September 5, 2000

College Athlete vs. College Writer

Print More

Regis Philbin: And for your final Big Red Buck question, Jason, during your college years, what is the best alternative to being a college athlete? Your four choices are A) a team manager B) a team groupie C) a waterboy or D) a sports writer.

Jason: Well, Regis, to be a team manager one needs to have a certain personality. A personality filled with laughter and comic relief because picking up sweaty jock straps and sports bras is an amusing task for anyone. I think that I have to eliminate A. But I am having trouble with the final three choices. I think that I will use my 50/50.

Regis: Okay, as you can see you are left with C and D. A groupie was eliminated because there is nothing glamorous about living vicariously through others success. Now, it comes down to the following — waterboy or sports writer.

Jason: I remember seeing a movie called, “Waterboy”, starring Adam Sandler. Although he started off as a waterboy, he ended up being the team’s star defensive assassin decapitating the heads of opposing quarterbacks.

Waterboy can’t be an alternative, because that alternative has the possibility of turning into an athlete (or half-athlete/half nutcase in the “Waterboy’s” case). Therefore, it has to be a sports writer because there is little chance for a sports writer ever making a college sport. There was about as good a chance of me playing varsity basketball as there was Angola beating the Dream Team in Atlanta. So I have to eliminate C. My answer is D, a sports writer.

Regis: Final Answer?

Jason: Final Answer.

Regis: You are correct. You have won a whopping one Cornell Big Red Buck. Congratulations, Jason.

As you can see from my version of “Who Wants to win a Big Red Buck”, I do think that sports writing is the best alternative to playing a varsity sport.

I get to see the action firsthand, talk to the coaches and players and then put it all together for the Cornell population to read about – couple this with the hopes that there is minimal chance of physical injury as a sports writer. Except, of course, in the case of a 300-pound linebacker running into you on the sidelines during an interview with a coach or a soccer ball that went astray and hits you square in the nose, sports writing is an ideal way to get into the action.

Since this is my first column, I want to take this opportunity for you to get to know the man behind the words. Four years ago, like most other high school seniors, I had to decide on a college.

However, the factors that affected my decision making process were a little different from the normal senior.

I was inches away from going to the University of Rochester purely because they let me run on their football field. As I was running down their field, I envisioned greatness. I would be their star walk-on wide receiver. The guy who leaped miraculously over two defenders in the endzone while keeping one foot in to score the winning touchdown — a catch that would have made Joe Splendorio proud.

The player who would be hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates only to be carried off the field with the crowd chanting, “Skolnik, Skolnik, Skolnik.”

As I crossed the ten-yard lane, I imagined the cornerbacks’ steps shadowing mine. I could see the pass from the quarterback — it was a high, perfect spiral calling my name. As I felt myself about to catch the ball and run into the endzone for the touchdown, I was brought back to reality quite quickly.

Unfortunately, I had let my daydreaming prowess interfere with my ability to put one foot in front of the other. Two yards from the endzone, I stumbled, bumbled, tripped and fell flat on my face. Who ever thought that daydreaming was a dangerous sport?

Four years removed from that near glorious moment, I write before you as a sports columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun.

Although I don’t get to wear red and white on the field, I can wear it in the stands and write about it in the paper.

Last Tuesday at one in the afternoon, I decided to trek back to the football field to relive that quasi-magical moment in Rochester. I first started off slow, taking in the aura of Schoellkopf Stadium. Then I started running as if the coaches had their timers out for my 40-yard dash. Dreams began to set in once again.

I envisioned the crowd erupting and fans screaming for the Big Red. However, this time I did not envision myself scoring the winning touchdown for Cornell, I envisioned myself writing about it.

Oh, how the times have changed.

Archived article by Jason Skolnik