In the Cards: Minhaj Rahman
The Campus got super serious with record-holding thrower Minhaj Rahman ’19.
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The Campus got super serious with record-holding thrower Minhaj Rahman ’19.
Butch Atkins arrives at Kenyon Arena around 5:30 a.m. every day to prepare the ice for the figure skaters. He’s at the arena until 9:30 p.m., maintaining the rink and making sure our teams have the best ice possible. His first priority is the ice, and then he ensures that the visiting teams feel welcomed and comfortable to come in and lose. We sat down with Atkins to learn more about his role in the community. Atkins first joined the college hockey program working in the equipment room. He saw that the rink was run with unorganized staff, last-minute switches with only one person staffing the game, and student help to make up for the lack of crew members. Noticing the problem areas, Atkins offered to take over with Stan Pratt in 1981. Atkins and Pratt have been ice rink co-managers since then, managing the Kenyon Arena rink, driving the Zamboni, and organizing the other staff members who work the hockey games. “They take pride in their preparation,” said coach Bill Beaney, who served as the men’s ice hockey head coach for 28 years and now coaches men’s golf at the college. Atkins and Pratt are always eager to accommodate everyone, from athletes to coaches and even visiting teams. This year, they began making the ice a couple of weeks earlier to help the two hockey teams out. As captain Kamil Tkaczuk ’19 of the men’s ice hockey team recalls, “[While] other NESCAC teams practice for most of the fall on the ice, we normally begin practicing mid-October, waiting for our ice”. Atkins and Pratt also serve as counselors, teachers and friends. “[Butch and Stan] are so well-known and respected because of the relationships they have with not only the Middlebury family, but also coaches and players across college hockey,” said Beaney. “Having been successful athletes, they’ve helped many college students and coaches navigate the challenges of competitive sport[s].” For Jenna Marotta, senior captain of the women’s ice hockey team, Atkins is a symbol of comfort amidst the stressful flurry of schoolwork and practice. “Butch is a unique part of our Middlebury Hockey family. After a long day of classes, rushing down to practice can be quite stressful,” she said. “Walking into the rink and being greeted with a warm, familiar face is uplifting and comforting. Butch will always take the time out of his day to stop, chat and listen, which creates a special bond between students and faculty.” Having been a teacher and coach at Mary Hogan Elementary for years before joining the program, bonding with students is natural. In fact, Atkins shared that one of his favorite Midd moments was when “We Are The Champions” blasted over the loudspeaker as “kids who busted their butts” for two hours walked down the hallway with smiles on their faces. Even when the teams are away, walking through hallways of other arenas, Atkins and Pratt are always rooting for them. With a computer on to track the games with livestreams, “fans” should be added to their already-impressive list of roles as program managers, counselors, teachers and friends. Atkins actively engages with the students off the rink as well. He teaches lessons that can’t be learned from playbooks or PDF copies of academic journals. Butch urges them to get involved in other areas of the campus. “If you want them to come to your games, you have to go to their things,” Atkins said. On a campus that’s so immersed in individual activities and workloads, Atkins speaks truth to students – athletes and non-athletes alike – about community. Atkins also takes the time to show the athletes his heritage – Vermont. He recounted a time he drove up to Monument Farms with his family, one of the ice hockey captains, and a couple of other athletes to teach them how to hunt. He even planned a special birthday celebration for the captain, surprising her with a small birthday muffin to shoot at. Given the relationships Atkins fosters, it’s unsurprising that for some alumni, the first place they come back to is the Zamboni room. Atkins and Pratt will be honored by the college for their service on Saturday, February 9. The crowd in attendance is sure to thank them for the warmth they’ve brought to this icy campus. For full staff issue coverage, click here. [gallery size="large" ids="42798,42797,42680,42679,42678"]
The Panthers opened their season this past weekend at the Lindsay Morehouse Invitational hosted by Williams. While no individual tournament winner was awarded due to the invitational’s round-robin nature, the Middlebury women’s tennis team came back home with wins in their hands. To start off, doubles partners Christina Puccinelli ’19 and Emma Gorman ’22 led the team with an 8–3 win on Saturday. Following this victory, the new members of the team stepped up to the court. Gorman and Nora Dahl ’22 each earned two wins in singles, and Ruhi Kamdar ’22 had one. Experienced players Puccinelli and Emily Bian ’21 also won one singles match each. The Panthers continued to dominate the courts on Sunday with doubles duo Gorman and Puccinelli, who tallied two wins, and Dahl and Kamdar, who defeated Skidmore in a match. Not only did the women’s team boast their athletic abilities this weekend, but they also demonstrated class and sportsmanship. Puccinelli was presented the Lindsay Morehouse Award, a distinction celebrating positive character, friendship, perseverance and sportsmanship. As the Panthers start their season off with multiple victories, we look forward to their performance at the ITA Championships hosted at Williams from Friday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30.
