Blazers, Brothers, and Championship Banners: An Interview with CMU Blazer Ryan Jensen

As many of you know, both the men’s and women’s Blazer soccer teams took home the 2018 Manitoba Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) championship trophy. Go Blazers go!

CMU’s Ryan Jensen  is here to take us onto the soccer pitch and give a first-hand account of the men’s team’s incredible season and the feelings that came along with it. Take it away, Ryan!

Ryan JensenMy name is Ryan Jensen, I am a fourth year Redekop School of Business student at CMU. I’ve been a part of the soccer team since my first year in 2015. I play as an attacking midfielder while wearing number 10.

What was the season like prior to being in the final four?

This year we were extremely lucky to have such a deep, skillful, intelligent squad which played such a key role in our ability to win the league for the first time since 2005. We absolutely killed it this season, to say the least. Although we did not win every time we stepped on the field, we sure gave it our all until the final whistle.

We were fortunate enough to travel Calgary during the opening weeks of the season to play exhibition games against Ambrose college and SAIT College, where we comfortably defeated Ambrose by a score of 3-1, which became one of the first times our team actually began to click. The following day we played the 4th ranked team in college soccer, SAIT college, and fought hard enough to earn ourselves a 2-2 tie.

What was it about your team this year that allowed you to find so much success?

I can honestly say of my four years involved with the soccer team at CMU, that this is by far the most skilled and enjoyable team to not only play with, but to watch. Each and every one of our first year players impacted the team in such a large way. 

It is tough to put it into words that would justify how I feel about these boys, but there is just something about the way we are around each other. Not only are they my teammates, but I strongly feel like these boys are family. And that’s something we have always strived for at CMU.

Tell me about the moment you knew your team had won the championship. How did you feel?

Ryan Jenson with teammates and MCAC trophyWe were the underdogs. Everyone wrote us off, and yet everyone supported us. If I remember correctly it was about the 73rd minute where our midfield battled in the middle of the park to win possession. The ball ended up with our right back, Kieran. Kieran looked up and spotted my run darting across Brandon’s back line, and it was right after Kieran launched a long ball from that infamous right foot of his that I knew it was ours to win. We didn’t have the most chances, but we had that one. I controlled the ball with my chest and with my first touch took a shot across my body and into the bottom left corner.

 

When was the last season that the Blazers won the MCAC Soccer Championship?

CMU BLazers Soccer Team with MCAC tropheyThe last time CMU won the outdoor championship was 2005, which is such an important accomplishment for our boys to win it for the school this year. Being able to represent the school and their athletics program is a feeling that will never fade once you’ve become a champion.

What role has soccer played in your CMU experience?

I have always thanked CMU for being such a close, interrelated community driven school. In my first year I was terrified when it came to the idea of university. But playing on the sports team before starting school is a massive advantage because you already know a fairly large group of people.

You’re in your 4th year, which means graduation is coming up soon! How will soccer remain a part of your life after leaving CMU?

I’ve always told myself that I will play soccer for my whole life regardless of my current life situation, simply for the love of the game.

Do you have any advice for future Blazers?

CMU Blazers mens and womens soccer teams with their MCAC trophiesIf I could share any piece of advice for any new athletes, I would begin by simply telling them to enjoy their time here. You are only eligible for 5 years under MCAC rules, which may seem like a long time, but it is not. Enjoy yourself, because before you know it you will be in your 5th year and graduating and you will look back and wonder where all the time went.

Thanks for bringing us into that final match, Ryan! Congratulations to both the Men’s and Women’s soccer teams for bringing home the trophies.

 

Seeing God Through a Fish | Guest blogger: Sara Wolowich

This past summer I had the opportunity to do my practicum with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg.

carmine shiner minnowOver the course of the summer I learned so much and experienced what it would be like to be a research scientist. I began working with Rachel Krause, Assistant Professor of Biology at CMU, on a partnership project with DFO studying carmine shiners, a type of minnow, and the parasites found inside these fish. DFO wanted to continue this project over the summer and they hired me to conduct dissections.

