March Wheelchair Basketball

It’s March, and when most people think of March, they think of college basketball. The NCAA tournament, commonly referred to as “March Madness” is something that millions of people get involved with every year. Thanks to multiple different online bracket challenges, people can create their own bracket to predict who is gonna go all the way in the Big Dance.

But, during all of this, one team is also competing for a collegiate National Championship, and it is a team that a lot of people don’t even know exists.

The Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater boarded a bus on Wednesday bound for Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. SMSU is this year’s host of the National Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. It is here that 8 Men’s teams from universities such as  Illinois, Alabama, Missouri, and Auburn, among others, will spend four days competing for a National Championship.

The team from UW-Whitewater has been preparing for this weekend since October. Prior to last year, the Warhawk men had won three straight titles. But, while hosting the tournament at home last year, the Warhawks were outplayed by the University of Texas Arlington in the championship game.

This of course left a bad taste in the mouths of the Warhawks. But, that has served as fuel to their fire all season. Early on, they were without some key players, and were win-less in their first tournament.

Since then, the Warhawks have not lost a single collegiate game.

Not only do the Warhawks want to bring home a championship out of vengeance, but they have a lot to prove. Being the most successful program in NWBA Collegiate Division history, losing a national championship on your home court, doesn’t sit well.

How I keep up with news

As far as following news goes, my habits are not very extensive. I almost never follow international news. In my personal opinion, I just don’t think news that has absolutely nothing to do with America is really worth paying attention to. I do like being able to know whats going on around our country though. This is something that I do occasionally, I would not say that I make a point to research national news every single day. The same thing goes for local news. Personally, I love following news on my home town. I love where I come from and I will never forget it. I like to follow all areas of news when it comes to my home town. To elaborate, we have had three restaurants close in the last few months. I like occasionally checking our online news  website to see what is going on with those three restaurant spots. There is a different medium that I tend to use when it comes to my local sports.

I was heavily involved with my high school football team while a student at Hinsdale Central High School. That being said, I of course still like to check up on  the team as well as other sports from my high school. For that, I often use social media such as twitter. I use twitter because it is the easiest place to find live score updates during games. In addition, there are a few other outlets that allow me to access news on the teams as well. Websites such as the online version of the Chicago Sun Times, and more locally, the Doings Clarendon Hills online Patch.

As far as my favorite news site goes, I would have to say that I direct most of my attention towards sports. That being said, the easiest accessible site and my favorite site would be I use this for a number of reasons. The mainone for me is my work with UWWTV. Last semester, I was a co-host for a sports debate show put on by UWWTV. Myself and the other two hosts were responsible for researching and writing our own material for the show. was very helpful because we covered multiple different professional sports, and not just Whitewater sports. In doing this research, I used a mixture of articles, videos, and podcasts to make sure that I had all the information that I needed for the show. With, I never struggled to find enough information for the show.

When it comes to finding sports news, my favorite way of doing so is a little unorthodox.  To find sports news, I like to watch SportsCenter on ESPN TV. SC is great because it offers such a wide spectrum of sports news. Not only does this program provide news, but there are dozens of interviews and behind-the-scenes looks into the sports world. SportsCenter is without a doubt the best way to obtain sports news, and even though sports takes up the largest portion of my sought-after news, I definitely like to stay up-to-date with whats going on in the US and in my area as well.

Fraternities gain new members on UWW campus

For the last two weeks, the six interfraternity council-governed fraternities on the UW-Whitewater campus have been advertising and pushing for new members of their chapters. One fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, or “pike” has been putting a very strong effort into the recruitment process. Pi Kappa Alpha has the largest amount of members out of any fraternity on the Whitewater campus, but recruitment is still one of their main focuses each and every semester. “We always try very hard to increase our rush class size every semester” says Pike chapter president Tyler Kobussen. “We have had some guys that have left the fraternity over the past couple semesters, so we are at a crucial point in time right now where we need to have a big spring rush class.” Each semester, all the fraternities host individual rush events. These events are held at their respective houses, or other places on campus. UWW’s Career and Leadership development department is the faculty department that plays a large role in overseeing campus Greek life. On “bid night” the night where all fraternities extend their invitations, or bids, to men on campus trying to join. When doing this, they have to report the names of all men receiving a bid to Career and Leadership Development, as well as the IFC. Pike’s recruitment chairman Nick Trossen, is the one who makes sure that his fraternity is abiding by all the recruitment  rules set by CLD and the Interfraternity Council. “We like to say that recruitment is the lifeblood of our fraternity” said Trossen, “if we don’t successfully recruit, we don’t grow our numbers, and the fraternity suffers.”

