April 19, 2005

Joy and Excitement of Cornell Athletics

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It’s Sunday evening here on the Arts Quad. The sun is setting, and just a few people are walking around. They’re talking about how nice the weather has been, or about the new baseball season. Some are heading home, others to the library; some are going to the Jimmy Eat World concert. Soon, the night will reluctantly arrive, and a new week of class will begin.

Earlier today, students were throwing around baseballs and Frisbees. They had left their books at home — if only for an afternoon — and found a kind of comfort, and joy, in a simple game of catch. They were out enjoying the new season, and the beauty of our reborn Cornell.

After all, it seems like everything around here is new. There’s a new sense of life, and of possibility. Even our ancient buildings look different — with cloud shadows moving along the old stone walls, surrounded by the green hues of the campus.

Everyone walks around the quad this evening with a certain kind of dignity, a kind of pride, like a champion athlete. Another week is over, another round of life complete. They have fought hard — and today, they return to their little corner of the ring, getting ready for the next round. Because tomorrow, they must go back onto the uncertain canvas once more.

But right now, you can sense a real magic to a day like this. In a way, it reminds me of a great varsity Cornell game. It’s an energy, an awareness of life.

It was like that last Tuesday, when the men’s lacrosse team beat Syracuse, 16-14, at the Carrier Dome.

Today, you can read the stats and quotes, look at a photo or two — try to get a real sense of the game.

But, a game is more than that. It’s about the small moments when everything comes together — when the defense stops an attack, or when a team works perfectly as one.

Sometimes we forget about the kind of art that Cornell athletes create. It’s an honest art — an art of vitality, and courage. And their art is never easy; it comes from hard work and determination.

Cornell athletes dedicate their lives to small moments. And they know their efforts may never lead to championships or fame. But they fight on, always believing that their work can add up to something great. They keep going — looking for happiness in their time here.

The students on the quad today wanted to know a little of that joy — when they threw around a baseball, or when they laughed under the heat of the sun.

This afternoon, they were able to find some kind of meaning in those small moments. And now, tonight, the sun is almost down, and the air is getting cool. A few lights have turned on across the green yard. Maybe over there you can see an athlete — and maybe he’s thinking of the season gone by.

He’ll think about the good moments really — the moments of joy and exhilaration. The times when he said, this is how life should be, and when the future seemed full of promise.

And that joy — that world of possibility and hope — well, you never want it to end. And now, as the sun finally goes down, you think maybe, in some way, it never will.

Ted Nyman is a Sun Staff Writer. Fast Times will appear every other Tuesday this semester.

Archived article by Ted Nyman