An insight in the life of an NCAA-athlete

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December 15, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

Interview with NCAA-player at Miami University Laura Cornelius

By Hanne Nijtmans

Dutch basketball player Laura Cornelius comes from Groningen and has lived here and played basketball in the Netherlands for several years. She has played in the youth Dutch national teams with as one of the highlights that she won a bronze medal with her team in the European Championships (which is quite an accomplishment, considering that the Netherlands are not really big in basketball) and recently played her first game for the Dutch national women’s team. She decided to take her basketball career to the next level and moved to the United States to play college basketball in Miami. Although in the US first year players, or rookies, usually won’t get much minutes to play, Laura did get a chance to shine on the court. This year she is a second-year (or Sophomore) and in this interview she reflects on life as an athlete in the US and the importance of sports in American culture.

Miami guard Laura Cornelius (1) dribbles past South Dakota State guard Chloe Cornemann (22) in the first half of a first-round women's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Miami guard Laura Cornelius (1) dribbles past South Dakota State guard Chloe Cornemann (22) in the first half of a first-round women’s college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Why did you decide to go play basketball in the US?
Laura: “Because the level here is way higher than the level in the Netherlands, and I can combine basketball here with an education as well.”

What did the university provide for you to be able to play basketball at a level this high? How do you combine classes and basketball?
“Well, I’m here on a full scholarship, which means that all athletic and academic costs are being covered for me. Our class schedules are adapted to our practice times, which is in contrast to the system back home. When I played in Amsterdam, my practice times were adapted to our class times. Combining academics and basketball takes a lot of self-discipline, especially because we often miss classes when we are on the road. The U [Miami University, red.] provides free tutoring and required study hall hours for athletes who struggle, but so far I’m doing pretty well.”

I heard there were quite some sponsors for your team. What kind of sponsors does your team have?
“We indeed have quite some sponsors. Most sponsors are alumni and just individuals or families who just love basketball. They have season tickets and every now and then they donate money to our program. Recently we had a 1 million dollar gift and we upgraded both men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms with that money.”

What is the atmosphere like at the games?
“Great. In general, America has a great passion for sports and especially basketball is so big. I played for 10.000 people once and people on campus just recognize you because you’re on the basketball team. It’s just a complete different world, I never had that in the Netherlands. I love the sports culture here.”

What’s the difference between playing in the Netherlands versus playing in the United States? Is there a difference in attitude?
“The level is way higher. I play in the ACC, the best league in America and the pace of the game is just so quick. Also I play against the best athletes so you really have to bring your A-game every day. I think Americans do show more attitude and emotions, but that also has a lot to do with the passion for the game.”

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How is the relationship between the basketball team and the community?
“Good. Multiple times a season we go out to the community and give back to the people who need it the most. We all know and appreciate the fact that we are privileged, but the opportunity to help people in our community is just awesome. We visit elementary schools to help kids with their homework and play a little with them. But we also help giving away Thanksgiving boxes with food for homeless people.”

How important is basketball for Miami University? Are the coach polls and rankings compared to some kind of status symbol?
“Basketball and football are our biggest sports. We get the most attention, money etc. But our programs also make the most profit for the U. Rankings and polls come out every week, but as soon as you lose you’ll drop. Therefore in my opinion, these rankings are a little overrated, but people pay a lot of attention to them. And they do show status. Most of the big schools are ranked, we are currently ranked #16 in the nation.” [They even climbed to 13 now, red.]

A few weeks ago you flew back to France and The Netherlands to play for the Dutch National Women’s team. How was this coordinated?
“We played on Wednesday the 16
th a game with Miami, the day after we flew straight to Paris, had one practice with the team [national women’s team, red.] and we played the 18th a game against France. The next day we flew back to Amsterdam, and we played the 23rd our final game against Estonia and we flew the next day back to Miami to have a game on the 25th. So it was pretty intense to say at least, but it was also a lot of fun.”

What do you like best from playing at Miami?
“I just love our culture and the family we created here. I really see my teammates and coaches as family and this place really feels like a home far away from home.”

Finally, what are your plans after graduating from Miami?
“After I graduate, I would like to play professional basketball, and until my body gives out I will keep on playing. After that there is always time to look for a real job.”


Do you want to know more about the sports culture at the American universities? Make sure you won’t miss the next ASH!

