Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have not maintained this blog since I graduated in May 2010, but feel free to browse the archives or the posts below. Please see also the Daily Sun article from 2010 that gives a nice overview of the world of student blogging at the time that my blog was active.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sunset Park

The phrase is the dedication to Sunset Park, a small lookout point in Cayuga Heights. While it's a great place year-round, the best time to go would be a tolerably warm evening in late fall or early spring, when you have perfect views of Cayuga Lake, Ithaca High School, Routes 13 and 34, parts of downtown, and Ithaca College. In other words, everything except Cornell.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I've put my hockey-related thoughts over on eLynah, so I'll focus more on other areas here.

For many, graduation is the culmination of four years spent at Cornell. While my Big Red experience began earlier, with Cornell reunions, hockey games, and two years of Summer College, graduation still represented a clear end. An end to what has been the four best years of my life.

My Cornell experience was transformative. I came to campus after a senior year of high school in which I was, like many other Cornellians, a big fish in a small pond. It took me months to develop a new sense of purpose and determination at Cornell. To my aid came the fraternity, the newspaper, the Lynah Faithful, the job with a professor, and the other organizations and activities of which I became a part. Together, these aspects of my life enabled me to stay busy while learning and having fun. In essence, the goal of college.

At Saturday's convocation, each of the student speakers opted for the rhetorical strategy of trying to name various activities which are common for many Cornell students: studying in Olin Library, going to the bars, attending sporting events. As each speaker presented a new list, I began to think about my own varied experiences over these years. Traveling to an ungodly number of hockey games in eight different states, staying up until 5:00 am to finish piecing together a newspaper, driving to a medium-security prison each week to teach a class, putting in 60-hour weeks at Uris Library to finish my thesis, talking to annoyed cops on weekend nights in my capacity as fraternity president. While I was joined in each of these activities by other people, the combination of all of them together is certainly unique.

So, too, is the combination of activities for every Cornellian. Some of us may seem to be more involved than others, but no two of us spent our time in Ithaca the same way.

I wrote a few weeks ago that there was "no broad sense of the Cornell community." I may have been wrong. You have to wait four years, but on graduation day, there is an undeniable sense of community. With everyone in the black robes, with the packed stadium, and the perfect sunshine, it was a strikingly positive final memory of Cornell.

Cornell is an anonymous place. Of the 130 people who shared my major, I had never spoken to half of them. But Cornell works because it allows each person to create a distinct experience. What binds us together is the realization that we each passed through this place and came out as a different person. Sometimes, as students travel along these solitary paths, they lose their direction and tragedy ensues. For most, though, this journey is immensely rewarding.

My one graduation wish for Cornell is that I hope that my alma mater will seek its own identity in the higher education community. Stop obsessing about being one of the Ivies, and start being Cornell. Stop worrying about the rankings, and celebrate the large student body and our lack of extreme exclusivity. Stop worrying that we are located so far from major metropolitan areas, and celebrate all that Ithaca and its miserable winters have to offer. Stop worrying that our name is associated with tragedy, and celebrate that our name is associated with unprecedented athletic success.

Just as students at Cornell seek their own paths, so may Cornell diverge from what is expected of it. As this happens, perhaps Cornell will move away from the unfortunate combination of grade inflation and the hook-up culture. It's hard to gain much from Cornell when you're scraping out a 3.5 while never leaving Collegetown and its bars.

But I don't want to end on a negative note. I am a proud Cornellian, and I will forever be one.

Thank you for reading this blog. When I started, I vowed that I wouldn't invest any time in publicity. For the first few weeks, I put a link on my Facebook page. And I posted links on eLynah to a couple of posts. But truly, that was it. My father found this blog by reading eLynah. My mother found it almost a year later when she searched in Google for the Cornell hockey schedule and one of my posts came up first. Many of my friends have no idea that I blog.

Regardless, I continued to write because people continued to end up here. Some of you have asked what the future holds. I am certain that I will not be able to update this blog as frequently. Moreover, I will no longer be living in Ithaca, and I hate to rely on my daily dose of Google news alerts for material. Still, I will continue to write when I feel like writing, whether about Cornell University, Cornell hockey, Teach For America, or anything else which arises. Please continue to check back and write comments. I also hope to begin contributing to MetaEzra on an occasional basis, although Matt's superior knowledge of all things Cornell means that my posts may center primarily around sports.

I will conclude this post with a quotation from a certain place in Ithaca. Prize to the person who guesses correctly. And please don't answer if I took you there this weekend.
Here may you too find beauty - goodness - truth.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Problem With Politicians

I've written each of the last two years about why the convocation committee should not choose a politician as the keynote speaker.

