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Hotseat: Aaron Meckes and Sam Kerk

Photo courtesy calvin.edu.
Photo courtesy calvin.edu.

Sports editor Jess Koster sat down with senior thrower Aaron Meckes and junior distance runner Sam Kerk to discuss sports, life and other entertaining topics. This is hot seat:

Koster: First of all, how old are you?

Meckes: I’m 21.

Kerk: I’m 20.

Where are you from?

AM: I’m from Bay City, Mich.

SK: Hartland, Wis.

How many siblings do you have?

AM: I have four siblings, two older brothers, and then a younger brother and a younger sister.

SK: I just have a younger brother.

What is your major?

AM: Secondary ed with integrated science, hopefully going to be a high school science teacher.

SK: I’m pre-med with a bio-chemistry major and a spanish minor.

What brought you to Calvin?

SK: A friend of mine from high school was a year older than me. She came here and I heard about it through her.

AM: Both my older brothers went here; they had good experiences. I talked to them a lot, and then the coaches were really nice. Just a combination of things.

What first got you interested in throwing?

AM: My older brother Nate, he’s been throwing since I can remember and so I always just did what my older brothers did and that was one of those things, so just kinda started doing that then and kinda continued to push me through. Definitely from my older brothers.

And then what about you, Sam, and distance running?

SK: I did track in high school. I did the two-miles, so distance events. When I was looking at Calvin, I saw they had a good cross country and distance running program so I just continued with it.

What is the best part about running?

SK: I think it’s just fun to compete. You get to match up against people. It’s tough, distance running. Everyone’s hurting in a race. It just gets to be who wants it more I guess.

And the best part about throwing?

AM: I think similarly, just to echo, that the competition is the best part. The tone of throwing is a little … the atmosphere, the culture is a little different than any other sport. You can chat while you’re practicing or between throws. Some people like to, but I don’t like to talk when I’m throwing. But some people talk, you can do that, get away with those things, it’s different. It’s 50 percent social, I’d say, and the other half is competing. So it’s just a little different.

SK: I did that with distance running too. The camaraderie with the guys, you go out on these long runs, and you’re talking the whole time and joking around. You really get to know your teammates.

What do you do in your free time?

SK: We were worried this question was going to come up.

AM: We were worried about this question. We’re not very exciting people. I’m engaged so I spend a lot of time with my fiance, doing wedding planning and stuff. I don’t really do a lot. Just sports and school and stuff with Abby.

SK: When I’m not running, I’m probably studying quite a bit. I guess I hang out with friends, that’s about it. We play Mario Kart quite a bit.

What do you hope to do when you grow up?

AM: Well, I’d like to be a teacher to start here soon, but eventually I kinda wanna get into school administration, maybe as the principal or something like that.

SK: Or the manager of a NFL team.

AM: Or yeah, if an NFL team wants me to come running, I’d do that too.

SK: I’d like to be a doctor. Pre-med I guess.

What kind of doctor?

SK: Not real sure. I like working with kids, so I’ve always thought maybe children’s oncology. I like sports too, so orthopedic surgery. The reason I’m studying Spanish is I’d like to work in like a Spanish-speaking country for a while or an area in the United States that is Spanish speaking, kinda underprivileged.

Who were your influences growing up?

AM: I said earlier that I always tried to emulate my older brothers and so I always just wanted to be like them and do what they did and so I did a lot of that. I think I learned a lot from them and my dad especially. I think my dad and brothers were great examples and I try to do everything I can to move along, not the same path, but they’ve been inspirations to me.

SK: My parents were huge in my developing and just encouraging me to do anything and to live in a godly way. I try to take what they’ve taught me in a lot of circumstances. My high school track coach was big with running, pushing me and encouraging me to run against myself. Not compare yourself to others.

AM: And that answer that I said, I don’t wanna say that I hate my mom or anything or my little brother or sister too. They all have meant a lot to me, my whole family.