The women’s tennis team is coming into the 2018-19 season well decorated. Not only did they finish off their 2017-18 season with a record of 17 wins, but they were also ranked 4th place nationally by the ITA and 2nd in the northeast region. Though Heather Boehm ’20, Katherine Hughes ’20 (right) and Skylar Schossberger ’20 — all of whom were named All-Americans last season — are studying abroad this semester, Ann-Martin Skelly ’21 is a name to look out for. After trailing behind at 4-1, doubles partners Hughes and Skelly won seven straight games against Emory University at the NCAA Semifinals, eventually defeating the Eagles 8-4. The Panthers will kick off their 2018-19 season this weekend at the Lindsay Morehouse Invitational hosted at Williams.
Sitting in the audience section at Robison Hall on Wednesday March 1, I couldn’t help but smile at the reality of Chunhogarang performing on our campus, 6,657 miles away from Seoul, South Korea. The first Korean ensemble to play at Middlebury, Chunhogarang is an all-male gayageum ensemble. Their name is a combination of their mentor’s pen name Chunho and garang, which, in English, translates into “beautiful men.” Visiting four colleges as part of their New England Tour, the six members of Chunhogarang aimed to teach and share Korean culture and traditional music with students in the United States. Gayageum is a traditional Korean instrument, originally composed of 12 strings but now made up of 21. With each pluck comes a beautiful and harmonious sound completely different than Western string instruments. Generally performed by women, gayageum is known as a female-focused instrument because of its graceful playing style and sound. As I listened to these men dressed in colorful, and to me, familiar, Korean traditional attire, known as hanbok, artfully share their passion and music to a predominantly non-Korean crowd, I felt proud. Proud of my culture. Proud to see my culture being shared. And proud of these men for breaking stereotypes surrounding the gayageum. One of the members, Junae Kim, noted that beyond their shared love for music, Chunhogarang came together to show the distinct beauty of men playing the gayageum as well. He was not wrong. Throughout the performance, the ensemble presented many styles of Korean traditional music. They shifted from a trio softly playing the gayageum with grace and ease to a loud, energetic sextet composed of various traditional instruments: the gayageum, the piri (a traditional wind instrument), the janggu (a traditional drum) and the kkwaengari (a traditional brass gong). My favorites were the gayageum solo and the gayageum trio. Both performances displayed the distinct beauty Kim mentioned, being melodious and graceful yet with a sense of strength supporting the song in the background. From fast-paced to soft and steady, Chunhogarang showcased the charm and variety of Korean traditional music and successfully brought the audience to admire and, hopefully, continue to listen to this genre. When asked why they chose to pursue traditional music rather than contemporary, the members of Chunhogarang remarked that while contemporary music follows trends and fads, traditional music is constant and preserved. “To this day, we listen to Mozart, Beethoven and Bach,” Kim remarked. And like Director Sahie Kang of the Middlebury Language School of Korean, who presented the concert, said, “this is the original k-pop.” Standing up with the rest of the audience, I fervently applauded them for their amazing performance but also to thank them for building up a warm sensation in my heart. Having heard my grandfather play the gayageum for me a few times as a child, their performance brought a little bit of home back to me. For those short two hours, it almost felt like I was back in my grandparents’ home, sitting cross-legged by my grandfather, carefully observing his calloused fingers pluck and press the strings. During midterms, when sunny weather seemed to be something of a fantasy, home was just what I needed and they brought that to me. So, as a Korean student who always longs for authentic, non-instant Korean food and who always tries to convince her friends to visit her in Seoul, I want to say thank you, Chunhogarang. You have not only shared with us your passion for music and Korean culture and broken any stereotypes on who typically plays the gayageum, but you also took us on a quick trip to Korea. You took me on a quick trip back home. 감사합니다 (thank you) and please come again soon.