'Tis (still) the endless season

the axe magazine online issue 5

January 2021

– IN THIS ISSUE –

Student Gov Reps

Clubs: Citrus Mag • EJL • BSU • EYES

Navalny's Return to Russia • Protests in India • Sports in a Pandemic

____________

– FEATURE STORy –

Volunteering during pandemic

By Naomi Saenger

__________

2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021•2021

Land Acknowledgement

Eugene School District 4j, South Eugene High School, and your Axe Magazine online would like to acknowledge that our institution sits on the homelands of the Kalapuya people.

In the Treaties of 1851 and 1854-1855, and the subsequent forced removals of many Indian people from western Oregon, some of the Kalapuya were moved to the Grand Ronde Reservation and some were moved to the Siletz Reservation. It is important to note that all of Lane County was an important trading and gathering area for camas and other resources.

During the Restoration Era, from 1977-1989, Lane County was designated at the Service Area for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians.

Eugene 4J District and South wish to acknowledge that descendants of the original and Service Area inhabitants of this land are still here today. They are thriving members of our schools and our communities. Countless members of other Tribes now also call our community and schools their home.

We wish to thank those original stewards of this land. We as outsiders on this land wish to remember that we need to take good care of this land and take good care of all members of our school district and community. Thank you for joining us.

mission statement

The Axe is dedicated to the goals and ethics of journalism. As a student-run publication, our mission is to both inform the student body and spark discussion among the student body about the news within South Eugene High School and the wider community. We function under an open forum policy. We accept and may use in our publication the feedback and commentary of our readers. Email all inquiries: willis_b@4j.lane.edu.

rest in love, sarah schenderlein 💜

The Axe Report and The Axe Magazine Online mourn the loss of classmate and Axe Report director/producer, junior Sarah Schenderlein. We extend our deepest sympathies to Sarah's family and close friends. We will do our best to work with the same joy and energy Sarah brought to all her projects for South journalism. We have memorial coverage planned for February.

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @THEAXEMAG

News briefs

back-to-school metrics

On Jan. 22, Eugene School District 4J announced that, due to increases in COVID-19 cases and revised metrics, hybrid learning will not begin in elementary schools on Feb. 1, despite predictions from late last year. In order to follow Harvard Global Health Institution’s guidelines, the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education have stated that after a two-week period in which the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in Lane County is within 200-500, they will allow elementary school students to begin hybrid learning. The metrics are more stringent at the middle and high school levels, where the number of cases within the two-week period must be below 200. Both of these numbers are far less restrictive than the initial metrics requirements, which ranged from just 10 to 100 cases per 100,000. When hybrid learning becomes possible, students and their families will be notified two weeks in advance. –By Bettina Wu

district breaks from epd

District 4J’s relationship with the Eugene Police Department has come to an end. Following protests last summer over nationwide police brutality, there was talk of removing police officers from 4J schools. At about $480,000, the cost of having Student Resource Officers in schools is significant. Public comments to the board included suggestions to redistribute the funds to other aspects of the school and student supports — counseling, therapy, and mental health programs. District 4J’s contract with EPD ended Jan. 1. – By Elita Kutateli

ban on trump's tweets

Former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was permanently suspended on Jan. 8, two days after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, leaving five dead. Twitter suspended Trump’s account after his tweets were found to have violated its Glorification of Violence policy. Some say this move was too drastic a step, while others believe that the company’s actions to shut down Trump’s influence came too late. This Suspension’s legitimacy under the First Amendment has been brought into question; however legal experts agree that Twitter’s censorship is not a constitutional violation as Twitter owns the platform. - By Helen Evans


amanda gorman's poetic justice

During the inauguration on Jan 20, the nation’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read her poem “The Hill We Climb.” The reading was, according to an informal survey of social media mentions, one of the most popular and moving parts of the ceremony. Gorman, a 23-year-old poet from Los Angeles, Calif., has aimed to make a difference through her poetry on issues of oppression, sexism and racism. “The Hill We Climb” conveyed powerful metaphors of a different nation under the new administration. Gorman touched on themes about the healing of this divided country; the possibility of fostering love and unity over hate and division; and a reckoning in which people don't forget the past but choose to move forward. – By Mira Ciccarello

Let the games begin?

