While most students spent their winter break relaxing and recovering from the stress of finals, Saint Mary’s senior Emily Schmitt received some surprising news that made her break more interesting than usual. In December, Schmitt won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s (KCACTF) Region III full-length playwriting competition for her play “San Luis, 1989.” The play was read at the Region III festival, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign January 3-7. “My play, ‘San Luis, 1989′ is an example of staged journalism,” Schmitt said. “This means that it is based on a true story that I conducted extensive research on.” Her play addresses issues of racial bias and government corruption in regards to poaching in San Luis, Colo., in 1989. Schmitt first learned about the story of San Luis through Susan Baxter, professor of theatre and journalism at Saint Mary’s. Schmitt and Baxter were paired together through a Saint Mary’s Student Independent Study, Teaching and Research (SISTAR) grant project, a program that provides funding for teams of students and professors to conduct research. Schmitt and Baxter collaborated intensely in their research of San Luis, making two trips to Colorado and discussing ways to bring real life events to a stage. “I am working on a book which teaches playwrights to use journalism theory; Emily is my case study,” Baxter said. “We could not be more grateful to Saint Mary’s. If not for SISTAR, the play would not have happened.” Baxter said the selective honor has gone to a graduate student in an MFA playwriting program for the past 10 years. Despite the success of the play thus far, Schmitt said she encountered challenges throughout the process that sometimes made it difficult to persevere. “The biggest challenge for me writing this play was simply not getting discouraged,” she said. Writing a play is a very lonely process, and after the fifth or sixth draft, you start to feel like it’s never going to work. I call that the ‘dark place’ of the writing process.” But Schmitt said pushing past the isolation and struggles strengthened her skills as a playwright. “After [the ‘dark place’], something always gives way and the words start flowing out,” she said. “That is the best part of writing for me.” Baxter agreed that in spite of the obstacles Schmitt met, she was still able to develop as a writer and learn throughout the writing process. “Emily is a self-starter, so I did not have to work very hard at all,” she said. “She jumped in and tried every technique I threw at her. Not all was useful, of course, but both of us learned mightily from the process.” Schmitt applied to several schools to earn her MFA in playwriting but will not be informed of acceptances until late February. In the meantime, her work with “San Luis, 1989” is not finished, as the play is currently in consideration for two national playwriting awards. “My play is currently competing with the other regional winners for the [Michael Kanin] National Student Playwriting Award,” she said. “I am also up for the National Partners for the American Theater Playwriting Award, which is granted to a new and original voice in playwriting.” Regardless of the outcome of these awards, Schmitt said she is pleased with how things have turned out so far. She said she hopes more people will become better informed about the issues surrounding San Luis addressed in her play. “The best part about winning this award has really been spreading the word about what happened in San Luis,” she said. “Winning this award is a huge testament to the political power of the stage.”
As chance would have it, his second game at the helm will be against the Magpies, just as it was for each of his three predecessors, who all tasted victory, although the former West Ham boss insists the pain of his exit from St James’ Park no longer hurts. Allardyce said: “No, no. Newcastle is in the past, it’s all over. I’m a man for the future, not to dwell on the past. It happened. “Like I said at the time, I thought it was the right club at the wrong time for me and that was it. It was a decision made and you move forward. “Since then, I have done pretty well since I have moved on, and now I am back up in the north-east to try to make Sunderland the best I possibly can. “I want to be more successful than I have been in the past, that’s for sure, and I want to stay a bit longer!” Allardyce spent his first day at the club’s Academy of Light training headquarters on Monday working with those players not away on international duty after agreeing to spearhead yet another new start for a club which have won none of their first eight league games and has collected just three points in the process. It is a challenge he admits he will not complete overnight, but one he is confident he can pull off. Allardyce said: “It’s a big challenge. Even at this early stage of the season, it’s clear that we are in trouble. Sam Allardyce returned to the Barclays Premier League looking to the future rather than the past as he launched his bid to drag Sunderland out of the mire. Press Association “The opportunity to have the next 30 games is probably as important as anything else to try to get us out of that trouble, and it could take the vast majority of that to get safe on the basis that it takes such a long time to catch up. “When you have a bad start to the season, historically you know that when you look at how everybody else has struggled over the seasons. “In particular, the club has had to wait itself three times to avoid relegation based on the last four or five games. My job is to hopefully not get to that stage, not get into that panic and fear zone where there are only a few games left and if you don’t win football matches, you get relegated.” Allardyce, who confirmed talks with a potential number two are progressing, but refused to name names, admitted the chance to return to the Premier League almost five months after his departure from Upton Park was simply too good to resist. He said: “It’s almost an addiction and you have got to get back in when you feel the time is right. If I was going to get back in, I really wanted to get back in at Premier League level.” The 60-year-old was presented to the media on Tuesday four days after accepting chairman Ellis Short’s plea to launch the latest rescue mission at a club which have spent much of the last three seasons or so flirting with relegation from the Premier League. In the process, Allardyce walked back into the north-east, where he served briefly as both a player and a coach on Wearside and famously endured an ill-fated spell as manager at Newcastle before a parting of the ways with controversial owner Mike Ashley after just eight months in charge.
