Playing a Sport

I won’t lie, as a kid I seriously thought I could be the next Wayne Gretzky. And the next David Beckham. And in my spare time, I was going to replace Dennis Conner (a world famous sailor).

I will continue to tell the truth; I never really had much of a shot at any of these. I could maybe play D3 soccer. College Hockey would be a joke, and sailing…well I can’t quite afford a boat.

But I miss the competition so much. I know I wrote about IM Hockey a week ago, but this is a different line of thought. I’m not repeating myself, so relax and keep reading.

I got to do something incredible today. I played soccer under the lights at Schoellkopf field. One of my brothers is a varsity soccer player and was preparing for a big game on a “kinda-like-turf field” as he described it. Thus leads me to the point of my article. There is such a weird dichotomy between being an athlete and being a normal student. The athletes are everywhere: I live across from a decathlete, I lived next to a lightweight rower, I had breakfast with a heavyweight rower this morning, I have a crush on a soccer player, and so on…pardon my crudeness, but I would give up my left nut in order to be an athlete again. I lied, both nuts.

That is where the dichotomy lies. I say that I would sacrifice my manhood, but that means travel almost every weekend. That means missing date night this Friday like the brother who I played with today is. Sure it means free cleats and Gatorade, but also means 7 A.M. practices. Followed by 7 P.M. practices. Now try to have an active social life while enjoying the rigorous academic curriculum f Cornell. I would probably ask for my nuts back in three weeks. Until then, I’ll just bitch and moan about how badly I want to be a varsity athlete…

If any coach reads this, I’ll volunteer for one game, or race, or match by the way…

Engineering Classes

I feel like I start a lot of my posts with the lines “One of the greatest things about Cornell is…”

Well one of the greatest thing about Cornell is that there are so many programs that are widely recognized for being so wildly impressive. For example, we have a world renown Hotel School. Or, I am in the number one Industrial and Labor Relations program IN THE WORLD (ignore that it is one of three ILR programs in the world for a second, and revel in the fact that I am a member of the best of the best ILR students in the world…). And I haven’t even started talking about our Engineering programs…

Let me enlighten you about life on the hill: Hotelies, ILR-ies, students in CALS, architects, gov majors, design and “Policy and Management” students, actually pretty much everyone else on this campus takes heat for “how easy their school is” from the engineers.

Both of my roommates have been engineers. So are most of my friends. And all I ever hear is about how easy MY life is because I don’t have to sweat over, like, 18 different problem sets tonight. Or how they wish they only had 250 pages to read. So I decided, you know what, I’ll go to an engineering class and see how it really is…

I went to ENGRD 2020–The Mechanics of Solids, and I decided that I will never ever take shit from my friends again. I learned a few things:

  1. The people in the front three rows must go to fists in order to get those seats. In a huge lecture hall, there wasn’t room to sneeze in those first three rows. There was even someone who had brought out a folding chair…
  2. The further back you go, the more empty seats, and the less people pay attention. The guy next to me came solely to download music.
  3. We just went over the prelim that they were going to have that night, but the notes I took for that class were so different then my notes for my labor history class. There were lots of pretty pictures of wheels and arrows and stuff. It was like art class instead of the short novella I have to write in Labor History every week…
  4. The reason I refuse to take any shit from my friends is because of the other picture. That’s right, those are my three friends, all playing on their iPhones. They paid ZERO attention, they just played the whole time!Engineering Class

Intramural Hockey

In one of my classes last semester, we learned about how the media tends to over-hype some events, but then let’s the events “disappear” essentially. For example: Bird flu. Remember how 1 out of 3 of us was supposed to die because of it? Too bad it never made a Human-to-Human jump. Or how Anthrax was supposed to get us all too? Yea, there were what, 5 0r 6 actual cases? Whoops. The media is a manipulating and conniving group that is out to ruin the world, but then totally drops the subject so that we forget it happened.

Something similar happened when I turned to the back page of the Daily Sun on Tuesday September 1, 2009. I saw John Forman of the Sun staff staring up at me with the worst news I ave heard all year. “Intramural Hockey Axed in Budget Cut”. This was the media killing us again. But this time, I refuse to let it die. As a new member of the media, I demand my voice is heard. From up on the hill, I will yell to students, new, young, prospective, and old:

WE WANT HOCKEY BACK

Ithaca is a hockey haven. In the winter, there is almost nothing else to do! This was the biggest intramural sport. Not only were the fraternities and sororities cut-throat in the Fall, but the sailing team, engineering grad students, and all sorts of other groups posted strong teams in the Spring. Never mind the crappy reffing, the dull rental skates, nor the goalies that couldn’t save a beachball. No matter what, people were smiling, laughing, and active.

