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Theology professor examines racial justice

first_imgDr. Christopher Pramuk, associate professor of theology at Xavier University, presented a lecture titled “Crossing the Color Line: A Catholic Perspective on Racial Justice and Responsibility” on Thursday evening.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer The lecture was sponsored the Center for Spirituality and held in Stapleton Lounge in Le Mans Hall.Pramuk addressed Sr. Madeleva Wolff, former president of Saint Mary’s, and her decision to integrate Saint Mary’s in 1941. Though the decision received a firestorm of controversy, Pramuk quoted Wolff as saying, “If it emptied the school, we would enroll Negro girls in residence.”Pramuk said there are doorways to address the topic of race relations in America, from the patterns of racial profiling and police brutality to the Ebola crisis currently provoking xenophobic reactions.“Often people say that problem of racial justice becomes more urgent when you have your own skin in the game,” Pramuk said. “Whites have the luxury of not seeing because they have no skin in the game.”But as people of faith, Catholics often don’t see the problem as racism, he said. Instead, Catholics see fighting racism as an invitation from Jesus to stand in solidarity and see the dignity in our neighbor.“Racism is a human problem, crippling something far deeper inside us,” Pramuk said. “[Often] we act from self-justification and the message of Jesus becomes unsettling.“Jesus seems to be saying if you cannot find me in your neighbor, you will not find me in Church. God has skin in the game.”It’s important to look at race through the “doorway of faith,” Pramuk said.“From a Catholic perspective, the root of justice lies in the story of Road to Emmaus,” he said. “How do we learn to recognize the Christ that lives in others? Even in the one we have been taught to fear?”Pramuk said blindness is a pervasive theme in the Gospels, which provide fitting metaphors of current race relations in America. He said it is important to give people space to talk about race.“Each of us comes in the conversation about race or refuses it,” he said. “But it’s important to give each other space to grow.”Pramuk said his book, ‘Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line’ is a starting point and a way to make the conversation about racism accessible. Racial hatred is harsh and often looks like the eclipse of blacks of blocking out their light, he said, which calls for intimate conversations.Pramuk said there is hope in the leadership of Pope Francis and in the universality of the Catholic church.“Universality is not the as same uniformity,” Pramuk said. “Universality is welcoming.”Pramuk said young people desire to give their gifts and their lives meaningfully.“The Church has the opportunity to turn their gazes to the poor and the marginalized,” Pramuk said. “Our physical presence is the best gift we can provide to society.”Tags: Bible, Gospel, race, Race relations, saint mary’s, SMClast_img read more

New EHS baseball coach looks to past and future

first_img Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. ELLSWORTH — When Dan Curtis sees panic in the eyes of a Little League pitcher, he has a routine.The former Ellsworth All-stars coach will call a timeout and rise from the upturned bucket from which he observes games. Once he reaches the mound, Curtis will drop to one knee, throw a hand on the child’s shoulder, then lean in as if he’s about to talk strategy.“What’d you have for supper last night?” he’ll ask his player, who no longer appears terrified or disheartened, but like he’s trying to solve a math problem in his head. After a few moments of silence, Curtis will follow with the question: “Are you thinking about baseball?”“No,” the child will typically respond. “I’m trying to remember what I had for supper.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textCurtis will then stroll back to the sidelines, leaving behind a relaxed if not slightly confused pitcher in his wake.“I thought it was funny the first time I did it,” Curtis said, chuckling. “One of the worst things you can do as an athlete is start thinking. You’ve got to trust that you’ve put the work in.”Curtis plans to use a variation of this trick come springtime when he will begin his new job as head coach for the Ellsworth High School varsity baseball team. The only difference will be he’ll no longer need to take a knee to meet his player’s eye line.And for a coach who can casually discuss food with his players to break up a tense inning, Curtis has a serious agenda for Ellsworth’s baseball programs.Curtis, a Cherryfield native and a manager at Ellsworth Building Supplies, has coached at the Little League and Junior League levels for eight years, with his most recent accomplishment coming last summer when his Ellsworth team won the Junior League state championship.Though Curtis doesn’t yet have any high school coaching experience under his belt, he believes he has learned from the best as a high school and college athlete himself in the 1990s.“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do this is because I played for outstanding coaches,” Curtis said. “It’s give-back time.”At Narraguagus High School, Curtis won an Eastern Maine championship with coach John Sawyer. He then went on to play for one of Maine’s most legendary coaches, John Winkin, at Husson University, where Curtis earned Academic All-American honors for two years.Some two decades earlier, it was Sawyer who was pitching for Winkin’s University of Maine Black Bears in the 1976 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.Curtis said Winkin’s and Sawyer’s coaching styles were the kinds that extended beyond baseball. As mentors, they guided their athletes both on and off the field.Winkin has since died, but Sawyer and Curtis have remained in touch. Sawyer even submitted a letter of recommendation for Curtis to EHS Athletics Director Jay Brown, in which Sawyer stated that Curtis would make a “fine role model” for student-athletes.“John Sawyer was like a father figure,” Curtis said. “He really instilled commitment in the team.”Curtis recalled how when his prom night fell on the eve of a playoff game, Sawyer’s athletes knew that at 10 p.m., they were expected to head home.“He didn’t have to tell us that,” Curtis said. “Athletes make sacrifices, and they make them for each other.”Though baseball season doesn’t officially begin until April, Curtis has been preparing for months. The first person Curtis said he called after receiving the job was Sawyer, who agreed to drive an hour west from Columbia Falls to help Curtis design practice plans.And while Curtis may not be one to yell at his athletes, he certainly plans to push them.“There’s going to be a lot of conditioning — hopefully the players will be ready for that,” he said, cracking a smile. “Don’t think I’ll be easy.”Curtis intends to unite generations of Ellsworth baseball players, from the Little Leaguers to local legends like Jack Scott — a former EHS player and coach, with a minor league career with the Red Sox sandwiched in between.Curtis recently called Scott at his winter home in Florida.“‘You do realize I’m almost 80 years old,’” Curtis mimicked Scott’s response, to which Curtis said he replied: “I sure do, and I’d love to have you swing in.”Scott coached Ellsworth to several Eastern Maine and state titles throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Curtis also has reached out to athletes who played for Scott at the height of the program’s success — such as Dick Scott, Tim Scott and Troy Brown — to ask them if they’d drop in for an EHS practice at some point this season.“These guys were some of the best who ever played here,” Curtis said. “I want these high school players to know they are playing for a great program with a lot of history and that they can be just as successful.”Curtis also intends to have his high school players take turns running occasional practices for the Ellsworth Little Leaguers to boost excitement for the sport at the community’s youth level.“I want them to think, ‘Man, I can’t wait to play for Ellsworth High School,’” Curtis said. “This is bigger than winning one season. It’s about building something that will be successful for years.” Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016 Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) Biocenter_img EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016 Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016 Latest Postslast_img read more

