About half the campus finished their final seminar papers last week — at least a couple of weeks early — in order to take them to the writing tutor. The other half is peeling this week from their sun-worshipping in the Caribbean. It is the great Yale irony. Either way, every Bulldog is back from Spring Break and now longing to be back on vacation schedule.
In a nostalgic glance back to the last couple of weeks, scene has collected a handful of diaries, written by your favorite on-campus groups and figures, on how they spent their respective spring breaks.
March Madness and making history
(Yale men’s basketball)
Over the past three years, Spring Break has become my favorite break of the school year. In years past it has been my FIRST and only true break. Since it has been my only break of the year, whether spent at home in Greensboro, N.C., or in Cancun, Mexico, it has always emerged as an entertaining and special time. Spring Break 2002, however, became the most memorable and historical of all, but for a very different reason.
In years past, Spring Break involved crazy friends, hot beaches and unbelievable clubs, so these Spring Break standbys constituted the only madness I ever experienced in March. But, due to the success of the basketball team this year, I was given the opportunity to become a part of the real March Madness — the madness that every young basketball player dreams of: Division I basketball postseason tournaments.
The postseason began with a three-team Ivy League playoff, the first of its kind in league history. After defeating a Princeton Tiger “road-block” in our first game, we unfortunately fell to the University of Pennsylvania in a game that granted the winner an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Even though the outcome was disappointing, the three-way playoff created an atmosphere and “buzz” that felt like a big-time conference tournament! It was an experience and hype, I feel, both the players and the fans enjoyed. Our March Madness did not end there–
After receiving an invitation to the National Invitation Tournament, the team traveled back down to New Jersey to face a tough Rutgers team that had been a tournament favorite. That night marked an impressive and historical accomplishment for Yale basketball — Yale 67, Rutgers 65. It was the program’s first ever postseason win in its 107 years of existence.
We ended up falling to a good Tennessee Tech team in the Sweet Sixteen of the NIT. That game, held at the New Haven Coliseum, was the biggest home crowd in Yale history, with nearly 10,000 people in attendance. The support we received that night from the Yale and New Haven communities was remarkable. The applause as we walked off the floor that night capped a Spring Break that the Yale history books and I will never forget!
Spring Break 2002 had fewer beaches, fewer bikinis and less sunshine than those that came before, but in the end, I will remember it more fondly than the last two, with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of great things to come. Bikinis are nice, but setting records in front of screaming fans, being recognized by the NCAA, and setting a precedence for excellence in Yale basketball only raise the bar for an even more exciting Spring Break 2003.
–Ime Archibong ’03, captain of the Yale men’s basketball team
The glory of Ft. Lauderdale
(Yale Alley Cats)
While birds and jumbo jets may fly south for the winter, there is nothing better than cramming 16 Yalies into a rent-a-van and driving to Florida. Following a 30-year-old tradition, the Yale Alley Cats made their pilgrimage to Ft. Lauderdale over Spring Break. Rumors had drifted north to us that down south the beer flowed like wine and the women drunk off that beer flocked like the swallows of Capistrano. So after 1.500 miles and hundreds of South of the Border signs, we finally arrived. Informed that the welcoming committee of sex-crazed babes had left early to “powder their noses,” we donned our clubbing attire (same clothes we sat in for the 24-hour drive but with collars turned up) and went out.
Ft. Lauderdale is difficult to describe. Cities such as Miami are glorified in technically intricate rap songs and known for their “mob” connections. But Ft. Lauderdale seems relatively unnoticed. This is not to say it is the “diamond in the rough.” Compared with Miami, one might say Ft. Lauderdale is the place where Tony Soprano’s long-lost cousin, who has traded his ethnic roots for a Miller Lite, enjoys putting up his feet. But for college students who view Toad’s Place as the shining light of night life, Ft. Lauderdale is amazing. We put up at a small hostel on the beach, stocked the fridge, and relaxed.
