A Season of Pretentiousness: TU/TD

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Successfully Staying Dry – The obstacle course loomed before the freshman like a 10-page final he was ridiculously unprepared for. The puddles that arise atop the uneven pavement on Upper when it rains create a treacherous hike from anyone looking to get to their classes from the far side. The freshman laced up his shoes and prepared for a skipping, jumping, and disaster-evasion effort fit for the likes of challenges such as American Ninja Warrior. He glided over massive puddles, his instep finding the small scraps of elevated pavement among the multiple oceans that threatened to ruin his shoes and his day. After one final leap, the freshman found himself on the other side of Kostka by the top of the stairs. His shoes were still dry, and his dignity was still intact. At least for a little while.

Hidden Sadness – The rain is pretty good at masking tears. When you’ve just about had enough with the crap life’s been throwing you lately, and you need to let the waterfalls flow, take a step out into the precipitation and participate in some good old pessimism. No one will know that you’re crying under your already wet face, and you can listen to “Closing Time” by Semisonic in peace.

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Using Summer As A Verb – When I arrived at orientation, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I entered my temporary 8-man room in 90 (perhaps the only chance I’ll have to live in an 8-man) unassuming and excited to meet some of the people I would be spending the next four years with. My peers and I engaged in casual conversation, where we’re from, what we planned to study, what we wanted to get involved in, the usual. One person explained that she was California, but didn’t have to drive too far to arrive at campus for orientation. Understandably confused, I inquired as to why this was. “Oh, I summer in Cape Cod,” she said casually, as if uttering such a phrase was just as normal as anything else she could have said in the moment. Her words hit me like a shovel. I was so taken aback. I had never heard the season of summer be used as a verb. To me, the verb “to summer” encompasses the unforgiving and unrelenting pretentiousness that pervades Boston College. I could hear the dollars pouring out of her mouth and hitting the floor as she spoke. There is nothing wrong with having wealth, but to alter a noun into a verb to make sure everyone knows that you have enough money to pick up and spend your entire summer at a different house or property is seriously asking for people to resent you. When you don outfits worth more than this school’s yearly tuition, are you “Guccing?” When you hop in your expensive foreign car, are you “Bentleying?” When you fly to Europe just in time for dinner, are you “Parising?” And when you return home, are you “mansioning?” I still cannot get over this gross reappropriation.

Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor

A Lot of Promise: TU/TD

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Intruders in Bapst – On Saturday, two newlyweds entered Bapst Library, photographer and other members of their posse in toe. The studying and working stopped for a brief moment, and all eyes in the room fixed their gaze upon the white dress and tuxedo in the middle of the room. Despite the students in the background, the pair posed for multiple photos, lost in their excitement and love for each other. When the photoshoot was over, the whole room gave the couple a resounding clap. The groom stood up on a chair and thanked everyone, wishing us luck on our exams. As the wedding party walked out, I couldn’t help but feel pensive. Amid the stress of finals, the hustle and bustle of everyday life at Boston College, I often forget that an entire world exists outside campus. These intruders into my study session ended up being just what I needed to set my head back on straight. I wish them all the best.

Something I’ll Miss – The day grows late, and the freshmen on Upper return back to their dorms to begin the nightly grind, or head down to Mac for a late-ish dinner. The few that remain outside as the Massachusetts nighttime chill slowly sets in, however, are in for a spectacle. Behind the far side of the land that the privileged freshmen roam, the sun begins to dip slowly in the sky amid a background of orange and pink. The colors become more fantastic as the sun gets lower, flooding the space above CLXF with a wonderland of sorbets and pastels. A freshman climbs on top of the roof of the O’Connell dance studio, hoping to get a better view. Looking out over the quieted Upper Campus below and the humblingly beautiful sky above him, it’s sunsets like this that he knows he’ll miss next semester.

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Unintentionally Making Something Old – Every avid music fan does it. Your favorite artist is about to release a new album, and you stay up late just so that you can hear it the second it drops. You refresh Spotify like a madman, and suddenly, it’s there, 45 minutes of brand new music for the world to hear. You put the project on repeat, listening to it for hours on end before falling asleep to its sound. When you wake up, it’s what you’re singing in the shower, between classes, in class, in the library, and then back in your room, right where you started. You rave about the album, trying to get all of your friends to listen, imploring them to take part in your obsession. After a few days, however, the music begins to lose its magic. Your ears crave something new yet again. Your mind wishes you could unhear each song so that you could experience the thrill of listening to every melody for the first time again. Such is the continual plight of an avid music fan. Sure, many albums seem to become better the more that you listen to them, but nothing ever beats the first time you hear an amazing song. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor

