Written by Katherine Smith
Wednesday’s schedule: Early morning workout at 7 a.m., chapel at 9:30 a.m., class at 10:30 a.m., lunch at noon, homework in the early afternoon, and crocheting mittens before basketball practice at 4:30 p.m. Crocheting? Here is a peek into the lives of a few Biola student athletes and how they fill their time after they have defeated APU.
Midnight fishing next to brown bears in the Alaskan wilderness is completely normal for senior Evan Thibodeau. In fact, it is a way of life. An Alaskan native, he grew up in Juneau, a town where the fishing industry is the third largest employer and fishing trips with family and friends are a popular pastime. Although Southern California is vastly different from Alaska, as a member of Biola’s cross country team, Thibodeau still enjoys the outdoors. Thibodeau never ran competitively before his junior year and wasn’t sure if he would be fast enough to make the team. However, encouraged by his friends, Thibodeau joined the team last year. “I love that we work together as a team,” he says. Between semesters, Thibodeau returns to one of his favorite Alaskan fishing spots where he fishes mostly for fun and catches salmon or halibut. Getting there involves hiking to the stream with his friends in the late evening and then fly fishing for sockeye salmon from midnight until around 4 a.m. “You are only allowed to fish there on Wednesday and Saturday so we try to beat the rush by fishing in the middle of the night,” Thibodeau explains. Thibodeau has learned to not let the fickleness of nature rattle him. “It isn’t always just people you are fishing with,” Thibodeau says nonchalantly. “Last time I was fishing within 25 feet of a brown bear for three hours.” Thibodeau loves the beauty of his home state, and the flavor of his hobby. “Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and not many hobbies taste so good,” he says.
Senior Zoe Zappas will soon replace her cleats, running shoes, flip flops and TOMS with stilettos and high fashion. Though she totes a soccer bag now, Zappas dreams of a different life after graduation. Zappas joined her first soccer team when she was six and quickly developed a love for the game. One of her goals became to play for a college team. With that goal accomplished, Zappas plans to pursue her dream after graduating this spring by attending fashion school and designing shoes. “I’ve always had an interest in fashion,” Zappas remembers fondly. “Even when I was young, I kept a notebook with sketches.” She draws her inspiration from designers like Christian Louboutin and Brian Atwood. Zappas has her eyes set on fashion school in New York City, which is immersed in fashion and teeming with designers. “I love how high fashion is more creative and artistic,” she says. “The architecture of the shoes is so interesting; it seeks to make legs look longer and feet appear prettier.”
The pungent smell of gorgonzola fills the Stewart lobby on another Friday afternoon as the reading of cheese poetry signals the beginning of a meeting of Biola’s Cheese Society. Junior lacrosse player Zachary Heinrichs is the club’s vice president. Heinrichs got involved with the club as a freshman when he moved onto HOM in Stewart, where the founders of the Cheese Society lived. “Everyone on the floor is an honorary member,” he says with a laugh. According to Heinrichs, Cheese Society meetings usually consist of a poetry reading about cheese followed by a time of socializing while sampling different cheeses. The relaxed and informal Cheese Society meetings contrast drastically with the intense and fast-paced lacrosse field, according to Heinrichs, who had never played lacrosse before he came to Biola. However, he was persuaded to join by his friend, the captain of the team. “I’d heard it was an intense sport and a good way to stay in shape,” Heinrichs says. Now, two years later, Heinrichs fondly remembers his experiences with both the lacrosse team and the Cheese Society and looks forward to the future. “We even made cheese once,” he says with a grin. “It wasn’t very good; it was very bland. We might have to try that again.”
Depending on the time of day, junior Megan Jackson can be found fiercely fighting APU on Biola’s basketball court, or calmly crocheting mittens in her dorm room. Jackson’s yearning for yarn stemmed from her devotion to high fashion. “Fashion is the art form that appeals to me the most,” she says. “I love high fashion. As a college student I can’t afford the clothes I love, but I admire from afar.” Jackson contributes what she can to the fashion world by creating crochet masterpieces when not on the court. “I crochet avidly,” she says with a smile. “It is as close to designing clothing as I get.” Jackson’s love of fashion and her crocheting prowess was the inspiration for “OK Crochet,” a small business that Jackson started with her friend, Sharon Smith. They describe themselves on their blog saying, “We’re college students addicted to twisting yarn into knots.” Together, Jackson and Smith make and sell hats, gloves, knits and shawls. Jackson said that since she is constantly crocheting, they sell lots of pre-made items but also take custom orders. Business picks up when the weather cools down, according to Jackson. “It is pretty seasonal,” she says. “When the weather changes people want more scarves, and they make good Christmas gifts.” Jackson first picked up a crochet hook when she was 9 years old. For her, crocheting is a family legacy that began with her great grandmother, who was a “fantastic crocheter,” according to Jackson. Each generation in Jackson’s family has passed on their love for yarn by teaching the next generation. “My aunt taught me,” Jackson remembers. “My first project was working on an unfinished afghan my great grandmother had begun before she died.”