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) has outlined a plan for getting students back to sports. Fall sports (football, soccer, volleyball, and cross country) will begin in February; spring sports (baseball, softball, track and field, golf, and tennis) will start in April; and winter sports (basketball, swimming, and wrestling) will commence in May. While pre-season training is set to begin Jan. 25 for most sports, it is unclear how this plan will work out, given that in-person, indoor workouts are prohibited, and outdoor group sizes can be made up of no more than 50 people. –By Clara Snelling

COVID vaccination: the race is on

As vaccinations ramp up, COVID-19 infections have fallen from a high of 53 new cases per 100,000 Oregonians in December to around 17 new cases per 100,000 according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. Although Oregon's current rate of infection is far below the national rate of 51 new infections per 100,000 people, it is still significantly higher than the summer high of around 10 cases per 100,000 Oregonians.

“Now, one year after we began to prepare for the pandemic, we can see the finish line,” Governor Kate Brown said in her State of the State address on Jan. 21. Governor Brown added that Oregon’s strict regulations on masks and social distancing have helped it fare better than many other states, but cautioned against letting down our guard. “The race is far from over,” Brown said.

Vaccinations in Oregon are progressing at a stable pace, with educators receiving their first shots this week. According to the Oregon Health Authority’s website, Oregon is receiving around 100,000 doses per week, which translates to 50,000 people vaccinated.

“I directed the Oregon Health Authority to speed up our efforts, and we are now administering over 12,000 vaccines per day,” Brown said. “On some days we’ve administered twice that amount.”

Phase 1a, which prioritized medical personnel, is winding down, and phase 1b, which aims to vaccinate teachers and Oregonians over 65 years old, is expected to start on Jan. 25. More information on vaccine eligibility and timelines can be found on the Oregon COVID-19 Vaccine webpage: covidvaccine.oregon.gov. By Soju Hokari


Indian farmer protests

Farmers in India have long been mistreated, but a new series of agricultural laws has sparked national outrage. These new agricultural laws deregulate crop pricing, leaving farmers at mercy of big corporations. Protestors, numbering more than 250 million, have been clashing with law-enforcement. Protestors have been tear-gassed, hit with water cannons, and beaten with batons. Protest camps have been set up along major roads in Delhi and farmers are determined to stay put until new farm bills are repealed. The new laws repeal a limit on the amount of time companies can stockpile goods, open the market to mass privatization, and deregulate the price of goods, allowing corporations to lower prices to the point where local farmers cannot compete. The laws impact millions of people, as over half of India’s population relies on farming for their livelihood. –By Elita Kutateli

opinion-editorial

russia's last hope

Alexei Navalny persists in his opposition to Putin's regime; will Russian citizens follow suit?

By Elita Kutateli

“Putin is a thief! Putin is a thief!” protesters in Moscow yell in anger.

Following 44-year-old Alexei Navalny’s recent return to Moscow, Russia’s most significant Kremlin critic and opposition leader was arrested upon arrival.

In August 2020, Navalny was poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent that almost killed him. Falling ill and into a coma, he was flown out to Germany, where he could be properly treated by medical professionals. It was later discovered through an investigation by Navalny and his team that the poisoning was basically a hit ordered by Vladmir Putin, and carried out by a group of eight conspiring government officials. After months of treatment and recovery in Germany, Navalny finally decided it was time to return home to Russia.

“Russia is my country, Moscow is my city, I miss them,” Navalny stated in an Instagram post on Jan. 13, announcing his plan to come back.

Law enforcement warned Navalny that he would be arrested the instant he stepped foot in Russia. They stated that he had violated the terms of a prior suspended sentence.

On Jan 17, Navalny returned to Moscow and, as predicted, he was arrested upon arrival in passport control. Navalny’s lawyer was unable to accompany him through his arrest because she had made it through passport control seconds before he did.

