For this penultimate edition of 10 Questions, columnist Alex Kuczynski-Brown ’12 sat down with women’s lacrosse players and co-captains Cacki Helmer ’12 and Jessi Steinberg ’12 — otherwise known as “Caressi.” They discussed the origin of their joint Twitter account, their Dunkin’ Donuts obsession, what it means to “sweat like a Helmer,” blankets that are pillows, and the habit both of their fathers have in common.
1. Starting with the obligatory question: as seniors, Saturday was your last game at home. What are you going to miss most about your Cornell lacrosse careers?
J: I think just the team in general — everyone’s pretty goofy and funny, and there’s some pretty awesome people.
C: And home games are fun; we get the Marching Band, and even this past game [Tuesday at Binghamton], we said how quiet it was after every goal, because we’re just so used to so much noise out there ... not having that is weird.
2. What gave you two the idea to combine your names, first of all, and then to make a joint Twitter account (@CaReSSiHeLMBERG)?
C: I think it was our other captain last year [Libby Johnson ’11]. It was the three of us, and we were the two juniors. I mean, we’ve had every class together since freshman year, because we’re in the same major, same minor. And it just came to us one day — we were in the library all day, just us together, and we decided to start Twitter.
J: It was new, so we were like “well ... ”
C: “This will be funny” ...
J: ... but we didn’t want to be serious about it, because we didn’t really know what it was. We were like “we’ll just do it together.” And we needed the clever name, so it kind of fit.
I’m told that Jessi — you got a new Twitter — that signifies your break-up. Is there any validity to this claim?
J: Yeah, you know, I got made fun of pretty bad from home friends [Cacki laughing], and they said that I had to split from her ...
C: [interrupting] I was pretty bitter about it.
J: ... and make my new identity. I mean I still use both accounts, but I had to become my own person. [Cacki laughing]
So the combined Twitter still exists, but not to the extent it did before?
J: Yeah ...
C: Over the summer it was tough because we were in totally different places, to tweet together.
J: So she would be tweeting about things that I really didn’t care about, and then I was like “uhh your Twitter stuff is just bringing me down.”
You alluded to this earlier — how has having identical class schedules worked out for you guys?
C: It’s actually pretty great, because we’re both very good at different things, so both of us together — we’re like a power couple in the classroom. [both laughing]
J: We’re a couple. We’re the typical “B” students, so we do just enough to get a good grade, but not enough to do anything crazy.
Well I’m told you also kind of have this love-hate relationship, because Cacki you’re very anal about things, and Jessi you’re always telling her to relax.
J: Yes, she’s a little high-strung, and I’m a little too relaxed.
C: I have certain times, where we have to leave for class at 1:12, to make a 1:25 — just, you know ... I don’t like to be late.
J: And be the first ones in class, for no reason. But I still go with her, I follow her.
3. Let’s talk about pre-game rituals — any particular favorites?
C: Dunkin’ Donuts
J: Yeah ... we’re big Dunkin’ people.
C: We pretty much get Dunkin’ before every class that we go to, if we go. And practice, and games.
How many times would you estimate you go to Dunkin’ Donuts in a week — or even in a day, for that matter?
C: Sometimes twice a day. [laughing]
J: It’s not uncommon to do twice a day ... sometimes if we skip class, and we had just gotten some, we need a pick me up before practice.
C: Probably seven [times a week].
Do you always get donuts, or something else?
C: I try things out sometimes, if there’s something new.
J: I make her get the weird stuff ... like the blueberry-pancake-waffle-sandwich. I don’t eat that stuff, I make her get it just to see what it looks like.
Jessi, do you have any plans to go out with the drive-thru man who recently asked for your number?
J: Yeah, you know things have been getting pretty intense recently. He asked for my number — I didn’t give it to him, but I’m thinking within the week I’ll muster up the courage to give it to him.
Going back to pre-game rituals — they told me I might have to pry to get this — but apparently yours involves waxing in some capacity?
J: I mean, sometimes my best games have come from a pre-game wax. So if I have to do it before the Ivy League tournament, I’m not opposed to it.
C: “Look good, feel good, play good.”
J: It relaxes me.
Is there somewhere in particular that you like to go?
J: Nope, not really. I’ve been to two places here — both are top-notch.
I’ve always been nervous to get any kind of waxing done in Ithaca.
J: Yeah, I did it last summer for the first time, and the first time’s very painful.
C: I did it once, and that was enough for me.
J: If you keep doing it it’s not bad, you gotta keep at it.
