October 1, 2003

Quietly Breaking Cornell Records

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Pop quiz hotshot. What do David LeNeveu ’05, Barry Bonds and senior Debbie Quibell have in common?

They’ve got more broken records than a 1978 fraternity party.

Last weekend, Quibell made Cornell history by becoming the first women’s volleyball player to record 1,000 career digs and 1,000 career kills. After three years of hard work, perseverance and pain, Quibell will leave Cornell with more than just a diploma. She’ll leave with deep pride in her athletic endeavors, and a school record. To top that off, she’ll probably graduate holding one more record, seeing as she’s just 45 kills away from Robin Moore’s ’01 record.

To put it in perspective, the volleyball program has been around for 32 years, and no one had gotten to that magical split yet. More amazing still is that Quibell was the one to do it.

After last season, she was diagnosed with a degenerative disc in her back. Most people with the same condition experience chronic lower back pain, and even numbness and loss of motion in their arms. It’s painful to do daily activities, like lifting a book or even just getting out of bed.

But it didn’t stand in Quibell’s way.

She rehabbed, worked hard, and eventually made her way back onto the court. More amazing still, she had to take a lengthy break from the game, something most athletes never recover from.

But she did.

She did it with passion, coming back to lead the team this year to its best start since 1992 (which — FYI — was also an Ivy Championship year). And now, she’s got a record to verify that all that hard work was worth ix”D

Simply outstanding.

But what’s not so outstanding is how she broke the record — on the road and in relative obscurity. Someone was there to cheer on LeNeveu. Who was there for Quibell? Her teammates and coaches, but certainly not the student body.

What’s worse still, is besides being announced numerous times over in various Cornell publications, people still haven’t taken notice. Case in point last night, my apartment mate (who will simply be known by his nickname of “Other Jevon”) asked me why The Sun has such a love affair with Debbie Quibell. I hope after reading this, he finally gets it.

Screw that, I hope you all get it.

When Barry Bonds stole his 500th base, it was all over SportsCenter. When Michael Johnson set the 200-meter World Record, he was on the cover of magazines. When LeNeveu broke Ken Dryden’s ’69 record, we all talked about it. Quibell’s efforts should be no different.

Yet they are different. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve been to see at least one Major League Baseball, track and field, or Cornell hockey event. I’m also equally sure you’ve never been to a volleyball match at Cornell.

Here’s another question to chew on: if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound? How do you think it works with a broken record?

People don’t hide Picasso’s works in closets, they put them on display. Orchestras don’t obscure great works by Bach or Mozart, and neither do music lovers. Likewise, sports fans shouldn’t forget about Quibell.

So this weekend, let’s put differences aside and make some similarities — this is history in the making, right here, on the East Hill. If you truly consider yourself a sports fan, you’ll be at the volleyball match this Saturday night.

Archived article by Matt Janiga