“I am not afraid,” Navalny said to the journalists before being taken away by the police. “I know that I am right. I know all the criminal cases against me are fabricated.”

Only one day after the arrest, Navalny had his court hearing – not in a proper courtroom, but in the same police station where he was being detained. His lawyer was notified of the court hearing only minutes before it had begun, giving her just a short amount of time to prepare. Journalists, supporters, and news outlets crowded outside of the police station. Only a few journalists, all from pro-Kremlin news outlets, were let in to report the proceedings. Despite best efforts, circumstances proved overwhelmingly unfavorable, and the judge ordered Navalny to be jailed until Feb. 15, a sentence of 30 days.

Before the court hearing, Navalny recorded two videos, in which he addressed his supporters. The videos were posted to his YouTube and Instagram accounts.

“...If we have anything to fear, there are only two things: 1) Fear of our own. 2) That our lives will be under the control of thieves and scum who have taken over our country,” Navalny said in the video.

He then encouraged his supporters to stay engaged.

“Until each of you takes action, nothing can help us, and no one can save us … Don’t be idle,” he said.

Navalny’s supporters have been outraged and active since summer, worrying for the safety and future of both Navalny, and Russian citizens in general, citizens who are exhausted and suffering under Putin’s regime.

It seemed that things could not get any worse: Navalny had been victim to and survived an attack on his life; he had little choice but to leave the country for medical treatment; then directly upon his return, he was arrested and sent to jail on false and unfair accusations. All along, though, Navalny had something planned, something huge. This would turn out to be the absolute last straw, for not only his supporters, but for all Russian citizens.

Before returning to Russia, Navalny and his team conducted an exhaustive investigation on Vladmir Putin and how he sustains a $1.5 billion palace near the Black Sea. Navalny posted a two-hour long video to his YouTube channel; the video now has more than 84 million views. The investigation exposed Putin’s slush funds, presumably money used to build the lavish home. In a Jan. 22 New York Times article, a teacher from Yekaterinburg states,“Putin has a palace that was built with stolen money, and Putin is himself a thief.”

Between the public’s rising anger and disgust and the attacks on Navalny’s life and his vigilant anti-corruption work, people are finally deciding to rally; and they are taking their anger to the streets.

Within days of Navalny’s arrest, his team had organized and mobilized citizens to take action. Protests erupted on Jan. 23 in 109 different cities across Russia. From the frigid regions of Siberia to major metropolitan cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russian citizens took a stand. Protestors, including Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalny, were met with brutal police force; more than 3,500 protesters have been arrested.

The political turmoil happening in Russia today indicates that citizens are aware of and fed up with the corruption, censorship and propaganda perpetrated and enforced by the Russian government. It might be tempting to simplify the narrative of Russian politics and its citizens. Many Americans might think that Russian citizens don't care about politics or that they support Vladmir Putin. However, these recent protests show that this is far from the reality. Granted, public opinion statistics and data may seem bleak – one poll showed that only 2 percent of Russians support Navalny, whereas more than 52 percent of citizens support Putin. But what is not shown in the numbers is the danger and fear Russian citizens face when they question the unethical actions of their government.

Case in point: Back in December 2019, a Moscow equestrian police officer was fired from her job because it was discovered she was following Navalny’s Instagram account. A simple follow on Instagram cost a citizen a good job.

As it stands, the most persistent opposition leader in recent history was almost killed, allegedly by the Putin administration, and now that opposition leader is unfairly imprisoned. It is clear that Russian citizens do not have the freedom to speak out and criticize, or even question, the government without facing serious consequences. This is why Navalny’s work is so courageous and important; he is showing Russian citizens the truth about their country, and that they must speak up if they want to see change; and he has risked his life every day to do so. We need to pay attention and support Navalny by staying informed ourselves; he is Russia’s last hope.

south news

New Student Government Members

Two weeks ago, 437 South students voted for their class representatives and elected 14 new members to the student government. Your new student body representatives are excited and ready as ever to help the community!