Why Must These Things Happen: TU/TD

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Musical Geniuses – Not too long ago, a video arose on YouTube in which an astute musical mind took it upon himself to dissect the songwriting process of The Chainsmokers. In a hilariously simple fashion, he explains that almost all of their songs can be recreated with three chords, using the melody from “Closer” as a prime example. He then goes on to satirize the pair’s lyrics as of late, exposing their cliché and corny nature. To the man behind the camera, it seems, all it takes to write a Chainsmokers song is a few sentences about heartbreak, a couple random proper nouns, and a reference to the ambiguous era of “when we were young.” What makes this assault so fantastic, however, is how entirely accurate it is. Perhaps the duo should take notice.

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Why, Just Why – It’s a Saturday night at Boston College, and the freshman returns to his dorm, triumphantly still a little bit drunk from the off-campus party he attended for all of 19 minutes. Upon entering his building, however, he is caught in the middle of a smokescreen. When the air clears, he suddenly finds himself surrounded. His dormmates have blocked the stairs in front of him, each of them wielding a tiny black box known as a JUUL. They simultaneously put the devices to their lips, inhaling deep. The freshman has little time to prepare himself before a massive cloud of smoke descends upon him like fire from the mouth of a dragon. He is enveloped in the fumes, paralyzed by the mixture of social pressures and nicotine. “It’s mango bro, it’s good. You should try it,” one of them says, peering at him through the aviators he is wearing at night and inside. Another before him, who is donning an American flag tank top in 30 degree weather, aggressively offers up his small contraption. “Be one of us, man. Hit the JUUL,” he prompts, attempting to entice the freshman into a poor and pointless decision. Alas, the freshman knows better than that. He breaks the glass of the emergency JUUL gas mask container on the wall, and straps on the facial protection. He ascends to his room, addiction free.

The Nerve of Some – Any of the loyal TU/TD followers out there know how I feel about BC’s housing process. I was pretty outraged when I received an email from ResLife at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday morning asking for my feedback on its room selection system. Seeing a message from this evil and diabolical department reopened a number of old wounds and transported me back to the hell from which I thought I had emerged. Stay away from me, ResLife, and remember the turmoil you put my entire class and me through. Because we haven’t forgotten, and probably won’t, at least until Mod day rolls around.

Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor

The Interrobang and Selling Out: TU/TD

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Where Has This Been All My Life – I was recently made aware of the existence of perhaps the most useful kind of punctuation mark the world has ever known. The interrobang, denoted ‽, is the combination of a question mark and an exclamation point, and it is amazing. In fact, it is an absolute tragedy that it is not more widely used. Just think, the next time you want to say, “What the [insert profanity of choice]!?!?,” you could simply use the interrobang, and make your angry texts far less cluttered. Throw it in one of your future essays and make your know-it-all professor have to actually Google something for once. Text it to your parents when you ask them why they cancelled your credit card hooked up to their bank account, and they’ll be sure to reactivate it in a jiffy.

It’s Almost Over – Freshman year is an experience. To come out of your hometown high school on top the world, only to arrive on Boston College’s campus and be subjugated to dirt by seniors at the doors of Mods, is a humbling yet strengthening journey. Only little time remains in this inaugural year, and while it feels as though the weeks flew by, it also seems as though someone should be handing me a diploma. Such is the nature of so much happening in a relatively short period of time. While the time feels short as all the events of this year blur together, their impact remains profound and felt in full effect to the equivalency of seemingly a lifetime. The future only promises more to come.

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Selling Out – Sometimes, the cliché narrative of popular musicians selling the soul of their artistry to rise to the top of the charts becomes far too evident to ignore. The Chainsmokers have enjoyed considerable fame lately, selling out shows around the world and sitting comfortably atop multiple Billboard lists for months on end. Just when it seems like one of their hit songs is about to die out, they put out something new with impeccable timing, and the public latches onto it with astounding quickness and attention. The duo has figured out the magical formula, with each song differing from the last just enough to keep their listeners on their toes. With predictable yet relatable lyrics and catchy synths, the Chainsmokers crank out track after track that people everywhere keep on repeat on Spotify for an uncanny amount of time. By now, your grandmother probably knows the words to “Closer.” Just the other day, The Chainsmokers released their debut album, and I have to say, as someone who has been following their music for a long time, I was entirely disappointed. Not only did the music lack variety, but it conformed painfully to the simplistic and expected trends of the mainstream, leaving little room for the uniqueness that used to set The Chainsmokers apart from everyone else. They’ve come a long way from their SoundCloud days, that is certain. But ever since their ascent to prominence, they’ve time and time again sacrificed making good music for ensuring their songs will get endless plays on the radio, and this is saddening.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor

