The last day of class has come and gone, and with it a year of Columbia sports marked by unusual success: some of our vaunted athletic squads have indeed emerged atop the Ivy League pissing match. For those of you watching at home or not watching at all, don’t feel bad—all the winning teams compete in sports that most people see only in the Olympics, if ever. In case you’re ever forced to answer the question, “How did the Lions do this year?”, Bwog generalist CML presents a lightning recap of 2006-2007 Columbia sports.
Football: The football team garnered widespread attention and critical acclaim by sucking far less than it normally does, clawing its way to a 3-0 non-conference record against hardcore competition from Fordham, Georgetown, and Iona, and even mauling two out of seven of our fellow Ivy collegian-cracksquads for a final record of 5-5. Columbia’s small community of sports fans is still wondering how they pulled that off, given the offense’s utter inability to score and propensity to fuck up at critical junctures, but then again, most people at Columbia are unable to score because they fuck up at critical junctures. Look for Coach Norries “John Coffee” Wilson to magically whip quarterbacks Craig “Tom Hanks” Hormann and Millicent “No Green Mile Analogy” Olawale into shape for our viewing pleasure.
Men’s Basketball: The basketball team ascended to unprecedented heights of mediocrity, finishing with a 16-12 record (7-7 in Ivy play). Most discouraging were the two drubbings that the Lions received at the troglodytic hands of Penn; most encouraging is the fact that Penn loses its best players – including the awesome Ibrahim Jaaber – and Columbia loses nobody whatsoever, leading Bwog to believe that, with the Lions’ ethnic and skillwise diversity (Baumann, Nwachukwu, Matsui, et al.), they can come together to form one Light-Blue Rainbow Coalition that will send the rest of the Ivies to anti-oppression training and finally reach the first round of the NCAA tournament, where they will once again lose by 43 to Duke.
OTHER SPORTS AFTER THE JUMP
Archery: Finished first in some esoteric category in the only event where they have a “team score”; national championships May 17-20.
Baseball: Concluded the season a couple days ago with a 16-28 record—and an aggregate ERA that would put Heathcliff Slocumb to shame. Undoubtedly their most impressive accomplishment was managing to get a tie in a sport that does not have ties, which hasn’t happened outside tee-ball since … the 2002 MLB All-Star Game.
Women’s Basketball: Finished 8-20, the first season in quite a while that they have been worse than both the men and the football team. On the bright side, they avoided being fingered as “nappy-headed hos”; and junior Brittney Carfora shot a ridiculous 51 percent from behind the arc, making her NCAA Division I’s leading trifecta-launcher.
Cross Country: Men’s and women’s teams placed second and second in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and fifth and fourth in the NCAA regionals; actually worse than how they did last year. At least they had something interesting to say afterwards: “Honestly, I just tried to finish,” junior Carmen Ballard said. “I stayed back in the second pack most of the race, then finished strong. I passed one runner at the end.” Cicero would be proud.
Cycling: Finished third in the country, which is an impressive feat if you consider that all of the Lions have two testicles and none of them took any steroids and lied about it for seven years while maintaining an aura of cancer-survivor heroism. Wheaties-box appearances may still be in the cards.
Fencing: Always a bright spot in a field of gloom, both men’s and women’s fencing teams performed admirably, foiling, sabering, and epéeing their way to two third-place finishes and a shitload of Spectator coverage. Sophomore Daria Schneider won the national saber championship, entitling her to bragging rights and a warm, fuzzy sense of accomplishment, while freshman Alex Rudnicki won Assassins, entitling him to $500 and an infinitely greater measure of campus recognition.
Field Hockey: A 7-10 overall record belies the less respectable 1-6 Ivy finish in this gentlewomanly sport played in Northeastern prep schools the world over. Hopefully the Lions can find more recruits from New Canaan and Greenwich to bolster their chances next year.
Golf: Another bastion of Lions awesomeness. The men took third at the Ivy championships, while the women won it all, vanquishing Harvard, Yale, and even polo-shirted Princeton. Junior Chris Condello and Sophomore Sara Ovadia each won individual titles, making them both the number one WASPs of the most WASPish sport in the most WASPish athletic conference.
Hockey: Ignited a campus-wide controversy by almost being barred from playing due to a recruitment poster that said “Don’t be a pussy,” drawing the wrath of the capricious AD M. Dianne Murphy and generating more publicity than all the Other Sports combined.
Lacrosse: The NCAA-sanctioned women’s lacrosse team went an impressive 0-7 in Ivy League play and 5-10 overall. Men’s lacrosse, which Title IX has condemned to club sportdom, won the National College Lacrosse League championship by conquering such powerhouses as SUNY Cortlandt and our papist neighbors to the north, Fordham.
Crew: Men’s heavyweight and women’s have up to this point had rather undistinguished seasons, which is significantly better than men’s lightweight. One race remains before the national championship regatta in Camden, N.J., which will juxtapose the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking spectators with the deprived residents of the most dangerous city in America.
Softball: Finished 8-12 in Ivy play. Collected 22 wins overall (and 26 losses), which is probably more than the number of male spectators to have ever watched a softball game at Baker Field.
Swimming and Diving: The men’s team went 3-4 in league play, if you can call competing in a “sport” at the Division I level that consists of chlorine-laden, Hellenically-streamlined, shaven bodies flinging themselves through turgid waters “playing.” The women’s team also went 3-4 in what outside observers generally agree requires too much raw athleticism for a Columbia team to be excellent at it.
Tennis: The men sent the Penn cave-dwellers back to the Stone Age a couple of days ago, earning themselves a berth in the NCAA tournament through Roger Federer-like force of will. Unlike Federer, they will probably lose there in the first round.
Track and Field: Savannah lions can outrun meerkats, gazelles, and the occasional wildebeest; Columbia Lions cannot outrun anyone. Meat, er, meet finishes generally ranged from bad to awful, though perhaps poachers can be blamed for the Lions’ being
Volleyball: The volleyball team remains, like the lacrosse team, a Title IX technicality. Unlike the lacrosse team, they actually won a conference match, though they had twice as many tries and a thousand more yards of Spandex in which to do it.
Wrestling: The wrestling team was by and large pretty OK. Senior Matt Palmer concluded his career by finishing eighth in the NCAA finals, after which he will either fade into anonymity or become the protagonist of an Updike novel.
Bwog exhorts you to come back next year to build moral fiber by rooting for Columbia University athletics. Or, if you’re a graduating senior or an alumnus, don’t come back at all, because it’s creepy and you’d be better off watching your kid’s micro-soccer game, for both the energy of the crowds and the overall quality of play.
“Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until that feeling goes away.” – Robert Maynard Hutchins, University of Chicago President, 1929-1945