The things that matter the most in life are the things entirely out of your control, like your parents, your height and your gender.
And your residential college.
Seriously. Think about how much that supposedly random sorting process has affected your experience at Yale. And think about how much your years at Yale are going to affect the rest of your life.
Even though each college is ultimately defined by the people in it, the colleges themselves also shape the Yale experience. We may all be on the same Yale team, but we’re definitely repping different players.
Silliman and Timothy Dwight: Michael Jordan and Brett Favre. They’re just in a league of their own. They have their issues and their drama, but they’re undeniably dominant. Whether it’s winning the Tyng Cup three years in a row or re-defining college blogging, Silliman and TD lead the pack.
Ezra Stiles and Morse: Shane Battier and James Posey. You would never pick them first if you were building a team, and most casual fans would never notice them in a game. But once you get to play with them, you realize just how amazing they are, despite their lack of natural athleticism. Morse and Stiles may not have the facilities or the financial resources, but they take care of all the little things.
Branford and Saybrook: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The beauty and the brawn. The “most beautiful courtyard in America” teams up with the most decorated Gimbel Cup champion (awarded to the college with the highest GPA). They don’t get a lot of love, though — almost no one outside of these colleges eats in their dining halls. The same way that no one outside of Boston can stand Belichick.
Davenport and Pierson: Eli Manning and Tony Romo. They’re rivals and neighbors in the NFC East, but they’re about as different as they come. One has the family pedigree (the Bushes) and the other has some of the best parties on campus (Tuesday Night Club and Lower Court on Halloween). Just think of the gnome as Ole Miss and L-Dub as Eastern Illinois.
Jonathan Edwards and Berkeley: Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. They’re so quirky, but you have to love them. Like O’Neal, JE is incredibly well-endowed, which allows its students to take advantage of opportunities like the culture draw. Tickets to “Kazaam,” anyone? And like Howard, you can’t help but appreciate Berkeley. Just don’t make Annette angry.
Calhoun and Trumbull: Ryan Grant and Marshawn Lynch. Solid, dependable, but nothing spectacular. Grant and Lynch were both 1,000-yard rushers, but they are not and never will be dominant backs. At the end of the day, though, no NFL team would complain about having them, the same way that no Yalie would complain about being assigned to Calhoun or Trumbull.
It may seem ridiculous, but I guarantee you that everything in life can be explained with an extended sports metaphor. Freshman orgo? It’s like losing the Super Bowl after going 18-0. Getting into Yale? It’s like hitting the winning shot against Georgetown in 1982. Marrying the wrong person? That would be signing Terrell Owens.
So forget Dr. Phil. Pay more attention to Dr. Sportscenter.
Karan Arakotaram is a junior in Ezra Stiles College.