COUNTRY DAY VOICES

Transgender Athletes

Cole M. 

     I want everyone to imagine playing their favorite sport. Now imagine walking out and seeing that you have to compete against a lean, 6’4, 215 pound man, aka Spencer M. That’s an extreme example but you understand what I’m saying. The main debate in transgender athletics is being fair vs being equal. Fair in the competitive sense vs gender equality in sports. The physical difference, scholarship potential, and legitimacy of the change are all reasons why I believe that there should be more restrictions on transgender athletes to ensure fairness in sports.

     Men are biologically more physically capable than women. During puberty men gain more testosterone which increases their physiological advantages. Some of these advantages include an increase in muscle mass, a larger and thicker skeleton, larger hearts which increases blood and oxygen flow to the muscles, and various other advantages. Although there are testosterone suppression options for trans athletes, this has little effect on evening the playing field. The only way testosterone suppression has real effects is if it happens before going through puberty. Most states only require 1-3 years of testosterone suppression before being allowed to participate in female sports. In many cases this can be done after going through puberty leading to no real change.

     One of the more significant reasons overall is scholarship spots being taken by transgender athletes. The Title IX is a law enforcing equal rights in education and athletics for all federally funded schools as well as private schools. This allows anyone who considers themselves a female the right to play sports. Out of 200,000 college female athletes generally 50 of them are transgender. That may not sound like a lot but that could be a life changing scholarship to some people. How would you feel if you worked your entire life just to be beat out by a girl who went by Mark a few years ago. For example there are two transgender athletes who combined have won 15 state titles in sprinting. Many of their local competition have complained and entered law suits against them, because of how these athletes have impacted their potential scholarship opportunities.

            No one can truly tell someone’s gender. Anyone can claim to be whatever they want. But once that decision starts to impact the lives of others, then I believe some form of regulation should be required. In the end anyone can lie and take hormone suppressors and change back and forth between genders. Without stricter regulations female athletes could eventually be forced out of their sport by transgender athletes who are over all more physically capable.

Lacrosse Safety

Kathryne L.

     Hi, I'm Kathryne L., a senior at Charlotte Country Day school, and I play lacrosse. I believe that girls lacrosse needs to be a safer sport, I’ve been playing lacrosse since I could walk. I’ve had five concussions playing the sport, and my sister three, I’ve even given one. Girls’ lacrosse needs helmets. Girls are more athletics, aggressive, there is more contact, with rules changing therefore the equipment needs to. I’m sick of girls not being able to play anymore because of head injuries. My sister and I strongly believe that this sport needs to be safer, we have created a helmet and are working on selling it to Under Armor. Girls are becoming more athletic and aggressive. Their muscles are 10 times larger than females playing the sport in 1994. The girl’s aggressiveness and athleticism is increasing but the sport safety is decreasing. Show pictures of college female athletes compared to girls’ lacrosse players when they used wooden sticks. Meaning more unintentional contact between players. Concussions and head trauma are increasing. EveryDay Health says if helmets were mandated, concussions in girls’ lacrosse would decrease by 40%. Stick or ball contact is the most common trigger and accounted for 73% of concussions and 24% is athlete to athlete contact. The rules in lacrosse are changing so why is the equipment not? Women's lacrosse used to use wooden sticks (shooting at 25-35mph) now we are shooting with composite sticks (shooting around 50-70mph). These metal and composite sticks are also a lot harder to get hit with. As said before, 73% of concussions are from hits like this. You must be thinking, "Wow why are girls not wearing helmets already?" Men and few women view girls’ lacrosse as not physical and not as athletic as men's lacrosse, which is not the case. There is a rule that girls can’t hit each other but it still happens. What I get all the time is, "Girl’s lacrosse isn't physical" "Girls can’t touch each other" but it still happens. With this mentality, we will not get the correct protection for girls in lacrosse. My sister and I have created a helmet that will protect women. What girls need are helmet that protect their head, face, and still look cool. I strongly believe that girls need helmets for their protection when playing lacrosse, and you should too.

