Take your support of Special Olympics ‘Over the Edge’

Why live on the edge when you can go Over the Edge with Special Olympics Washington? 

On June 22nd take your support of the Special Olympics Washington to new heights by rappelling down Spokane’s tallest building, a whopping 20 stories!

Seize the moment, challenge yourself and register now.  Participants must raise a minimum of $650 to secure a rappelling spot.  But don’t stop there, every dollar you raise goes toward helping a Special Olympics athlete.  It’s easy, create your own fundraising web page and get started.  This page features useful tools and helpful tips in order to reach your desired goal. 

Rappelling down a 264 foot building not your thing? You can still help! The Special Olympics has various volunteering opportunities where you can still play a vital role in helping a good cause.  E-Mail your volunteer interest to jsuniga@sowa.org.

Are you a business owner looking for a promotion opportunity? Use an Over the Edge sponsorship that will meet both your budget and marketing goals. 

Whether you are an expert climber, someone looking to overcome your biggest fear or just participating to help a great cause, you’ll be a true hero to the athletes of the Special Olympics Washington. 

So harness up and get ready to go Over the Edge for a great cause.  Take a leap for the Special Olympics! 


Stereotypes are dead

When walking around the Whitworth campus I often categorize my fellow classmates in to different stereotypical groups.  There are the hipsters, the nerds, the jocks, and the list goes on. 

A stereotype is a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things, but the belief may or may not accurately reflect reality. 

The stereotype “dumb jock” has been around for years but isn’t entirely correct. 

I once sat in on a CORE 250 discussion group, where the professor [who I will not name] called a group of student athletes “dumb jocks” when they failed to answer a question correctly pertaining to class discussion.  As a student athlete, I was offended by the comment that the professor made. 

Us student athletes work as hard or harder than the average Whitworth student.  We spend hours in class, then go to practice and then stay up all hours of the night completing homework.  Because we have such a drive to represent our school and team, we try our best to make our team and coaches proud. 

The stereotype “dumb jock” has been dead for years.  Athletes will continue to strive for excellence in school and continue to prove everyone wrong. 



It’s early morning.  I’m sitting here on my couch trying to formulate a lead that will do justice to Kobe Bryant.  But I can’t.  No words will EVER describe his passion for the game, his competitive spirit and his motivation to win. 

Since I can remember, I’ve always been a Lakers fan.  I bleed gold and purple.  I’ve been through the disappointments, the championships, the trades, the injuries and the coaches.  Throughout my years as a Lakers fan, Kobe has grown to be my favorite players of all-time.

It saddens me that Kobe may forever put away the sneakers and never hit the hardwood again.  Yet again he couldn’t have left the game with more dignity.  Does a move, falls, gets up, calls a time out, takes two free throws standing on one leg, makes them both, and walks off the court, all with a torn Achilles. 

But who am I kidding. Kobe will NEVER give up.  If there is anyone, and I mean anyone, who has the drive and will to do it, Kobe does. 

Kobe is definitely both the most loved and most hated player in the NBA.  Although you might be turned away by his confidence and cockiness, you can only respect the man for all he has done.  Bill Simmons says it the best. 

“Just gotta say- I respect the hell out of Kobe, that guy is a warrior.  And now, I’ll go back to rooting against the Lakers.”

All I can do is wait and pray that he will come back with more passion and even more determination.

I know I can always #countonkobe. 

An ode to Kobe Bryant


5 rings, 15-time All-Star, 14-time member of the All-NBA team and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team, Kobe Bryant has definitely made a name for himself in the basketball world. 

He was born in Philadelphia, PA the son of former 76ers player and Los Angeles Sparks head coach Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant.  When Bryant was six, his family moved to Italy so his father could continue to play professional basketball.  Here, Bryant grew accustomed to the culture and learned to speak both Italian and Spanish. 

During summer, Bryant would return to the United States to play basketball in a summer league where he grew to love the Los Angeles Lakers.  His grandfather would send him NBA game footage, which he would study and analyze. 

Upon his father’s retirement in 1991, the Bryant family moved back to Pennsylvania where Bryant started his career at Lower Merion High School.

As a freshman, Bryant made the varsity squad, making him the first student to do so.  By his senior year, powerhouse NCAA teams such as Duke, North Carolina and Michigan showed interest in him.  After seeing Kevin Garnett go directly into the league, the 17-year-old Bryant made the decision to skip the brackets and go directly into the NBA.

