March 12, 2012

ALUMNI PERSPECTIVES: The Disconnect for Cornell Grads

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Maybe it’s just me, but it’s hard out here for an alum. I’m not talking about jobs, rent, grad school, or the much higher drink prices in real life than in the Collegetown bubble. But the longer it’s been since graduation — the longer it’s been since the last time you saw your favorite Cornell team play at Lynah or Newman or Friedman — the harder it is to stay up-to-date on Red athletics.

This thought has been in my mind more and more with all the March Madness, ECAC and Frozen Four talk, so I was happy to hear that the Cornell baseball team would be visiting my town — playing two doubleheaders against George Washington University in D.C. on March 10 and 11.

So Sunday came. It was a ridiculously beautiful day in Washington, and I was able to catch the end of Game 1 (which we lost, 4-3, in the Red’s first loss of the year) and enough of Game 2 to know that the Red was on track for the win (12-3). The G.W. starter was completely rattled from the start, visibly upset at himself, and Cornell chased him from the game in the second inning. Four innings later, the Red had scored eight runs and I left with that awesome fan feeling of witnessing a decisive win.

But something bothered me: When I saw sophomore right fielder Chris Cruz hit a two-run homer in the top of the first, I realized that I had no idea who the hell this guy was. He wasn’t on the roster when I was at school, so I really had no idea what kind of player he was besides the basic expectations that come with the cleanup spot.

I’m not saying that I or any other Cornellian stop being fans as soon as we leave Ithaca and stop knowing anything about the teams. Of course the passion doesn’t go away — I’ll brag about my Cornell teams until I die. I’m just observing, at least in my case, that it’s easy to feel kind of disconnected. Life is busy. Not all of us have the time or the money to go to Ithaca for games, to pay for that Redcast subscription service and watch Cornell sports live online, or by some miracle to catch that extremely rare and random game on TV.

And when I’m not on campus to see Chris Wroblewski run the offense and launch clutch 3’s for men’s basketball, not at Lynah to see the women’s hockey team make it to the Frozen Four in a triple overtime thriller, a glance at game stats and the occasional game recap aren’t enough to make me feel that same obsession, that same sense that I know the styles and tendencies of every Red player on the court, field, or track. (Not saying that I actually knew any of that while I was in Ithaca, but “hometown” fans always feel like they know everything about their team…haha.)

Your Duke and Kentucky and Georgetown fans, they have it easy. They’re on television ALL THE TIME. Cornell alums, let’s fight the “out of sight, out of mind” plague. Look out for Red teams coming to towns near you. It will reenergize that inner Cornell fan that gets crushed under deadlines at work and those unimportant sporting events — like watching a certain Harvard alum on the Knicks. If nothing else, it’ll be a nice couple of hours in the sun.

Original Author: Allie Perez