New Members:

Freshmen

  • Ryman Yang: President

  • Bela Donahue: Vice President

  • Josie VanNortwick: Senator

  • Scarlett Olzewski: Senator

  • Molly Jett: Senator

  • Maya Hunter: Senator

Sophomores

  • Quinnlyn Turnbull: Vice President

  • Haylee Ann Ramsey-Code: Senator

  • William Johnston: Senator

  • Margaret Grace: Senator

Juniors

  • Sofia Megert: President

  • Ferran Verges: Senator

  • Mathias Lehman-Winters: Senator

Seniors

  • Wiley Kohler: President

-By Elita Kutateli

Citrus Mag Club at South

Citrus Mag is a local creative magazine started by Eugene teen Elita Kutateli. An unexpected product of quarantine, Citrus Mag began in May 2020 as a solo project through a Tumblr website but has since gained more contributors. Kutateli wanted to create an outlet for young artists in Eugene to share creative work.Early on, Kutateli realized that it would be best to have a group of people working on it together. The easiest way to harvest a hard working team was to start a club. Citrus Mag is one of the newest additions to South’s club offerings. So far, there are around twenty hard-working students participating in the club. Currently, the magazine is only online, but the club is going through the funding request process needed to publish a physical print. For further information visit @citrus_mag_ on Instagram, or email Info@citrus-mag.com.

By Sarah Dione

EJL brings peer tutoring online

South’s Economic Justice League finds new ways of helping students

By Soju Hokari

South’s Economic Justice League (EJL) is offering free peer tutoring online starting second trimester, continuing their tradition of providing resources for those who need them most. The organization has had some setbacks due to the pandemic in their mission to provide aid to South students, but have been reorganizing to better help with the specific challenges that students may face in a pandemic.

“We recognize that distance learning presents a great challenge,” EJL Leader Auria Lee told the Axe Magazine.

Lee says that online learning disproportionately impacts some students, and that EJL is still working towards fixing those inequities.

In a normal year, EJL runs the South clothing closet and food pantry, and helps connect students to physical resources at South and in our community. But with school buildings shuttered, EJL is finding other ways of helping students.

“Throughout the month of November we are training peer tutors [for a peer tutoring program],” Lee told the Axe Magazine.

As she talks, Lee is visibly excited about the program.

“We want everyone to feel supported in education right now,” Lee said. “Teachers are doing a really amazing job in office hours to help make sure students feel like they’re getting help, but it’s just a really big job. We just want to be an additional resource.”

That isn’t to say, however, that physical resources don’t exist anymore. In fact, EJL members can still help students access resources in the community. Through the RAND network, EJL peer tutors can request resources on behalf of students from nonprofits across Eugene.

“If a student needed a bike, a member could put it into the network and someone might say, ‘Oh, we just had one donated,’” Lee said.

And just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s hard to join the club. According to Lee, many students have recently joined to provide peer tutoring.

“We have had new members join recently, and we’re really happy about that,” Lee said. “It’s difficult to be getting connected with clubs and other students right now as a freshman going into high school this way. But all of the clubs are super excited to have you as new members, and it’s important to be getting connected, whether that’s with Economic Justice League or other things that you’re passionate about.”

Students can find out more about EJL and the student-support resources they manage, including peer tutoring, on their Instagram @south_ejl_. The club meets every Monday at lunch.

south eugene clubs

EYES and BSU hit their stride

The two South clubs have successfully adapted to the new online environment.

By Soju Hokari

Over the past few months, Equity Youth Educators (EYES) and Black Student Union (BSU), two South clubs with a focus on helping Black and otherwise marginalized youth, have slowly started up again online and are now holding regular meetings. Axe Magazine Online caught up with leaders of both clubs to find out what they do.

“The goal of eyes is to educate the marginalized groups of our school, especially the Black and Latino kids, to survive in a predominantly white institution,” EYES president Habibatou Soumano said. Soumano added that EYES tries to educate students on things that aren’t traditionally taught in schools. “[We talk about] diversity, race culture, ethnicity, [and] nationality because we believe that when you know those things you can better identify yourself.”