Trying Hard and Being Hungry: TU/TD

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At Least You Tried – You have to give a man credit for trying. Martin O’Malley is a man who tried, and although he failed, still remains an awesome person. The visiting professor at the Boston College Law School took the time to give a speech about divestment and climate change to BC students, despite his other commitments. He showed that he genuinely cares about promoting a progressive message, and is using his time at BC not just to make money, but to advocate for what’s right as well. In the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination race, although he was never a likely victor, he was true to his message and did not shy away on the debate stage when he was overshadowed by the election’s two frontrunners. Sometimes, it’s fun to root for the underdog. Kudos to you, Martin. Keep being awesome.

Catholicism and Breaks – BC is a Catholic institution largely only by name and the length of its breaks. Although students spend most of their days breaking just about every Catholic value imaginable, around Easter time, BC’s religious identity comes out in full force, and students are given a relatively long period of escape from their classes, campus, and awful BC dining food.

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Being Hungry at 8:03 p.m. – At around 7:57 p.m. (although the website says 8:00), BC dining closes its doors in Mac. The sliding doors come together prematurely and suddenly, and hungry students hoping to sneak in at the last minute and eat a dinner not consisting of fried foods often have their spirits crushed at the sight of the gray barrier in front of them. The sliding doors by the entrance to the food at Mac have claimed countless freshmen diets over the years. For whatever reason, BC Dining feels that it is entirely necessary to shut down its entire operation for 30 minutes in order to put out trays of mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders. Just got out of your dance practice and feeling famished at 8:09? Sorry ’bout it. Just complete a three-hour and hunger-inducing study session in O’Neill at 8:23? Better look elsewhere. The impenetrable walls that block the entrance to the food at Mac represent yet another barrier to the general happiness of freshman across campus. If BC Dining is going to change anything, it should probably address the fact that some people get hungry at 8:14. And they really also should get recyclable cups. Seriously though what in the world is going on this school wastes so much paper I’m pissed. If you’re not going to let me get food at 8:17, at least don’t force me to destroy this planet every single time I want something to drink. This University has a lot of problems, but many of the ones involving Mac seem like simple enough fixes to me.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor

Boston College men's basketball

Point/Counterpoint: Does BC’s Season Look Better or Worse After March?

North Carolina’s Title Only Helps BC’s Cause

Riley Overend | Sports Editor

I love the transitive property. If a = b and b = c, then a = c. Used incorrectly, it can distort reality, reframe issues entirely, and make fans of struggling teams feel slightly better about their losing seasons.

Example: Boston College men’s basketball almost beat North Carolina. North Carolina won the national championship. Therefore, BC almost won the national championship.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a foolproof method of drawing conclusions based on relationships. But this year’s March Madness did make me feel better about the Eagles’ 2016-17 season, and even eased some of my concerns about the future of the program. The tournament validated the talent of the Tar Heels—the only perennial powerhouse that doesn’t rely on one-and-done recruits—a team, in fact, that BC almost upset back in January.

At times, it was magical. With the Eagles facing a double-digit deficit midway through the first half, freshman Ky Bowman single-handedly sparked a 10-0 run that tied the game at 27-27. When Bowman and his signature red hair went to the bench for a breather, his partner in crime, Jerome Robinson, stepped up. The 6-foot-5 sophomore poured in 13 second-half points to keep the game close while UNC’s frontcourt had a field day in the paint. BC’s undersized forwards ultimately couldn’t contain the Tar Heels’ big men, as Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, and Isaiah Hicks combined for 56 points en route to a 90-82 win.

But the resounding story of that chilly Saturday afternoon was the Eagles’ young backcourt of Bowman and Robinson. The North Carolina natives left an impression on head coach Roy Williams, who couldn’t stop raving about their performances and marvelled at how they slipped under his radar as recruits. Bowman, who previously committed to UNC for football, dropped 33 points—his third 30-plus-point game of the year—to complement Robinson’s 18. And they did it all against defenders like Joel Berry II and Justin Jackson, who were celebrated for their lockdown perimeter defense in Monday’s national title game.

Pessimists might point out that the Eli Carter-led Eagles nearly took down the Tar Heels in 2015-16, narrowly falling, 68-65. But that team of two seasons ago never won a single ACC game.

Well, despite the fact that both UNC squads were ranked No. 9 and advanced to the national championship game, those two matchups were completely different. In 2016, the Tar Heels were in the midst of a slump, prompting Williams to send a message to the team by benching Meeks and Jackson to start the game.

