This weekend I took the Middlebury fan bus down to NYC to see our team play in a very prestigious sporting event: the Quidditch World Cup. (Yep, you heard right. Quiddtich. Like from Harry Potter.)
I never thought about being an athlete because I always considered myself as a “weak” Asian girl who would be easily knocked onto the ground by those strong, intimidating athletes. As the time of graduation approaches and I’m going to depend totally on myself, I decided to become a bit tougher and stronger so that I could survive the real world after Middlebury. Then I registered for the Fencing Workshop during my last J-term. Think about fencing– white jacket, long metal sword and a shiny, mysterious mask– is there anything cooler than that?
With the expectation to be cool and fancy and tough I went to the first class. It was fun. The two coaches, both are students on campus, introduced us some basic techniques of fencing and we did some warm-ups and foot works. Then the real practice began. We all dressed up in those fancy outfits and played around with our weapon (like a real fencer in the old times!). Then we lined up and the coaches asked us to hit them with the weapon in the way that they taught us. When Nick’11, one of the coaches, told me to thrust him, I extended my arm and “touched” him with the weapon. “It is a touch, not a thrust! You should push harder and bend the weapon!” said Nick. I did so. The weapon was really bent and the tip of it was pressed into his jacket. That must hurt a lot! I quickly took back my arm and asked, “does it hurt?” “No, not at all. You should be stronger on that. ” said Nick.
The Courage to be strong and fearless is the “must-have” for all fencers. I finally got the courage to really “hit” my opponent with the sword. I got hit by others too. It does hurt. And when we started real one-on-one fencing, I got a lot of bruises every time we practiced. At first I was scared of getting bruises; but later on, bruises became my best friends because they helped improve fencing skills. During one fencing practice an epee fencer got half of his nail ripped off and he bled so badly. But he was still smiling. I offered to give him a bandage but the other coach, Clark’13, said “no he’s fine. This is such a small thing that I won’t even call it an injury.”
By the end of the workshop I realized that fencing had had taught me so much:
1.Stay gracious even in the most vicious game.
2.Never feel discouraged.
3.Smile when someone get you bruises, apologize when you get someone bruises.
4.Physical pain is always paid off by psychological gain.
5.The sword is sharp, but it is also flexible.
6.Remember to salute your referee.
7. Practice makes perfect. Always.
In the spring semester I joined the fencing team because fencing is really fun. We will have three off-campus competitions this semester. On the way to be a real fencer there will be pain, but it will be paid off finally.
I am so glad that I joined an athletic team in my senior year. I wish I could do it earlier. The experience is more than just practices. It is a way to build up psychological strength, learn to deal with difficulties with courage and to live on with persistence. It also brings me awesome new friends.
Middlebury is a place to discover your potential on anything. All you need to do is just to try. Looking back to the entire college life at Middlebury, what I appreciate most is that I’ve got the chance to try whatever I wanted to do. My peers are exceptional and I’ve learned so much from them. Middlebury is a small rural campus, but she is filled up by all kinds of intellectuals and future characters that have lighted up my world.
* If you wanna learn more about athletics at Middlebury, you’re encouraged to visit: http://www.middlebury.edu/athletics
Our fall teams are dominant: Men’s soccer, Women’s Volleyball and both Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country were NESCAC champions this fall. All four, along with the Field hockey team advanced into NCAA tournament play last weekend. Volleyball finished with a record of 25-6 and was one game away from a free trip to St. Louis for the Sweet Sixteen. The Middlebury College Rugby club, a multi-time D2 National Champion, is the undefeated northeast champion and will be heading to the national playoffs once the snow melts—there is no snow on the ground yet, I’m using figurative language. Both Cross-Country teams are in the air, like flying in airplanes currently, on their way to the NCAA championship in Iowa. Name one town in Iowa. Between the men and women, they have five NCAA D3 Championships in the past ten years, with any luck that number will be six before you read this post. Our men’s soccer team, which won the D3 National Championship in 2007, won its first two NCAA tournament games and will play in the NCAA sectionals at Bowdoin College in Maine this weekend. I am a bandwagon fan only I never fall off the bandwagon because all we do is win.
But what Middlebury athletics most famous for, beyond all the trophies and the looking great, is “Picking Up Butch,” a Middlebury tradition for the past fifty years. Just watch the video, on ESPN. Hopefully they’ll make you watch the Gillette Fusion Proglide commercial beforehand.
Middlebury students may be in the library on Sundays, but Fridays and Saturdays are a bit of a different story. One of the things about Middlebury that most surprised me as an incoming first-year was the fact that most students do not leave Middlebury on the weekends, with some exceptions such as in-season athletes travelling to compete. I thought that I would be spending a decent amount of time in Burlington (45 mins) and Montreal (2.5 hours). I’ve only been to Burlington a few times and Montreal probably the same amount. Other than those few short trips, I’ve spent my weekends here.
What can a town of 8,000 (Middlebury) offer that an international metropolis of 2 million (Montreal) can’t? A good place to study, you may joke. That’s true. However, Middlebury realizes that it doesn’t have 2 million residents and that it has to work harder to keep students entertained. To this end, the College and students themselves take it upon themselves to offer a wide range of weekend activities for students with a variety of interests.
Take this past weekend, for example. Friday night, Inception was screened three times in Dana Auditorium as part of the Free Friday Film series. The Free Friday Film Series is a series of recently released films offered free to students by MCAB (Middlebury College Activities Board), the student-run activities board.
After Inception, my suite hosted the pirate party, an annual tradition of the Sailing Club. The Sailing Club is a three-part program: it runs a PE class, offers a recreational sailing program that allows anyone to get out on the water, and competes in regattas as a member of the NEISA (New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association). The team is incredibly tight, even when they’re mock fighting in pirate garb (witnessed Friday night).
Saturdays are usually fairly relaxed. This past Saturday, you could’ve gone down to Alumni Stadium, gotten involved in a tailgate and watched the football team end their season with a win over Tufts. On any given weekend, you could grab a few friends, hike Snake Mountain and spend a while admiring the beauty of the Champlain Valley. You could also explore town, pick up some fresh cheese at the Farmers Market, grab a sandwich at Noonie’s and eat it overlooking the falls on Otter Creek.
This past Saturday night, MCAB brought us Yeasayer. They gave a great show with the crowd going especially wild for one of the lead singer’s jumpsuit. MCAB is able to bring a lot of great acts here for concerts. In recent years, we’ve seen: The Roots, Girl Talk, Regina Spektor, and many more.
This past Sunday, a lot of people skipped the library (at least for a while) to watch the mens’ soccer team win the NCAA DIII regional championship. The soccer team will advance to sectionals next weekend, hopefully moving onto nationals after that. The team is no stranger to the NCAA DIII National Championship, having won it in 2007.
As you can see, Middlebury doesn’t give students much reason to want to leave campus. That said, I will be going up to Burlington tomorrow to see the midnight showing of the latest Harry Potter. Pumped.