February 9, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemonade, Ask for Lady Gaga

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Last Monday morning was, by all accounts, not one of my best showings. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning Sunday night following the traditional marathon editing session at the Sun, and by the time my 10:10 Intro to Sociology course rolled around, I was in a near-zombie state.

An hour later I could be found huddled in an Olin Library easy chair (let’s be honest, they’re the poor man’s La-Z-Boy), slipping in and out of consciousness, a rapidly cooling latte inches from my limp grasp. The librarians no doubt were wondering if they should alert a medical professional. It was in this daze I had a vision. It was a glorious, shining vision. I saw Cornell’s men’s basketball team somehow making a national rankings poll.

Suddenly, with a jolt and a gasp, I awoke. Managing editor Ben Eisen, a few feet away from me at the time, can attest to the fact that I literally spasmed awake, adrenaline flooding my limbs. Conditioned by years of crack-of-dawn shifts opening Cornell’s fitness centers, I now have the waking tendencies of a First Responder. It’s a blessing. And a curse.

But the really strange thing was, my dream had actually come true. What? Impossible! But yes, there it was, splashed gaudily across the back page of The Sun. Top 25. Cornell.

Oh. My. God.

A week has come and gone since then, and not only has the basketball team (I want to write we but I’ll try to restrain myself) held onto its ranking, but it has actually moved to No. 22 in the ESPN poll and No. 27 in the AP rankings.

Now, I’m sure you’re all shaking your heads out there right about now; old news Meredith. Well, maybe you knew we’re ranked, but I’m willing to bet you haven’t really contemplated the many hidden benefits of this wondrous occasion. Sure, from a university perspective, this basketball season is like having Christmas, Hanukah and [fill in your own blank here] coincide simultaneously. Oh, and everyone in your family is bringing you cash. Exciting, good sports programs raise the profile of the entire school. And for an Ivy League program, handicapped by an inability to grant athletic scholarships, to be this exciting and this good makes the achievement all the more fantastic. Blah, blah, blah. Luckily for you, I have moved on from this obvious point to really get at all those hidden benefits you may have overlooked. I am now going to share my brainstorming with all of you, my dear, dear readers. Think of it as your first Valentine! XOXO

First of all, am I the only one who is ecstatic to see another sport break the stranglehold on Ithaca’s weekend nightlife? Seriously, it’s time all of those smug little hockey fans (men’s hockey mind you, not women’s) stop hogging CTB’s barstools starting at 5 p.m. on Fridays. Now basketball fans, too, have a reason to put on a stripy scarf and go get their drink on early, too, thank goodness. Not that I condone in any way attending sporting events intoxicated. Personally, I would never do such a thing — except for polo tourneys, which I only attend intoxicated — but for those who are so inclined, at least we’ve got some of that famous Cornell diversity back.

Another thing I love about this whole hullabaloo is how it forces the sports department to liven up its back cover. As someone required to read the Sports section every day I cannot tell you what a relief it is to not have the same old same old box format staring at me when I pick it up in Olin Café. I mean, have you looked at it recently? What colors! What pictures! What headlines! In a word: epic.

You know what else is epic? Jeff Foote’s shoe size. The next Nike spokesperson? I think so. Scholar athletes really are in vogue right now, and why wouldn’t they be: smart, talented, what’s not to love. I’m thinking Foote gets his own dunks, in striking Cornellian red and white, of course. But why stop there? I’m thinking we should ride this gravy train as far as it takes us. I’m thinking, free stuff. We’re Big Time now, and I demand Big Time giveaways at games. None of this piddly T-Shirt stuff. Boring. The next person who makes a halftime shot wins a new Jeep! And everyone in attendance scores Beatles Guitar Hero, including the full drum set. Helllooo, we’re CORNELL, ever heard of us?! We’re kind of like, a Big Red Deal.

And that’s just for starters. I challenge you all to go out and find your own reasons why being No. 22 in the country is the best thing since Carrie Underwood’s latest CD. Seek and ye shall find, dear readers, seek and ye shall find.

If I leave you with nothing else, however, I want you to remember this: in our brave new world, everything and anything is possible. To prove it to you, I’m going to close my eyes and count to ten. When I open them, I will be back in Olin, with Ben Eisen standing over me, telling me it’s official, Lady Gaga will be performing at my final Slope Day…

Original Author: Meredith Bennett-Smith