By most accounts, David Plouffe, who never graduated from college, gave a weak speech last year.

And this year, Nancy Pelosi was just miserable.

She gave a rambling speech, the first part of which was an attempt to establish her credible connections to Cornell (and "Tompkin County"), and the second part of which was the typical Democratic stump speech disguised in the context of the need for science education and research. Her inspiring personal story was a self-deprecating anecdote about why she ran for Congress: her teenage daughter wanted her out of the house. When Pelosi ended by telling the graduates that we always had a friend in the speaker's office, it was clear that this was one of those lines which she delivers to every college. Indeed, a look at Pelosi's recent address to lowly Mills College in Oakland, Calif., indicates that her speech today was not original.

With 20-something people on the convocation committee, you'd think they could have come up with a more sincere, engaging, and thoughtful convocation speaker. (At least now they can all brag that they were "instrumental" in bringing Pelosi to campus.)

Why not one of Cornell's famous alumni, someone whose Cornell "cred" does not require 10 minutes of rambling to establish? If you want a government figure, why not Ginsburg? What about someone internal? Is Charles Walcott still alive? He's a great speaker. Ted Lowi spoke at my ceremony this afternoon; he would have been more enjoyable to listen to. I'm sure there are professors, authors, philanthropists, physicians, and musicians who could all give an excellent address.

Why the obsession with the big name? Look smaller, and look better.

Next year provides another opportunity to move away from the political mold.

Athletic Scholarships

I've never been particularly impressed by lacrosse announcers. Too much chitchat about the players' hometowns and the inbred hotbeds of lacrosse. Too much Lacrosse 101 type stuff, even though you wouldn't be watching unless you had some idea about what was going on. And not enough actual commentary about what's happening on the field, unless someone scores.

But today was something else. The announcers loved the underdog story of Notre Dame, a program which - as was mentioned repeatedly - did not give out its maximum allowed number of lacrosse scholarships until 2006. Never mind that this meant that all of the players on the current team would have benefitted from this full complement of scholarships.

Funny that they didn't mention that Cornell has never given out a lacrosse scholarship, and never will. Nor will any other Ivy program. It's ludicrous to view Notre Dame as the underdog because it took them until 2006 to give out the MAXIMUM NUMBER OF SCHOLARSHIPS ALLOWED BY NCAA RULES, when Cornell gives out ZERO.

Later in the broadcast, one of the talking idiots mentioned that Cornell Coach Jeff Tambroni always puts aside some scholarship money in case a quality kid pops up late in the process. Once again, this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Ivy League sports.

I suppose that it's a testament to Tambroni and the Cornell recruiting program that the announcers seem to believe that Cornell gives out scholarships. At least the announcers noticed that Cornell never seems to recruit high school All-Americans, but instead turns overlooked players into great players.

Cornell lost to Notre Dame, 12-7, in the NCAA lacrosse semifinal. Make that three of the last four seasons that Cornell has made it to the Final Four, with a 1-3 record in those appearances.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Human Interest Stories

For all of the wealthy tri-state area Cornell students for whom attending Cornell simply meant that they were rejected by the schools above Cornell in the rankings, or that the reduced in-state tuition persuaded their parents to buy them a new BMW, there are a few like Jordan Davis and Josh Knight.

Timeline of Four Years at Cornell

The Daily Sun has a nice look back at four years of newsworthy events.

Intihar, Nickerson, and Wittman Share Top Award

The award for the top senior athlete at Cornell went to softball star Alyson Intihar, wrestler Troy Nickerson, and basketball player Ryan Wittman.

Although Colin Greening received the leadership award, I'm surprised that goalie Ben Scrivens didn't receive one of the top awards. Scrivens was a first-team All-American this year. Ryan Wittman was an honorable mention All-American.

Of course, especially this year, there are plenty of deserving Cornell athletes. I'm wondering, though, whether NCAA tournament success was the deciding factor. Scrivens is better at hockey than Wittman is at basketball, but Wittman's underdog team won two NCAA games and energized Cornell students and alumni. Scrivens' team was blown out in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Nickerson, a former NCAA champion, helped his team to a surprising runner-up finish at the NCAA championships. Intihar, as the Ivy player of the year, is certainly deserving of a spot as well, although her team was blown out in its two NCAA tournament games.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weather.com Anticipates Cornell Weather Machine

This almost seems too good to be true...

70 degrees with no chance of rain?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Cornell-Educated Trilingual Bar Trivia Host

I may be one of America's only Ivy League-educated, trilingual trivia hosts with a master's degree.
Note also:
I graduated from Cornell University in 2002 with a degree in Industrial Labor Relations, a de facto pre-law program...