Mandatory Helmets

Natalie K.

     Have you ever seen the parent trap? It's a classic, you know the separated at birth twins meet and switch places and try to trick their family into getting back together. Well, you know Liz, the mom, played by famous actress Natasha Richardson? Well, according to the US Sun, Richardson decided she wanted to go skiing for the first time in 2009 in Montreal Canada. She fell backward and hit her head on a bunny slope with an instructor. She said she was fine and proceeded to keep skiing for the rest of the day. Two days later, she died in a hospital from a head injury. Guess what she forgot to pack that day for her trip to the mountain? A helmet. Do you know what could have saved her life? A helmet. I believe that helmets should be mandatory for both skiers and snowboarders on every mountain in the world because you protect yourself from yourself, you protect yourself from others, and it makes everything more enjoyable overall.

     First, you protect yourself from yourself. Falling is inevitable for everyone, even Olympic athletes. For example, in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova fell so violently that her helmet split into two parts. Because of this, she was not seriously injured, according to the New York Times. A similar thing happened to our very own sophomore Margaret S., who lives today to tell the story. Now you might be thinking, what’s the point of wearing a helmet if it is just going to break in half when you fall? The head helmet engineer of the renowned adventure company Burton, Dave Connery, claims that skiing and snowboarding helmets are essentially industrial-grade Styrofoam. They break on impact as a way to “absorb” and then release the kinetic energy that would be otherwise absorbed by your skull. To put it very simply: the helmet breaks so your head doesn’t have to. Newer helmet technology has added a MIPS feature, which disconnects the hard, exterior shell that protects you from the force of hitting the ground, from the interior protection of getting whiplash and other neck injuries. Like I said, this can happen to anyone. I have quite a large ego, and I like to think that I am the greatest snowboarder since Shaun White, but I’m not. Even if I was, Shaun White falls too. Accidents happen and that’s okay, as long as you’re wearing a helmet.

     Before I get into my next reason, let me tell you a little story. Just a couple of months ago, I was in Park City, Utah with my family. We were trying to get to this remote, uncrowded area of the mountain and got lost, and I was sent to go look at a trail map up the mountain a bit because they were all on skis like losers and couldn’t walk up. Anyway, I was just minding my business standing out of the way of the run, and then the next minute I was on the ground. This out-of-control snowboarder ran right into me, swept my legs from underneath me, and I hit my head on the ground and blacked out for about 30 seconds. I was okay, no concussion or anything, but I had really weird, vivid dreams for the next week, ask anyone on my private story. My point of this story is that the mountain is a dangerous place because of everyone else there. There are out-of-control 30-year-olds who think they’re better than everyone else, 5-year-olds who just started that day, and all sorts of other crazy people. Basically, even if you think you’re too good to fall on your own, you’re definitely going to get trucked by some 8-year-old going way too fast, and then you’ll have head trauma, which isn’t fun. Just remember, helmets protect you from others too.

     Last but certainly not least, everything is just better when you have a helmet on. It keeps your ears and heads incredibly warm on those cold, windy days where you’re wondering why you even chose to leave your house that morning. Beanies are great, but the second they even touch the snow, they’re wet for the rest of the day and make you COLDER. You can do fun decorations with your helmet, as my brothers and I have started to do. We all just got our own for Christmas this year and are putting a sticker on it for every resort we go to with that helmet. Another thing about wearing beanies is that you honestly look stupid. I hate to be the one to say it but when I see someone without a helmet, I silently judge them. Also, imagine if you weren’t wearing one and you did get hurt. That’s so embarrassing for you. For this reason, you won’t push yourself as hard when you aren’t wearing a helmet. Every time I’m on the mountain, I try things that are way outside my talent level and have a blast without worrying about getting hurt because my noggin is protected. I just have a more enjoyable time.