While UNC didn’t shoot terribly percentage-wise from the field (31 percent from 3-point range, 51 percent overall), the team played like trash. Williams was so frustrated with the effort that he collapsed in the second half due to a spell of benign positional vertigo. It took some hero ball from Jackson and Marcus Paige down the stretch to eke out a slim victory over a really, really bad BC lineup that was without Robinson.

In 2017, the Tar Heels actually played like the ninth-best team in the nation. UNC boasted four different scorers in double digits and shot 43 percent from behind the arc. The Heels hit hard and, each time, the Eagles punched back. They showed that they can compete at a high level when they’re clicking, and watching UNC cut down the nets on Monday night only proved that.

Some say that the Tar Heels’ tournament run overshadowed the fact that the ACC, as a whole, significantly underperformed in March. Nine teams from the conference earned bids, yet only one remained in the Sweet 16. But I argue that the ACC’s poor tournament is a product of unlucky seeding and poor matchups, not a sign that the conference was deceivingly mediocre during the regular season.

No. 9 Virginia Tech was edged by an underrated Wisconsin team that went on to knock off No. 1 Villanova. Duke was ousted by South Carolina, which later became the surprise of the tournament when it reached its first-ever Final Four. Louisville was upset by Michigan, a squad that looked like a “team of destiny” for the first two rounds of play. Notre Dame ran up against a tough West Virginia lineup that showed it could beat anyone in the country with its lethal full-court press. The list goes on.

You can’t just ignore the regular season when assessing the strength of the ACC this year. The conference was still the best in terms of RPI and success in nonconference play. The league finished with a winning record against every conference in the country except, oddly, the Big East. Toward the bottom, it had more depth than any other conference, and at the top, it lay claim to the eventual national champion. Watching an ACC team prevail in March Madness—let alone a team like UNC, which the Eagles went toe-to-toe with just a few months ago—should have made every BC fan feel a little more optimistic about the future of the program.

ACC’s Tournament Blunders Raise Questions Concerning Eagles’ Season

Andy Backstrom | Asst. Sports Editor 

At one point this year, Boston College men’s basketball was ahead of Duke, Virginia, Louisville, and North Carolina in the ACC standings. Granted, it was one game into conference play and one day into the new year. But even as the Eagles would soon revert back to their home—the cellar of the league—fans were hopeful. After all, this was the ACC—the best conference in all of college basketball. Or so they thought.

I don’t blame them. The conference was coming off a record-breaking March Madness. It tallied more tournament wins than any team in prior history. Not to mention that six ACC teams made it to the Sweet 16, and four went on to the Elite Eight. More than a week remained before the national final, and the conference was guaranteed a chance to take home the championship.

Before this season started, Duke was voted as the preseason favorite to win the conference. Teams like Virginia and Syracuse rounded out the top-five. And North Carolina State was supposed to flirt with the best, as it was slotted to finish sixth in the league.

In actuality, the Blue Devils wouldn’t even crack the top-five. At times, NC State looked the worst team in the conference. And it was the Notre Dames and Florida States that contended for the ACC’s regular season title.

While some were skeptical of the underwhelming play of the conference’s powerhouses, many chose to ignore it. Instead, they adopted a philosophy defending the fluctuation in the standings. People theorized that, since the ACC was so good, any team could beat anyone on any day. Some, myself included, even resorted to Reddit’s transitive circle—a diagram that shows how every team in the ACC has indirectly defeated the remaining 14.

Besides, the AP’s Top-25 poll reflected that the conference was indeed the best in the nation. Despite having more losses than the teams surrounding them in the rankings, UNC, Duke, and Louisville found their way into the top-10 by season’s end. Combined, those three teams totaled 23 losses. The other seven teams in the top-10? Just 26. Heck, Virginia was still in the poll’s rankings with 10 losses and a meager ACC Tournament performance.

When it came to March, reality began to settle in. The ACC sent nine teams to the NCAA Tournament, but only one made it to the Sweet 16: UNC. Sure, the Tar Heels would go on to win the National Championship, but that by no means affirmed the conference’s superiority. By that logic, last year’s Big East was unrivaled and the American Athletic Conference of 2014 was greater than every Power Five conference.

The ACC’s shortcomings were exposed in the first two rounds of tournament play. A potentially revitalized Duke fell to South Carolina. Louisville and Notre Dame didn’t fare much better. And groups like Miami and Virginia Tech—the middle-of-the-pack teams in the conference—struggled to upend the allegedly weak Big Ten.