While similar in mission, BSU does focuses on having more free-flowing conversations rather than set conversation topics.

“[We] provide a safe space for people to talk about stuff that maybe has been going on or some challenges that they’ve faced,” BSU president Erin Skillon said about her club. “It’s a place to bring different people together, underrepresented students together as well and also find the support that they need.”

Both organizations have been doing the hard work of adapting to an online world. Like so many other clubs, BSU has been working since the beginning of school to get up and running.

“I think it’s really been hitting its stride in the last few months,” Skillon said. “We’ve increased our number of members and we’ve had really good discussions.”

In fact, there is a silver lining to the pandemic: BSUs from schools across 4J are now having meetings jointly when they want to.

“We don’t have to worry about traveling or anything like that, we can just meet each other online so that’s one benefit of it doing online school now,” Skillon said.

And other schools aren’t the only people showing up to South’s BSU. In addition to students, teachers have been known to show up, something that Skillon would love to see more of.

“[BSU is] for the whole school, it’s not just for students, so it’s really interesting to be able to talk to teachers and their experiences and also what they feel about current events in a way that might be a little more revealing than what they could do in a classroom setting,” Skillon said. “We can talk about real things.”

EYES has traditionally met around a common denominator: food.

“We all believe in EYES that when you share food with someone you’re thinking about them and you want to share a part of your culture with them,” Soumano said.

During the pandemic, they’ve had to get creative – according to Soumano, going as far as ordering food for members via DoorDash.

Both clubs are currently looking for new members.

“We’re always looking for new members, but we see EYES as a community, so when you join EYES you join a community,” Soumano said.

EYES meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. BSU meets at 2 p.m. on Thursdays.

Students can find BSU on instagram @sehseyesbsu and should email Skillon at eskillon21@4j.lane.edu for more information. EYES has a group chat for members that can be joined by direct messaging @soumanohabibatou.

Arts & Features

Comic Relief

Eugene’s Books With Pictures Stays the Course through Quarantine

By Natasha Dracobly

Books With Pictures Eugene, a comic shop located downtown, had been open just three weeks when COVID-19 launched the U.S. into its first lockdown in March. Its goal was to make a different kind of comic shopping experience, one focused on community, accessibility, and highlighting voices that aren’t often featured in comics spaces.

“We really wanted this to be a community-oriented and event-oriented kind of space,” owner Andréa Gilroy told Axe Magazine Online in an interview. “We wanted to have at least one event a week where people could come in and meet other people, and obviously that’s just not on the table at all.”

On top of this, their status as a new business has actually prevented the store from getting pandemic relief. “For most of the government relief for COVID, you have to provide evidence you’ve lost money, so because my business was open for essentially three weeks before the pandemic, I can’t provide enough proof that we’ve lost money,” Gilroy said.

“It’s really frustrating,” Gilroy said. “If you tell anybody you opened your business three weeks before COVID happened, they’re like ‘Oh, that really sucks.’ It’s kind of obvious. But I still can’t get any relief.”

However, Books With Pictures has held on during the pandemic.

“It’s a place where people who are definitely comics fans and can speak the language can go … but it’s also super accessible to people who walk in and are like ‘I’ve never read a comic before, what do I do?’” Gilroy said.

“A lot of more traditional comic stores are not necessarily welcoming to those kinds of people, not to mention that they tend not to value, or at least prioritize, voices of woman creators, BIPOC creators, queer creators, and so on,” Gilroy said. “We wanted those people who often feel left out of traditional comics spaces to be able to feel more comfortable and know that there’s also that stuff for them.”

Books With Pictures Eugene is open for in-store shopping, curbside pickup, and delivery. You can visit them at the corner of Olive and W. Broadway (99 W Broadway C) in Eugene, or customers can order from their website at https://stores.comichub.com/books_with_pictures_eugene. You can also find them on social media.

