March 3, 2005

The Pretty Toney Column

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As I’ve noted before in this very paper, there was once a very strange time when Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs was the biggest deal in the world solely based on musical merit, not because he’d just killed someone, not because he was dating Jennifer Lopez, not even because he was the man who introduced the world to such indomitable rap talents as Freddrick, Babs Bunny and Young City. I was in eighth grade at the time. Seriously, it was crazy.

My entire junior high (and I’m sure I’m not alone here) was obsessed with Puff Daddy. Some tool in my homeroom had a red Yankees hat just like the one Puffy donned in the “Mo Money, Mo Problems” video. This was when fashionable, colored hats were somewhat rare and it had only been a year since every young boy I knew drew a 311 logo on his backpack with a Sharpie marker.

Armed with warehouses full of Notorious B.I.G. master tapes, Puff Daddy was able to maintain his astounding level of popularity. And I remember no song being a bigger deal than “Victory,” with its ambitious video, lyrics and production. I don’t know how many times I heard someone say “this song is so awesome,” despite the fact that Busta Rhymes had a verse.

I hated that song, and to be honest, the only reason I’m writing about it is to carry out a shameless attempt toward gaining some recognition for those who contributed to the Cornell track teams’ wins this weekend at the Heps, the Ivy League championship meet. The men have won four of the last five titles, and for the women, it was their seventh in a row. In a country where the only two widely acknowledged and respected running achievements are breaking four minutes in the mile and completing a marathon, it’s easy for such successes to be overlooked or ignored.

The weekend was filled with many impressive performances. For me, however, the clear highlights were Oliver Tassinari winning the mile and Sam Mackenzie winning the 1000. I’ll never forget when, as we walked off the bus to enter the meet on Sunday, Oliver put his arm around Sam and said, “Yo, the sun don’t shine forever, but as long as it’s here then we might as well shine together.” Sam concurred with Oliver, and the rest was history. Their victories were the culmination of four continuous years of commitment and perseverance, and I was proud to have been their teammate. Seldom have two Heps champions been so deserving.

Archived article by Ross McGowan
Sun Staff Writer