The Smelliest Sport

The pungent manure-like aroma hits the nose the second the door to the Oxley Equestrian Center is cracked open. The mist of dust from the dirt being kicked up by horses who have their tails tied (which prompted my friend to inquire if that’s how we derived the term ponytail) never fades. These two sensory stimulating characteristics still stick with me even three days after I watched a women’s polo match at Cornell. The women are undefeated and were winning against U of Maryland 12-3 at halftime, when my friend and I left to drive back and watch the NCAA basketball tourney. The men are just as good and lost in the national championship game last year to Texas A&M.

The concept of the game is simple enough (at least I think it is. I might be completely botching how I interpreted the sport): hit the ball into your opponent’s garage door and score a point. Indoor polo has 3 horses and riders per side and they cycle around the ball one rider behind the next simultaneously attempting to hit the ball or block their opponent from doing so. There are three types of penalties: Penalty 1, Penalty 2, and Penalty 3. If the other team commits penalty 1 you get an automatic goal, which fascinated me because in no sport that I can think of is any team awarded an automatic point, though basketball comes close with goaltending.  And only in tennis, if one is watching Serena Williams, does one here the consistency and loudness of the grunting that each horse performs during the intermission between quarters.

Cornell Alum Tim Punke

It seems as though it’s always the college of Arts and Sciences that puts on the events, but several times a semester a Cornell alum who has made their way to the upper echelons of the career he/she has made for himself comes back to Ithaca to share their experiences with any student who wishes to attend their talk.

Tonight, that alum was Tim Punke. His brief bio shared to us via email about the event goes as follows:

Tim Punke has over a decade of experience working in politics and policy, including work in the Clinton White House, the U.S. Senate, and for Presidential campaigns. Since leaving government service in 2005, Tim has worked as a Partner at K&L Gates, and helped build Monument Policy Group, a boutique consulting firm focused on government relations.

Right down my alley of course, campaigns, Clinton administration, lobbying…it’s like a carbon copy. So I thought it best to attend. The talk was interesting. As is usually the case with guest speakers like Mr. Punke, it was a narration of his life story. He was a very humble person, though, and through his story telling, an active listener can pick up on the clues, recommendations, and tips related to how he became a successful policy maker/political player. His tagline was that people are lucky, but that those people put themselves in positions to get lucky.

For me, the most important part of the talk was his bit about college/grad school giving you the opportunity to get a job, but the job being the actual tool that gives you the experience. This concept stuck with me because of my ongoing debate between Syracuse, American, and possibly Georgetown as the graduate institution at which to obtain my Masters in Public Policy/Administration once I have completed my Teach for America obligation. In having to choose one of these Universities, I’m hung up at the thought that one has the overall best MPA program, while another (still highly ranked) has a program that focuses more on applied politics, which is my interest. Tim Punke’s talk created a new line of thought in my head that you can learn on the job; right now, get the best education from the best possible resource.

Don’t Forget about Hockey

Many know, Cornell alum/student or not, that Cornell basketball is the 14 seed playing Missouri this Friday at 3pm. Fewer, many fewer, know that Cornell hockey will be playing Princeton in the East Coast Hockey Conference semifinals this weekend in Albany, NY. Winning the conference will guarantee Cornell a spot in the hockey national tournament and a chance for the national title. Cornell is seeded as #2 in the tourney while Princeton is #3. Making it this far involved defeating 11 seed RPI two games to one. Aside from needing 3 games to advance, what was just as entertaining/surprising was the scoreboard at the end of game 2. Cornell won 4-0, but take a closer look at shots on goal. (Photo courtesy of Jen Lin’s iPhone)

Opposites Attract…Ridicule

When you know both Keith Olbermann and Ann Coulter graduated from Cornell, you’re either thinking Cornell only produces cre cre (as Jen Lin says, apparently it’s quicker to say that than crazy) people or extremely spirited, passionate individuals. I personally enjoy Olbermann and his show and think highly of his writing and speaking skills. “Special Comment” anyone? In addition, I believe Ann Coulter plays the stupid, ignorant, elitist, but I’m a woman of the people because I’m a Republican card to get people to listen to her. Regardless, when they both go at it, it’s fun to watch. When they both go at it and Cornell University is in the middle of it, I sit back, relax, and absorb enough entertainment to last me a week. You can watch the battle by clicking the links below.

Ann Coulter started it with this interesting, fallacy ridden, and just not true blog post on her website.

Olbermann responds and wields his diploma at the same time. Funny thing is I know exactly which diploma frame he purchased when he graduated…it’s at the Cornell Store.

You gotta love it. I’m biased but I’m gonna put a tally in Olbermann’s column. Same Cornell education for half the price? Priceless! Plus I go to a college at Cornell that’s really not part of Cornell.

Road to Repeat Complete!

For the second straight year, Cornell will be dancing later this March! Cornell basketball is once again the champions of the Ivy League. And once again the net was cut, culminating with a Steve Donahue (kid in hand) fist to the sky mouthing a thank you to the fans. The atmosphere at Newman Arena was great, just as energized as last year. The only difference, a more experienced, more developed, deeper, Cornell basketball team playing on the floor. I truly believed we had a chance to upset Stanford last year, the shots just didn’t fall. This year, my senior year, depending where Cornell is placed, the possibility for an upset is even greater. Anticipation arrives. Cinderella excitement awaits!

It’s Like Senior Year of High School

The phenomenon never goes away; in economics it’s called the Cap T problem, in student layman’s terms it’s called senioritis.

This semester I’m taking 13 credits (you need 12 to be a full time student), three of which are for TA’ing a class, though I do admit that is legitimate work, but enjoyable. Two are for learning the nutritional principles of cooking…I like eating the food we make at the end of class. Eight are for actual legitimate classes. The problem is I know where I’m working and I just found out I have at least one graduate program where I can study after Teach for America. The Maxwell School at Syracuse University just accepted me to their Master of Public Administration program!!! I’m thoroughly excited and, while I’m waiting to hear back from other schools, this invitation to study at arguably the best MPA program in the nation consoles my worry of the possibility of being rejected from all 7 grad schools I applied to (It’s been four months and I still haven’t heard from Princeton…I hope my app wasn’t that bad) and creates that great feeling of reciprocation knowing that a University I cared so much for as to spend weeks filling out their app likes me just as much! Regardless, another feeling, the one from the last months of high school has leaked into my psyche as the sheer exuberation of getting into Syracuse wears off.

My pre-lim coming up on Monday, sure it matters, but the importance dropped just slightly to where I can justify playing squash on Saturday and watching the two episodes of Heroes I’ve missed. My GPA, it matters too, only in the fact that the competitive side in me wants to see it raised. But after Syracuse has graced me with the option of attending their graduate institution, my mind just opened a little to the other possibilities that would otherwise have been eliminated by studying. For instance, come March Madness the Orange just added another fan…that is unless they play Cornell. My allegiance will never shift from my soon to be alma mater up on The Hill.