 Pike Health and Safety Director Alex Schmidt (middle) and chapter President Tyler Kobussen (right) fill out bid cards for their new members

Pike Health and Safety Director Alex Schmidt (middle) and chapter President Tyler Kobussen (right) fill out bid cards for their new members

During the recruitment period, Pi Kappa Alpha hosted events such as a card night, a Portillos dinner, and a root beer keg. These fun, social events give the fraternity a chance to mingle with interested men, and find out who is worthy of receiving an invitation to join the brotherhood. In addition, it gives interested potential new members a chance to learn more about the fraternity and meet the brothers. While the Greek community at UW-Whitewater may be small, it continues to grow each and every semester, and it provides great social and learning environment for those involved.



Steve Jobs delivers Stanford Commencement speech

Apple and Pixar CEO and founder Steve Jobs gave the Spring commencement speech at Stanford University on Saturday. The crowd of eager college graduates and esteemed faculty erupted in applause when Jobs was introduced, but then the crowd went hush as he stepped to the microphone. Jobs, 50, opened up his speech by telling the graduates that he had never actually graduated college. “This is the closest I have ever gotten to a college graduation” he joked, this drew a chuckle from the attentive crowd of young adults. Yes, after just six months at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Steve Jobs dropped out. However, he stayed as a “drop-in” student to still be abl to attend the classes he wanted to for about 18 months. While Jobs is not a college graduate, neither was his biological Mother. She believed that he should be raised by college graduates, so Steve was put up for adoption. His mother made arrangements for him to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Jobs drew another laugh from the audience when he said “except when I popped out, they decided at the last minute that they wanted a girl.” Steve Jobs’ eventual adopted parents were on a waiting list, so when the adoption center called and asked if they wanted an unexpected baby boy, they said of course. Job’s adopted parents assured is biological mother that someday he would go to college. 17 years later, he enrolled at Reed. Glancing back at the board members behind him, Jobs exclaimed “ I naievely chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford.” This got a rise out of the faculty members in attendance as well. Jobs summarized his first point of “connecting the dots” by saying that this can’t be done looking forward, but only looking backward.

The heads of the listening graduates seemed to slowly lean forward in attention as the Apple CEO made his next point. After a brief pause, Jobs, explained how his next story was about love and loss, and the eyebrows of the yearning graduates pursed together in anticipation to see where he was going. Mouths slowly opened in awe when Steve talked about how after starting Apple in his parents’ garage with his best friend Woz, the company was worth two billion dollars, and had over 4,000 employees after ten years in business. Jobs then revealed that at one point, he was actually fired. “How can you get fired from a company that you started?” he asked in an elevated volume, the crowd again laughed in reply. While Steve Jobs just had certain differences with HP founder David Packard, he felt as if he was a public faiure, and that his termination was his own fault. Over the following five years, Steve Jobs went on to create a new company called NeXT, and another one called Pixar, which created the world’s first animation film, “Toy Story.” In what Jobs described as a “remarkable turn of events” Apple bought NeXT, and he returned to the groundbreaking company. Jobs is convinced that his success happened because he was originally fired by Apple. But, Steve Jobs is the perfect example perserverance.  He ended by exclaiming that even if you lose what you love, that doesn’t mean you won’t get it back. “Keep looking, don’t settle” said Jobs.

Jobs’ third and final story revolved around the concept of death. He opened by saying “if you live every day like it is your last, surely someday you will be right.” One year ago, Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and was given just a few months to live. Luckily, the cancer turned out to be a rare form that could be cured with surgery, and Steve is now in healthy condition. “Death is very likely the best invention of life” said Jobs, “It’s life’s change agent, it clears out the old, and brings in the new.” Having lived through his cancer diagnosis, Steve Jobs is the model person for providing advice on how to life you to the fullest, and how to continue to strive for successm which is exactly what he did through this speech. “Your time is limited, don’t waste it by living someone else’s life.”

Whitewater Wellness Fair held on UWW campus

On Wednesday, October 12th, the UW-Whitewater Wellness Fair was held in the campus’s University Center Hamilton Room. Over 20 representatives from various student organizations and faculty departments came to show the campus how each of them promote wellness in students. Each organization or department had their own table, and the large ballroom was filled with colorful posters and  flyers explaining how each organization could help students achieve a more healthy lifestyle.

