May 2009

LIGHTEN UP

Ball Player

"Preacher's kid with a rocket arm." Many who've played in Kalamazoo College's intramural co-ed slow pitch softball league know that scouting report describes Professor of Psychology Karyn Boatwright. They also learn that "preacher's kid" notwithstanding (her father is the 10th generation of ministers in her family), when Boatwright's in the role of second base cut-off, her frozen-rope throws show no mercy to runners trying to stretch for an extra base. She was a fine two-sport athlete (basketball and softball) at Lee College (Cleveland, Tenn.), where she was also a rebel with many causes, including protests against mandatory church service, mandatory dress codes for women, and mandatory seating in church (used to track attendance). In fact, she was kicked out of Lee, albeit over the vociferous protests of a respected psychology professor and mentor who kept her on as his teacher's aide until she was reinstated. That professor's influence was the primary inspiration of Boatwright's desire to become a psychology professor. Nevertheless, she wanted to know her subject matter as it was applied and therefore worked in private practice as a therapist for 13 years. She earned a Master's degree and Ph.D. from Michigan State University, and she taught a year at Notre Dame before bringing her considerable scholarly and athletic talents to "K." In slow pitch softball older and weaker players often are "retired" to right field or (God forbid!) catcher. On Boatwright's team a coach quickly learns to never exclusively relegate women to those positions because they're women. Boatwright's bat, after all, is as deadly as her glove!

What's the best song every recorded?
"'Respect' by Aretha Franklin. I grew up in Detroit and love Motown.

What's your favorite childhood fairy tale or story?
"Well I really never experienced fairy tales. I grew up with Old and New Testament stories. Of those, my favorite is Queen Esther."

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"'What in hell are you doing here?'"

What's your favorite word?
"Suprachiasmaticnucleus. No one knows it and I love to see my students' reaction when I use it. It's the part of the brain in charge of circadian rhythms."

What's your least favorite word?
"Pithy."

What turns you on?
"Sports."

What turns you off?
"Disloyal friends."

What sound do you love?
"Morning bird song."

What sound do you hate?
"My dog barking."

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
"I'd like to be a private investigator."

What profession would you not like to participate in?
"I was once a poor secretary, and would never like to do that again. And I was fired as a waitress for talking too much with patrons."

What's been a GREAT MOMENT in your liberal arts learning?
"Teaching 'History and Systems of Psychology' and seeing the connections between my field and so many other areas."

Who's the person (living or dead) with whom you'd most like to spend a lunch hour?
"Mary Whiton Calkins. She's the mother of psychology and was never granted the degree she earned at Harvard."

What memory from childhood still surprises you?
"It's not a good one. I'm still surprised by the memory of watching the fires in Detroit during the 1967 riots."

What is your favorite curse word?
"Hell."

What is your favorite hobby?
"A tough question; let's agree on a tie between reading novels and history books, golf, painting, and keeping up with sports."

What is your favorite comedy movie?
"'Annie Hall."

What local, regional, national, or world event has affected you most?
"The Vietnam War."

If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?
"I hope not, but ..."

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1 RESPONSE TO Lighten Up
Evie on February 18, 2014 at 6:54 am
Look at favoritewords.com, it's friendlier than most other sites and have original features.
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