When you have team meetings at 6:30 p.m., class at 9:00 a.m., and live on 40th Street, it often seems like there isn’t enough time in the day to get around. Fortunately for many Penn athletes, they may have found the answer to their scheduling dilemma — scooters.
They are easy to spot if you go down Locust Walk. Athletes are constantly zipping around on scooters to race to class or practice. Among the many teams now fully invested in the scooter craze is Penn football, whose scooter squad has now hit double-digit members.
“I think the first person to get one was a senior my freshman year, Christian Pearson, and then a few other guys got one before I got one for my birthday freshman year,” junior offensive lineman Ben Padon said.
“I’ve had a scooter since my sophomore year. I copped one because an older kid in my position group had one,” senior defensive lineman Prince Emili said.
For most of these players, the decision to start riding is a result of the difficulty of their schedule combined with the efficiency of scooters when compared to other methods of transportation.
“It’s definitely the early morning meetings," Emili said. "I was living on Spruce, and we had to be down here at 6:30 a lot of mornings, so I’m not going to wake up and do the walk. Now it’s just a straight shot downhill."
“It turns my 15-minute walk down to Franklin Field into a seven-minute scooter ride. I can leave for my 11 a.m. class in the Chem Building at 10:53 a.m. and still make it on time,” Padon said.
Within the team, there is some debate about which type of scooter is best. While Padon and most of the team have larger electric scooters, Emili is a staunch defender of his smaller foot-powered one.
“I had a bike my freshman year, and you always had to have a lock on you. You couldn’t bring it on buses or inside, so then I leveled up to a scooter,” Emili said. “It’s very portable; you can fold it and keep it in your backpack when you don’t want to ride it.”
However, when it comes to the debate of who on the team has the best scooter, there is only one answer.
“One day John Quinnelly walked in with his giant scooter, which looks like a motorbike that got transformed into a scooter,” Padon said. “It goes something like 40 miles per hour. I think he has a key and a turbo too.”
While the trend is certainly strong on the football team, the players notice it expanding to other athletes and students as well.
“It's kind of become an Athletics Department thing, only because athletes started getting them so their friends got them, but I’ve started to see a lot of people who don’t play sports commuting with them,” Padon said.
“I think it's an athletics thing — not specifically scooters, but just not walking. I feel like we’ve got a lot of places to be, and being late is much more of a problem for athletes,” Emili said.
In the end, the players did not mince words when it comes to their opinions about having a scooter.
“There’s no reason to be walking when you can be rolling,” Emili said.