Books With Pictures owned Andréa Gilroy and Axe Magazine Online reporter Natasha Dracobly

community service

turn free time into your community's advantage

Volunteers will sort a car load of rescued bread for Eugene's local Burrito Brigade, a volunteer group that provides food and meals for the unhoused. Photo courtesy of Naomi Saenger.

Volunteering during the pandemic can be a safe, easy way to interact with people, help keep Eugene alive, and gain experience and connections.

By Naomi Saenger

Volunteering during high school is a popular way to help your community and build your resume. But is this possible during these socially distant times? I talked to South’s Career Center Coordinator Lori Sauter about opinions and information for volunteering. Sauter thinks that volunteering can be a great activity right now for students.

“Volunteering and donating funds to programs that promote a healthier, saner world will promote your own health and sanity by giving you a little control over your world,” Sauter said.

Whether or not you are comfortable volunteering in-person is a different issue. Some in-person volunteer programs are available during this time, but according to Sauter the decision to participate should be made using your own coronavirus comfort levels.

“Students who volunteer in person should only do so if they can work at a location where they can 1) wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water, 2) stay more than six feet away from other people, and 3) wear a mask.” Sauter said.

In-person volunteering is definitely possible right now, but if students are uncomfortable with in-person activities, there are other options. According to Sauter, virtual volunteering is readily available for students. Students can reach out to any South clubs that are meeting virtually for specific volunteering activities they have going on. Or student volunteers can go to the South website’s Student Volunteering section. There, students can find a multitude of in-person volunteer opportunities, as well as people to contact for virtual opportunities.

South student Stella Roering is utilizing her free time to volunteer virtually for South’s Rotary Interact Club.

“I volunteer by tutoring a fifth grader in the French immersion program once a week,” Roering said.

It is important to recognize that students across the country are all currently struggling with the same outreach issues. It can be difficult to connect with others and pursue your interests during such a stressful time. Remember to think outside the box when it comes to volunteering.

“Is there something in there,” Sauter asks, “that triggers some ideas of your own about how you could make your environment or your people a little happier and healthier? Go for it! Sometimes adversity generates creativity.”

The author-journalist, South sophomore Naomi Saenger with her own community project – Little Free Food Pantries. Photo courtesy of Naomi Saenger.

the december archives

Holiday throwback!

'Shop Local, Save the World'

By Mira Ciccarello

Eugene’s beloved Holiday Market has been a winter wonderland for the community to look forward to each December for 50 years. However, this year, due COVID-19 restrictions, the Holiday Market will look somewhat different.

“We had to completely reorganize our Holiday Market for safety this year,” Vanessa Roy, marketing manager for the Eugene Saturday Market, said.

In past years, the Holiday Market has been held in the Lane Events Center over six full weekends. But with social distancing mandates the Eugene Saturday Market has been trying something new.

“It’s been an enormous task to make changes to our Holiday Market; however, safety is our top priority,” Roy continued. “This year, we made the decision to stay outside on the [downtown] Park Blocks, so we could be an open-air marketplace.”

This adjustment – as well as the requirement for masks, social distancing mandates, hand sanitizer at every booth and informational signs alerting the customers of the regulations – allows shoppers and sellers to feel more comfortable while attending the Holiday Market. There are even resources for people who can’t attend in person to participate.

“We have made an online Artisan Directory and a Facebook Marketplace Group to help people shop virtually,” Roy said.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to moving outdoors. In prior years, there has been live music, giveaways and a plethora of amazing foods in the food court to contribute to the holiday atmosphere. Some of these things are not possible in the new setting.

“We had to take all the seating out of the food court, and we suspended live music,” Roy explained. “We are only open on Saturdays, and we have reduced our hours to 10 a.m.-3 p.m.” from Nov. 21 through Dec. 19.

But even with the new restrictions, the Holiday Market continues to be a magical place. With the aroma of hot chocolate and handmade candles wafting through the air and beautiful locally made products every step of the way, it brings a nice, familiar tradition to the bizarre times people are living in. It also gives the community an opportunity to support local businesses that may be struggling.

