Bwog’s been spending a lot of time pondering the mysteries of Columbia lately. Baker Belittler Jon Lesser lets us know how great it would be if we had a shiny stadium instead of a smelly business school.
In the days of Columbia old, the Morningside community could gather on any given fall Saturday around South Field to watch the good old boys, your Columbia Lions, take on one of many Ivy League rivals. The marching band would play without a hint of attitude (but probably still some drunkenness), and scores of Columbia men and Barnard women would pack the stands, clad in Columbia blue and white, practically riotous with their love for sport and school. In the spring, the baseball field became the centerpiece of the campus, at one time housing the great Lou Gehrig, perhaps the most iconic New York baseball player of all time.
Since that epitome of Columbia fandom, and since the acquisition of Baker Field in 1921, campus and community love for Columbia athletics has dwindled into near nonexistence. But what if Game Day returned to the Morningside campus? What if you could roll out of bed Saturday morning in your clothes from last night at 1020, grab a beer, and walk right to the game? What if we had a stadium instead of the B-School?
South Field was never big enough to host all of Columbia’s athletic ventures. They knew that back in the 1920s, and it would be even more chaotic nowadays with the mountains of equipment required for almost all sports. Baker is a necessary fixture to allow all the teams to maintain a regular practice schedule and to be the best they can be, but it puts them decidedly out of the spotlight.
Picture a dramatic stage rising from the ashes of Uris just over the arching
back dome of Low. Flagpoles ringing the field would dot the Columbia skyline, providing some aesthetic balance with the unfortunate NoCo façade. Sitting right above Dodge, there could even be underground tunnel entrances onto the field for state school-esque fanfare. The stands could be constructed and deconstructed as necessary to open up the campus on more mundane days of the week (or better yet rise out of the ground!), but come Game Day the student body would unite in completely uncharacteristic intoxication collegiate pride.
The new B-School has been in the works for a while, with plans to move it out of Uris to the new Manhattanville campus in “possibly five” years according to PrezBo. The B-School speed-walkers with their skinny ties, messenger bags, and earpieces will move farther uptown, no longer around to unapologetically shoulder-tackle you on your way to class. Uris will fill quickly with some department that’s been complaining of their lack of space for decades, populated by some other shuffling bunch of academics. Everything will be the same, except maybe you’ll be able to study in the Uris library once all the Goldman chatterers have moved on.
Granted, it’d be a tight fit, but a football field on campus could bring our community together. We need that more than we need extra space for, God forbid, the economics department. Hypotheticals be damned. Let’s build it.
B-b-b-baker via Wikimedia