Including Wake Forest’s loss in the First Four, the ACC was 7-8 going into the Sweet 16. Even with the most teams in the field, it failed to pick up as many wins as the Pac-12, Big 12, and Big Ten. To make matters worse, it was the only conference out of the Power Five and Big East to post a sub-.500 record through the second round of the tournament.

BC’s postseason consisted of a day game in the ACC Tournament. But that doesn’t mean the program wasn’t affected by what transpired in the latter portion of March. Every time an ACC team was eliminated, the Eagles season looked that much worse.

Over the past two years, BC has won just as many ACC games. But for the most part, head coach Jim Christian has been cut some slack. He entered Chestnut Hill with one of the toughest jobs: rebuilding a David among a plethora of Goliaths. Yet, now that we know that the ACC isn’t as almighty as originally advertised, Christian and the Eagles have some explaining to do.

Maybe all of the conference’s upsets this year were a testament to the fact that the majority of the teams in the ACC are mediocre. And if that’s the case, there is no reason why BC shouldn’t have been in the same conversation with the bulk of the conference.

Look at Wake Forest. Coming off of a dismal 2-16 conference record in 2016, the Demon Deacons worked their way back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years. Head coach Danny Manning was presented with the same problem that Christian faced—the challenge of creating a cohesive group of guys that can compete with the teams driven by marquee recruits.

Both Manning and Christian were hired in 2014. But, while the Eagles still dwell in the basement of the ACC, Wake Forest has already moved out.

For BC, the 2016-17 season was a sign of progress. The Eagles snapped a 666-day ACC losing streak, established the fifth-highest scoring backcourt in the Power Five, and, most importantly, found their identity. Hey, Christian’s group even gave the eventual national champions a scare.

But there is no time for moral victories.

Next year, Jerome Robinson will be a junior. And with the way Ky Bowman is playing, the All-ACC Freshman could very well leave early for the NBA. March uncovered the vulnerability of the ACC. The time is now for Christian to take advantage of it.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor

Blue Houses and Getting Older: TU/TD

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A Blue House – In the shadow of Fenway Park, there is a venue that offers an escape from the rest of the world. Young people can take refuge from their busy college lives and enter a chamber of carefree spirit and fantastic acoustics. Balconies full of semi-intoxicated teenagers overlook a sea of similarly semi-intoxicated teenagers, and the entire mess is a beautiful spectacle of energy and a love for music. Or just a love for a good time. Either way, for a little while, everyone can come together and share in the liberation.

A Convenient Seat – The freshman trudged into O’Neill Library, his unnecessarily heavy backpack weighing him down, as he was determined to finish all of his work for the next three semesters in one night. He arrived at an empty table far in the back, and took his perch that he planned to keep for the next seven hours. He opened up his backpack, removed a mountain of textbooks, and then proceeded to set out his laptop. His fingers were ready to type away, trying to save his GPA one keystroke at a time. But his focus is interrupted. His computer is on 3 percent. He gasps, and reaches quickly to his bag to get his charger. But then he remembers. Outlets in O’Neill are a rare commodity, and many are often forced to awkwardly move seats to find a power source. Was the fate of his study mode sealed? He looked despairingly to his right, and then his spirits were raised. There lay an empty power strip, ready to power his computer and his sanity. He plugged in his laptop triumphantly and set out to work. At least one thing was good about his Saturday night.

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Getting Older – Birthdays are a funny thing. Our minds grow all year, yet we only decide to recognize and commemorate this development on one single day. In reality, our lives are moving forward all the time, making these individual increments totally arbitrary. You could be 19, but in your life, you may have only grown to the age of 13. You could be 15, and your experiences could have caused you to become 24. The real essence of growing older shouldn’t be measured by 365-day periods, but rather the leaps and bounds that we make in our perspectives all the time. Assuming that a person grows equally each day until they reach yearly milestones is unfounded from a critical perspective. Sometimes, people, especially early on in their lives, have experiences that propel them beyond their literal counting age. And likewise, others have had such limited experiences that they reflect a mind younger than that of their literal age. Sure, age is just a number, but the mind is certainly not bound by these standards, and people develop at sometimes rapid and sometimes slow paces over the course of their lives. It all depends.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor

