October 29, 2004

Road Trip

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Sometimes it can be hard — depressing even — writing for the sports section. We just don’t have many positive things to write about. Not soccer: the women have lost seven in a row, while the men have only won a single game. Not field hockey: the stickwomen stand 2-11. And, much to my dismay, not football: despite an auspicious start, the gridders have lost their past four games. In fact, though Cornell has one of the largest varsity athletic programs in the country, we have only a handful of teams that actually win. Despite the discrepancy between quality and quantity, one thing makes covering even the worst losing team worthwhile: road trips.

Last weekend, I took my third of the fall — a six-hour jaunt to Rhode Island to watch the Red play Brown Saturday afternoon. Piled three deep and bags high in a Honda, two of my fellow sportsters and I embarked on a journey that was part job-requirement but mostly joyride. If you haven’t made a similar trip, go. It may turn out to be one of the best times you have in college, and you’ll definitely remember the experience at your 20th reunion. Here are a few things I recommend you do on your road trip to achieve maximum enjoyment and minimum efficiency.

First, designate a driver who is willing to suffer through several hours of hard concentration while the others in your party indulge themselves in the backseat.

Second, buy a six-pack of Sparks. This delicious caffeinated malt beverage will quite literally spark things up a little bit on a long car ride. A hybrid libation resembling a mixture of Red Bull and Cold.45, Sparks not only provides a stimulating energy burst to enliven even the most tired student, it also gives you a buzz of a different sort.

The only drawback to drinking Sparks is a minor pigmentation problem: after only a few sips, your tongue will assume a conspicuous and incredibly unappealing orange tint. Don’t worry, though; this temporary mark merely serves as a source of great self-depreciating humor, which contributes to the overall comedy of the car ride.

Third, once you’ve had one or two Sparks, start saying whatever’s on your mind. Six hours is a long time to sit in a car and talk about the usual: school, sports, politics. So instead of mulling the mundane, liven things up a little with topics such as the first time you kissed a girl while locked in your friend’s garage, or spider biology.

If you run out of topics, buy random magazines and read them out loud. (Publications featuring lots of useless health / beauty / fitness babble lend themselves to the most interesting discussion.)

Fourth, wear a costume. Nothing makes a statement like a cowboy hat, boots, and a big-ass belt buckle. You can’t get away with wearing a getup like that around these parts, but, for all the kind folks in Whitney Point, N.Y. or Lee, Mass. know, you could be a gunslinger from the wilds of Missouri. This goes for all sorts of costumes which might inspire a chuckle from a gas station attendant or fast food server.

Fifth, indulge in unhealthy food and trucker cuisine. You’d be amazed at how many Dunkin’ Donuts there are in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. No wonder Schilling and Ortiz look a little round about the middle — not that a few pounds seemed to affect their Cardinal-killing skills. But really, most of us don’t eat McDonald’s all that often, though it tastes so good. So go for it: over 99 billion others have.

Sixth, take incriminating photographs. Document the whole trip with some sort of pictures or video, because you’ll want to relive every moment of the experience later and show your friends what a great time they missed. While most pictures are worth a thousand words, the pictures you take on a road trip will be priceless — a permanent reminder of a great time you’ll never replicate.

Seventh, crash local parties. When you reach your destination (in our case, Brown), stroll around looking for something to do. It just so happened that Brown had parents’ weekend during our overnight, so there wasn’t much happening on campus. Some RISD students, on the other hand, were throwing a nifty house party.

At first, entering a house full of people in camouflage and skull caps with pierced brows and tongues is a little bit intimidating — at least for me — but meeting them was pretty fun. Not to mention, people at other schools want you to have a good time with them, so they share their beer. But even if they don’t share their beer, you could (hypothetically, of course) borrow a two-liter bottle and fill it with beer for the road. Then you could drink it in a storm cellar around the corner before going back on the street. That sounds like a great idea.

Finally, while most of your trip should border on hilarity and include some debauchery, don’t forget to show some school pride and make sure you represent Cornell well. Even if we lose the game, there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home late in the day after a long, hard night, and knowing that its not the result, but the trip that makes it all worthwhile.

Everett Hullverson is a Sun assistant sports editor. Chew on This will appear every other Friday this semester.

Archived article by Everett Hullverson