Cornell, like the rest of the world, had to tighten the belt during the recession. That means salaries were frozen, retirements incentivized, and departments restructured. But for some reason, the University continues to build buildings that they do not have all of the funding for and take away from the overall student life experience. Forman quoted Interim Intramural Director, Jeremy Pickard, in his article as saying that we will probably not see IM hockey again until after we graduate. But Milstein Hall, the huge project that has shut down University Ave and has yet to secure the appropriate funding, is scheduled to be completed in Fall of 2011. Hockey “likely” wont be back before then, even though it costs probably a tenth of the massive debt that will be incurred on the building.

What further irks me is that there are classes in places like the Hotel School where there are 8 or 9 PAID TAs for an 80 person class, but we cannot have hockey. (Update: Auto-Tutorial Physics TAs are paid $30/hr to merely show up to a computer lab. First of all, I need that job, second of all, THAT HAS TO BE A JOKE). Cornell hasn’t cut the grass on half of the slope this year, and hockey, Cornell’s staple, falls into that category. I will volunteer my referee abilities (AND I am a certified ref. Unlike some of those guys…that’s right Murray. I’m calling you out…). I’ll drive the Zamboni for free. And sharpen skates. And walk the streets with a tin can. Whatever we need to do, just hockey, come back!

Homecoming

This past weekend was homecoming.

What I have learned over the past two and a half years is that unless you are a big football school or know people that are coming back for the weekend, Homecoming really isn’t all that big of a deal.

I will never bash our football team as I have a bunch of friends on the team and have only missed one game (why I have only missed one, I am not quite sure though…)  but in order to really really appreciate homecoming, there needs to be an epic game. Like the Notre Dame vs USC travesty this weekend. Or the Purdue smack-down in Ohio. Or the Red-River showdown. Yea, any of those could work, but alas, we are a hockey school…

The other caveat was knowing “distinguished alumni” that come back to visit. As a freshman, I only knew one girl that had lived in my town, which meant I got a free dinner one night. (Best part about alumni coming back: the free meals. I mean their company…). Last year, as a sophomore in a fraternity, I at least knew a couple of people. This year, there were so many people to choose from! Friday night, I went for late night pizza and ran into two of my favorite former sailing team members. Saturday morning while walking to the football game, I got to walk with a former brother. The tailgate I had planned to be at for only five minutes lasted for two hours because of all the people that  saw.

What our homecoming lacked in football, we certainly made up for with our alumni support. It was awesome to be able to see all of these people in person. I even got to reconnect with some current students that have been “too busy”. Like fellow blogger, and brother, Tim Liddell, who was supposed to write a great combination piece with me for the website. Too bad he choose to go back to New York before talking about it with me. Jerk.

Real Quick

October has hit Ithaca, which means a few things:

a) Ithaca is B-E-A-Utiful, the trees are all on fire with vibrant reds and yellows and oranges and soon there will be plenty of leaf piles to jump into

b)it is getting ex-girlfriend cold.

Being from Chicago, the weather never really bothers me. Only twice in my Cornell career has the thermometer here been lower then at home. (Chicago is actually too cold to snow most of the time. We have a week in January of single digit days, and then you add wind…) But since home is an 11-hour drive, I don’t get to return as often as I would like and thus, I store my winter clothes here in Ithaca.

Best feeling ever is unpacking your coats and finding $80 cash in the pockets. It’s the little perks of being a poor college kid…if you can find me, dinner is on me tonight.

Biggest Purchase EVER

I may have done something incredibly dumb last week. Or maybe one of the most incredible things I have ever done. The verdict is still out.

I bought a car.

Call it a status symbol. Call it a chick magnet. Call it a piece of crap that will likely break down in the middle of college-town (as my “best friend” constantly tells me). Call it whatever the hell you want, but I have a car.

1993. Nissan. Pathfinder. 101,000 miles. I still need to name her and I won’t tell you what I paid for it, but I will tell you that I know that people in Collegetown are paying 1.5x the value of my car for their parking spot.

I do have to promise myself to try to drive it as little as possible because gas and maintenance are going to pile up SO quick…This is the single largest purchase I have ever made in my life. That is so belittling and my bank account is weeping blood right now. Probably the single largest responsibility I have ever taken on too. But really, it feels so cool!

