April 20, 2011

10 Questions With Libby Johnson

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For this edition of 10 Questions, Katie Schubauer sits down with women’s lacrosse senior attacker Libby Johnson. They discuss the roundabout origin of her jersey number, talk about her team nicknames and explore her inner fashionista.

1.    Libby, you are the senior captain of the Cornell women’s lacrosse team. What has Cornell lacrosse meant to you over the course of your collegiate career?

It’s definitely been my biggest involvement at Cornell. It’s meant so much to me … [and] opened a lot of doors both at Cornell and after graduation. It’s given me a chance to meet the people that I know I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.

How did you first become involved in lacrosse?

I’m from Skaneateles in central New York — it’s kind of a hotbed for lacrosse. So, I started when I was in fourth grade with my gym teacher. She started a camp and I just loved it ever since. I played all through high school and I knew I wanted to play in college.

You are No. 44. Is that a significant number?

The way the coaches did it was they sent us an email saying whoever responded first would get the first pick of numbers. I really wanted No. 8, but I never checked my email in high school, so I didn’t see that [email] until it was too late. There were a couple left and in Syracuse, [the number] 44 is relevant because it was Jim Brown’s — a really famous football player who went to S.U. So, out of all of them, I thought that was the coolest one.

Who is your favorite teammate?

I’d have to say my favorite teammate is [senior defender] Cara Grealy. She’s the only other senior who’s made it four years with me. We started with 10 in our class as freshmen. She’s sort of like my rock on the team, [since] she’s the other senior. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m excited to finish it out with her this year. The rest of the team is awesome, though. I’m really close with everyone on the team. Caressi — that’s [what junior defender] Cacki [Helmer] and [junior attacker] Jessi [Steinberg] call themselves because it’s a combination of their names — are the other two captains and they have been awesome. Awesome awesome awesome to work with this year. They’re great.

So I hear the women’s lacrosse team will be attending Slope Day for the first time this year.

Yeah! It’s the first time that I, or any of the current women’s lacrosse players, will be attending Slope Day. So, I don’t know if we know what’s going to hit us.

What are your expectations?

I don’t really have any expectations other than I think we have to get up early? I don’t really know what to expect. Some of my housemates have been before and we just ordered pinnies last night. But honestly, with the thirty of us lacrosse players out on the slope, it’s going to be kind of crazy because we won’t know what to do.

2.      Apparently you have some state of the art practice underwear. Do you care to elaborate?

(Laughing) Yup, I have practice underwear. Everyone else just comes to the locker room and changes casually into their stuff, but I have special, sporty underwear that is crucial to my success at practice for sure. I never forget it. It’s ALWAYS in the locker room.

3.      Is it true that you have a sweating problem?

(Laughing) Some people might consider it a problem, but I just feel like if you are working hard, you’re sweating hard.

So you must work hard all the time.

(Laughing) Yeah, I work really hard. I would also call out [junior defender] Cacki and [freshman defender] Meg Helmer. If you’re sweating a lot, we always say, “You’re sweating like a Helmer.” The two of them always get really sweaty. [Junior midfielder] Shannon McHugh also always calls me out when we get back to the locker room if my sporty underwear is sweaty.

4.      What is your favorite part of game day?

My favorite part of game day is definitely the tailgate. I had a nickname in high school — “Tailgate Johnson” — that my assistant coach gave me because one time at half-time we were beating a team by a lot and I wasn’t really paying attention. I was like “I can’t wait for the tailgate!” I was saying it really loud, and he turned around and was like, “Libby, we still have half the game left.” Whenever we end the game at Cornell, I try to start a tailgate chant because the food’s great [and] the people are great. It’s just the best part.

So besides “Tailgate Johnson,” what other nicknames do you have on the team?

I have a lot of nicknames. One of my nicknames is “Bil.” My friend, Tilly, likes to reverse everything and Lib backwards is Bil and then Bil just turned into an ugly guys name, so it’s kind of funny to call me that. “Jib Jab.” Shannon McHugh calls me “Jib Jab.” You know those things online where you can “elf yourself” and they say “Jib Jab!” really loud and fast? Yeah, so she just does that all the time. “Libby J,” “Jibby,” and “Libby J. Honey” are what the freshmen call me.