The field research brought me to Birch River, where the elusive carmine shiner can be found. This species is endangered, and this project is an effort to know more about the species and its changing metabolic rates related to temperature and climate change. In short, what we did was go out to the field (or river) and conducted respirometry experiments by placing the fish in tubes and measuring their oxygen consumption. These experiments are being done in the fall, spring, and summer, to measure metabolic rates related to temperature. In search of a relationship between metabolic rate and parasite load, the fish were then examined for parasites.

Sara Wolowich field workI also had the opportunity to go out and do nearshore surveys in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg, learn about fish tagging and receivers, and bathymetry. It was very cool to be working in a place where everything I learned in my CMU ecology classes was so relevant.

God was also brought into this summer in a weird variety of ways. I have always believed that whatever I do I am working for the Lord. Somedays in this job it felt so real.

There were times when I stood in the river for hours, as we were running experiments, and just got to stand in the middle of creation and admire it. I stared down the mud and what the small invertebrates crawl around. I watched tadpoles and small fish. I listened to the birds and the water flow by and enjoyed the sun. I took time to see all the life around us that we usually ignore. I remember one time just looking at one drop of water and seeing multiple things move within it.

Sara Wolowich conducting testsWe are part of a world and a creation that is intricate and so much bigger than what we see. I never imagined myself dissecting fish, never-mind looking for parasites, but it was very fascinating. When you are studying something for a period of time under a microscope you see how intricate and amazingly created it is. Once you know more about something you want to care for it and protect it.

I also encountered God in the lab as I was faced with questions of life and death. It broke me to take these little fish that thrive so well in their natural environment and euthanize them so I could look for parasites. One surprising question that arose for me during my time at DFO was do I really have the right to experiment and in many cases take the life of different organisms to hopefully gain insight to help the rest of the species in the future. I found myself asking for forgiveness and apologizing as well as praying that each fish we killed would protect more of its kind in the future.

Sara Wolowich Lab WorkI also struggled a lot with working alone in the lab looking through a microscope for days. This work is not simple. Science is not easy and the questions we ask about the world around us are not easy to answer. I dissected fish all summer long and I still found new parasites. Somedays I needed to show up at work at 7:00 AM a few days in a row in and work long days in order to complete field work.

I also was pushed in the type of work I did in different environments. I love being outside but have never been an outdoorsy/back-woods type of person. Though, this job required me to work in a waist deep river in the cold rain seining for fish. It also required me to walk through the bush carrying heavy equipment needed for data collection. I learned that rain, bugs, mud, and sometimes sleep is not important in order to gather the information to the questions you are asking. I gained strength physically and mentally. And I know that God gave me strength to do this work.

Sara WolowichAnother lesson I learned was that there is a lot of work that must be done to plan and prepare for going out into the field, and that once you are outdoors you are at mercy of the environment. As scientists we do not control the environment we go into and we must adapt and be creative in order to make our projects attainable in the field. I feel that I gained valuable skills of planning out a project and also being able to think on my feet when actually carrying out the experiment.

I have read so many journal articles for class and in those papers the emotions, the work, the failures, and frustrations are not shown. Science is objective but there has to be emotion in it. Why do we do things like protect these tiny fish that seem to have no known value to us?

Because we believe they are innately valuable and in my mind this value is given to them by God. He gave them life as he gave us life.

That is why I am so grateful for my faith and for this experience, because when I was in the river or at my microscope I could seek God’s Kingdom first.

Sara Wolowich is a 4th year Environmental Studies student.

Jerseys, London Fogs, and Green Chairs: The Beauty of Rituals at CMU

I’m sitting in Marpeck Commons (Folio Café, specifically) glancing out the lofty windows at the green-to-golden leaves that frame the stately castle on the north side of the campus. There’s a perfectly poured vanilla latte in my left hand and a pencil in my right. I’ve got a reading from my Art of Worship class spread out on the table in front of me. It’s discussing the beauty and importance of rituals, and I’m beginning to realize that my study sessions in this space, with a cup of coffee in hand, are a vital ritual for me throughout the school year.

