I love feature writing, and maybe I can get a job after my current internship where I help cover news in the offseason, but sports is and truly always will be my first ambition and goal.
I want your questions for K-State’s new interim president.
Last week, retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Meyers was appointed to serve as the interim university president at Kansas State University, according to Danielle Cook of the K-State Collegian.
Wednesday, he’s holding a press conference, and I get to write about it.
Details are still being confirmed, but there’s a possibility I might get ask him one or more questions, or, at the very least, that a room full of journalists might ask him something you’ve been wondering about.
So I want to hear from you. What do you want me to ask? What are you most curious about? What topics would you most like to hear Meyers’ responses to or regarding?
Disclaimer: I can’t promise to ask him any or all of the questions submitted because I don’t know how much time, if any, I’ll be allotted. So I apologize if I don’t get to yours. Still, I’ll do my absolute best to craft the most thorough story possible with the intention of answering as many of those questions as I can.
So tell me what you want to know. Here’s a link to his K-State profile if you want to know a little bit more about him first.
Have a great day everyone! Thanks for your support and feedback!
I shot this video in October 2015 for the Kansas State Collegian. I was assigned to shoot video of the K-State versus Oklahoma State football game which K-State lost. It was my first experience with videography. The video editor did help me with cutting the video and getting the background music set up, but all the video was shot by me alone, and the quotes from the press conference within the video came from audio I recorded as well.
Here is a link to a coverage of K-State Baseball that I wrote for my Web Techniques class’ news blog theMHK.com. I share this because it was the first time I’d covered a game of any sport as both writer and photographer. It also shows what I know about web-writing techniques, such as including various hyperlinks for readers who want to know more.
That was the longer version of the story. Here is a link to the shorter one, which I got up as quickly as I could to help drive readership for those wanting to read about the game immediately afterward. I posted this while I wrote the one above:
On the morning of the opening performance of Springdance 2016, I woke up with a horrifyingly sad, exciting, terrifying realization. The date: April 1st, 2016.
The realization: I can’t let this end.
This camaraderie. This teamwork. This rush you get from it all.
Forget the performing. Every true performer feels that. The way you feel when the lights are off but the curtain comes up with you holding your shape like a statue, eyes burning with energy in the darkness while the audience waits eagerly to see you and your teammates, your peers, your fellow goddesses, illuminated by the lights from the wings of the stage. Forget the performing. Forget the way you wait on the lights to rise, to ignite the fuse of desire that runs from them straight into your soul, causing it to leave your body and transpose itself on the stage through your movements.
Forget that. Everyone feels that.
The rush I’m talking about is very different, it’s the rush of the process. Of auditioning, of making it, of struggling through choreography that you’re determined to get but that you never really nail until the final two dress-rehearsals; as if your mind possesses the same blazing hot competitive fire the best professional athletes are known for. The fire that dictates that, when the moment is crucial and everything they’ve ever worked for falls upon their shoulders and a single, solitary moment, they come through seemingly effortlessly.
I’m talking about the rush of casual, sweet conversations with the beautiful dancers backstage. The casual jokes about the week or the way the assistant stage-manager looks “adorable” running across the stage. The joy of dancing with people. Of doing something that at times can be so solitary but is inherently social, even to the point that you know you never actually dance alone, even if you have a solo, because people in the wings and people around you love what you do because you do it.
In such a competitive world, that’s a beautifully dissonant concept. And it’s one I’ve been so blessed, to the point of being spoiled, to be a part of.
On April 1st, I woke up and realized how bitterly sad it was that I only had these two, and next year’s two, Springdance performances left. I woke up and realized that, ok fine, these things have to end eventually. Time, after all, waits for no one. But damn it if that means I have to stop performing, or at least stop trying to.
Because here’s the thing: Such sadness, matched with the joy of making so many friends through rehearsals and short conversations, can overwhelm the heart. It can do so to the extent that you realize you need to change how you live because of how special it all is.
Even if it changes, even if what we feel is just the naiveté of college dance and in the real world it changes to the point of being totally unrecognizable, the very fact that it existed at all makes it worth seeking for all eternity. Makes it worth fighting for for all eternity.
Makes it worth creating anew in the case it has gone extinct or been forgotten.
In a way, I suppose that’s what Love is, isn’t it?
I guess what I mean to say is simply this: I want to dance for the rest of my life. Not just as something that supports my running-life, but maybe even professionally.
