Though a member of the Colorado College men’s basketball team and an English major, CooXooEii Black ’20 is far more than a student-athlete. Participating in Speakeasy, Native American Student Union, and Black Student Union, Black connects socially and intellectually with his peers. Furthermore, Black interacts with others on a spiritual level, taking part in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Revolution Ministries. This week, The Catalyst sat down with Black to talk basketball, life at CC, and creative inspirations.
The Catalyst: How did you first get into basketball?
CooXooEii Black: When I first got into basketball, it had to be fifth grade because that was when you could start playing for the school team in elementary. I played in a tournament that summer, and it was really fun. Yeah, I started playing in fifth grade and ever since then I just wanted to keep playing. I’ve just loved it a lot.
TC: What is one of your proudest moments on the court since you started at CC?
CB: Well, I have had a couple of pretty cool dunks. Those are always good. Last year I had a nice poster against Trinity; I dunked on this kid. But I think the proudest moment was probably our game last year against Dallas. They had a freshman who played the same position as me, and he was really good. Before the game, my coach kind of challenged me to win that matchup. So I went out there, I was super focused, and nothing else really mattered. That was my best game I’ve played since I’ve been here.
TC: Off the court?
CB: Man, the only thing that’s coming to mind right now is our Speakeasy performance last block. That was just crazy. I’d never performed anything I’ve written before. And the fact that I almost talked myself out of doing Speakeasy is crazy. I’m so glad I did it.
TC: What was it like performing a poem on stage for the first time?
CB: Yo, it was so amazing. It was one of the best things that I think I’ve ever done. And I wasn’t too nervous about it. I don’t know, I felt like I was prepared. The microphone thing definitely helped, when the microphone was like not moving. I feel like that is a lot of tension. But it was super amazing, and I’m really looking forward to performing more. And then the feeling afterwards, wooh.
TC: What do you appreciate most about Colorado College?
CB: I do feel like it’s pretty easy to build a community of people that you trust and are really good friends with because you’re in class with people for three and a half weeks. You spend a lot of time with them. Or like your freshman year in the dorm, they spend a lot of time building your community. Obviously sports have helped with that. And yeah, you can really find where you fit in, especially with all the student groups and things that are on campus. I think that’s my favorite part.
TC: Do you miss home often, and what do you miss most about it?
CB: Yeah I definitely do, especially right now; I’m in an Intro to Native Lit. class, and I’ve taken a couple Southwest classes, and in classes like that where the material is a lot of Native mythology or Native point of view or talks about Native communities — it really makes me miss home. And that’s what I miss the most: my community and my family, friends, and then like ceremonies and traditions that are going on all the time. So sometimes it gets pretty hard in classes like that when you’re reading about them. Like, “Dang I miss that, I wish I could be back home.” And then when it is winter time, I miss home. Like just being snuggled up on the couch at home is a memory that pops into my mind.
TC: How did you decide to become an English major?
CB: I actually came in thinking I wanted to be a bio chem or molecular major. I thought I wanted to do one of those and then be a physical therapist. Then I took Chemistry 1 and realized I cannot do science on the Block Plan. It killed me. Then I was like, “Okay well, I think I want to go to law school, so I’ll try poli-sci.” So then I took a poli-sci class and that was absolutely terrible, I hated that. I considered being an art major for photography, but then I was in the space like, “what would I do with that,” which I hate. I hate that excuse, but that happened. Then I actually took Prof. Pulley’s class, “Representing Different Identities in Fiction,” and I thought that was really cool. I was like, “Alright, I think I could be an English major.”
TC: How would you describe your writing process?
CB: I discovered that I prefer to type on a computer. I wanted to be able to have the novelty of like writing in a notebook, I was like, “Oh, that’d be so cool.” But I just recently discovered I would much rather do it on a computer just because it’s a lot faster. I think in order to write, I need like a lo-fi beat in the background — I really got into lo-fi recently and writing to it is great. And I’m discovering now that I can’t be around other people or other friends, I either got to be in my room with my warm Christmas lights on, or like in a coffee shop. I think it has to be dim. And then you just kind of vibe to the lo-fi , just writing, and stay in the flow I guess. And then prompts help, but I think I like to come up with my own ideas and my own prompts for what I want to write about. Instead of just writing, I want to know what I’m going to write about first, and then just go from there.
TC: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? (And what would you discuss?)
CB: Maybe like Michelangelo because his sculptures, like if you look at the sculptures that he made at the time period that he made them, it’s crazy. It’s insane. I guess I would say him and ask him about his sculptures, and I’d want to ask him about his creative process.
TC: What would you say your hidden talent is?
CB: I’m a pretty good at sound effects. I can do the trumpet, I can make a pretty good siren, I can do a bottle opening and drinking from a bottle, like a wine bottle. It’s hard to do when under pressure. I can also do a machine gun pretty good, or like a car or a motorcycle.