Men’s basketball looks for same result against Northwestern riding five-game winning streak

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s basketball will go up against the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday afternoon at the Kohl Center as they look to extend their current five-game winning streak.Wisconsin (20-2, 8-1 Big Ten) destroyed Northwestern (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten) by a margin of 23 points when the two teams met in Evanston, Illinois, on Jan. 4.This time around, the two teams couldn’t be going in more opposite directions. While the Badgers are streaking and atop the Big Ten, the Wildcats are continuing to fall. They have lost eight consecutive games and have not won a game since December.Since their loss to Rutgers, Wisconsin has been able to rattle off five straight wins thanks to their efficient play on both sides of the ball.According to Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings, Wisconsin currently leads the nation in offensive efficiency, averaging 125.2 points per 100 possessions. On top of scoring at an efficient rate, the Badgers are also taking care of the ball, as their average of 7.6 turnovers per game is the fewest in the country.In their first outing against Northwestern, the Badgers dropped 81 points on the Wildcats and were led by senior forward Frank Kaminsky, who put together a line of 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in just 24 minutes.Northwestern will look to put forth a better defensive effort this time around, bringing in a scoring defense that ranks in the middle of the Big Ten, as they have given up 63.5 points per game thus far.Defensively, Wisconsin is first in the Big Ten and ninth in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 56.5 points per game thus far.That defense will be going up against a Northwestern team who has struggled to score this season, averaging just 64.4 points per game, which is good for 12th in the Big Ten. Through their first nine Big Ten games, the Wildcats have only scored more than 70 points once in a losing effort to Michigan State.Despite the clear advantage Wisconsin has on both sides of the ball and Northwestern’s recent struggles, NU has showed it is still capable of putting up a decent fight. In a recent road test against Maryland, the Wildcats took then-No. 13 Terrapins to the wire in College Park, but ultimately lost 68-67.Northwestern has shown in flashes that they can compete with better teams, but Wisconsin is not just a better team — they are a much better team, and with proper execution, the Badgers should have no problem taking care of the Wildcats at home.Wisconsin (20-2 overall, 8-1 Big Ten)Big Ten: 8-1, 1st place by two games over Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan State and PurdueLast game: Defeated Indiana in Madison, 92-78Probable Starters: G – Bronson Koenig (6-4, 6.5 ppg), G – Josh Gasser (6-4, 7.6 ppg), F – Sam Dekker (6-9, 12.7 ppg), F – Nigel Hayes (6-8, 12.6 ppg), F – Frank Kaminsky (7-0, 17.8 ppg)Key Reserves: F – Duje Dukan, G – Zak Showalter, F – Vitto BrownNorthwestern (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten)Big Ten: 1-8, last place (14th)Last game: Lost to Nebraska, 76-60Probable Starters: G – Bryant McIntosh (6-5, 4.3 ppg), G – Tre Demps (6-3, 11.9 ppg), G – JerShon Cobb (6-5, 6.2 ppg), G – Scottie Lindsey (6-5, 4.3 ppg), C – Alex Olah (7-0, 11.0 ppg)Key Reserves: F – Vic Law, G – Dave Sobolewski, G – Sanjay LumpkinWho – Northwestern at No. 5 WisconsinWhen – Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015Where – Madison, Wisconsin; Kohl Center (17,230)TV Broadcast – Big Ten Networklast_img read more