Columbia Daily Spectator                      August 29, 2000  

SPORTS

The Motown Sound

By Michael Mirer

If You Want to be a Columbia Fan
                    If someone in your group asks, your Orientation adviser will tell you that the
                    only Columbia games people go to are Homecoming and basketball against
                    Penn and Princeton.

                    Well, that's what my Orientation adviser told our group on a hot, humid day
                    sitting in a circle on the steps. He told us his reason for boycotting was the
                    AstroTurf at the football stadium. I thought to myself, ''Hey, I hate AstroTurf
                    too.''

                    That view contrasted a column by the sports editor telling me that it was a
                    new day in Columbia athletics. He said that we were going to win so much I
                    would think I went to Penn.

                    Well, I liked football enough not to boycott the games and two years and just
                    three league championships later, I make no promises of victories. But I stuck
                    with our teams because I was able to keep things in perspective. I think that
                    is most important lesson to anyone who wants to root for the Light Blue. So
                    because lists make for good columns, I offer you 10 things to remember
                    about Columbia sports.

                    There is a reason for the AstroTurf in Wien Stadium

                    Knee injuries are only funny in the movies, and I've seen a couple of knees
                    get torn up on the turf uptown. That said, the Athletic Department put the
                    fake stuff in to accommodate more sports at Wien Stadium. Lacrosse and
                    Field Hockey are able to play with turf because there is no time waiting to
                    re-seed the grass. But I've also seen a couple of knees get torn up in football
                    games. 

                    Columbia doesn't win very often

                    Times have changed from the era where a winning season was when we won
                    a game. But those days are not far enough in the rear view mirror to forget
                    about them. I doubt any 44-game losing streaks are on the horizon. Last year
                    we won two league championships, men's tennis and lightweight crew. But
                    the losses still outnumber the wins. Maybe that's why most people at Spec
                    Sports are not Yankee fans. 

                    It is hard to be on a team here

                    Believe me, you couldn't go out there and play. Trust me. It's something I had
                    to remind myself sometimes because there is an accessibility to Columbia's
                    games. But an athlete here practices 20 hours a week, plays once or twice.
                    They were all stars in high school and they play because they love their sport.
                    Years ago a sports editor got permission to participate in a basketball
                    practice. The coach's only request, that he not puke on the court. He barely
                    made it out. 

                    We do have an interesting tradition

                    Lou Gehrig played here. Sid Luckman played here. Marcellus Wiley played
                    here. Cristina Teuscher played. Some great players have come through
                    Columbia. In fact we used to be a good sports school. We've played in a
                    Rose Bowl and a couple NCAA basketball tournaments. These are good
                    things to remember when your friends (and I am talking about my friends) at
                    Michigan tell you about all the wins against big schools in the big sports.

                    People care about Ivy League sports enough to cheat

                    I don't want to give too much of the story away All I'll say is read next
                    Tuesday's back page and find our why Brown won't be able to defend its
                    football championship.

                    Our Marching Band kicks ass

                    Forget what the athletic department and some columnists on this page will
                    say. The Marching Band is still the cleverest in the world. The way I see it is,
                    any band can march. Coming from the Midwest I grew up on Big 10 bands
                    which marched 300 people in perfect formation. We'd never be able to do
                    that. Our band now is distinctive and funny. If you play an instrument, join the
                    band and if you don't, write for it. Actually, write for Spec.

                    The 1 and 9 are different trains

                    Doesn't sound like a sports thing right? But listen if you are going to Baker
                    Field on a weekday and you get on the 9 train, you won't get there. You'll
                    end up somewhere in Bronx. And you probably don't want that, at least until
                    you figure out where you're going on the subway.

                    There is no gym space in February

                    In fact, February is the worst possible month to try to use the gym. The spring
                    season practices begin on Feb. 1 and the winter season doesn't really end
                    until March. That means if you want to play basketball you are better off
                    joining a gym. It no one's fault really, there is just no extra room on campus.
                    And the varsity teams get first priority.

                    There are sports where Ivy League is the highest level

                    People don't look at the Ivy League for sports. But our fencing programs are
                    some of the best in the country. The same goes for field hockey and lacrosse.
                    Don't forget rowing. I mean, these are small sports, but hey, the Ivy League is
                    tops. It's something to be proud of.

                    The sports section has the most fun

                    Check us out at our open houses. You'll see.