October 26, 2001

Don't Blame the Fans; Blame CU

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Last Friday night, when I was flying back to Ithaca from New York, I was chatting with a single-serving friend sitting next to me. Granted I never actually learned his name, but I did find out that he’d been a government major at Cornell and he was now a grad student at Duke.

We got to talking about the difference in school spirit between the two, and he mentioned that if someone wore a UNC T-shirt on Duke’s campus, they’d probably get their ass kicked.

I’ve been thinking about that since. If someone wore a Princeton T-shirt at Cornell, no one would even look twice. Aside from the whole Harvard thing, there’s a shocking lack of hating other schools here. More than that and even more flagrantly, though, there’s also a shocking lack of pride in our own Cornell.

For the last umpteen years, hordes of sports columnists at The Sun have looked for every possible reason for the absence of school spirit here: the teams suck, the fans suck, the weather sucks.

I have a new reason: Cornell sucks.

Or at least that’s what high school kids who are considering colleges in high school think.

Do you remember the days senior year in high school when you spent every waking minute either stressing out about college applications or actually filling out college applications? Do you happen to remember which schools you were applying to?

Aside from a few of you who can truthfully claim that Cornell was your first choice, chances are that the names Harvard, Yale and Princeton made the early part of senior year a living hell for you.

Let’s face facts: had most of us received a thumbs-up from HYP, we would have jumped at the opportunity. As much as it may have our hearts now, in that scenario we would have probably told Cornell to take a hike. In the most blunt terms, most of us didn’t come to Cornell because we wanted to come to Cornell; we came because we couldn’t get into HYP.

My point isn’t that HYP are better institutions than Cornell is —