     One more time, if you couldn’t tell already, I believe that helmets should be mandatory on every ski mountain in the world. It protects you from yourself, protects you from others, and just makes everything more enjoyable. I know this is a bit of a tongue twister, but it is true. No one that I know of at this school owns a ski resort or a mountain, but you can start by wearing one anytime you’re on the mountain, and others might notice how cool you look and follow in your footsteps.

Uniforms at Country Day

Addie P.

     I have never been one to like getting ready for school. Its 7am when my brain is still shut off, so I have no energy to try and figure out what to wear. Planning an outfit the night before is also not an option because let’s be honest, more than half the time you do that, you always end up changing it in the morning. I always text my friend something like "skirt or leggings" or "what are u wearing" frequently just to make sure we are on the same page. That’s all because students at Charlotte Country Day School care. We all care what we look like and we know if we don’t look good or wearing something “out of the ordinary” someone will make a comment about it either to your face or behind your back. Some people, myself included, claim we do not really care what we look like but we have to care enough to not standout. This is why I believe that Charlotte Country Day School should have uniforms. It would reduce the comparison in prices and judgement of students outfits, be easier in the morning with less stress, and get students back in line with behavior and attention.

     I cannot speak for every school in the United States but at Country Day, everything is made into a competition whether that’s grades, looks, or athleticism. Students have grown up with this competition all through their life and the want to be the best leads to some students bringing others down in order for them to go up. That all starts with what they wear. A first impression of someone is very important and is always based off their outfits because it is what they see first about someone and what they are wearing comes along with assumptions. If you are wearing sweatpants to school, you are lazy and have an unmotivated attitude towards school and could be considered someone who doesn’t care about anything. However, if you come to school in a dress or skirt, you are try hard and a "pick me" girl. People are always going to talk about your outfit so uniforms would help that. They would eliminate assumptions on how your morning went and block out any economic status assumptions which would decrease judgement in everyone. According to Helpful Professor, 57% of 14 year old's think that uniforms help them fit in because it removes the pressure of having to dress "cool". People’s outfits are based off of money. It’s a way to show off the way they choose to spend money which is buying brand new clothes that they just received in the mail. I know that outfits are a way to let kids express themselves but with a little creativity, they still can have that opportunity to do that with their shoes, makeup, and styling their hair. Overall, uniforms would limit the judgement students receive.

 

     Next, life would just be so much easier to get ready in the morning. Stress to wear the right outfit, stress to keep up with the latest fashion trends, and stress not to buy off brand clothing so that people don’t realize, that would all be gone. Instead, you could wake up in the morning, throw on your uniform and get a nice breakfast in before you leave for school.

 

     Lastly, with the relax dress code that Country Day has given us, I think it has allowed students to get a little too comfortable with their peers and teachers. I have heard many different students create an excessive amount of excuses because they are not in the learning mindset. Although I am not a freak about school and learning, with the amount we each pay to come to this school we should at least be ready to learn. An ANOVA test conducted by Chris Bauman and Hana Krskova found that students in uniforms are better listeners. Better listening turns into an improvement in discipline which was also shown to lead to better grades. Don’t get me wrong, I love coming to school in sweats but in order to promote learning we should be dressed for the part. With everyone in a uniform, we are a closer community because no one will feel like an outlier.

 

     In conclusion, if Country Day got uniforms, many peoples lives would be easier. They would have less fear of getting judged and would probably ultimately help them get out of their shell. It would break down barriers based on economic status creating a more inclusive community which is what Country Day strives for.

The Batman Review

Aarav R.