What were some of your greatest track accomplishments before coming to Calvin?

SK: I got to go to state my senior year in the two mile. I didn’t do much in high school in track.

AM: My biggest accomplishment, I don’t know. I went to state all four years, I placed at states all four years. I was really privileged to have some good coaches and things. I don’t know. It’s too long of a story.

What advice do you have for younger track athletes?

SK: Just have fun with it. On the distance running side, I hear about young kids whose coaches push them too hard, they run too much and they get burned out. Just have fun, enjoy competing and develop a love for the nature of the sport. I think it will take you further.

AM: I think that would be the biggest advice I could give. Just to have fun with it and enjoy it. I feel like it sometimes becomes a little too much about performance but you can have fun without being great. I think that’s important.

SK: You can still be super competitive.

AM: It’s fun to win! Not saying that it’s not. That’s when I have the most fun but it’s fun to just enjoy it for what it is and not just do it because you are good at it or because you feel like that is something you should do. It’s important that you enjoy it.

Describe a hobby outside of track.

SK: We’re boring. Track and school take up so much time. I guess since coming out to college, I haven’t been able to go out hunting with my dad. We used to do that in high school.

AM: My life revolves around sports really, my hobbies are watching basketball, watching football, reading about these things. That’s really what I do. I mean I watch a lot of sports. I think that’s really a hobby.

SK: Hanging out with friends. It’s kinda a cliche answer.

AM: When we say we’re boring, it’s not like we sit around by ourselves.

SK: We’ll go get pizza, go to Taco Bell or something or Applebee’s for half off apps.

AM: We hang out with people a lot I guess. That’s what we do, I suppose.

If you had to pick one person historical or living to have lunch with, who would it be?

SK: I knew this one was coming, I couldn’t think of an answer.

AM: To have lunch with … Can I say Jesus, is that cool?

SK: Now you’re gonna make my answer sound …

AM: Well I’m gonna have lunch with Jesus, I have a lot of questions. What’s that song … If I could have a “Beer with Jesus.” There you go. There’s my answer.

SK: Well shoot. I guess I’ll go with Jesus too. That’s a pretty safe answer.

Describe one of your most embarrassing moments.

SK: There’s so many.

AM: Sam is a clutz. Not to embarrass him. I’ve never met someone who stubs their toe, or walks into walls, trips over clothing, just everything. Runs into door knobs. Opens doors into himself.

SK: On runs sometimes we … I think one instance my freshman year, being the punk freshman I was, we were on a run, we had our shirts off and went running by a few girls and I did the classic like, “Girls which way to the weight room, that way” and then flexed and they didn’t respond. They weren’t impressed at all. So I still get crap for that.

AM: Can you think of any for me? I can’t think of any off the top of my head. I think people just understand that I’m just kinda stupid.

SK: I think that it’s a good one that your All-American plack is a picture of you, you’re putting the shot and your singlets way up. Your belly’s hanging out.

AM: Yeah my belly’s hanging out, my singlet’s halfway up my chest in that picture. Yeah that’s nice.

Cats or dogs?

SK: Dogs

AM: Dogs for sure.

What is the best Calvin dorm?

SK: Schultze.

AM: Schultze man! Third Schultze shout out!

SK: Second Schultze. Shout out to Shawn Silva.

What is the one thing you cannot survive without?

SK: Jesus!

AM: Hey good answer!

SK: I’d say a good pair of running shoes. I wouldn’t be able to do most of what I do without them.

AM: I’ll say a cliche answer, I’ll go with my friends and family. I rely on people a lot just for support. Just needing someone to talk to, to share things. I’m not very good at keeping things to myself so just having people to vent to or getting excited with. Yeah that’s important to me.

SK: I’d say a less serious one for yours would be your phone. You’re always on Twitter.

AM: I’m on Twitter a lot! Love Twitter!

If you were stranded on a desert island, which of your teammates would you eat first?

