Welcome to the best four years of your life, Class of 2009. All of you have been given a unique opportunity — make the most of it. For all of you nerds out there who need to get straight As, go have some drinks at a fraternity party once in a while, and all you party animals, try to actually open a book once a month. It’ll be hard, but it’ll save you from a 2.0 GPA after a semester. Believe me, I’ve been there.
As far as Cornell sports are concerned, they are just as unique as the opportunity you’ve been given. Of course we have football, basketball and baseball, but we also have squash, crew and equestrian.
So right now, I’d like to introduce you, the incoming freshman class, to some of the things that make Cornell sports what they are — very different from the average college campus. But, then again, it makes sense that Cornell doesn’t have a standard athletic program, because Cornell isn’t just any old average university.
So when you walk by Schoellkopf Field on a Friday evening this fall and you are very embarrassed to see that members of your school’s football team look more like the “Little Giants” than the New York Giants, don’t fret. It’s actually the sprint football team, where the average male, like me (I play tailback), can play football. And believe me, we play just like your typical goons of the gridiron, so long as we are under 172 lbs. before game time.
Speaking of weight limits, on your walk you may come across a large facility with red mats lining the inside of it. No, it isn’t where they play basketball (those honors go to Newman Arena in Bartels Hall). That building is what we call the Friedman Wrestling Center. It’s the only facility in the nation that was built solely for wrestling. Again, wrestling might only be something you want to do late on a Saturday night with a drunk girl, but trust me, a wrestling match is like no other experience. Another thing to note about it is that the Red finished fourth in the nation last year. Travis Lee ’05, who won two national titles during his time at Cornell may be gone, but there’s talk that there are a couple grapplers in of the Class of 2009 that have aspirations of rewriting the record books themselves.
Anyway, I am sure all of you know that Cornell sports’ claim to fame is its hockey team. But do any of you not from Canada actually know what icing is? And no, it’s not something that goes on the top of a cake. Well, it is, just not in a hockey sense. My point is, learn hockey before you claim you are Cornell’s biggest fan — or else you’ll look real stupid. Also, if you are going to be “Lynah Faithful,” make sure at the very least you learn the alma mater. And if you sit in section B, make sure you learn ALL of the chants, otherwise the real big hockey dorks will get on your case. Frankly, I think the best way to watch a hockey game is to get … oh, right, there are parents reading this. You guys get my point.
Another “must-see” event is a crew race. They start at ungodly hours on weekend mornings, but watching the boats glide across the glistening Cayuga Lake is definitely a sight to be seen.
So is a polo match. Talk about unique. Anyone ever hear of a chukker? Don’t worry, I never did either. Let’s just say it’s polo’s equivalent to a quarter in basketball (remember future Lynahites, hockey has periods because there are only three. It’s like having two halftimes — stupid Canadiens). Anyway, just to see the horses poop all over the place is worth going to a polo match for me. Oh, by the way, the men won the national title and the women placed second. So it’s not just polo, it’s top-quality polo. Ralph Lauren if you will.
Anyway, I could go on for a while with this, so I’ll leave you with a few more unique Cornell sporting events to try before your time is up here. Go to a baseball game, you may find Bill Nye ’77 who rode to Hoy Field on his bike, or Jessup Fields to see hundreds of coeds playing intramurals (you can even join them).
And finally, run on the field after the first football game, tailgate for Homecoming, throw some fish (oops, wasn’t supposed to say that) when the hockey team plays Harvard and enjoy all of what Cornell has to offer.
Chris Mascaro is the Sun Sports Editor. He May Be Tall will appear every other Friday this semester.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro