Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Travel: Day 0 - Tanzania - An African adventure begins

One of the advantages of teaching at a small liberal arts institution is the freedom to design and offer courses that are close to one's heart. 

In January 2011, I taught Tropical Ecology  and, for one of the class activities, I took a group of students on a 10 day trip to Puerto Rico. (Click here to read about the trip to Puerto Rico). 

In January 2013, I taught Ecology of Australia and, naturally, it entailed a field trip to Australia! (Click here to read about the trip to Australia).

In 2016, a group of 14 Midland University students embarked on a learning adventure to Tanzania, led by Dr. Jamie Simpson and me. The course was titled - Tanzania: Culture, Climate, Connections
Here’s a note from Jamie to start us off:
3 flights, 14 students, 15 days, 1 Kilimanjaro, 4 safari nights, 2 hospitals, 3 universities, 2 schools, 1 Evangelical Church of Tanzania, 2 parishes, endless memories!
Participants: Standing L-R - Kyle Courtright, Jonah Hoshino, C.S, Manish, Rebecca Walker, Mandi Uecker, Victoria Tuttle, Jamie Simpson, Amy Aufenkamp
Kneeling L-R - Jessica Harms, Emily Wiegand, Rachael Lehr, Paige Clemmons, Jessica Nekl, Ana Guenther, Sarah Hill, Elise Hubel
Tanzania here we come! Keep reading to learn more about what we did!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Change is everything

I can put this item to rest. Virat Kohli, in his 40th Test match, led an side unchanged from the previous one!

Virat Kohli has captained India in 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Test matches*. The most incredible fact that I can report from this is that India has never fielded the SAME playing 11 in consecutive matches under his watch. Every match has featured a change from the previous one.

Update: Sourav Ganguly once had a 29 Test streak like this as captain. That's done and dusted with now!

India has lost only 8 Tests under Kohli. I guess there is some method to his madness. His overall record sits at - 39* Tests captained, 22 wins, 8 losses, 9 draws.

For comparison:
MS. Dhoni: 60 Tests, 27 wins, 18 losses,  15 draws
Sourav Ganguly: 49 Tests, 21 wins, 13 losses, 15 draws

P.S. Yes, I know that injuries have forced his hand on multiple occasions.

* Updated as of the end of the Fifth Test match - September 2018 against England

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Linked up

1) I do not follow Major League Baseball closely any more. I'd be hard-pressed to name 5 players who are currently active. The first name that comes to mind, though, is Ichiro Suzuki. I recently wondered whether he had retired and came across this haunting, haunting piece about Ichiro - the man who has become the very thing he hated to become as a 3 year old. Very sad.

2) If a tree is falls in a forest but there is no one to hear it does it make a sound? The best bowling analysis EVER in a T20 match happened at Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad but to the cricketing it world it does not exist. Alfred Absolem took a scarcely believable  7 wickets for 15 runs but his achievement will probably never be acknowledged because it was a played between two teams in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) which was obliterated by the IPL/BCCI within a few years.

3) The only NFL player I actually wanted to watch in person was Randy Moss. I managed to do it once at Ford Field in Detroit. If you want to know why he has great, watch this: EVERY TD of his greater than 40 yards. Mind you, these are only those that were 40 yards or longer....

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The unluckiest man in the world

Some time ago, Steven Smith had a "brain fade" in India. And the first time he made the mistake, he got caught and apologized for it.
... because that was certainly the only moment that ever happened
A few days ago, Steven Smith made a "poor choice" in South Africa. And the first time he made the mistake, he got caught and apologized for it.
This is the first time it has happened under my leadership. 
Poor guy. He has the worst luck in the world. Imagine how he must feel knowing that the first time he does something wrong, he gets caught right away.

Yeah, right!!! "First time" indeed.

Hmpff...where's the sarcasm font when you need it?

The Price of Power

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power
Charles A. Beard

One week ago, Steven Smith was the undisputed leader of the Australian team. Of late his batting had reached a plane occupied by only The Don himself. He led a rout of the English in the Ashes and began the tour of South Africa with a thumping win in the first Test. Life was good. 

Today, he stands on the cusp of the unknown, his Fate hanging in the balance, to be determined by others whom he has no control over. A rabid mob is baying for blood, happily throwing stones from glass houses, determined to bring down a man who was flying so high, he didn't realize he was getting perilously close to the sun.

Paradoxically, even as the sun is melting his wings it has begun to set on his playing career. Not in the physical sense. Smith will come back from this after serving whatever ban is imposed on him. He is 28 years old and, I suspect, will be given a one year ban from the game. Much like Shane Warne's one year exile in 2003 did no damage to his ultimate playing aura, Smith's year in absentia will not impede him too much.   

The sun is, however, setting on his reputation. Once someone is labeled a cheat, that sticks for life no matter how hard you try to make amends for it. Especially in today's world of instant condemnation and slow forgiveness.

I'm not sorry for Steve Smith. He decided to cheat and should pay the price for doing it. Most importantly, because it was premeditated.

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching you.

Unfortunately, for Steve Smith, over 30 cameras were watching closely. Thank heavens they were.