A Party of Lies, With Bread: TU/TD

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Rediscovering the Old – The party in the Mod was burning out. The crowded housing unit had been the site of festivities since 3 p.m., and it was now approaching 2 in the morning. The residents of the dwelling were well past the point of a safe level of intoxication, and thus could not come to their senses to kick everyone out of their house. And so the dancing and liver-poisoning took on a tired and lethargic style, full of drunken stumbles and passed out party-goers abound. One of the residents, the designated DJ for the night, returned to his iPhone by the speaker and gazed through the glare of his bright screen through a buzzed blur. In his impaired state, he accidentally hit shuffle on the wrong playlist. While he meant to que up his “Mod Get Lit” soundtrack, he accidentally pressed play on “Adam’s Seventh Birthday,” which his mom had refused to delete from their shared iTunes account. The unsuspecting senior perked up his ears in horror as P!nk’s “Get This Party Started” began to reverberate through the trashed room. He stood frozen, expecting ridicule and a rescinding of his future aux cord privileges. To his surprise, however, the music seemingly cast a spell over the room. The fallen celebrants reawakened, rising together and singing along in uniscent. One by one their spirits were rejuvenated. They disregarded the turned-over furniture and beer bottles that littered the floor, and took to dancing again. Truly, they were coming up, and they were going to get this party started.

Gettin’ Fancy – If you’ve been to Eagle’s Nest to get a sandwich in the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed the new bread option that appears every so often. This artisan loaf is fantastic, and represents an improvement to the already best place to eat on campus. Tuscan Chickens are given a more authentic taste, while Turkey Avocados are made all the more delicious. Even if you’re a presser or a salad-liner, it is worth your while to defect for at least one day, and to try this newfound treasure before it’s gone.

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Fake News – In Trump’s America, in which adhering to morality seems as inconsequential of a question as what color underwear one should wear on any given day, the dissemination of fake news is a serious and pressing issue. The Heights has received multiple reports that a new publication, oddly titled The Depths, has established an office in the basement of Carney Hall, and have begun spreading their publication around campus. The slanderous and falsified stories in The Depths could only have been written by a group of scallywags who are sick in the mind. Who would even think to mislead the student body in such a manner? Those that disgrace the news by creating fabricated stories are surely twisted and maniacal individuals who should never be trusted. Be wary if you see a member of The Depths around campus, they just might tell you that Eagle’s Nest is open on the weekend. It’s not. Can we fix that?

Featured Image by Meg Dolan / Heights Editor

Sad Elephants and Existential Questions: TU/TD

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A Necessary Defeat – They had seven years to figure it out. Seven whole years. When the time came, however, and the right suddenly realized they needed to figure out how to do more than just talk, they weren’t up to to the challenge. In an important victory for the health of millions of Americans, the GOP walked back its plan to replace Obamacare in Congress after realizing they would not have anywhere near enough votes to see the legislation through. In an era of polarizing political dichotomy, in which a harrowing pit of hellfire seemingly exists in the aisle, Republican defectors who vowed not to support the bill represent a calming return to morality in politics. This departure from staunch adherence to party politics should become an established precedent for future debate and policy making in Congress. While this shift is not likely, the kicking of Paul Ryan’s proposed plan to the gutter is a triumph for the left, for morality, and the good in general.

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The College Condition – So we’re all here, on earth, together, and that’s just the way it is. Time goes on, people live and die, and at the end of it all, what’s left? Let’s zoom in a little closer. There’s a freshman in college, and he’s trying to figure it all out. Everyone around him has it down it seems. They’re either completely engrossed in the superficial and the short-lived, or have figured out how to completely remove themselves from the perfunctory realm. Curiously, both are able to inspire envy. The first is fun, no doubt. To be so unconcerned with the future, to be wrapped up in the social politics of right now, certainly has its perks, especially if you’re doing great at it. The second is good for other reasons. To be free from the pressures of social expectation, hurt feelings, and the fear of missing out must be amazing. To have fully arrived at the logical conclusion that pretty much everything happening right now won’t matter at all in three to four short years must be entirely liberating. Some people, however, find themselves stuck in the middle. It’s hard to not be caught up in everything that takes place in the present. It’s what everyone is doing, so it has to be the only thing that matters, right? What greater standard exists to say otherwise? And if no one cares about said standard, does it even exist? Is it even worth considering? It’s also hard to fully commit to the future. Life is short, college is supposed to be a time for fun. What’s it worth to work hard, but to not have fun along the way? But, what is fun? Does fun have to be what everyone else says is fun? Is fun relative, or is it a pressure we all subscribe to, and create a culture where there is really only one way to have fun? Are we all so caught up that we shun those who beg to differ, while not realizing we ourselves are missing the point too? Or is the superficial all that really matters anymore? I don’t know, but it sure feels that way. How do we build anything meaningful if all we are is all about what’s next? How do we find fulfillment when sober reflection is an afterthought? Are we meant to separate this campus from the rest of the world for all of these four years? How are we supposed to talk to anyone, when everyone is shrouded in the veil? Let me know.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor

Point/Counterpoint: What’s Worse, Being Blown out or Losing Close Games?