TV the Diversity Slayer

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June 29, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

Everyone knows the feeling: becoming too invested in a television series or movie, only to have (one of) your favorite character killed off. I recently saw Lexa, one of my favorite female characters on The 100, who was only a guest star but quickly became a LGBTQIA favorite of many of the show’s fans, pointlessly killed. Many people then got angry at the show’s producers for fulfilling the “gay/bisexual character hit by a stray bullet” – trope and not giving fans the satisfaction of her death with dignity. Of course, fans will always be mad when favorite characters die, as you grow to love them as friends or family. However, it gets more and more infuriating when death is only used as a shock device or a cliffhanger, and not as a satisfying end to a storyline.
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Bless the USA, a Concept of Hope

June 14, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

Many people today can no longer stand the United States. Asides from the traveling businesspeople who I envy, Europeans still predominantly deal with the Americans diplomatically and internationally. And for a country that’s so focused on freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Americans sure have made a mess of countries like Iraq and entire continents like Latin America. Domestically, too, the land of the brave is filled with injustice and prejudice. Just last weekend, the worst mass shooting of modern US history occurred in Orlando, Florida, where 50 people were killed and another 53 injured during a heinous hate crime. Because of these domestic and international headlines, the United States have lost their appeal to many. So whenever I tell someone that I study American Studies and actually do love the USA, I’m suddenly the strange one, and they can’t believe me. Well, I can still believe me, and I wanted to devote my last ASH online article to respectfully explain why.
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TTIP’s Evil Sister

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May 31, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

While controversies and public resistance keep TTIP gridlocked, a similar agreement (CETA) with Canada has steadily entered the European Union, but has not yet entered the debate. It seems that everything that comes from the United States is bedeviled and that which comes from Canada is bejeweled. Yet the wolf in sheep’s clothing is working towards a comprehensive, undemocratic economic success.
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Election Extravaganza!

May 24, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

We’re still about six months away from the coming General Elections. Political junkies have a hard time waiting for the 8th of November to arrive, they need a fix, man! Sure, the primaries offer a good supporting program, but it just isn’t the same. Therefore it might be a good idea to temporarily quench your thirst by looking at some movies that offer some great stories about the US elections past! Make sure that you have seen these 5 movies before Trump and Clinton face it off in November!

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No Asian Invasion in Hollywood

May 17, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

While blackface has been heavily criticized and eradicated from Hollywood’s practices, another racist practice persists: yellowface. It might seem logical that Asian actors play roles in Hollywood movies meant to portray people of Asian ethnicity, right? Well, Hollywood does not see it that way. According to Vox.com, Hollywood has a century-long history of choosing non-Asian actors and blocked actual Asians from getting their deserved roles, as well as mocking and discriminating Asians. The article mentions “directors sometimes defend whitewashing by claiming they need A-list actors on board in order to get big projects made, and there simply aren’t any Asian A-list actors to choose from.” However, recent movies with all-white star actors can still flop, like Aloha (2015). Hollywood executives try to defend these practices by claiming there aren’t enough big Asian stars, which is why roles meant for Asian actors go to white people. This vicious circle is actually highly offensive, especially in an industry that’s supposedly changing its diversity issues. Read more →

I’m With Her!

May 13, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

American Studies students are all aware of the election happening right now in the United States. Now that Donald Trump is more and more likely to be the Republican nominee, the eyes are on the Democratic side; Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton. In the American Studies community, there are a lot of Bernie supporters, which has slunk down a little lately because the path for Sanders to the nomination is almost impossible. And some in the American Studies are Hillary supporters, although they might be less vocal. As the title suggests, I am a Hillary supporter. Read more →

“Being Necessary to the Security of a Free State”: Questioning the Second Amendment

April 20, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

“Being Necessary to the Security of a Free State”: Questioning the Second Amendment By Lobke van Meijel 18 April 2016 Americans love their guns, and they love their second amendment. It’s so big an issue that the constitutional right comes back around almost every election, and candidates this time once again do not disappoint. While they all have very strong opinions on America’s gun culture and while they express these in various ways, one thing becomes very clear: the second amendment, which arguably is the most powerful enabler for gun culture, continues to be controversial. Yet, while one aspect has been discussed a lot, I want to turn the focus to another ambivalent linguistic phrase in one of the most prominent constitutional amendments of the United States.
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What’s in her face?

April 12, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

12779235_1085778114812050_2387116945549864873_oThe game is on. Whereas the media already seem to consider Hillary clinton winner of the democratic primaries, the anti-establishment community stresses the growing momentum of the Bernie Sanders camp. Media-platforms are working around the clock to collect, analyze, and process information. Information seems to be an all-embracing term, but the media leave out one important aspect of information: visual information. In this respect, the information analyzed in this article is less tangible, nevertheless very important. I will also look at Hillary Clinton’s campaign, however not at her viewpoints, her gains or losses, or her position within the democratic party but at her visual campaign. Why? Because visuals can convey as powerful a message as words and actions can. Hillary Clinton’s online campaign is a good example of the art and power of visuals. Signs and signifiers consciously or unconsciously convey the core principles of her political campaign.
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Supreme Politics

April 5, 2016 | Posted in ASH Online

On February 13th, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, and with his passing a vacancy arose within the Supreme Court of the United States. Antonin Scalia was known as one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court, thus his succession has become reason for debate. The US constitution states that the president should nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court, which needs to be approved by the Senate. The death of Scalia caused uproar among Republicans in the Senate; they claim that President Obama should abstain from nominating a candidate until a new President has been elected in November of 2016. Obama did not put up with this Republican rhetoric and decided to go ahead with nominating a new candidate for the SCOTUS. On March 16th, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacated seat on the Supreme Court. Who is Merrick Garland, and why did Obama decide to nominate him?

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