And I know my dancing peers would say that might be a bit “ambitious,” maybe outright “insane.” I get that, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against me. All I’ve got is passion, the desire to work hard, and some of the best friends and teachers on the planet who are willing to put up with my inexperience and help me mosey along.
Yet so many have told me they disagree that I’m “wasting my time.” So many have told me to go for it, from those I have known closely to those that I haven’t known at all but who I have still bounced questions off of randomly (like I did to one former professional-ballerina who lives in the Boston area). I get it; I’m not a great dancer yet. I started old (at age 24). I’m a dude in a girls’ sport. Hell, I’m a straight dude in a predominantly girls’ sport, which can make things even more complicated. There’s a lot to navigate both socially and physically (as an athlete). I have so far to go to get to any professionally-respectable level.
But when I woke up that morning, I realized that what we’ve done, and what we were doing, and what we did, were all I wanted from life.
So I’ve spent the last few days contemplating. Now, I’m ready to say it:
I’m going to get good.
Not only will I keep dancing, I’m going to push myself athletically and make that my focus so that maybe one day, I’ll be good, or, even crazier, “great.” And, by “great,” I mean good enough that I can land a low-level gig performing. Certainly teaching, but maybe even performing.
If nothing else though, I’ll never stop auditioning. My love and passion for it, my unquenchable craving for it that I can’t restrain, won’t allow it.
Athletically, I’ve always been a long-distance runner first. Today, I’m announcing that I’m going to change that up and become a dancer first, and a runner second. Not because I don’t like running, and not because I don’t love runners, because I love both.
But my soul burns with icy desire to be a better dancer, to help those dancers around me, to inspire the world that way.
I was put on this earth to tell stories. I can serenade everyday citizens with my poetry and can seduce poets into reading long writing segments with my prose.
Now though, I want to learn to do it with movement as well. I always did, but the other day, I learned that this is inescapable, and, because it is, I need to give it absolutely all priority outside of my writing, even to the point of sacrificing my emphasis in something I’m good at, like running.
So perhaps I should reintroduce myself. I am Shelton Matthew Burch. I am a Writer, and I am an aspiring Tap Dancer.
I train to be the best storyteller and athlete possible, both through writing and dance. Athletically, I choose to be a dancer first. To support and thrive at running, but to use it to support the endurance needed to dance so that I might inspire the world not just with my words but with my movements. I strive to become as flexible and strong as an olympic-level athlete, but with the endurance of a competitive half-marathoner.
And, above all, I seek to glorify God through my excellence in both. This is what I chase. This is how I serve, and this is who I will be. 🙂
Have a great day everyone. 🙂
I’ve only had my camera for about two weeks now, but I have a confession.
I feel vulnerable when I don’t have it with me.
They say a photo is worth 1,000 words. I wonder how many words of good prose one is worth, or poetry, or good poetry. Still, I digress.
I question if this is normal. I’m not a photographer at heart, by any stretch of the imagination, yet since I’ve gotten it I’ve felt so much more able to capture those split second things for eternity that only I could see. The way the guys at the top of the tower lower a new segment of wall from a crane six floors up on top of a building being constructed, or the way the sun hits Bosco Student Plaza at sunrise when it’s filled with students rushing off to class, progressing toward the next phase of their lives vigorously.
I can capture all of these things, like fireflies in a jar or laughter by a cute girl that flows in to my voice recorder as ambient noise while interviewing a random stranger nearby.
Maybe there’s more to it. Maybe writing, by nature of being aural in nature of its expression, is one form of beauty that I love but that also causes me to have profound admiration for the other: beauty’s purely visual side.
For now though, I’ll save that existential question for later. All I know, at this very moment, is that I miss my camera, and it isn’t even very far away.
Last week I forgot to post my picks. It was a chaotic week and I’ll try not to forget again this season. Here’s a brief summary of the last couple of weeks to catch you up.
Two weeks ago (in week 6) I had my best week of the season. I went 8-2 after successfully picking Texas over Oklahoma, and narrowly picking then #5 Utah over #23 California. I picked Georgia to win, but that became impossible when their star running back was injured on what I believe was the first play from scrimmage. I’ll be hoping the kid can come back soon.
Speaking of people who need a comeback, week 7 was more normal for my picks: I went 6-4 for the second time this season (week 2 was the other) even though it was my second highest point total in ESPN Pick’Em because of how I ranked the ones I was most confident of. I’m now 38-32 on the season.