The Closer, The Better

Andy Backstrom | Asst. Sports Editor 

Bryant Crawford didn’t even see him coming. Ky Bowman crept across the paint, leapt in the air and swatted the Demon Deacon guard’s shot out of bounds. For Bowman—Boston College men’s basketball’s most valuable player—it was yet another electrifying play. That is, until he hit the hardwood. The All-ACC Freshman landed awkwardly, damaging cartilage in his right knee.

Bowman lay face down on the court, pounding his fist against the ground in frustration. Immediately, Jordan Chatman, Jerome Robinson, Connar Tava, and A.J. Turner came to his side. But they weren’t the only ones worrying.

You could hear a pin drop in the Barclays Center.

While team doctors worked with the stationary Bowman, ESPN’s broadcast showcased two Eagles fans. Both locked their respective hands together at eye level as they watched the red-headed phenom struggle to fully extend his leg. Whether they were praying or not, they most certainly were concerned.

In the moment, the injury was the worst thing that could have happened to BC. Without Bowman, the Eagles had no chance in the ACC Tournament, let alone versus Wake Forest. Yet, as horrible as it was, it can be seen as a sign of progress.

One year removed from infamy, head coach Jim Christian fielded a team that, despite only winning two conference games, played North Carolina, Duke, and Notre Dame down to the wire. Fans took notice and genuinely invested in the team.

Remember, this is a group that sported full-on Bowman wigs when the Eagles hosted then-No. 9 North Carolina on Jan. 21. To wear a ridiculous Ronald McDonald-esque head dress like that, you have to be passionate about the team you’re rooting for.

So when Bowman went down, fans were not only anxious about his leg, but also about the future of the team—something that before this season remained a complete mystery, and quite frankly was irrelevant to many.

During the 2015-16 season, the program was in complete disarray. While the team may have only lost twice more than it did this year, it dropped conference games by an average of 17 points—6.3 more than the 2016-17 Eagles’ margin of defeat. With the exception of BC’s three-point loss to UNC and a couple of games down the stretch, every ACC game on the schedule ended in a blowout.

There was no incentive for fans to drag themselves to Conte Forum. Every game was guaranteed to pad the loss column. And with two Frozen Four-bound hockey teams, there was no need to subject themselves to a team that was cemented at the cellar of its conference.

Not to mention that BC’s leading scorer was a fifth-year transfer. Eli Carter logged 16 points per game, and was best known for his game-high 26 points against the Tar Heels. Sure, Carter was entertaining, but the bottomline was that he wasn’t there to stay.

Since BC is in the ACC, there is always the expectation that it will play the highest level of competition. And for the most part, that remains true. But when Christian’s injury-ridden crew was losing games by 20 left and right, the conference’s best didn’t put on the show fans might have been looking forward to.

The same was true for this year’s football team. For instance, take the Louisville game. Lamar Jackson accounted for seven total touchdowns, but only played three quarters. When he did score, it wasn’t flashy or suspenseful—it usually consisted of the future Heisman Trophy winner finding open space in the Eagles defense, either on the ground or in the air, for an easy score. And as soon as he was pulled, fans piled out of Alumni Stadium.

It makes sense. Star players shine when their team needs them the most. Yeah, the Brandon Ingrams of the conference may have put up numbers against the Eagles, but that doesn’t come close to the thrill of seeing Justin Jackson drill one after another from beyond the arc to finish a tightly contested game.

On the other hand, Christian’s team brought out the best of its opponents. And whether you’re a diehard Superfan or just a casual attendee, that’s all you can ask for.

BC blew five halftime leads this season—three of which came in the final seven games. As frustrating as that is, it provides promise. For the pace Christian has BC playing—the 42nd fastest offense in the country—players are going to get tired. Right now, the Eagles simply don’t have the depth to back up that game plan.

But every time underclassmen Bowman, Robinson, or Chatman went for 20-plus points, there was a sense of hope tied to their performance. Even if BC ended up falling, it got fans thinking, “Well, if only we had one more piece.” I like to believe that recruits around the country were thinking along the same lines.

All but three Eagles will return for next season. A team built on youth and potential, BC’s 16 ACC losses this year showed that it is nearing a turnaround. Now, Christian has to use that to his advantage. Just like he did with Bowman and Robinson, the third-year head coach must coax recruits to embrace the underdog role. He has more evidence now than ever to pitch to prospective players that they, individually, could be the program’s missing piece.

The fact that the Eagles were hanging with the nation’s top teams warrants respect. Last season, they were the laughing stock of college basketball. But with arguably the most explosive backcourt in the ACC, BC has transformed into a legitimate threat. It may not be consistent, but a threat it is.

