Is the Game Over Yet?

Author: Ethan Ament

During these lonely and terrifying times, a lot of us have been looking for new hobbies and activities to pursue. Some people have chosen to take up knitting while others have chosen to start playing a new instrument. However, for many of us it still seems like we are in need of ways to take our minds off of school during our free time. With the surplus of sports that have started or concluded in the last month, many people have started watching a sport for the first time. 

For football fans in the Chicago area, after the Bears started with a 5-1 record, it seemed like watching the Bears last Monday night (10/26) could be a great way to join a community of Bears fans while the team was still on the ascend. Instead, if you watched the Bears game that night, you realized that you could have achieved the same amount of excitement from sleeping as you did from watching the game.

If you have not watched a lot of Bears games, the first thing about the Bears that you must know is that the defense is MUCH better than the offense. This characteristic about the Bears was displayed beautifully on Monday night as the offense struggled to do much of anything. The Bears coach, Matt Nagy, seems to feel like the players on offense put in too much effort because the team is constantly punting and giving the offense time to sit on the bench. On almost every drive, the Bears run the ball on first down for a measly one yard. Then after being inspired by the one yard run, they decide to run the ball again for a discouraging two yards. Finally on third down, the Bears seem to have a man open down field every time, but always end up throwing an incomplete pass. If you were watching the Bears on 10/26 and hoped that these terrible possessions were the makings of only one poorly played game, you will be disappointed to hear that this is the team you will see for the rest of the season.

After going down 24-3 in the fourth quarter, it seemed like the Bears were out of the game. Then, miraculously, their defense forced a fumble and scored a touchdown giving me and other fans some glimmer of a potential comeback. Then the Bears offense did their thing and lost 24-10. Yes, that’s correct, the defense scored more points than the offense. I hope that if this was your first game, that you continue to watch and hopefully the offense improves as the season progresses. Yet, I am warning you not to get your hopes up. I can’t wait to see how the Bears fare against the Saints on Sunday.

Athlete A (2020), Documentary Review

Author: Hannah Reed

Content Warning: This film includes graphic descriptions of child abuse, child sexual abuse, and sexual assault. This review mentions these topics.

A new Netflix documentary titled Athlete A, directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, tells the horrific tale of mass child sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics (USAG) through the eyes of the investigative journalists who first broke the story.

In Athlete A, Cohen and Shenk endeavor to answer the question people around the world asked when the story of Larry Nassar’s abuse first broke in 2016: How does something like this happen? How can one man sexually assault upwards of three hundred children and teens for nearly three decades without being caught? Through the presentation of the testimonies of the survivors, the reporters who led the investigation, and the prosecuting team of the criminal case, we received a definitive answer.

Cohen and Shenk paint a compelling picture of the wider culture of abuse in elite gymnastics, weaving interviews of former Olympic and national team members into their coverage of the investigation of Nassar and USAG by journalists at The Indianapolis Star. In one such testimonial, Jennifer Sey, a member of the 1986 Olympic team, summarized the root of unchecked abuse confirmed by multiple generations of elite gymnasts interviewed for the film. Sey stated, “in other sports, the athletes are adults. They can reasonably make choices about what they want. I don’t think that is true in gymnastics…the line between tough coaching and child abuse gets blurred.” The subjects of the documentary identify multiple points at which adults at USAG and other organizations affiliated with Nassar could have spoken up to protect these children from his abuse. The film simply shows us why they never did: because in a culture that prioritizes championships & brand status over the well-being of athletes, sexual assault becomes one more abuse to be swept under the rug. 

Athlete A gives the young women who survived that abuse a chance to tell their story, their way. It shows us that while they received justice, hundreds of women had to fight tooth and nail to get it. Any genre of media covering sexual abuse and the institutions that condone it often present these events in ways that are shaming, and supportive of a global culture that diminishes and silences survivors of sexual violence. Athlete A defies that expectation and gives a voice to the strong women who sacrificed their privacy to protect future generations from Nassar and men like him.

Athlete A: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content. Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes. Available on Netflix.