Movie Review: The Batman

     I’ve seen many different reviews of The Batman online, and many students here at Country Day have been talking about the movie since it came out. People loved the movie, even comparing it to 2008’s The Dark Knight, the second installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Some people, myself included, have seen the movie multiple times. There have been many discussions on online forums of people talking about the movie’s general ranking compared to The Dark Knight, as well as actively pointing out the finer details that others might not have noticed. Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, and the rest of the cast do a fantastic job. Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

            To start with, The Batman does a great job of fleshing out the detective side of Batman. In any iteration of Batman media, you will see him beating up criminals, showcasing his skill in combat. In the comics however, Batman is not only a great fighter, but is also known as “the world’s greatest detective”. In The Batman, we see him in his second year of fighting crime, when he is still a younger man with a trust fund and a lot of anger, which we see when he fights criminals at the beginning of the movie. We also see how he is still in a prototype stage of his career, as he uses a wingsuit instead of gliding with his cape, and he struggles to balance life as Bruce Wayne with his crusade as Batman. This Batman hasn’t really become Batman yet, as he hasn’t earned the reputation he has in other forms of media. We as an audience get put through a classic noir Batman experience where he is faced with an enemy that he can’t just attack head-on. He needs to outthink them. The creative team behind the movie said early on that a lot of inspiration was taken from the Batman Arkham game series, one of the best games series of the last decade and a half. As someone who played the series, I absolutely loved the movie as I could see how the games had an influence on it.

     That brings me to another great decision for this movie: the decision to make Riddler the villain. Now, we’ve seen the Riddler in live action before. The most well-known versions would be Jim Carrey’s in Batman Forever (1995) and Cory Michael Smith’s in the tv show Gotham (2014). However, Riddler isn’t the typical Batman villain people think of. Batman has an impressive rogues gallery, including Riddler, but also Joker, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc, and more, but it would take too long to list all of them. There are dozens, and most of them are physical threats for Batman. Some have even had their time in the spotlight already, as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy featured multiple villains. Batman Begins (2005) had Scarecrow and Ra’s Al Ghul, The Dark Knight (2008) had Joker and Two-Face, and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) had Bane and Talia Al Ghul (and Catwoman, although she wasn’t a villain there). More villains have made appearances in previous Batman movies of the past few decades.Riddler misses out on all the fun there for the most part, but he finally gets his time to shine in The Batman. Paul Dano’s take on the Riddler is incredibly unique, as he is shown as less of a mustache-twirly annoyance and more of a delusional, psychotic, and sadistic killer. He adds the creepy factor that makes the plot of this movie so gripping.

            The Batman also does a great job of fleshing out its characters. We see Batman as an extremely smart detective who is still struggling to balance his life. Alfred is seen as a father figure to Bruce, and their relationship’s depth is shown when Alfred lands in the hospital after an explosion caused by the Riddler. Catwoman’s quest for revenge for her friend mirrors Batman’s. She is shown to be an uneasy ally of his, much like how the two interact in most comics. Penguin is introduced too, and while he isn’t a villain here, he is by no means an ally. We as an audience can’t help but like Penguin, as Colin Farrell does a great job in his portrayal. Lastly, Jim Gordon is shown to be one of the few honest cops in Gotham, and the only cop who trusts Batman, going so far as to help him escape the GCPD. Gordon is the good cop to Batman’s bad cop, and we see that he has to act as a mediator between Batman and the police.

            Another great factor of The Batman was its setting. We see Gotham City as a dark and desolate place filled with crime. It’s almost always raining, showing how corrupted the city is. This is a much better visualization compared to Nolan’s trilogy, where he basically just went “eh, it’s just Chicago”. The movie opens with a visualization of Gotham, where we can see how the city has regressed and how crime runs rampant. We also see Batman’s impact on this, because as soon as criminals see his signal in the sky, they run. That was Batman’s goal: to become the reason that criminals breath easier when the sun rises. At the beginning, he says that he IS the shadows, and when confronted by a group of criminals, he calls himself “vengeance”. But by the end of the movie, he changes his goals. He lights a flare and rescues civilians from the flood, which motivates him to change his mission. He resolves to inspire hope and be a light in the darkness to the people of Gotham.

