November 17, 2003

Students Short on $10,000 Kick

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Despite the crisp, perfect football weather and the presence of a giant check ready for the taking, neither the Red nor its fans converted a field goal attempt on Saturday. The fans in question, David Veltre ’04 and Danielle Greenman ’07, were given the opportunity to kick a 45-yard field goal for $10,000 each by the Class Councils of 2004, 2005, and Cornell Athletic Promotions.

The event’s goal, according to coordinator Mike Rosenberg ’04, was to draw support for both the seniors at their annual “Seniors on the Field” game and for the football team. Although the attendance of 4,242 was the second-lowest at Schoellkopf Field this season, and the Red dropped its eighth-straight game, the contest did generate enthusiasm for more such events in the future. President Jeffrey Lehman ’77, who held the ball for both kicks, was happy to participate.

“I thought this was a great effort to enhance school spirit,” Lehman said. “These things are always fun.”

The chance to walk off a field $10,000 richer would seem to be a pretty sweet offer, but the event struggled through windy days of tabling, complaints that the prize money was being taken out of student tuition, and fears that the contestants might kick the President in the head.

The elusive $10,000 was to have been supplied by TSI Sports, which was paid $350 per kicker and got to specify the conditions of the kick. The attempts had to be from the 35-yard line, had to be held by a person and not a tee, and the foot of each contestant was to be videotaped prior to the attempt to ensure the absence of kick-enhancing substances.

As for Lehman, he had “complete confidence in our students” and did not fear for his safety.

Prior to the selection of the kickers by the random number generator on Rosenberg’s TI-83 graphing calculator, 148 seniors and 269 non-seniors had registered for the kick opportunity. One from each group would be selected. However, gazing upon the crescent’s sparse crowd in the first half, it soon became clear that not all who registered would be in attendance, so a winner plus seven alternates were chosen from each group. Luckily, the non-senior winner and the senior first alternate heard their names announced over the din of the marching band and were able to make their way onto the field at halftime.

Although TSI Sports did not specify which posts were to be kicked at, the attempts were made against a slight wind. This did not help Veltre, who played soccer in high school, or Greenman, who had “never kicked a football in [her] life.” Lehman made sure the laces were out and both kicks were on-line, but the ball fell short of the goal line twice.

“I wish I had a better running start and had realized how far 45 yards were so I could have tried to put some more power into it,” lamented Veltre.

Rosenberg supplied the contestants with consolation t-shirts and a photo-op with the president and the giant check that had slipped from their grasp.

“It’s a shame that no one could make it, but it’s a tough kick,” Rosenberg commented. “I’ve seen plenty of college football teams miss a kick from that distance.”

For both Veltre and Greenman, the loot they could have won with their feet would have gone toward some wheels. Veltre anticipated replacing his 1990 Toyota Corolla, which “feels like it’s gonna fall apart any day now.”

Greenman’s dream car was to have been “anything with four wheels and an engine.”

Archived article by Dan Schiff