The Shot Heard Round the Rink

From late fall to early spring (also known more generally as “winter”) is when the pep band is most busy since we play at men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s hockey, and the occasional wresting meet.  Last weekend, the men’s hockey team was away at Yale and Brown, which meant that the pep band was also taking an away trip to play at those games.  However, the band was scheduled to leave Ithaca at 9:30 in the morning, meaning that I would miss all three of my lectures and have to turn in a problem set seven hours before I absolutely had to. Seeing as I have been playing The Price Is Right with my assignment due dates recently (how close to the due date can you turn something in without being late), turning in anything that early was not going to happen.  Especially seeing as the problem set wasn’t quite done.

So I stayed in Ithaca, learned about hydrostatics and the Boltzmann factor, and went to women’s hockey instead.  The first game was on Friday night, when the men’s team usually plays, but since the men’s team wasn’t even in the same state, they very kindly gave the women’s team a Friday night game.  (Last year the pep band played at several Friday afternoon women’s hockey games . . . while people were still in class.)

The game started out with the teams matching each other in terms of goal production: the score was 2-2 after the first period and 3-3 after the second period.  From what I’ve seen this year, the women’s hockey team is still good, but they haven’t been as dominant as last year.  By which I mean they’ve only outscored their opponents 85-46 as opposed to 131-55.  That’s 1.85 times more goals than their opponents compared to 2.38 times more last season.  So when we started the third period tied, I wasn’t sure how the game would end.  As it turns out, pretty well.  Cornell scored three unanswered goals in the third period to win 6-3.

Then on Saturday, they beat Brown 4-0.  The men’s team beat Brown and Yale as well, making it an undefeated weekend for Cornell hockey.  If there’s a “popular” sport at Cornell, it’s hockey (well, men’s hockey).  Whenever the men’s team plays at home, Lynah Rink is pretty much filled to capacity – about 4,200 people.  When the women play, crowds range from a couple thousand to a couple hundred.  I imagine it’s something like the New England Revolution and their 14,000 fans playing in the 68,000 seat Gillette Stadium.  Still waiting for that soccer specific stadium . . .

Anyway, when Lynah’s that empty, you can hear what’s going on down on the ice, including any wide shots pounding into the boards.  Hence, the Shot Heard Round the Rink.

Thanksgiving Break (part 2, Madison Square Garden)

So I have apparently now been to the World’s Most Famous Arena, at least according to all the signs plastered around MSG (Madison Square Garden, not monosodium glutamate).  The story behind this trip is that over Thanksgiving break, the men’s hockey team plays a game at Madison Square Garden.  Since the pep band plays at almost all the men’s hockey games and I was abandoned stuck in Ithaca for the break, I went to MSG with the band for the game.

Unlike our absurdly early departure for an afternoon lacrosse game in Maryland last year (it was an NCAA playoff game, which is why we went), we left for New York City around 10:30 in the morning.  Five hours later, we were dropped off next to Times Square.  We were actually early, so we took a walk to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.  It was incredibly crowded, and I say that having been to New York City before.  So after struggling through the crowds to Rockefeller Center, the tree was there, but it wasn’t lit.  Basically we walked however many blocks to see a dying version of something I can see from either my dorm or bedroom window.

We then walked back to where we had been dropped off to meet the bus at the bowling alley where some alumni wanted us to play a few songs.  They fed us dinner, so it was worth it.  There was a picture of the band that made it to the Cornell Chronicle.  My clarinet and right leg made an appearance (far right side of the picture).

After the food and mini-concert, we made the trek to MSG by foot, all ten or so blocks.  Someone explain to me why people see fifty people with instruments, walk into the middle of the group and stop, and then get confused if they get touched by anyone or anything.  We eventually made it to MSG, were allowed inside, played the Alma Mater for another pre-game event, and found our seats.  We were seated in the second level, close enough to see the puck on the ice, but getting far away enough to feel somewhere removed from the action.

As for the game itself, it was really cool to be playing at MSG, but there was a disappointing ending: Cornell lost 3-2 to Boston University.

Second period.  Of especial note: the at least half empty BU section on the side of the rink opposite from us.  The corresponding Cornell section was below us, and it was full.

It was still fun, and I’d do it again, but at the end of the trip, I couldn’t wait to get back to Ithaca.  Where I had two problem sets, a project, an essay, and two finals awaiting me to be completed in the span of two weeks.  Such is the life of an engineer.

Thanksgiving break (part 1)

Although I don’t live too far from campus (when you’re in the middle of nowhere Ithaca “not too far” becomes relative and encompasses anywhere up to an eight hour driving radius) I ended up spending Thanksgiving break at Cornell.  The dining halls closed after lunch on Wednesday, meaning that I was responsible for feeding myself for 12 straight meals.  Fortunately, four of those meals were breakfast, which consists of milk and cereal if I’m not in the dining hall, milk and oatmeal if I am.  Just for the record, that’s a cup of milk followed by dry cereal,  not cereal and milk in a bowl together.

The dining hall will be open again tonight so I seem to have survived an entire long weekend without the dining halls.  There were a lot of sandwiches but also some pasta, eggs, and even vegetables.  Food aside, campus was strangely quiet . . . and cold.  Very cold, though still not as bad as last year when we got back from winter break and the temperature stayed in the single digits for two straight weeks.

On Thanksgiving itself (Thursday) I spent most of the day in the dorm and in the afternoon I did physical chemistry homework with a friend.  Yes, homework on Thanksgiving.  But we have a prelim next week and a project on top of all the other usual problem sets, so I’d rather have done work on Thanksgiving than be working at 2 in the morning on the Friday that the problem set is due.  Though there’s some kind of rule that no matter how long you’ve worked on the p-chem problem set before Thursday, you’ll still have at least six hours of work to do Thursday night/Friday morning so I’ll probably be up anyway.

For dinner one of my other friends who stayed in Ithaca for Thanksgiving was kind enough to invite me over (and let me bring friends).  We had a more traditional “American” Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans, then played mafia and Bananagrams.  It was a lot of fun and probably beats overcooked broccoli and raw carrots, which is what I would have had in my dorm.

On Friday I ended up taking a walk to North Campus to get out of my room and see the waterfall.  It hasn’t been below freezing consistently enough for the lake and waterfall to freeze yet but icicles have started forming and the spray from the dam freezes on the trees next to it.

The waterfall.  If it stays cold enough the icicles can grow to reach the bottom of the gorge.

Frozen trees

Then Saturday I took a trip with the pep band to Madison Square Garden for Red Hot Hockey against BU.  That’s a story in and of itself.