Also at the end, we see a couple teasers of what’s to come. Riddler makes friends with another inmate (who is so obviously the Joker), while Catwoman tells Batman how things will get worse for Gotham, as the death of Carmine Falcone will lead to a power vacuum. As she says this, the shot pans over to the Penguin gazing out a window, a sign that he will cause some problems down the line. There is already a planned sequel, as well as more projects centering around the GCPD and Arkham Asylum. Penguin will be back, as he was the only one left standing in the scuffle involving Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone. The movie does a beautiful job of creating a world where the possibilities are endless, as we are left wanting more. To sum it all up, The Batman is above all a movie of fan service, as watchers are treated to a Batman that’s pretty comic-accurate. To regular movie watchers, it’s still a thrilling ride, but to comics fans, it is so much more. This movie is on par with The Dark Knight. If it isn’t the best Batman movie of all time, it’s a close second.

My Irrational Mind (Modified)

Lily J.

     My English teacher (Mrs. Stern) challenged my fellow classmates and me to write an essay regarding a secret we have. To be honest, I did not know if my secret, that I wrote about, even classified as a secret. My ‘secret’ reflects more of an inner preconceived notion about myself that I hold but am still yet to pinpoint whether it is even rational.

 

     My mother has the wedding album that documented my parents’ wedding day. The album sits on a shelf in my mom’s house, somewhat hidden from view, but I know it’s still there. I have asked her why she keeps this book, rather than toss it away, she answers: “it was a happy day.” I think she keeps it because she would like my sister and me to see it; to see that marriage can be a beautiful bond between people. I also know my mom adores history. Why dwell on the past? As I look to my future, I have come to the realization that I do not want to get married. If one asked me in a conversation if I have ever dreamt about my wedding day, a glorious white wedding gown, and a sweet wedding cake, I would say yes, even though in secret, I know deep down, I do not want to get married. I would only say to others that I do want to get married because my rational behind not wanting to get married may not be sufficient or would get judged.

     I am a child of divorce. This fact has undoubtedly shaped my view of the subject of marriage. Going back to my mother’s wedding album, as I look at my parents’ faces that depict their emotions, I see expressions of happiness and love. What I cannot comprehend, as a 17-yearold, is where did this love go? Or was love ever even there to begin with? I know my parents did not anticipate having two children only to get divorced years later, no one does. They anticipated living until 90 by each other’s side, and to quote the Bible they promised to “love and to cherish (each other) in times of prosper and decline, in peace and in turmoil, as long as (they) both shall live.” Overall, they do uphold that, I know they still care for one and other; but they would bomb one of those percent compatibility tests. My parents are wonderful people individually, but not together.

 

     I often ask myself if my parents lied to each other on the day, they got married. I don’t think they lied to each other when they said they loved one and other. My only explanation for this schism is that over time they were not able to live with each other’s flaws and differences. Funny how time tells. They believed with all their might they would last forever, but something caused those beliefs to break, and now we are family, but in two separate homes. I believe it was bad luck, therefore I don’t want to take my chances with marriage. The trauma I have endured scares me into thinking I will make the same decision, and it will be a mistake, so I wish to avoid that by choosing not to marry.

 

     The sharing of my secret has helped me organize my views of what I have seen from my parent’s marriage and divorce, and it has forced me to share my feelings against marriage that I would have kept to myself. However, upon further reflecting on this secret, I believe my decision not to marry reflects a kind of cowardliness in me. Truthfully, I am afraid. I am afraid I will get married, then divorce, and I will have wasted much of my life being dependent on somebody while I could have been thriving independently. I want individuals to know that fearing a big decision, a lifelong decision, like marriage, is okay. But, in my circumstance, I realize my secret (not to marry) may be irrational. I have come to understand that my parents’ experience – however painful to me – may not mean my future chance at marriage will result in failure. Fear clouds and paralyzes decisions. Do not let that powerful emotion create a private fear in you, like it does in me.