Due to my Art of Worship course this semester, I’ve been dwelling on the concept of rituals. The significant actions and behaviours that I repeat week after week. These small actions make CMU feel like a space of my own, and add comfort and structure to my busy days. Today I began to wonder, what are my CMU rituals? Here’s the list I quickly compiled…

  • Ordering a half-sweet vanilla latte from Folio at the beginning of a long study sesh, and then taking a photo of the latte because I’m a millennial comm-student (and because the baristas at Folio have some serious latte art talent)
  • Stopping for a conversation with Charlie Peronto, CMU’s Residence Director, as I pass by his office on the way to my apartment. “What’s the word?” he asks. Maybe the word is “Gilmore Girls”, his adorable pup Rigby, how classes are going; anything!
  • Fall walks through the Assiniboine forest with my roommates, marvelling at the colour of the leaves and the sound of the songbirds, and enjoying a short reprieve from our books.

These are some of my beloved rituals I take part in at CMU, but I was interested in what my classmates had to say as well. Here are some of their sweet and quirky rituals they shared with me:

Ryan WaschukI wear one of my many sports jerseys on Fridays to men’s chorus!

  • Ryan Waschuk, Music Therapy Student (1st year Music Therapy, 3rd year at CMU)

 

Joycelyn OforiMy CMU ritual would have to be keeping myself busy after class in Marpeck every Tuesday afternoon. Or buying a London Fog from Folio before my morning lecture!

  • Joycelyn Ofori, Psychology Student (2nd year)

 

Marnie KlassenAs a commuter, I spend a lot of time studying in Marpeck Commons. I always go for a green chair if there’s one available.

  • Marnie Klassen, Interdisciplinary Major (3rd year)

As we go through the various academic “seasons” that come with a university experience (projects, readings, midterms, exams, performances, travel) it is comforting to rest in these rituals. To do them consciously and mindfully. To drink that London Fog slowly, to lay out that sports jersey every Friday, to seek out that green chair in the library.

So here’s to our rituals, to the actions that make CMU a place of our own!

– Chloe Friesen, 2nd year Communications and Media student

What Do You Do With A Degree? Guest Blogger – Thomas Friesen

My CMU degree allowed me to get paid to watch sports.

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Thomas FrieseenMy work days consist of studying teams’ records and stats, making note of key players and storylines to follow. Then, I watch them play for a few hours, taking notes and photos. Once the game ends, chat with a few of them, (pray I pressed record on my phone beforehand), and put together a story.

There’s some stress, too. Things happen fast and the deadline is always looming. But, at the end of the day, I get paid to watch sports and share my thoughts on them. It’s usually as sweet as it sounds.

The journey from CMU to this was a short one.

I spent a 12-week term with the Winkler Times and Morden Times, part of a group of weekly newspapers in southern Manitoba. CMU director of practicum Werner Kliewer set me up with that, and it was a fantastic starting point. 

From there, the Brandon Sun reached out and asked me to apply for a job in its sports department. That’s it.

The years leading up to grad were the interesting part.

I went through three years of pre-medicine courses at CMU before it hit me. I thought about my passions and how they aligned with my path in school.

My conclusion? They didn’t.

So, what are those passions? I love watching sports and talking about them. Simple, but how do you make a career out of that?

It turns out there’s an answer within these walls: communications and media. With the starting point of communications and media courses, here are three steps that helped me land a full-time sports reporter job with one of the biggest newspapers in the province.

Step One: Take Journalism. CMU is offering it this winter.

Surprisingly, I hated writing when I started university, or thought I did. English was my least favourite high school subject. I dreaded those 3,000-word papers, drudging through old books in the library, and searching through various academic journals to find scraps of information by scholars I could attribute my pre-meditated arguments to.

It turns out I loved to write, but had no interest in academic writing. Journalism is the opposite.

Big words are discouraged. You’re supposed to write for the masses, so that anyone can enjoy your work.

Those long, drawn out sentences you write when you’re out of thoughts but need to reach an arbitrary word count? Gone.

Reaching a word count is no longer a concern. The challenge becomes trying to fit all your thoughts in. That’s a fun problem to have.

I’ve never heard a student describe essay writing as ‘fun.’ Taking journalism showed me how enjoyable writing can be.

Step Two: Stop asking for extensions

Those deadlines, the ones that you found out about on syllabus day? They are the easiest deadlines you’ll ever have to meet.