Bryant was chosen 13th in the draft by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996.  However, Bill Branch, who was the Hornets’ head scout at the time, said that the Hornets agreed to trade their draft selection to the Lakers before choosing Bryant. 

During his rookie year season as a Laker, Bryant came off the bench as back up to the legendary Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel.  By the end of the season he averaged 15.5 min. a game.  In 1997 he was named to the NBA All Rookie second team and was the winner of the Slam Dunk Contest (the youngest player to ever do so at age 18).  It wasn’t until Jones and Van Exel were traded that Bryant started in the 1998-1999 season. 

In 1999, Phil Jackson former Chicago Bulls head coach took over as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach.  With his triangle offense and the dynamic duo of Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal the Lakers won three consecutive championships from 2000-2002. 

In the 2003-2004 season the Lakers had a starting lineup similar to that of the present Miami Heat.  O’Neal, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Bryant combined to reach the NBA Finals.  They were upset in five games by the Detroit Pistons.  After this devastating lost, Jackson’s coaching contract was not renewed and O’Neal was traded to the Heat.  Bryant also declined an offer to sign with the Clippers and re-signed with the Lakers for a seven-year contract. 

After the resignation of Rudy Tomjanovich, despite the feud between Bryant and Jackson, Jackson returned as the head coach of the Lakers from 2005-2006.  During this season Kobe scored a career high of 81 points against the Raptors.  Although not a very successful season for the Lakers, Bryant managed to set multiple new records in the NBA.

From 2006-2007 Bryant changed his jersey number from 8 to 24, being the top selling jersey in the United States and China. 

In the years 2007-2008 Bryant became the youngest player at the age of 29,000 to surpass 20,000 points.  He was also named the leagues MVP for the first time in his career. 

From 2008-2010 the Lakers won two more championships both of which Bryant was named the MVP. 

Bryant continues to compete and his passion for the game and his drive to win keeps him going.  This injury will not stop him. 

See ya next season Kobe. 

Not another Selena Roberts’ scandal


Once again the Auburn University football program is under close examination after accusations presented in yet another Selena Robert’s sports scandal. 

Selena Roberts is a best-selling author and sports writer.  She has written for both the New York Times and Sports Illustrated.  Roberts was a beat reporter for multiple NFL football teams and ironically graduated from Auburn University, where she was the sports editor for the University’s paper, The Plainsman.

Sports scandals aren’t a new thing to Roberts, who has been involved in the initial reports of national stories such as Alex Rodriguez’s performance enhancing drug use and the Duke lacrosse rape case.  Both of which she received backlash and criticism for her intentions and assumptions. 

Even after a 13-month investigation of Auburn, in which the NCAA found that the team had committed no violations, it’s hard not to be skeptical of Roberts’ allegations.  Her extraordinary claims and out of context quotes have created doubt in an article that probably had some truth to it. 

Former Auburn linebacker Neiko Thorpe says on Twitter he was both misquoted and taken out of context in Roberts’ article.  Antoine Carter, former defensive end for the Tigers also used Twitter as a means of expressing his anger about being misquoted.

Roberts’ report is titled “Auburn’s Tainted Title: Victims Violations and Vendettas for Glory.”  But the only person who seems to be looking for glory is Roberts herself.  The article focuses on accusations of NCAA violations of the Auburn University football program from the years 2007-2011.  Former Auburn football player, Michael McNeil is the spotlight of this article for his involvement in an armed robbery that took place in 2011.  McNeil’s trial will be next week. 

It is no coincidence that the article was published a week prior to McNeil’s trial.  Roberts’ is infamously known for her unethical motives used to gain national attention.  

The question is: Why would Roberts wait until now to release this information when the incident happened years ago?

With McNeil’s lawyer, Ben Hand, withdrawing from the case only a few days before the trial, one can only wonder of the unknowns of the story. 

In the end Roberts got what she wanted, national recognition.

Instead of worrying about sports programs and athletes breaking NCAA violations, journalists should focus on staying truthful to the Journalism Code of Ethics and their job, reporting the TRUTH to the public. 

Division III week serves as a week of reflection and gratitude

While many high school athletes dream of being crowned a NCAA champion, winning the Heisman Trophy, or hitting a buzzer beater during a March Madness game, the honest truth is that only a select group of athletes receive athletic scholarships offered by Division I or II programs.

Although Division III programs do not offer scholarships, they provide a competitive athletic environment and a first-rate educational experience.  Attending a Division III school guarantees athletes the opportunity to play the sport they love while earning a valuable degree.