* The Whitewater Wellness Fair serves the purpose of encouraging students to live healthier lives. In addition, those who come to table at the Wellness Fair work to get students more involved with their organizations, so that they can grow and better achieve their goal of promoting wellness in students.

Andy Browning, a Dean’s office employee and UWW CARE Team case manager, was one of the main contributors to the organization of this event. In addition to assisting in the organization of the Wellness Fair, Browning does a lot for students by providing student outreach, and mental counseling through the University Health Center. “ We are really trying to let students know that we are there to help them do better” says Browning “for me, its’ also a lot of fun.” It is no surprise that a number of college students find themselves in a lot of stressful situations. These situations can range from a freshman being homesick, or a senior having trouble figuring out what they are going to be doing after graduation. When asked about why he was at the Wellness fair, Andy Browning talked about how they want to make students aware of their services. “Younger Students don’t always know how to handle their problems” expressed Browning, who firmly believes that some students just can’t go it alone when things get tough.

While faculty members like Andy Browning work very hard to help students avoid high stress levels, so do students like Erica Fischer, a representative for the campus reflection space. The campus reflection space is a room located in Esker Hall room 104. This room is entirely devoted to being a quiet, calm space that students can go to when they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or sad. Created five years ago, the campus reflection space is designed to give students a quiet place to “relax, renew, refresh” as described by Fischer. “ We want to bring more awareness to relaxation being a wellness strategy” says Fischer. Thanks to a sign-in sheet, Erica Fischer and other overseers of the campus reflection space, are able to keep track of how many people utilize the room. “We are very pleased to see that we have gotten a lot of really positive feedback” says Fischer.

In addition to being mentally well, the wellness fair also encourages students to pay more attention to eating healthy, as well as making sure the way healthy food is gathered is ecologically friendly. Erica Otto represented the Whitewater Earth Initiative at the wellness fair. The WEI is responsible for overseeing the campus garden, and collecting prairie seeds in the area for local food banks. “We go out and collect prairie seeds ourselves to avoid the use of pestacides” says Otto, who has personally been a part of the prairie seed collection. “We hope to educate people about the dangers of things like pestacides, and we want to promote growing and eating organically.” The Whitewater wellness fair is held on campus every year.

Wheelchair basketball coach is rolling through life

Jeremy Lade, more commonly known as “Opie” due to his uncanny childhood resemblance to the “Andy Griffith Show” character, doesn’t let many things stop him.

Hailing from just north of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Opie serves as Head Coach of the men’s wheelchair basketball team at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“My wife and I currently live in Milton, Wisc.” says Opie, “Every weekday my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. I like to be the first one in before practice starts at 6:30.”

The amount of work that comes after such early mornings certainly makes them necessary.

Outside of coaching wheelchair basketball, Opie has a number of other responsibilities on campus, which he always makes sure to balance out.

“I’m kind of the athletic director for adaptive sports, I take care of travel plans for the team, and I’m, always trying to help my guys with taking care of schoolwork, and all of their other day-to-day things, just to keep an eye on them.”

Outside the team, Opie and his athletes spend a lot of time teaching the campus and the community about the sport of wheelchair basketball. Members of the squad are always leading hands-on demonstrations of the game.

“We do a lot of disability awareness presentations, either on campus or off. We talk to kids and students about the disabilities that we have, and how to overcome those disabilities in order to be successful.”

Many disabled people take to adapted sports as a way of showing people that they too can compete. Opie began playing wheelchair basketball in 1993, at the University’s first ever wheelchair basketball instructional camp. Since then, he has not missed a single camp.

When reviewing Opie’s life, he has gone to these camps as a camper, a volunteer, and is now the director of the camp, which is held on campus every summer.

“I came to school here (UWW) for five years, and I am just starting my ninth year running the men’s wheelchair basketball program.”

The option of being in competitive sports never seemed like an option for Opie, following a car accident which severed his spine, confining him to a wheelchair at the young age of eight. Now, Opie has the sport of wheelchair basketball to thank for his accomplishments.

“it opened a lot of doors for me, I’ve traveled all over the world playing wheelchair basketball. It also really helped me stay focused in getting my degree in physical education. It really gave me the confidence I need to be successful not only on the court but in life.”

While Opie has gained a lot from being a wheelchair basketball coach, one of his top priorities is passing on the lessons he has learned to his athletes.


“I like to be able to teach our athletes that come through here that the discipline that it takes to be successful in wheelchair basketball is the same discipline it takes to be successful in life. So when that translates, I really enjoy seeing our guys figure things out on the court and in life.”

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