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New York Times

Didn’t I tell you that I would make it big? Didn’t I say that I was a part of something special and that soon people would be swarming me? I’m in the market for a manager to deal with all of this hype and publicity, especially now that the New York Times has recognized the fruits of my efforts.

What’s that? You haven’t heard? Are you not cultured? Yes, my blog qualifies as “All the News that’s fit to Print”. This article here, describes the wide world of college blogging and the usefulness of using student writers to give their full account of college life. While they didn’t quote me directly, or even reference Cornell, the idea was there and I expect a movie deal with-in the next three or four weeks.

All kidding aside though, the article highlights a couple of things: first of all, I am paid far too little (my boss also noticed this, while I expect a movie deal, I do not expect a raise). Secondly, the glimpse that my fellow bloggers and I are able to provide into the college life and experience is crucial to the decision making process. When I applied to colleges, I won’t lie, I didn’t read any of the blogs. I didn’t look at any of those fabled statistics either though. On the campuses I visited and for the schools I was interested in, I found people and asked them what they thought. My mom and I aimlessly wandered a few quads here and there and got a feel for the school.

My grandpa took me on both of our first ever college trip. His secretary planned out our whole day and created a complex itinerary that included every tour on campus as well as snack time. The thing that stuck out the most to me on this phenomenal bonding experience that I had with my grandpa was that he fell asleep and started snoring in the front row of the information session. The second thing that stuck out to me was how dead the campus appeared. No one looked up as they walked around. No one threw frisbees, or hung out on the quad, or flirted with the opposite sex. I was able to figure out that I had no interest in this particular elite-Ivy-League institution just from wandering around and poking into the students lives.

At Cornell on the other hand, I stayed in my cousins fraternity house, got sick in the parking lot (from, uh, bad sushi…) and had one of the most enlightening discussions I have ever had about the complex symbolism and social critique that was employed in Star Wars. And people smiled at me as I wandered around the Arts Quad. I knew that this was it.

So this is what we are here to offer: an unedited, unadulterated, true account of Cornell life. It isn’t about the money nor the publicity  nor the fame for me (Alright, maybe a little about the fame). What it is for me is a job that I love, an opportunity to publicize the school and the place that I adore. Since not everyone has a cousin they can visit here, I’ll act as those eyes and ears.  If I can convince just one of you to come to Cornell now, I will have succeeded.

Jameson 5

I lived in Jameson Hall my freshman year. I honestly believe that I had one of the greatest rooms on campus. I was on the fifth floor of Jameson, one of the highest places on campus. Also, Jameson 1544 (my room) faces over west campus for an excellent view of our lovely campus. When the sun sets over Uncle Ezra’s little estate in Upstate…I honestly cannot even begin to describe it. I used to pound on the floor so that the girls beneath me could also enjoy the same view that I was. Call me a sucker, but I liked it…

I also had quite the floor. Jameson is broken into six suites of six people and it was a very diverse floor. There was a suite of girls, some football players, some lightweight rowers, an kid from Dubai with an Irish accent, an acrobat, one of my best friends in the world, a guy I still play hockey with, another guy who fried his own chicken, a bunch of ILRies, and my RA was one of the only interpretive dancers in his high school.

Well this week, my floor was very highly visible.  Among the aforementioned diversity of the floor, we had an activist. My buddy Malcolm Sanborn-Hum was all over the news, and youtube, for being one of the students that was arrested for protesting G-20. (The Daily Sun article can be found here.) What Malcolm did was wildly impressive. He found something he believed in and stood up for it.

While Malcolm was trying to change the world though, the Cornell football team beat Yale for the first time at Yale in 7 years. They also did it Cornell Safety, Dempsey Quinnwhile being broadcast on Versus (Channel 72 on my house’s cable in Ithaca). Not only was my  floor-mate Imani Fenton mentioned about 100 times, my other floor-mate Anthony Ambrosi was named the Ivy Leauge’s Defensive Player of the week. Imani was marking a guy with more then a few inches on him, yet still managed to have an incredible game.  Plus, my floor-mate, fellow Bills fan, and classmate in ILR, Dempsy Quinn has a full picture up on the Cornell website.

So what is my point? I go to a University where I was able to live with such a wide variety of people that are so wildly interesting. It just so happens that this week, they all managed to do something big and cool…just goes to show that Cornell students tend to be a big deal. (This is one of those places where a smiley emoticon would work, but while I may be blogging and thus contributing to the death of print journalism, I still have some dignity and refuse to degrade the English language anymore then I have to.)