I got my most confident pick wrong last week as OU came and slaughtered K-State, just down the road from where I write this, 55-0. That game was a perfect storm though, and few but the most rugged Wildcat’s fans probably picked that. OU was coming off a loss to Texas the week prior and was 6-0 under current coach Bob Stoops in the weeks following Red River Rivalry losses. Add in that Texas fans left about 3,000 seats on their side of the stadium empty, and Texas still won, and you had a high probability OU would roll into Manhattan a little pissed the heck off.
K-State, on the other hand, had come off two heartbreaking second-half comeback losses by ranked teams, Oklahoma State on the road and top 5 ranked TCU at home. So when the Wildcats came out flat, and OU came out strong, it’s hard to say I was completely surprised, though I’d never pick against my Wildcats. :). The bottom line though, having watched OU two straight weeks, is that I don’t think they are as good as they showed against K-State, and I don’t K-State is actually as bad as they looked against OU.
K-State Versus Texas Analysis
Now I get a chance to back up my point about picking K-State against anyone, because for the second straight week, ESPN is calling it’s users to pick the winner of a game featuring the Wildcats. This week they go into Austin, Texas to play a Longhorns team some think may be right at the turnaround point in their rebuilding efforts since longtime coach Mack Brown left following the 2013 season and Charlie Strong took over. That win against OU two weeks ago went a long way in securing the fanbases’ faith in Strong, and the coming weeks should give them even more reason to trust the process.
After K-State, they play Iowa State, who is ranked one spot above them in the Big 12 standings. If they win even one of the games against either ISU or KSU, they should blow through their next two games, which are against Big 12 bottom-dwellers Kansas and West Virginia.
As for this week’s game against K-State; it’s an intriguing one. K-State recently seems to have Texas’ number. They’re 7-1 against Texas dating back to 2006 when they injured Colt McCoy and ended Texas’ chances of repeating as National Champions the year after Vince Young’s historic game against USC (which is the best game I’ve ever watched as a sports fan). The Wildcats are also 1-0 against Charlie Strong, beating Texas last year 23-0, and shutting them out for the first time since OU did it in 2004, according to ESPN.
Still, Texas has had two weeks to plan for this one because of a BYE week last week, and after that dramatic win against OU, I’d bet Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium is straight up sold-out against a K-State team that fans probably consider very beatable.
Still, I’m picking K-State. Head coach Bill Snyder knows what he has to do. I think K-State will come in and just relax after three straight games where they were underdogs against ranked teams.
So without further ado:
Week 8 Picks 🙂
Wisconsin on the road over Illinois: This is one of those “I know nothing about either team” picks, but Wisconsin did well for me earlier this year when I picked them over Nebraska in week 6, so why not watch them do it again :).
Ohio on the road over Buffalo: How did this matchup even get picked? I don’t think I’ve even heard of either team, but hey, I’ll go with Ohio. We’ll see what happens, but this is probably the pick I’m most likely to get wrong this week.
#23 Duke on the road over Virginia Tech: ….wait, Duke can’t have decent football AND good basketball…it’s against the rules! Meh, I’ll pick them, but I don’t think I quite believe they should be ranked just yet. Just saying…
Arizona at home over Washington State: My first home pick of the week goes Arizona. According to ESPN, they’ve only lost to ranked teams this season: UCLA and Stanford. I have no reason to believe WSU is as good as either.
#15 Texas A&M on the road over #24 Ole Miss: I successfully picked A&M’s loss to Alabama last week, but that wasn’t an indictment on them. I’m a big Kevin Sumlin fan: he’s a good coach and he seems to make a lot of sense when he speaks in interviews. I think he’ll get that team ready, and I think Texas A&M is actually really good, as much as the Longhorns fan in me hates to say it.
#6 Clemson on the road over Miami (FL): This one is simple for me. Miami is good, but Clemson is better. Watch me eat those words later 😛
#3 Utah on the road over USC: I actually picked USC to win last week against Notre Dame, but I don’t think Utah is a big enough rivalry (if it’s one at all) to get them fired up, plus Utah looks good this year. I’m slowing starting to buy their legitimacy. This is the tiebreaker in ESPN Pick’em this week, so I predict a final score of 45-35.
Mississippi State at home over Kentucky: I don’t know much about either team here either, I promise that’s my last one this week lol, but their only to losses came, ironically, to teams each ranked #14 at the time: LSU in week 2, and Texas A&M in week 5. They shouldn’t be ashamed of either loss.
#25 Pittsburg on the road over Syracuse: It’s hard for me to ever know what to do with Pittsburg, but Syracuse just isn’t very good. Still, neither team seems to have played anyone legendary or anything, so this is a hard one to pick.
