February 5, 2009

A Senior’s Solution For February Sports Rut

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So, the Super Bowl has come and gone (with less than desirable results) and now we enter into the annual sports rut (a.k.a February) that encompasses the time between the NFL’s version of the big dance and the excitement surrounding March Madness. It is a tragic time that is characterized by endless discussions of basketball on SportsCenter and Top-10 Highlights that all look exactly the same.
To take my mind off the boredom and my schoolwork, I’ve taken advantage of my senior status to try out some “alternative” sports. Basically, this means that whenever I want to do something athletic that doesn’t involve Noyes or my club hockey team, I say something to the effect of, “I’m a senior, I may never get to do this again,” and off I go. Some of you may already enjoy some of the exciting alternative sports that Ithaca has to offer, but to those who’ve been putting it off, or those who live under a rock, I’ve decided to dedicate a mini-series to convincing the masses to try something “active” other than (or in addition to) beer pong.
To the avid skiers among us, you can probably just stop reading now, but to those who have never been to the miraculous local “mountain” known to most as Greek Peak, I recommend you consider the following information. Not to be confused with Mt. Olympus, Greek Peak is only 35 minutes away from our little Ithacan bubble. As a bonus, as you travel to the peak, you can enjoy the pastoral quality of the surrounding area and point excitedly at herds of cattle and the occasional horse standing nobly in the snow-covered fields.
Upon arrival, you must first overcome the major obstacle of obtaining a ski pass and some skis. This activity is almost a sport in itself and involves moving from one line to the next until eventually you are shoved out a back door into the blinding glare of the sun and snow.
The beauty of Greek Peak is that although the actual slopes are not so challenging (I can say this because I have only been skiing three times in my life) when compared to ski resorts in places like Vail, Colo. or the Canadian Rockies, there are many other unexpected challenges that add excitement to the endeavor.
To add as much daredevil excitement to your day on the slope as possible, I recommend you try the forest trails which are connected to the black diamonds and preempted by signs reading, “Thin Cover” and something about not skiing in places if you don’t know how to ski “in nature.” I always advocate upping the ante, especially if you are not so hot at, you know, controlling your skis. Or stopping. I promise, the experience will certainly be more exciting than watching anymore NBA replays, at the very least. Plus, black diamonds do not make you look nearly as tough or athletic as skiing in “nature.”
If you are truly missing the excitement of sports catastrophes and controversies, you can supplement your experience in a variety of ways. Riding the chairlift provides endless highlight reel-worthy entertainment. For example, you could watch as your friend leaps off the chairlift after it has already started moving in an attempt to coral a rogue ski, subsequently causing the halting of the entire chairlift for almost five minutes. The entertainment value of a situation like this could make up for numerous days of monotonous basketball games or hockey game blackouts, not to mention the dreary weather also associated with your sports-induced depression. Do not be worried, however, if you are lacking in endearingly clumsy friends, you can count on some other unsuspecting patron of Greek Peak to do something equally hilarious and embarrassing for your benefit and enjoyment.
Finally, if all else fails, you can always make sport out of dodging small children and infuriating their parents. Endangering the well being of young people could get you into a lot of trouble with angry redneck fathers and, of course, the law. But hey, you are on a mission to find entertainment, and in defense of this goal, unfaltering determination is considered a desirable quality by most.
No matter how you seek entertainment at Greek Peak, I think it’s important to make your way out past the Hamlet of Varna and Dryden to this (largely fake) snow oasis before you graduate. As my senior year is winding down, it’s becoming increasingly clear that ESPN.com will always be there, but Greek Peak and other unusual sport opportunities may not.