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48 Hours of Clarity

first_imgA full 48 hours of backpacking and reminiscing is the best way to finish off a school year at Appalachian State University. The past two years attending a college with the Blue Ridge Parkway in my backyard has spoiled me and has driven my passion for outdoor adventure. Every year during the week before finals my friends and I push all of the studying, mounds of books and papers aside to set our minds free in the mountains one last time before we part ways for the summer. It has now become a tradition for us to hike the Daniel Boone Scout Trail during the most hectic week of the school year.The hike is around 6.6 miles round trip and all up hill from the start. About half way into the hike there’s a nice camping spot next to Flat Rock, which makes for a great spot to view stars at night. Being above the trees and all other visual obstacles really allows for the stars to truly feel like a blanket wrapping itself around you. With the help of an astronomy book, we looked into the stars for hours on end and found more constellations than we even knew existed. As I was staring deep into the stars the pressure of the tests and term papers seemed to be lifted off my shoulders. I was reminded that my life, my problems, my struggles, and my triumphs don’t set me apart from the world but allow me to embrace the world and be apart of this moment in history — even if no one ever remembers my name, I am a part of a greater plan.The next morning we continued on our journey to make it to one of the highest points of the Blue Ridge, Calloway Peak. Another mile or so past the campground is a hidden wooden shelter built by a Boy Scout troop in the ’60s. Not only is it another great view, but also allows for another great time to reflect on ideas very different from that found in the stars. Inside the walls of the shelter are engravings dating back to when it was first built. Most of the engravings are initials with hearts and dates. I faintly remember one even said something along the lines “M & S Honeymoon 1983”. At this point in the hike I was reminded of all the love and loss that I had experienced in order to reach this point in my life. As well as, what brought me to App? What brought me to this great group of friends? Even, what brought me to this point in my life? The deepest reflections I’ve ever had come from being in nature and allowing my mind to wander alongside the ground in which my feet travel.The last leg of the trail is the most interesting because it is constantly changing. There’s ladders, ropes, grass, mud, rock, maybe even some snow, any type of terrain you can think of you’ll probably travel through at this point. Close to the top there is even a crashed and abandoned biplane. It’s a little eerie because it looks as though the crash was fatal. I immediately begin to be thankful for life and thankful for all of the reasons that have brought me to this point in time. A few moments later we finally reached the peak of the mountain. And yet again, I was forced into a moment of reflection peering out over the endless Blue Ridge which spread farther than my eyes could see. It made the journey to reach the top even that more rewarding.On the climb back down I couldn’t help but to think of the steps that took me to the peak and the steps I’ve taken in life that have made me who I am. Then upon, reaching the bottom we were thrown right back into school-mode which we were trying to avoid at all costs. Being a student in a college near the Blue Ridge has helped me to grow in more ways than I could have ever imagined before attending. Not only am I growing intellectually but I am also growing spiritually and I owe it all to the mountains that engulf the town I love, Boone, N.C.last_img read more

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Trojans set to host Loyola Marymount

first_imgIt’s never easy to face a former team, and perhaps even harder as a coach.USC baseball takes on Loyola Marymount at 3 p.m. today at Dedeaux Field. USC interim coach Frank Cruz was the coach of the Lions (16-10) for 12 seasons from 1997 to 2008, racking up 329 wins, three WCC titles and three NCAA tournament appearances. Today, he’ll face them as the head coach of the Trojans (10-18).One more time · After allowing six runs Saturday, starter Austin Wood, pictured in a 5-2 win over Cal Poly, could see time on the hill today. – Carlo Acenas | Daily Trojan Both sides come in struggling. Loyola Marymount started off the season 7-1, but has since posted a .500 record. The Trojans are worse off, having gone 2-8 in their last 10 games.“Everything is there,” said USC pitching coach Tom House. “We know we can pitch, we know we can hit. It’s all there. The only thing that’s missing is the result.”Indeed, the Trojans have shown they can play with any team in the country.They put up 14 runs in three games last weekend against a California pitching staff that had a season ERA below 2.00. But USC surrendered 28 runs and lost two of three to the No. 13 team in the nation.It’s pitching, however, that has kept the Trojans in games this season, holding opponents to five runs or less in 18 of their 28 games.Yet it seems whenever the pitching is there, the hitting isn’t, and vice-versa.“We’ve been at extremes,” House said. “But the law of averages says we’ll even out. Eventually we’ll put the two performances together.”It will take that type of performance for the Trojans to get back on track for the rest of the year, as they navigate one of the most difficult schedules in the nation.The Pac-10 boasts six ranked teams this week, and eight Pac-10 teams have been ranked at some point.And the team’s midweek games, such as today against the Lions, don’t exactly help.As it stands now, none of the Trojans’ midweek opponents has a sub-.500 record.“We’ve gotta be right up there within terms of toughest schedules,” House said.For USC, that means grinding through and doing what it can.Saturday starter Austin Wood got knocked out in the first inning this weekend, throwing just 19 pitches.But that just means the former fourth-round draft pick with electric stuff could be used on the hill today.“We’re trying to take a positive out of everything,” House said. “And we’re not playing terrible baseball right now. We know if we stick with the process the results will come.”last_img read more

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RIO 2016: Egypt’s beach volleyball team stand out in defeat

first_imgEgypt’s women’s beach volleyball team might have lost to Germany in their opening pool match – but they have won a greater victory.Doaa El-Ghobashi and Nada Moawad are the first-ever women from Egypt to make it to the Olympic beach volleyball competition – and though they fell to Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, it will be their appearance that the viewers remember.That’s because, contrary to popular belief, bikinis aren’t actually compulsory for the beach volleyball players.In 2012, the sport’s governing body brought in a rule change allowing players to wear full body suits in cold weather – and plenty took that opportunity in the chill London air in the summer of 2012.And after a late ruling, El-Ghobashi has been given permission to play veiled, having been very clear that she “double-checked the outfit freedom in this sport before agreeing to join [it]” – and both women are covered up when they set foot on the sand. Ironically, with all the flesh on show from the men and the women’s competitions, it was the Egyptian pair who drew the most stares in Rio with their attire.And even though they were well beaten by their German opponents, they battled to the end.El-Ghobashi and Moawad took the African title in 2015 – despite having little international match practice, switching from the indoor version to the beach format.Beach volleyball gets a bad reputation as a sport not to be taken seriously, as simply an opportunity to ogle. El-Ghobashi and Moawad’s arrival on the Olympic stage shows that it is more than that; it offers the opportunity for athletes, of all creeds and colours and countries, to compete and to excel.last_img read more

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