Division III is the NCAA’s largest division, making up approximately 40 percent of total membership.  Eighty percent of active Division III institutions are private, while 20 percent of institutions are public.  There are around 180,000 Division III athletes spread across 36 different sports.

Next week, April 8th– 14th marks Division III week.  As a student-athlete of Whitworth University, a Division III program, I greatly appreciate the opportunities the NCAA has given me.

Throughout high school my dream was to receive a full-ride volleyball scholarship to a Division I university.  After a tragic ACL injury my goals and aspirations disappeared.  There were days in which I thought I would never play competitive volleyball again in my life.  Division III has given me the opportunity to continue my passion.

The reason I chose Division III is because of its intimate setting.  When you’re out there on the court and you look up to your fans you see your family, your friends, your professors and your classmates; all people you know.  You’re playing for them, people who know who you for more than your athletic ability.

When you miss that game point serve, that game winning penalty shot, that field goal to tie the game, you’re not letting down an entire state.  Your fans support you through the undefeated seasons and the rebuilding years, because you’re more to them than just a public figure.

As a Division III athlete, you’re not playing for a scholarship; you’re playing because you love the game.  All of those bruises, sprains, and strains are evidence of the endless hours put in at the gym, on the court, or on the field.  We do it because we love competing, we love the game, and we love our school.

Division III athletes take pride in the title “student-athlete.”  Although I might not be playing next to future Olympians, I’m playing side-by-side with women who will become teachers, nurses, and physical therapists, women who will definitely make an impact in this world.  Being a Division III athlete here at Whitworth allows me to receive a high-quality education, while competing in the sport I love.

Florida, Texas, Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA, you watch their games on ESPN and follow their seasons closely.  Although known as the powerhouses of Division I athletics, the chances are that even these student-athletes will not make it to the pros.

While we all fantasize of the fame, fortunate, and success of being a professional athlete, the harsh reality is that in the end having a good education will pay the greatest dividends in life.

A common fallacy is that Division III means lesser quality athletics; this is a completely false statement.  Division III provides outstanding athletics, some programs even rivaling some Division II programs.  High school and junior college standouts often choose Division III colleges for a guaranteed starting spot rather than being lost on the bench at a Division I university.

Overall my experience at the Division III level has been nothing but rewarding.  I have fully recovered from my ACL surgery and since then have won two Northwest Conference titles, been an all-star, and have made two NCAA Division III tournament appearances.

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas


The NBA All-Star week is like Christmas to me, debatably the most wonderful time of the year.  Days of anticipation, waiting, guessing, checking, just as a child waiting to rip open their presents on the night of Christmas Eve.  Year in and year out the event never fails to amaze me.  It consists of a collection of talented, athletic individuals that have one common similarity, the love for the game of basketball.

First, I’d like to applaud the young and talented Damien Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.  Coming from the unfamiliar Weber State University, Lillard made a name for himself through this NBA season averaging 18.3 PPG and 6.5 APG.  I truly believe with more cohesion and practice he will lead the Blazers to be one of the top contenders in the NBA in the near future.  In my eyes Lillard is definitely the best rookie of this 2012-2013 season and arguably one of the best point guards in the NBA.  Lillard is a great finisher in the lane, has amazing body control and strength, and great vertical explosiveness for someone of his stature.  He showcased this athleticism during the rookie game and also by taking first in the skills challenge.

Now on to my least favorite part of the All-Star week, the celebrity game.  Seriously who cares? No one wants to watch a bunch of washed up celebrities and athletes try to play basketball.  And Kevin Hart, why would you choose to mic the most annoying person on the court?  A more promising idea would be to have ex NBA stars suit up and play.  I’d rather watch a bunch of old guys like Shaq over Nick Cannon and Ne-Yo.

The dunk contest was a success; shout out to former Husky Terrence Ross from the Toronto Raptors, the winner of this years dunk contest.  His most notable dunks in the final round were a 180 wraparound dunk and a through-the-legs dunk over a ball boy.  My personal favorite was his imitation of a Vince Carter dunk, going to the extent of wearing a Carter jersey and performing a dunk Carter performed in a previous contest.

Finally the All Star game, my favorite part of the NBA All Star week; a combination of the best players and fan favorites of the East and West Conferences.  MVP Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers wrapped up the game with a Western Conference victory.  The All-Star game is a prime opportunity to show off fancy shoes, challenging dunks, and deep threes.  My personal favorite moment of the game, watching 34 year old Kobe Bryant block the young and talented LeBron James.