“[The Holiday Market is] a large event that is both beautiful and valuable for the local artist community and small businesses that sell with us,” Roy said. “We depend on the community to keep coming back year after year [...] This year hit us really hard but next year is going to be a big challenge as well so it’s important to remind the community that we will be back again next April.”

If Eugene’s small, local businesses are going to weather the COVID storm, it is crucial that the community supports them. It’s as simple as buying a gift for a loved one or for yourself this season.

“Keeping your shopping local will save the world,” Roy said.

SPorts

The state of sports in the pandemic

BY IVAN FRECK

It’s hard to believe, but it has been nine months since the coronavirus became the dominant focus of our lives here in the United States. One of the first signs we saw last spring that life wouldn’t be the same for the foreseeable future was the indefinite cancelation of sports. As teams’ seasons came to an abrupt end, it was clear that the sports world would never be the same again. There were several instances where professional sports came back over the summer, with mixed results: while the NBA’s bubble environment allowed for solid closure on a season that was already three-quarters of the way through, MLB’s shortened season could only be described as “tumultuous.” But mindsets have changed since the ancient times of March. It seemed untenable to play games back then; now, it almost feels like a normal year.

Therein lies the problem. This shouldn’t feel like a normal year. There have been too many examples of sports leagues throwing themselves into a season without considering the ramifications of what playing during a pandemic truly means. The NFL has gone full steam ahead on playing a relatively normal season and the coronavirus case numbers in several teams have reached concerning levels. It’s led to low points like the Denver Broncos having to throw an undrafted backup wide receiver into the deep end as quarterback because all of their real quarterbacks were ruled ineligible after being in close contact with the virus, or the Ravens and Steelers having a game moved back from a primetime slot on Thanksgiving to the following Sunday and then to the following Wednesday because of an outbreak in the Ravens organization. Big money college sports like football and basketball and the multiple cans of worms that come with amateur athletics seem to be flying without much of a set course besides “try not to lose revenue for athletic programs,” which is a plan lacking in nuance in a situation that demands incredible thoroughness. With the NBA set to begin anew in less than a month, it feels as though the sports world is mirroring the country’s approach to the virus by running headfirst at a brick wall until it’s broken.

If you told me back in the early days of the pandemic that sports would be mostly back by December, I would have been thrilled. Now, I can’t help but feel queasy about it. Case numbers are exponentially worse than they were back in March, with the only end in sight being some widely distributed and accessible vaccine to come along and finally put this period of time to rest. Trying to play sports in these conditions was an impossible riddle to solve. But this brute-force strategy attempting to solve the riddle puts more value on maintaining wealth than on maintaining human lives. I wish there was a way forward that wouldn’t feel morally wrong. Not playing any sports for the duration of the pandemic would be unfair to the athletes and destructive for the sports world as a whole. But as it stands, the current methods aren’t working and are only prolonging the ethical limbo that is currently hovering overhead.

Student Art

The View from Quarantine

"I have been spending much of the distance learning season exploring film photography using a 35mm SLR from Goodwill and my grandmother's old point and shoot."

Joel Sadofsky is the co-president and communications officer for Photography Club at South. More of his work can be found on Instagram at @joelsadofsky.

signs of life

teachers' pets

THEY KEEP US #SOUTHSTRONG

Principal Carey Killen's pair of pooches Brie and Cassia.

South science teacher Julia Harvey's feline friend Harvey.

Science teacher Julie Stewart's bassetoodle enjoying a day on the coast.

Peter Hoffmeister and puppy Dragon.

Two of the sweet creatures from the Tubman household.

Jennifer Garland-Warren and her amazing cat Daisy.

Bobbie Willis's quarantine canine family addition Thor.

throwBaxe

doing a good deed

Despite pandemic and lockdown, don't forget the ways in which we have always been #southstrong. Here is a photo from South's 2018-19 blood drive, an annual event providing lifesaving donations for those in need.

thank you for reading the axe magazine online!

💟 DON'T FORGET THE PAST, BUT CHOOSE TO MOVE FORWARD. 💟