May 4, 2004
At the beginning of the school year, these freshmen arrived on North Campus just like anyone else. Their families and friends helped them settle into the dorms, they had the same anxieties about classes, and they experienced the infamous winter in Ithaca for the first time this year. However, when this group of athletes stepped out onto the field, the ice, or whichever playing surface best lent itself to their talents, it was difficult to differentiate them from the seasoned veterans sharing the spotlight. In between avoiding their RA’s and enjoying the buffets at RPU, this talented corps of rookies exploded into their collegiate careers with a passion, determination and excellence that seems to assure continuous fantastic achievements in the years that lie ahead. Randi Bisbano, Gymnastics Coming off a season of huge expectations but few results, the gymnastics team needed a spark to put the squad back on its way to ECAC dominance. The answer came from Rochester, N.Y. native Randi Bisbano, a successful Junior Olympian who came to Cornell as part of one of the most widely heralded recruiting classes in the nation. Bisbano made her mark immediately, setting a school record in the all-around set (38.225) at the George Washington Invitational in her collegiate debut. She continued to baffle opponents and teammates alike with a string of record-breaking performances, including an impressive second-place finish at the four-team Pittsburgh competition and her first league title at the Ivy Classic. Elizabeth Bishop, Volleyball While the volleyball team’s veterans, such as Debbie Quibell and Ashely Stover, performed at the high level expected of them, freshman Elizabeth Bishop made a name for herself doing extraordinary things in her first taste of collegiate competition. The Portland, Ore. native arrived at Cornell with a bang, instantly garnering recognition at the Seton Hall Spikefest (Sept. 13-14) as an all-tournament player and claiming MVP honors at the Albany Challenge (Sept. 1 9-20). She finished her record-setting year as the team leader in kills per game (4.40) and the recipient of an unprecedented seven Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards. Bishop was the unanimous selection for Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was named to the AVCA All-Region squad, and also earned a spot on the All-Ivy first team. Michael Fullowan, Sprint Football Although the sprint football finished the year with a 2-4 overall record, one positive thing became abundantly clear: rookie tailback Michael Fullowan was a sign of bright things to come. Hailing from Berkeley Heights, N.J., Fullowan first led the Red to a 46-18 bashing of Princeton on Sept. 26 when he rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. He torched the Tigers again later in the season, accumulating 80 yards on 14 carries and adding three touchdowns in the Red’s dominating 47-8 victory. In the loss to Penn, Fullowan led the Red in rushing once again, accumulating 96 yards on 18 carries.
May 4, 2004
When Pat Tillman left the NFL three years ago, he dropped his pads and a $3.6 million contract for fatigues and a soldier’s salary. Thursday, April 22, he died fighting in Afghanistan. On the same day, Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr rallied his followers to continue their insurgence, saying that he wanted to be the “striking arm” of Hamas in Iraq. Exactly one month earlier, George Boiardi’s family laid its son to rest in Washington D.C. The juxtaposition of Tillman and Boiardi’s tragic deaths against al-Sadr’s threat puts life in perspective: in a world of certain uncertainty, we are never safe from death but neither are we ever precluded from really living. Individuals like Tillman and Boiardi give us hope and an example. In the past year, I’ve had the pleasure to applaud and admonish, talk and teach in this column. Now, with the semester’s end four days away, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on three things I’ve learned. First, it’s easy to complain but far more rewarding to find the positive. Ithaca winters stink. Hiking up Libe slope is a pain. The football team went 1-9. School is hard. But this past weekend, my parents came from St. Louis to visit campus — and reminded me just how lucky we all are. The beautiful weekend weather held just long enough for hundreds of students get outside and cherish the sunshine. Few other schools in the country have the rolling hills or, for that matter, the gorges and seasons that we take for granted. The football team may have been bad, but its new coach will only inspire it to better things. We go to an Ivy League university, with endless opportunities awaiting us, while many teenagers have only one choice after high school: a dead-end job. Second, life is too short to let opportunity pass by. The day Boiardi died, I was covering the lacrosse game. From my perch in the Schoellkopf press box, I watched as Boiardi, defending the net, got hit with a shot and collapsed. Helpless, I looked on as paramedics rushed the field and players ushered off. When Boiardi left in an ambulance, tears and anguished expressions on players’ and coaches’ faces confirmed the worst. But, from my seat on a Sage Chapel pew at Boiardi’s memorial service, I heard the words of his friends, family, and teachers which confirmed that George was a person who had inspired countless people during his life and that his legacy will continue to enlighten countless others in the future. Though I didn’t know Boiardi personally, the impact of his death touched me vicariously. As I walked home from that fateful game, I did something I don’t often do: call home to say ‘I love you mom and dad’. The sudden and unforeseeable nature of Boiardi’s death made me realize how easily the carpet can get yanked from under our feet, despite everything we do to keep it intact. It also made me realize that most of us run our daily routines clouded by superficial thoughts of grades, money, image — and that we too infrequently make time to appreciate what really matters: friends, family, and love. I, for one, won’t ever let that happen again. Finally, I learned that it’s easy to allow extraneous influences detour our path, but passion remains the one true north on life’s compass. Pat Tillman had it good: celebrity on the football field, a new wife, and financial security. There’s a reason he was the only pro player to enlist in the military following the September 11th attacks: the NFL is the good life. But his true calling wasn’t tackling, it was fighting terrorism. Tillman paid dearly to achieve that dream, but he left this life fulfilled, and that is all the glory he ever wanted. We should all aspire to be so true to ourselves, willing to risk it all for the ideals and people who matter most to us. So with my final column of the year, I’ll take this opportunity to thank the people who’ve meant the most to me in my most tumultuous times: Thank you D for your patience and smile. Few people have the fortitude to weather my attitude or the spark to fire me up when my flame is all but out. You keep me going when times get rough. I only hope to return half the favor. Thank you to the men of the Chi for your excellence. After graduating high school, I feared that I might never find better friends. I have. There’s not a doubt in my mind I would have left Cornell after freshman year were it not for you guys. Ithaca and Cornell can drive a person to depression with its dreary weather and demanding workload, but I can always count on a good laugh, sound advice, and great times at my home away from home. My only regret is not being there more. In so many words, I need this… Thank you to my family for your example, advice, and support. I wouldn’t know how to write or what to write about without you. And, at times, I may not have any readers without you either. And thank you Pat Tillman, Mario St. George Boiardi, and Muqtada al-Sadr for showing us all the good and the bad in the world, for showing us the power of the human spirit to raise the bar or undermine it, for giving us something to work toward and fight against. Archived article by Everett Hullverson