Kansas State on the road over Texas: I love Austin more than I love any place anywhere, but I think this will be the last chance K-State has to beat Texas while they’re in rebuild mode. So go Cats!!!! 🙂
I’m learning this season that the whole “pick with your heart” approach to picking football teams in games just isn’t real effective.
This season, for the first time ever, I decided to play ESPN’s College Pick’em. I’ve never participated in any formal type of game like that and that inexperience shows. My record this season through 50 picks is 24-26 (right Vs. wrong respectively).
Like I said, clearly “picking with your heart” isn’t something I’m very good at yet apparently. Picking based on who I think the better teams are hasn’t helped me improve much more either.
That might leave one to wonder where the disconnect is? Do I just have no clue on college football, or is it maybe something more?
Arrogant as it may be, I’m willing to say it’s a mix of both, but mostly the later. This college football season has been weird! Just how weird, you ask? Let me just point out two things we’ve seen so far to give you a little perspective:
-Penn State lost to Temple in week 1. That hadn’t happened in 74 years, according to ESPN.
-Alabama went into the game last week against Georgia as underdogs. That was the first time they weren’t favored in more than 70 games.
Closer to home, in a game I watched and shot the highlight video for, K-State went into Stillwater, Oklahoma, and lost their starting quarterback in the first half. They had to move a young man named Kody Cook over from wide receiver, and he kept them in the game until he also was injured. The Wildcats damn near won with a wide receiver playing quarterback on the road against a top 25 ranked team.
In other words, to quote one of my favorite commercial campaigns: “Mayhem is everywhere.”
So I pray my fellow college football fan, and all the connoisseurs out there that may stumble on my humble little page, might forgive me just a bit as I learn what nobody else really seems to know how to do either: predict Mayhem.
College football has narrowly avoided total chaos so far. Maybe it’s the kid in me who loves Austin more than any place on earth, or the naive Wildcats fan who believes last year’s loss to Auburn was closer than it looked, which compels me to make these picks.
Either way, we are nothing if we are not true to who we are, and I am driven by my heart in all I do. So here are my picks for week 6 of college football, based on the match-ups provided by ESPN. This is how I’ll do it every week from here on out through the rest of the college football season. Before I start though, I’m adding one for the raw fun of it, and for pride’s sake.
I’m picking K-State at home over #2 TCU. Final Score: 28-24. #FreeJustinSilmon #ThatDefenseTho #Mayhem 😉
Here are the ESPN ones 🙂
Texas at home over #10 Oklahoma– This is as true of a rivalry as exists in all of sports, and you never know what will happen in them. Rumor has it there are more than 3,000 unsold tickets on the Texas side of the Cotton Bowl. I’m counting on the Longhorns coming out and showing up their fanbase. Plus if they loose, Charlie Strong may not have another chance to beat OU as Longhorns’ head coach.
#21 Oklahoma State on the road over West Virginia– Not sure if Oklahoma State scored so much last week because K-State couldn’t stop a pass, or if it was because they’re really good, but WVU just lost stud safety Karl Joseph, so I don’t see it going any better for them than it did for K-State.
#13 Northwestern on the road over #18 Michigan– I think Michigan is a little overrated, and it’s not as hard to win in Ann Arbor as it used to be.
#5 Utah at home over #23 California– California nearly lost to Texas earlier this season, and Texas is 1-4, so you do the math against a 4-0 team.
#12 Florida State at home over Miami (FL)– I don’t know a lot about either team, so I’ll take the ranked one here.
#11 Florida Gators on the road over Missouri– Missouri has been good since moving to the SEC, even though they were a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big 12. Still, Florida seems to be pulling it together, so I have them.
#25 Boise State on the road over Colorado State– I have no idea what to think of Boise State honestly. I picked them in the only game selected that involved them (week 2 against BYU) and they lost that game, but I have no reason to think CSU has a shot here against a ranked team. Watch them win and me eat those words next week 😉
#19 Georgia on the road over Tennessee– Georgia’s only loss was against an enraged Alabama team. I think they’ll rebound strong against a 2-3 Vols team
Penn State at home over Indiana– This one is as much of a toss-up as exists, besides maybe the final game I have to pick this week, but Penn State’s only loss was a weird loss to Temple that I talked about earlier. They’ll be fine.
Wisconsin on the road over Nebraska– This is the ultimate toss-up, but I live in Kansas, and I’m bitter at teams that left the Big 12 in recent memory, which includes 2-3 Nebraska.