Christian came into the season with two point guards leading the offense: Ty Graves and Bowman. Graves was a perimeter shooter, and Bowman looked like someone who should have stuck to football, turning the ball over 10 times in the first 61 minutes of his career.

But as soon as Bowman dyed his hair red, his play jumped to another level. Graves transferred and Bowman teamed up with Robinson to establish a lethal one-two punch.

Through 23 losses—six of which were decided by six points or less—Christian’s group found its identity. That’s a whole lot better than headlining SportsCenter as the first team to go winless in the ACC since the 1986-87 season.

Painless Defeats Are Best

Tom DeVoto | Heights Senior Staff

One of my favorite sports memories came in 2008, when I watched former Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas sing his favorite song—Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes”—minutes after the Phils clinched the World Series.

It remains the only title I’ve seen one of my favorite teams win, and Kalas’ voice was the soundtrack to the summers of my youth, so it meant a lot to me.

I’ll be honest, though—I’ve never liked the lyrics to “High Hopes.”

If you’re unfamiliar, the song is about various animals that try to do something basically impossible, but they keep trying, because they have—you guessed it—high hopes. An ant, for example, tries to move a rubber tree plant. Can’t tell you what a rubber tree plant is, but it sounds heavy and that ant probably shouldn’t be moving it.   

I hate getting my hopes up, because after 21-plus years of this thing called life, I know what happens when I get my hopes up.

High hopes result in nothing but disappointment. Expectations yield heartbreak. I hate heartbreak. The solution? Don’t expect anything, and don’t get your hopes up.

Is it easier to have loved and lost, or never to have loved at all?   

Uh, easy—the latter.

If you expect nothing, and you get nothing, then everything is fine. If you expect something and you get something, then that’s great, but that is quite rare.

If you expect something and get nothing, as I have been known to do, there is emotional hell to pay. And all too often, sports teams rope me in and make me expect something great, only to have the exact opposite happen.  

Feb. 6, 2005. The Philadelphia Eagles made their first Super Bowl appearance in over two decades against the New England Patriots. It was a back-and-forth, seesaw battle, and the Eagles had chances to win, but mismanaged the clock at the end of the game and lost by three points.

Jan. 2, 2012. The Philadelphia Flyers took on the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic. The Flyers took a two-goal lead in the second period, but gave up three consecutive Ranger goals to find themselves trailing late. After a penalty was called on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh for covering the puck in the crease with just seconds on the clock, Flyers forward Danny Brière was awarded a penalty shot. The stadium was raucous, but he missed. The Flyers lost what was way more than just a regular season game.

April 10, 2014. In his final game in a BC uniform, Johnny Gaudreau and BC men’s hockey get outdueled by Union College in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals. The Eagles close a late two-goal gap to just one on two separate occasions in the last two minutes, but it’s not enough to overcome a stronger game from the Dutchmen.

Nov. 22, 2014. BC football hit the road to take on No. 3 Florida State. The teams were tied late in the fourth quarter in what has remained BC’s best chance to upend a top-five team under head coach Steve Addazio. BC had the ball deep in FSU’s territory with less than five minutes on the clock, but an incomplete pass on a trick play where the ball bounced off the hands of quarterback Tyler Murphy and a missed field goal doomed the Eagles. The Seminoles marched up the field, kicked a game-winning field goal, and sent BC packing.

March 20, 2016. BC women’s hockey had won 40-straight games to start the season and cruised to the National Championship against the University of Minnesota. In what represented BC’s best shot at a title in any sport since men’s hockey won it all in 2012, the Eagles were outmatched against the Gophers and suffered their first defeat of the season.     

Many of my most vivid sports memories, regardless of the importance of the game, are heart-wrenching, gut-twisting losses. That certainly says something about the teams I’ve chosen to support, but it also says something about the agony of defeat.

I’d like to win, of course. But if I’m going to lose, I want it to be as painless as possible.

If I could guarantee beforehand that BC men’s basketball would go on a miracle run to the ACC Championship, only to lose on a buzzer beater against Duke, I wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional roller coaster. It’s tough to say out loud, but I’d probably prefer BC’s actual path in this year’s tournament.

A wise woman (or man, depending on the version of the song you prefer) once said, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone?” Yes, it always do seem to go like that.

It’s much easier on the soul to be completely ignorant of what joy feels like than to have it for a fleeting moment and get your heart ripped out of your chest.

Don’t get your hopes up, kids. Don’t root for blowouts by any means, but they’re not as bad as you might think.

Featured Image by Zoe Fanning / Heights Editor