, which includes Covid-19 and making sure that the gospel is still being used to reach out to those in need.

Regal Cinema closing; others may follow

Courtesy Photo/The Bison

 Matthew Gower

Assistant News Editor

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, movie theatres have struggled to stay afloat. 

Despite some states reopening their theatres weeks ago, attendance to movie theaters is still down compared to what it once was.

According to The Verge, “Regal Cinemas, the second largest theatre chain in the US with 536 theaters and 7,076 screens, will officially close all its doors in the United States for the second time during the global pandemic.”

The Verge continued, “In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regal will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its Regal theaters in the U.S. as of Friday, Oct. 9.

 Regal Cinemas’ official statement on their website states, “Regal will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”

The chain has also announced 127 theaters will also be shut down in the United Kingdom leaving over 45,000 people without jobs or furloughed without a plan in place for reopening.

This news comes shortly after many studios such as Disney announced the delay of many films into 2021 like “Black Widow,” “Eternals” and “West Side Story.” The upcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” has also been delayed until April 2021.

These film delays are not the direct cause of the closures throughout the US and the UK, but with attendance to theaters already down and many showing films that have been out for years (with the exception of films like “Tenet” and “The New Mutants” each film earning over $300 million and $31 million globally, respectively) many would-be audience members are not showing up to Regal theaters for one reason or another.

“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat…We cannot operate for a long time without a product,” CEO of Cineworld [Regal Cinema’s parent company] Mooky Greidinger said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

However, the closures of Regal Cinemas theaters do not mark the end of movie theaters as AMC and Cinemark have announced that 80 percent of their theaters will remain open. Both AMC and Cinemark have stated that they can only hold out part of 2021 if a change is not made soon enough.

Each theatre chain’s financial records show that “AMC lost “$2.7 billion in the first six months of 2020, and Cinemark lost $230 million.”

Some of the revenue lost was a result of having to throw away millions of dollars of perishable food items and the cost of rent for their theaters.

When asked on CNBC for comment about when reopening may occur, Greidinger stated, “Might be a month, might be two months, until the…COVID-19 situation will be clearer. 

Maybe there will already be a vaccination, but at the end of the day we must have a clear lineup of movies before we reopen.”

The timeline for reopening Regal’s theaters remains unclear. 

For now, the biggest obstacles for the chain are the lack of an effective COVID-19 vaccine and movie studios continuing to delay the release of new films in theaters according to Cineworld’s CEO Mooky Greidinger.