Stumbling out of my room the first morning, I headed for the beach. My eyes met with the sight of thousands of tan, physically fit college students. I praised God for the “high quality” weight room in Silliman College and the warm glow the fluorescent lights in Cross Campus Library had given my Irish skin. Nevertheless, the next seven days were spent sleeping on the beach, explaining the drinking age to the international students at our hostel, and hitting the clubs at night. While no Alley Cat was arrested this year (ask me about it sometime) someone in our hostel did dump many gallons of detergent into the fountain of the “rich” hotel next door. I don’t know who did this, and even if I did I would never tell you. (Ask me about it sometime.) All in all, Spring Break turned out pretty well; many days at the beach, a few concerts, and nicely charred Irish skin.
–Sean Farrell ’03, member of the Yale Alley Cats
Sex and the (Dominican) Republic
Recently I have been watching excessive amounts of “MTV Spring Break.” After extensive study, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really exist. “MTV Spring Break is in fact a farce,” a fantasy land of computer-animated images of blond people who will limbo over pig guts for $20 and about three and half minutes of fame, leaving them only 11 and a half in their allotted 15. I’ve reached this rather far-fetched conclusion only because “MTV Spring Break” is nothing like mine was. Yes, isn’t it astounding to find out that I did not cover myself in honey and roll around in feathers? Mind boggling to learn that my friends and I did not do the three-way kiss? (We actually did it five-ways, believe it or not.)
I did not go to Cancun, Carson, I went to the Dominican Republic. Beautiful (and cheap) in its own right, my friends and I enjoyed a wonderful week of sun, fun and surf. We also learned some valuable lessons, which, I will be kind enough to share with you.
1. There are colleges in this country named after Indian food spices. Paprika University, Curry College, Oregano State. This is not a joke. Their mascots are all in the shape of spice racks. They battle it out on the football field and the basketball court on a regular basis, man to man, spice to spice.
2. Everyone in the Dominican Republic is either fat, burned, topless or German, and if you’re really lucky, a delightful combination of the four. If they are indeed German but neither fat, burned nor topless, they are blond and ambiguously gay.
3. Acceptable dinner conversation does not include masturbatory frequency, technique or style. In fact, if you do engage in such conversation, other hotel patrons refer to you as THE MASTURBATOR as you walk along the beach.
4. Dave from Newfoundland broke up with his girlfriend on their flight en route to the Dominican Republic and then found it an outrage that she slept with him only once during the entire week. He subsequently professed his undying love to Jamie from New Jersey. She was not fat.
5. Attempting to mimic supermodels posing for the camera SEEMS like it will produce interesting photos, but actually only enforces the truth that you are NOT a supermodel.
Cancun or no Cancun, MTV or no MTV, I’ll take the Dominican Republic with my friends over pig guts any day.
–Natalie Krinsky ’04, scene sex columnist
Did you meet the president this break?
(The Baker’s Dozen)
Day One: The White House. Yeah, the one on Pennsylvania Avenue. The BDs meet the president and 40 of his closest friends (President Levin and Dean Brodhead included) for an evening of fine music and even better dining in the East and Blue Rooms. Amid cakes decorated with the BD crest, George W. Bush is tapped as an honorary BD. Score.
Day Five: Exploring the backwoods of Georgia’s beautiful Amicalola Falls and invading the city of Atlanta typifies the rural and urban flavors embodied by spring tour. Our tour of the town ends with a performance of the national anthem for the Atlanta Hawks basketball game. The BDs are 10 percent of the crowd and 90 percent of the noise.
Day Seven: After recovering from a night of carousing and debauchery in New Orleans French Quarter (Do not smack the horse’s ass) and exploring the bayou by canoe, the BDs consume 150 pounds of crawfish at an authentic backyard Baton Rouge boil courtesy of Josie Macmurdo ’04.
Day Nine: Gulfport, Miss. In an unplanned stop, the BDs are pulled over and forced out of the van at gunpoint as our fearless (but apparently weak-boweled) leader sits handcuffed in the back of a police car. It was all a big misunderstanding.
Day 13: In the second-most anticipated dinner of tour, the lovely ladies of Alpha Delta Pi at the University of Florida host the BDs, continuing a long tradition of trading our music for their striking beauty.
