Unbeknownst to many Yalies, Camp Yale is not a celebrated time of reunion and debauchery for all students. In fact, for some it is a dreaded and arduous part of their college experience.
Yes, I’m talking about a slightly different camp — preseason camp, to be exact.
When asked to shed light on the athlete’s experience at Camp Yale and the first few weeks of school, I hadn’t given much thought as to what I missed out on. So thank you, dear editor, for sending me into a mild depression as I recount the days leading up to the start of fall semester.
To best portray how a fall athlete’s experience differs from other students’, I think it’s important to start by identifying similarities and then exposing minor differences within them.
First, I must confess that I drank a lot. And I’m not talking in terms of shot glasses or those miniature-sized cups they use at Toad’s — I’m speaking in gallons here. I must have chugged enough liquid to fill a quality-made kiddie pool.
Oh, what’s that? You drank a lot, too? Wow, that’s so college. Good for you.
I should have clarified that I was drinking water and Gatorade to avoid cramping at practice, but I could have sworn we were twins there for a moment.
Second, I didn’t get much sleep. Sitting at breakfast every morning, looking conspicuously disheveled, people undoubtedly passed by and pondered what wild nights I must have had. Often I would be wearing the same clothes as the day before, further embellishing the “party animal” aura I knew I would exude.
I’ll be damned. You hardly slept either? Sick.
I should add that my lack of sleep might have had something to do with daily 7 a.m. practices. Despite going to bed around 11 p.m. every night (meetings ended around 10 p.m.), that doesn’t leave much time to hit the snooze button.
Third, I was able to reunite with all of my friends. Having gone our separate ways for the summer, it was nice to see everyone and to share stories about what we had each been doing. We were inseparable once more, the best of friends.
You chilled 24/7 with your BFFs too? OMG.
Instead of going to parties with my friends, we were going to meetings and practice. And soon after the “it’s-good-to-see-you-again” feeling wore off, being forced to spend every waking hour together became tortuous.
Though I’ve painted a “Wheatfield with Crows” picture of preseason camp thus far, don’t shoot yourself just yet, Van Gogh. There does remain one last aspect of the Camp Yale experience that we share in common: going out to eat with friends.
I read an editorial recently (perhaps in this publication) that complained about the dining halls being closed during Camp Yale. “Surely the amount of money that a Yale meal plan costs could cover a few days of meals for all students leading up to school,” the author argued. That may be true, but I say be grateful that you need not feel guilty about going out to eat during Camp Yale. (If meals are provided for in the dining hall, you feel obligated to eat there because it’s already paid for. Thus, as an athlete exclusively for whom the dining halls opened early, I was denied a clean conscience and forced by my good, preseason Camp Yale values to eat on campus.)
OK, Van Gogh, fire away.