October 12, 2011

Ten Questions with Christine Ordway

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For this edition of 10 Questions, Sun Columnist Katie Schubauer sits down with junior women’s tennis player Christine Ordway. They discuss the pronunciation of Ordway’s name, her most hated text message and the number after 25.

1. Christine, you are a junior on the Cornell women’s tennis team. What has tennis meant to you over the course of your college career?

Well for me, it was my first group of friends at school. I didn’t know anyone coming to Cornell, so I was really nervous. My high school was really small. We had about 64 kids in my graduating class, so for me, tennis helped a lot with the transition. The girls are my family here at school. They are my 11 best friends and the first people I turn to. It has probably been one of my best experiences at Cornell.

Is it true that after practice you sometimes demand massages?

[Laughing] Occasionally, yes. Usually after matches, but yeah. I always say it’s a bonding activity. Give the captain of your team or an upperclassman a massage.

You also apparently tell teammates when they should shower. Is that true?

Well, we have some issues with some people on our team who don’t shower enough. I don’t think this specific person would be too happy if I said her name, so she will remain unnamed, but if you are reading this, you know who you are. Occasionally I’ll get mad at her because she hasn’t showered in a few days and I will tell her to shower. It has happened more than once. I’m just making sure she uses proper hygiene.

Who is your favorite teammate?

I’m definitely closest to the two other juniors on the team, [Sarah O’Neil] and [Kirsten Kohagen]. They have been sort of my best friends throughout my college career here. We started out as freshmen together and we’ve gotten to know each other the past three years so I’m probably the closest with them. Favorite freshman is yet to be determined.

2. Your name is pronounced “Christina” even though it is spelled “Christine.” What is your reaction when people pronounce it incorrectly?

I’m not a huge fan of “Christine.” Ever since I was little, my mom has drilled it into me, “Don’t let people call you that!” It’s a little confusing because obviously it is spelled with an “e” at the end, but I use the Norwegian pronunciation, and a lot of people don’t get it. But I usually correct people pretty quickly and aggressively if you get it wrong.

Some of your teammates have said they like to think you have two personalities, Christine and Chris­tina. Can you explain this?

[Laughing] Well I’m kind of silly and hopefully pretty fun to be around. But Christine is my very serious self — the person who comes out when I really want to get stuff done, or when I’m a little upset. So you want to watch out for Christine. Christina is my normal self — a little more fun.

3. You are Norwegian, but rumor has it you are obsessed with Maine. Is that true?

Yes. I have lived in Maine my whole life. I was born in Maine. My mom is Norwegian, but I love Maine. I think it is one of the best states around. I keep trying to convince our coach to go to a tournament there, but he is not down. I love Maine and I think it is the best state.

What does Maine have to offer that makes it so great?

It is beautiful. I love it in the summer and in the winter. I like snow and I like having all four seasons. It is really safe. I don’t know — I just love it. I want to move back there when I’m older or at least have a house there.

Have you seen many aliens in Maine?

[Laughing] The story behind that is that we were at a match at Harvard and my mom sent me a text. Keep in mind she is Norwegian, so her spelling is a little weird and her phrases are a little weird. But she took a photo over the tennis center and there was a weird light going on and she thought it looked like aliens. I made the mistake of showing some of my teammates the text and now it is a running joke how my mom thinks there are aliens in Maine.

4. What number comes after 25?

Twenty-sikth. I can’t say it. I’ve never been able to say it. I don’t know why. I can’t say the “th” sound. It’s a weird thing.

Is that because you are Nor­wegian?

I don’t know. Supposedly I have an accent. I don’t really hear it, but ever since my freshman year, my coach has said that I have a thick accent. We had a girl from Colombia on our team and he claimed my accent was worse than hers. I think I just pronounce some words a little differently, maybe because my mom did or something. That number is one of them that I get made fun of for.

5. Would you consider yourself a good singer?

I would, but most people probably disagree. We used to play this game when we were travelling called Pop Star, where you put your headphones in and you crank up the music, but only you can hear it. Then you sing as best you can. It was sort of to see who was the best singer and I always lost, so I guess, technically, I’m pretty bad. But I like to sing.

6. Word on the street is you really like a certain ethnicity of babies. Is that true?

I love Asian babies. I think they are really cute. I guess I have kind of a weird obsession with them. I tend to take photos when I see them and send them to people. It is not as weird as it sounds, I swear. I just think they are really cute.

Will that affect your choice of spouse in the future?

[Laughing] Yeah, maybe. I would love to have an Asian baby, but we’ll see.

7. What would you do if someone texted you, “Hey, what’s up?”

That is my least favorite text. I just think it is really annoying and really unnecessary, so I tend not to respond or give a really bratty text back. I don’t know — I just don’t like it, so don’t text me that.

What would you prefer?

Ask me something legitimate, like a question. “Hey, what’s up?” I feel like there is nothing there.

What if someone genuinely wants to know what you are up to, or just wants to start a conversation with you?

Well ask me something more. I have nothing to say to that. I don’t know. I just don’t like it.

8. Please explain to readers what the “squirrel face” is.

So I guess when I hit my forehand, I look really uncoordinated in almost every photo and I guess I make a grimace as I am hitting it, so I look like I have buckteeth like a squirrel. So in any photo of me in The Sun or up on our tennis wall, I look ridiculous.

I apologize for that. I will try to tell our photographers to use more flattering photos.

Thank you. But I don’t even think it is possible with my forehand. I look so uncoordinated and squirrel-like.

9. Is it true that you are obsessed with Shark Week?

Yes, I love Shark Week. It is my favorite week of the year. One of my roommates from over the summer, Dana, and I sat and watched it eight hours a day when we were both here. We had nothing else to do, so it felt a lot like it was just us and sharks all week up in Ithaca.

How does one defend oneself against a shark attack?

I know how! Dana and I learned that while watching Shark Week. Basically, if your ship blows up, you are supposed to grab a water bottle and look through the water bottle and see if there are sharks underneath you. Oh, and you also need to grab a fishing pole or something so that you can poke them. And that will keep them away. It is easy enough and it is really good stuff to know.

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

We hang out the most with the men’s tennis team, probably. We have the most events with them. The team we’d like to hang out with is the men’s squash team. We have a little thing going with them and we’d like to get to know them a little better.

Well, you do practice very close to them, right?

We practice right next to them, yup. And as we found out in the last 10 Questions, they like a few of our freshmen girls. We would love to meet them. So that has become one of our team goals.

Original Author: Katie Schubauer