5.      Would you consider yourself to have a good memory?


Apparently, though, you are notorious for forgetting things. Some teammates highlighted a specific incident freshmen year…

(Laughing) This was one of my low points of Cornell Lacrosse. Freshmen always have duties — we basically have to do everything. We went on a trip to Notre Dame. It was our last trip of the season and I was responsible for the obviously expensive, really nice video camera equipment. We got off the plane and I realized I didn’t have it. We were already through security and everything, so I was obviously sh—ing my pants. So, I went up to the senior captain thinking she would know what to do. She said she would try to take care of it and went to talk to one of the assistant coaches who gave me a death stare. I just kind of had to hide in the corner. At the end they were like “We’re not giving you this equipment responsibility ever again” and in my head, I was thinking, “Alright, sweet. I guess that worked out.”

6.      What are some of your guilty pleasures?

T.V. So many guilty pleasure T.V. shows. Probably our biggest activity in our house is watching T.V. We watch the Kardashians — that’s one of our favorites. We watch the Real Housewives of every city — it’s DVRed no matter what. American Idol is DVRed no matter what. Basically, anything on TLC.

What about cream cheese? I hear you’re a big fan.

(Laughing) Definitely a guilty pleasure. But, I don’t really feel that guilty about it — I’m just obsessed with it. Whenever I buy cream cheese at CTB or something, I ask my friends how much I should buy and they tell me one thing. Then, I always have to double whatever they say because I eat it so much.

And you really like “floppy braids?” What is that all about?

Love floppy braids. We call it a “brony” when you have your hair in a ponytail and then you braid the ponytail. So whenever I have a brony, if I don’t have pieces falling out it, I get really upset. So, I always ask teammates if it’s floppy enough. The best kind of braid is when you really can’t even tell that it’s a braid anymore because there are so many floppy pieces.

7.      What is your favorite type of music to dance to?

Just Dance — the video game — is one of our favorite activities. There is a song on there called “Rasputin,” which is a song no one has ever heard of. But it’s this Russian — I don’t really even know what to call it — it’s like this Russian song with the best dance moves. So I think that’s my favorite.

8.      I hear you have a nail salon in the house. Is that true?

Yeah, we have a nail salon. We’re obsessed with nail polish. There are four of us: me, Cara, [junior midfielder] Katie Kirk, and Tilly — she’s not on the team anymore, but she lives with us. We just love nail polish. Whenever we go to Wegman’s for groceries, we pick up a couple things of nail polish and we have it in this big bowl on our living room table and we’ll always say things like, “I need salon hours tonight.” We never have our nails plain or else we feel naked. The salon is even open in the morning. Just ask Cara — she usually runs it then.

9.      Co-captain, Jessi Steinberg, would like you to explain what doing “Kegels in your Teagles” entails.

(Laughing) Yeah, so it’s an exercise that helps the womanly muscles. You basically have to squeeze your peeing muscles and it helps you if you to not have to pee and it also helps during … you know … pleasureful times. Jessi one time was telling me to do the Kegels in my Teagles in the middle of the training room. I don’t think she understood that it wasn’t something you should yell in the training room. So Cody — the guys’ lacrosse trainer — and all these guys were in there and she’s yelling this across the room. I just didn’t really say anything — I was just standing there laughing. And then Cody came over to help me with something and was like, “Excuse me, I don’t want to interrupt any of your exercises.” So, it was very embarrassing. I had to tell Jessi after that she couldn’t yell it.

It’s nice for a team to be able to have a good relationship with staff and coaches. How would you describe your team’s relationship with Cody?

We have a great relationship with Cody!  He’s young, fun and likes to party.  He’s always in the training room when we’re getting our treatments and is always willing to help … especially when you need ice wrapped somewhere like your back.

10.  Which other Cornell team do you like to hang out with the most?

Probably the baseball team. Our class was really close with them coming in, and throughout the years, we’ve stayed really good friends with a lot of the baseball guys. As a team, a lot of the girls catch waves … and right now they’re riding the football wave.

Original Author: Katie Schubauer