November 28, 2012

TOLEDO | Big Red Takeover

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It seems only appropriate that my last column of the semester be about something Big Red related. Aside from spending some quality time with some great friends of mine in New York City this Thanksgiving break, I made sure to buy my ticket to watch the Red play the Michigan Wolverines at Madison Square Garden for The Frozen Apple. This will definitely go down as one of the best sports experiences of my life. Not only did I get to go to MSG for the first time, I also got to spend it with some awesome friends and fellow Cornellians while watching the Red smack Michigan, 5-1. The Red took it to Michigan the entire game, carrying a 3-0 lead into the 3rd period. Cornell scored again to take a 4-0 lead before Michigan finally got on the board — still down 4-1 though.  While at the Garden, I had the opportunity to see and interact with Cornellians of all ages, across multiple generations. I sat next to a couple that attended Cornell in the 60s. All around me were other alumni, from various different graduating classes. Even after so many years away from the hill, all of them were at the game cheering on the Red, showing their Cornell pride. At one point during the game, I started to feel very sentimental. As a senior, I’ve begun to give a lot of thought to what Cornell means to me, and how special this place is to me. Hearing what appeared to be a sea of red in MSG chanting, “GO BIG RED, GO BIG RED!” over and over again was amazing, and it almost felt as if time stood still. As I sat there, slightly inebriated, I began to realize how much I love Cornell. Let’s all face it, unless you’re one of those annoying kids who complains about everything — like when someone else’s vegetable ends up in your mongo at RPCC — we have to love this place. Although we get stressed out, and sometimes we feel like we’re going crazy, there is no denying how much this place should mean to us now, and especially in the long run. As I listened to the names being called out by the stadium announcer, and saw the faces on the jumbotron, I began to realize that the guys representing Cornell on the ice in MSG were the same guys we see everyday on campus. They’re the guys in our classes, the guys in our dorms. I found myself cheering them on not just because of the fact that they represent the university I love so much, but also because they were Cornellians, just like I am. Those guys are my peers, and in a much greater sense our peers. What I’m really trying to say is that we’re all Cornellians. Whether we suit up for varsity athletics or not, we’re all representatives of the same institution. It is therefore imperative that we not only coexist, but that we support each other. In an environment that has been plagued of late by bias-related and sexual assault incidents, the word “community” has been thrown around a lot regarding Cornell as a whole. The community on this campus — or lack thereof — is something that we are all a part of, simply by attending this university. In order to coexist, move forward amicably and constructively, we must be willing to support one another. What this means is that when the football team is playing, Schoellkopf should be packed with a sea of red. When the basketball team is playing, Bartels should be packed. When the track and field team has a home meet during the indoor season, Barton should be packed. Whenever any Big Red sports team is playing, all of us Cornellians should be there cheering them on.I’m not saying that athletics are going to necessarily remedy the major problems that are present in our society and on our campus. That would be naïve of me to suggest. However, sports do offer a common interest to people who may be from different walks of life. I’m sure that if you’re interested in basketball, you have not met every other person at Cornell who also is. Cornell athletics can present opportunities to meet new people, interact with them, and join with them to lend your support to a team of athletes that represents the same university you all attend. Coming together to support athletics is something that we should all be willing and able to do. Although it won’t solve all the issues we face everyday, at least it’s a start.

Original Author: Juan Carlos Toledo