SK: I knew this one was coming too!

AM: On the way here, we were reading old issues of Chimes, like all right! What questions are they going to ask?

SK: You go with a track athlete, I’m going to go with a distance runner I think.

AM: I mean I gotta assume it’d be Ben DeWaal-Malefyt. I don’t know if you know Ben but he’s huge. So he’s got a lot of meat on him.

SK: He’s big guy.

AM: I’d gotta assume it’d be Ben. But I like him so but I don’t wanna say someone I don’t like to get rid of. So I’ll just say Ben.

SK: Yeah, that’s a good point. He’s gonna be mad at me for saying this but I’m going to say Dan. Kerr. But it’s the same thing, he’d be such great company on an island but he’d also be so delicious. He’d contribute so much food for so long. I feel like you’d just have to eat him. Gotta take the hit.

Commons or Knollcrest?

SK: I’ll go Commons.

AM: Well I’ll go Knollcrest.

SK: We eat at Knollcrest for dinner but I like Commons better.

AM: I feel like Knollcrest is less busy which I prefer. I don’t like large groups. So I’d say Knollcrest.

SK: But Commons has more to offer. They have Uppercrust and all that too.

AM: Yeah, that’s fair …

SK: Not trying to say your answer.

AM: … I’ll go Knollcrest.

Long walks on the beach or quiet candlelight dinner?

AM: Well as we don’t like to do things really … I’d sit on the couch and watch a movie. No, I’d probably go the beach. I proposed to my fiance on the beach so I can’t really go against that.

SK: I’ll go with the beach too, just ’cause that candlelight dinner would be too much work and I wouldn’t be able to cook. I like to think I’m a good cook but I’m really not.

AM: Sam cooks a lot. He does a good job.

SK: I’ll go with the beach. It’s easier.

What would I find in your refrigerator?

AM: Let’s see, I gotta bunch of yogurt right now. Sandwich stuff. Lots of condiments. Our door is full of dressings.

SK: We never have burgers or salads or anything like that.

AM: We bought them for one meal and now they just sit there. Sandwich stuff, fruit, milk.

SK: Eggs.

AM: Yeah eggs. Try to eat generally kinda healthy.

What is the last book you read?

AM: Right now I’m reading a book right now called “Incarnate Leadership” by Bill Robinson. I have a small group here on campus. We get together and discuss it. I really enjoy the book. I think it’s got a lot to offer. A lot of good ideas. I really enjoy it and I love the conversation with the guys too every Friday. That’s a really good book.

SK: It’s bad. It’s been a while.

AM: You were just reading a book yesterday. That Spanish poem.

SK: That’s for school. It doesn’t count. It isn’t fun. I think it was something about the Revolutionary War. I think it was called “1775” about the start of the Revolutionary War. I read it this past summer.

AM: It’s been a while.

SK: It’s been a while. I don’t read much during the year for fun. I have so much reading for school.

Favorite sports teams?

AM: I love the Detroit Lions and the Tigers. But really the Lions.

SK: Green Bay Packers. Wisconsin sports teams.

AM: Our living room, we’ve got Detroit Tigers stuff up. I haven’t put any Lions stuff up ’cause I was embarrassed by them. But there’s a Packers banner in our living room. It’s pretty conflicting there. One of our old roommates was a Bears fan too so we had pretty much the whole NFC North covered within our living room.

SK: Except for college. My parents are from Nebraska so I grew up watching that. Nebraska football, so not a Wisconsin football fan.

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

SK: Boy, that is a very good question. Not gonna say Jesus on this one because he had a tough life.

AM: Yeah! That’s a lot of responsibility.

SK: I would not be able to do that!

AM: I would probably trade spots with Martin Mayhew, he’s the general manager of the Lions. I love football. I especially love the administrative side of it so NFL draft on Thursday, I’m addicted to studying and free-agency and stuff.

SK: He printed off a 100-page document about each player in the draft.