4. I guess this question is more directed at Cacki: what does it mean to “sweat like a Helmer”?
C: I just think it’s a sign of hard work, and passion ... intensity. My sister was on the team with me last year, and we both got a reputation for getting pretty sweaty — whether we’re in the weight room or on the field, or just in the locker room.
J: She lifts a lot of weights.
C: Something about those teagles really brings it out.
So what’s the easiest way to reach this level of sweating like a Helmer?
J: Literally you can just look at her — it’s a responsive thing, it’s not that hard ... one armpit sweats more than the other, though.
C: The right arm. I think it’s because the muscles are bigger on that side.
Is it true that the men’s lacrosse team has also started to use this catchphrase?
C: Apparently, I think it started last year a little bit once it came out in one of the other 10 Questions. It kind of got around — it was pretty embarrassing.
5. Jessi, I’m told there is one thing you can’t sleep without. Care to tell us what that is?
J: I have a pillow ...
C: It’s a blanket.
J: It’s used as a pillow, so I call it a pillow.
C: ... but it’s really a blanket.
What kind of blanket?
J: Just a regular blanket [Cacki laughing] — it looks exactly like a pillow!
C: It’s soft and cozy, and she uses it as a pillow.
J: I don’t like when the sun is in my eyes, so on bus trips I wrap it around my face.
C: Oftentimes it’s just over her head.
J: It’s pretty embarrassing.
How long have you had it?
J: It was my crib blanket, and then I started using it as a pillow when I was older, as embarrassing as that is.
6. If you could be any animal, what animal do you think you would be?
J: I’ve been told I look like an orangutan, so ... I like to party with those monkeys.
C: I think I’d like to be a bird. [both laughing]
J: You’re so peaceful.
C: So I could fly above everything.
J: “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” [both laughing]
Well that’s interesting, because some of your teammates seem to think you both exhibit cougar-like tendencies.
Do you care to explain that?
C: I think that’s self-explanatory. [both laughing]
J: I mean ...
C: Everybody does it.
J: It keeps you young.
Not that this has anything to do with cougars, but on the subject of animals, Cacki — did you recently get a new puppy?
C: Did I get a puppy?
Yeah, someone told me to ask about your new puppy, unless that’s a euphemism for something else.
C: [laughing] No, I don’t have a puppy. I just ...
J: She has a ... boyfriend.
C: [laughing] He treats me very well.
7. I understand you two love lax boys — or so I’m told — and have been known to date many of them. Are we talking Cornell laxers, or any type of lax boy?
J: I don’t know what they’re talking about — I have never dated a lacrosse player. [Cacki laughing]
Is that a personal rule that you will not ... ?
C: She’s lying.
J: I just don’t like what they’re about. I never have, and I never will.
Do you guys hang out with the men’s lacrosse team?
C: Too much.
J: A little too much, yeah. It’s only natural that it happens.
What about you? What’s your opinion on lax bros?
C: We just have the same philosophies of life, and live lacrosse.
J: “Live, lax, love.”
C: Yup, it’s just easy to get along with them.
8. One of your friends said that your parents are some of the most interesting/unique/awesome people ever — and that it’s no wonder you guys are the way you are. Any fun stories to share about them?
J: Our dads are pretty similar. In high school my dad used to pace the sidelines of my games, and he always goes on the opposite side, and it’s always been bizarre. And then we came to Cornell — her dad does the same thing. But I play attack, and she plays defense, so they pace on separate sides.
C: And then they cross at halftime — you know, talk about the game strategy points, and then continue on.
J: They get pretty intense.
This is for every game?
C: Yep, every game.
Do they ever share their opinions with your coach?
C: Oh yeah ...
J: ... Jenny [Graap ’86] has sat on my dad’s lap before.
Are they both former lacrosse players?
J: My dad played two sports in college, but lacrosse was always new. But he has the athletic mindset, so he thinks he really knows what he’s talking about.
C: My dad played baseball, so I think he’s upset that nobody in our family stuck with that sport.
9. Jessi, I’m told you wear a helmet because “you’re special.”
C: That’s true. [laughing]
J: I am special. People really like to hit me in the head.
During games or just in general?
J: Oh, all the time. One of my teammates threw a ball at my face, so I had to wear a men’s helmet before. I have gotten a few concussions ... if I get one more I’m done, so I have to wear it. And it looks super cool.
10. Any nicknames besides “Caressi”? Like Cacki, why are you called “Puke”?
C: That stemmed from an incident sophomore year. I don’t think it needs to be explained — the nickname is pretty self-explanatory.
J: I don’t really have any. “Steiny.” That one makes chills go through my body.