The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) have a chance to win the NFC West and earn home field advantage throughout the postseason on “Sunday Night Football” with a win over the Seattle Seahawks (11-4). San Francisco would have locked up the NFC West last week if the 49ers would have defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15, but the 49ers were upset in that game and would be the No. 5 seed with a loss to Seattle on Sunday night.Seattle could be playing for home field advantage throughout the postseason if Green Bay and New Orleans both lose earlier on Sunday. The Seahawks would win a tiebreaker with those teams to be the No. 1 team in the NFC with a win over the 49ers in that scenario, and they would be playing for a first-round bye if either the Packers or the Saints lost in Week 17. If Green Bay and New Orleans both win though, Seattle could only earn the No. 3 seed in the NFC with a win over San Francisco. Player to watchJimmy Garoppolo was not sharp against the Rams last week. He was sacked six times and threw two interceptions, and that almost led to a San Francisco loss. The 49ers overcame that performance to get a win, but they must protect Garoppolo better on Sunday. Seattle sacked Jimmy G five times in their first meeting, leading to Garoppolo’s worst performance of the season that wasn’t affected by weather.Seahawks vs. 49ers predictionThere are too many questions with Seattle’s running game, so expect San Francisco to take this game over with its defense and run game.49ers 27, Seahawks 20 Here’s everything to know about betting on Seahawks vs. 49ers in Week 17, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for “Sunday Night Football.”MORE: Get the latest NFL odds & betting trends at Sports InsiderSeahawks vs. 49ers odds for ‘Sunday Night Football’Seattle Seahawks +3 vs. San Francisco 49ers, O/U 47San Francisco opened as a two-point favorite in this game on Monday, but a rush of 49ers money quickly moved the line to SF -3. The total has remained steady at 47 throughout the week though.Seahawks vs. 49ers series historyThe Seahawks are 26-16 against the 49ers in their history. These two teams only became divisional foes in 2002 when Seattle moved from the AFC West to the NFC West, and Seattle is 24-12 against San Francisco as members of the same division.Seattle knocked off San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game six years ago on its way to winning Super Bowl XLVIII. Since that point, the Seahawks are 10-1 against the 49ers, and their only loss was in overtime last year in Santa Clara. They avenged that defeat by beating San Francisco in Levi’s Stadium in Week 10, dealing the Niners their first loss of the year.Three trends to know— San Francisco is 7-15-1 ATS in its last 23 games against conference foes.— The 49ers are 6-19-1 ATS the last 26 times they were favored to win a game.— Seattle is 33-15-3 ATS in its last 51 games as an underdog on the betting line.Three things to watchBeast Mode is backSeattle’s top three running backs coming into the season are all on injured reserve. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and C.J. Prosise have all suffered season-ending injuries, so the Seahawks are turning to a familiar face to carry the load. They signed Marshawn Lynch to complement rookie Travis Homer in the backfield, and Lynch is expected to see some action on Sunday night.Lynch was doling out shots of tequila in a parking lot in Oakland two weeks ago, and no one knows whether he is in game shape. He retired at the end of last season after averaging 4.2 YPC in Oakland, so Seattle will likely test his fitness in this game by giving him at least 10 carries.Will Russell Wilson be Dangeruss on Sunday night?Russell Wilson has been fantastic for Seattle this season. Wilson is probably going to finish runner-up to Lamar Jackson in the NFL MVP award voting, completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 3,877 yards with 29 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has been a great runner too, averaging 4.7 YPC, and he came up big against San Francisco in the first meeting between these two teams.George Kittle is available this timeKittle has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL this season. He has been the best all-around tight end in the league with his run blocking and pass catching ability, and his presence has been instrumental in making this offense one of the best in the NFC. Kittle didn’t play the first time these teams met, and Seattle will find it hard to stop him.