AM: Yeah, I have full scouting reports of every draft player.

SK: He sits there and reads them while the draft’s going on.

AM: I’m a huge nerd about the draft. I love reading about the draft. I would really love to be in the NFL front office for a week and just kinda see how things went. That would be a lot of fun.

SK: For me I would say, the distance runner in me would say Galen Rupp, he’s like the top American distance runner ’cause he has the cushiest life ever. Nike caters to his every need.

AM: ’cept for he runs 15 miles a day.

SK: He’s got the greatest coach. He’s very successful. Other than that, I would say that Justin Timberlake has a pretty interesting life. He’s just the man. He does everything. He’s been on SNL. It’d be fun to see what his life is like.

What is the last movie you went to see?

SK: “Looper” in the CFAC for a dollar.

AM: I have no idea. I’m not a movie person. I’m sure it’s been well over a year since I’ve gone to a movie theater to see something. I can’t even think of when I would have gone to a movie.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play you?

SK: This is a good question. Brad Pitt. No just kidding. Zach Galifianakis would be yours.

AM: Me? Is that the guy who’s Alan in “The Hangover”? These guys think I act like Alan from “The Hangover.” That’s probably right actually. He’s a little chunkier in the mid section there. A little goofy. Kinda weird. That’s probably a good fit for me.

SK: I can’t think of anyone dorky enough.

AM: You ever see “Grey’s Anatomy”?

Yes.

AM: The guy that plays George is very much like him.

SK: No. No. No.

T. R. Knight?

AM: Is that his name?

I think so.

AM: I don’t know about that actor but the characters of George and Sam are pretty similar. It’s very funny to me. That’s the best I can come up with. Sorry.

SK: The fact that you just admitted to Chimes that you watch “Grey’s Anatomy” is pretty funny.

AM: Currently addicted to “Grey’s Anatomy.” I watch it on Netflix a lot. I’m on season five. Don’t tell me anything beyond that!

What is the best pizza topping?

AM: Can I pick two? Can I pick a combination? K. Everyone thinks this is really gross but my favorite pizza is ham and green olives. Love olives, it’s one of my favorite foods and I think that pizza is delicious.

SK: I’d say Canadian bacon, which is basically ham, and pineapple. We always had that back home.

What is the best prank you’ve ever pulled?

AM: I’m not really a prankster. I’m sure that there is something that I did.

SK: I guess my freshman year, a bunch of the girls on the cross country team lived in a house and went downtown with some of the guys from the team. The guys who were going with them left [the girls’] house unlocked for us. We went in and just filled up thousands of balloons and put them everywhere, like their shower was filled to the top with balloons. One of the girls was scared of clowns so we put a huge picture of an evil clown behind her mirror so she saw it in the mirror. I don’t know if that’s a prank. It’s a nice prank I guess.

AM: That’s fair. This year …

SK: They were finding balloons for years after.

AM: Earlier this semester, Sam did something to me that I didn’t like very much and so I decided to pull a prank on him. For a couple days straight, before I would go to bed, I would go in his room and get his student ID and I would just go hide it somewhere around the apartment.

SK: It was in an obvious location.

AM: Pretty obvious locations, like on the coffee table or something like that. One day I came back and Sam hadn’t found his ID that morning so I was like, “Well shoot, I’ll put it back in his room and I’ll hide it again later tonight.” So I went in his room later that night to go grab it and he saw me taking it. He was like, “What are you doing with that?” And I was like, “Oh nothing, I just need it.” I was walking away and he was like, “No don’t take that. I had to go buy a new one today, I lost my old one.”

SK: Costly prank for me.

AM: It cost him five bucks. It’s what he gets.

About the Author

Jess Koster

Jess Koster is the Chimes sports editor for the 2013-14 school year. This is her third year on the job. She absolutely loves sports and would love to get a job with a professional team. She loves the statistics of sports, which is why she's an accounting major.

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