In the real world, especially that of a daily newspaper, the timeline is radically different.

Right now, you likely have a 600-word paper due in a few weeks, maybe even tomorrow morning. In this business, a 600-word story is due the day it’s assigned, sometimes less than an hour after the game ends. Being late isn’t an option here, either. Instead of losing a couple per cent on a grade, I can lose my job.

Make a habit out of hitting every due date and prepare for the unexpected. Learn how to meet deadlines, not make excuses.

Step Three: Start a blog/join a website

A Winnipeg Free Press journalist gave me this advice during my first year of communications courses. I started a free blog—friesentundra.wordpress.com—and wrote about anything and everything I felt like sharing. Every time I published a post, I shared it on Facebook and Twitter.

Your work changes when you know everyone in your network and their grandmother can see it. The feedback you will receive, and simply the process of expressing your thoughts, will make you better every day.

After a few months of blogging, I applied to be a staff writer for LombardiAve.com, a site that covers the Green Bay Packers. I still write for it today.

While I’ve never received a cent for my work, it has been a valuable experience. I work with an experienced team of writers and two editors who provide terrific feedback and teach me through the stylistic changes they make to my stories.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long way to go in this business. I make mistakes every day. But, investing in my craft through unpaid platforms was a vital step that helped me get to the point where someone felt my words are worth paying for.

Still interested?

Fair warning, the hours are long, and in sports they are late. And newspapers aren’t trending in a positive direction. For those reasons, another piece of advice I received about journalism was “find a new passion.”

But I’ll end with this.

I absolutely love it.

Most of the day it doesn’t even feel like work. Every day is another chance to share someone’s story in a new way. Oh, and the people in this business are a blast. I walk out of the newsroom satisfied every night.

Thomas Friesen is a CMU communications and media grad, and former Blazers volleyball and soccer player.

I Owe It To Outtatown: Guest Blogger – Cassidy Brown

Hi Everyone!

Screenshot_20180930-160952_InstagramMy name is Cassidy Brown and I’m a first-year student at CMU. However, this was not my first year at CMU! I was a part of the Outtatown Guatemala site in 2016/2017. This was one of the most important years of my life in terms of personal, spiritual, and personal growth. Prior to Outtatown, my vocational plan was to study music and education at CMU, in hopes of becoming a band teacher. But (as Outtatown often does to people) my plans very quickly changed.

The first time I questioned my future was during our week on the Roseau River First Nation for our First Nations learning week. This was one of my favorite weeks from the first semester. Our week consisted of listening to stories from various community members, participating in traditional ceremonies, and learning about their faith. I already knew that the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada needs to change, but it’s different to hear first-hand accounts. I started to think about what we can do, and what I can do to help create a positive change. “Peace” was a theme I kept feeling myself coming back to.

Screenshot_20180930-160931_InstagramGuatemala was my favourite part of the Outtatown year. I immediately fell in love with the country, the atmosphere, the people, and the food. We climbed volcanoes, hiked in the mountains, made relationships with people we lived with, and ate lots of tortillas. One of the hardest parts, though, was learning about Guatemala’s past. Something I didn’t know before we went was the genocide against the Mayan people, also known as the silent holocaust, that lasted from 1960 to 1996. We heard stories from a farmer who helped smuggle people to safety amidst garbage, and of how the Mayan people were killed simply for being indigenous. It struck me the similarities between this and the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous population. Living in 2018, it feels like we should be further along than we are.

I owe my current vocational thoughts to Outtatown. My eyes were opened to the beauty, but also the injustice in the world, and how I can be a part of the change. Currently I’m hoping to major in Peace and Conflict Transformation studies and work anywhere I can to help bring more peace to the world.  My current hope is to work with Mennonite Central Committee. I firmly believe in the work that they do, and hope CMU can help me achieve that goal. I also will always be grateful to Outtatown for the life changing experiences I had. I look forward to finishing off my studies at CMU, as I love the sense of community, my classes, and my professors. So, that’s where I am now! I’m excited for what my future holds but I also know that things change sometimes, but I know God will put me where I’m supposed to be.

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