laurenli

2015 has been a banner year for softball's Lauren Li, as the junior has racked up a team-leading 30 hits and a staggering .400 batting average.

Photo: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

The date was April 13, 2014.

Those of you with keen memories will remember this day as the Sunday of last year’s Fling weekend. For most of Penn’s student body, this particular Sunday is spent in various states of detoxification, paying homage to Gatorade, Advil and greasy bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches after a week’s worth of debauchery.

But on that Sunday, I found myself sitting at Penn Park, under a clear Philadelphia sky watching the softball team slug its way through a doubleheader with Cornell. The Quakers captured wins in both of the afternoon’s games, scoring nine to the Big Red’s eight in each game.

The numbers on the scoreboard are beside the point, though. Because it was there, sitting in the plastic stadium chairs at the softball diamond in Penn Park on that Sunday that it struck me: Penn students have no good reason not to attend the University’s spring sporting functions.

Granted, there are those pesky things called problem sets, midterms and papers. But there is also this little thing called procrastination. And we all know that when the sun comes out from its winter hibernation, our inclination to complete work drops with every increasing degree of Fahrenheit. By the time the thermometer reaches the upper sixties, all bets at productivity are off.

Plus, Penn’s roster of spring sports teams is good. Like, really good. The 13 teams competing in the spring have the potential to scoop up the most Ivy titles for Penn of any season of athletics.

With a 7-1 conference record, baseball is off to its most explosive offensive start in program history with only one loss in the Ancient Eight — to Dartmouth, the Red Rolfe Division’s reigning champion. Last weekend, the team notched 13 home runs and 52 runs in four games. That’s almost madness.

Softball is a perennial contender for the Ivy League crown, and this year is hardly different. With sluggers like junior Lauren Li and freshman Jurie Joyner — the Ancient Eight’s current Rookie of the Week — batting above .400, the action on the diamond won’t disappoint.

Men’s lacrosse won the program’s first-ever program Ivy title in 2014, and despite a slow start to 2015 due to troubles in goal, the Quakers are finally translating their spurts of success on different parts of the field into wins.

Women’s lacrosse, on the other hand, is nothing short of a dynasty. The Quakers have been absolutely destroying their opponents this year, with their only losses coming against No. 1 Maryland and No. 6 Northwestern.

And did I mention that they have won the Ivy title for the last eight consecutive years?

Men’s tennis hit its way to its highest Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranking in program history — No. 39 — back in February. Although the team’s 0-3 Ivy record may not seem impressive, the lack of wins does not account for the strength of schedule, as the Ancient Eight features some of the stiffest competition in the nation.

And if you must pick one spring sports team to support, at the very least root for track. Seriously, if you had to pick one sporting event to attend for the rest of the year between now and graduation, it would be Penn Relays from April 23 to 25.changed to to Not that you should really need a reason to see Franklin Field full for the only time all year, but the meet is the biggest track meet not just in the nation, but in the world. And it’s Penn Relays!

As an athlete myself, I can attest to just how great it feels to see your friends, or really just anyone between the ages of 18 and 23, in the stands supporting the Red and the Blue. Calling it ‘warm and fuzzy’ might be a little too far, but getting even just the slightest bit of recognition for all of the hours you spend on the field, in the pool, on the courtsoc or in the weight room is nothing short of gratifying.

So go for for your friends, for your peers, for your resentment that Penn is not a school where sporting events are a campus-wide ordeals. But really, just go.

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