Day 15: The BDs split up for the first time on the tour. While half the group takes in the Spanish moss and oyster po boys of Savannah, the rest hit the links of Hilton Head Island, S.C. The gin and tonics and sunset over the picturesque course more than make up for the embarrassing play of our golfers.
Day 17: As we return to the soot-stained towers, and seven-lane concrete ribbons of the urban, industrial North, we take solace in knowing a land of milk and honey. This land, a land where the swamps and bayous protect the lives of human beings untainted by the evils of commerce, pop culture, and a plastic false world, has been forever burned in our collective memory. God bless spring tour.
–Tyler Mann ’03, pitch of the Baker’s Dozen
My roommate’s European vacation
(A Maine boy going it alone)
Italy is a gorgeous country filled with broken stuff. Passing my spring break there, I found that polite standards like “grazie” and “un altra bottiglia di vino, per favore” don’t complete the tourist’s list of must-know phrases. To achieve that, one must add “non funzione”. Whether used as a plea for help, or simply as a general assessment of the situation, it’s utterly essential.
I meandered around Florence one day, realizing as I took in the sights that I needed to call the friend with whom I was traveling. The public telephones there are conveniently located, and I have no complaints about the user-friendly phone card system; unfortunately, I tried five different phones before I could find one that worked. Similarly, I attempted to check my e-mail at the University of Bologna, a place you’d think would have it together. In a hall with three computer stations, I found that two of them were out of order, and the third was missing a mouse. And then there was the comical-in-retrospect trip from Florence to Bologna, during which the train shut down completely in the middle of the tunnel. When the conductors got out and walked around with their flashlights, an impatient passenger asked, “Il treno non va?” to which their helpful response was “No, il treno non va”. After 45 minutes of revving the battery, they finally got it to va.
Of course, much of the broken stuff is more beautiful than anything you’ve ever seen. Rome is filled with ancient ruins, like Caesar’s Forum (i.e. “the Forum”). Not only has the Forum been falling apart for over a thousand years, but the Catholic Church generously disposed of its marble elements, which it used toward the construction of its own buildings. I took more photos of the wreckage than I did of the Vatican and Florence combined. Since we’re on the subject of the nonfunctioning, I should point out that Italy also possesses a hoard of sublime art that serves no productive purpose whatsoever.
–Darrell Hartman ’03, son of Herb Hartman ’61
The best basketball game no Yalie saw
The Rutgers Athletic Center, affectionately called the “RAC” by anyone within 100 miles of central New Jersey, was a pretty intimidating building. From the outside it looked like a deformed military base; large, ugly, gray, but trapezoidal. It was an arena chock full of 8,500 residents of the “Garden State” wearing scarlet and rooting hard for a team picked by every newspaper on the Eastern Seaboard to have a cakewalk into the second round of the NIT. Too bad for the RAC — Yale did not believe the hype.
The game started. When we scored first, the band knew it was going to be an interesting night. The first half ended, and we were still in it. Down, but not out. I hoped that if we hung close, we could possibly steal a victory at the end. The band played Pearl Jam’s “Alive” at halftime. We were pumped. Little did I know that there was no stealing to be done tonight. We OWNED the second half.
Five minutes into the second half, we had the lead. Our cheers intensified and the RAC began to worry. Our defense tightened, Rutgers became good friends with the back of the rim, and Chris Leanza ’03 kept pumping in clutch threes from the baseline. The team was playing out of their shoes, and when Edwin Draughan ’05 stole Rutgers’ final inbounds pass, Yale had won its first postseason basketball game in school history.
Still, the best was yet to come. There was no storming the court tonight since the only Yale fans in the crowd were parents and one student (Justin Cohen ’04) brave enough to stand in the middle of Rutgers fans with a Yale T-shirt on. Instead, there was silence. Glorious silence. Fans rushed to the exits. The opposing band did not stick around to play their alma mater. James Jones, the head coach of the men’s basketball team, came out of the locker room, wild excitement in his eyes, and gave high-fives to every member of the band at least twice. The RAC had been defeated. As they turned the light out of on us, “DTF” and “Livin’ on a Prayer” resonated beautifully off the rafters.
–Jeremiah Quinlan ’03, drum major of the Yale Precision Marching Band