I wish I could start this column out with a heartwarming anecdote, a poignant quote from a press conference from years past that still resonates with me or something of the sort.
I was standing in the bathroom of my house on campus, brushing my teeth after a late night of working on the sports section of the Daily Pennsylvanian.
With a division-clinching win over Columbia, Penn baseball took home one of the most monumental wins in program history. And, quite simply, the response we saw today is evidence that coach John Yurkow’s Quakers have finally taken that elusive next step.
Simply put, the Penn Relays is not only a bucket list experience, but it’s one that should keep you coming back, too. The roaring — and conspicuously Jamaican — crowds, the star power, the fanfare, the atmosphere and so much more provide everyone in attendance something to enjoy.
I didn’t love football immediately. I played tackle football for the first time in eighth grade on a team of 16 players and decided I wanted to play quarterback the day before my first practice. My coaches let me because I could remember all the plays, and I didn’t mind touching the center’s butt before every play — quite a consideration for 13 year olds.
For me and my fellow athletes, Spring Fling goes one of two ways: you’re either in town constantly turning down invitations to darties, or you’re not in town and are forced to live vicariously through your friend’s drunk snapchat stories.
Beyond calculus and chemistry, however, one skill stands out to me as something I didn’t learn when I was five — something I’m still trying to wrap my head around. It’s a nebulous concept, one that is hard to pinpoint in writing but easy to identify by experience. That concept is leadership.
We started out the season trying to find our identity. While we had many of the same players, it was not the same team. We battled through some tough losses, but only to come out stronger. We were able to do that by focusing on one possession at a time. We took that mentality through to the end of the season.
Most athletes, including myself, come in with a perfect image of what it means to be a Division I athlete. I committed in the fall of my junior year to Penn field hockey as a goalkeeper. Unfortunately, the experience that I endured was something so unexpected and disheartening that still, to this day, it's hard to accept.
Upon my arrival this March 16, a Bermudian asked, "Is this your first time in Bermuda?" "No," I said. "I come here every 50 years!"
We go to Penn, where people don't remember, and probably never knew, the name of the player who screwed up in the game a few days ago. They probably don't know there was one big mistake that had a huge impact on the game at all. Most of them don't know the game was lost, or even played.
For some reason, we have a much higher tolerance for this upsets and chaos in March Madness than in any other major sport — or, really, in most other aspects of life. This naturally leads us to two questions. The first of which is, of course, why? The second is: is this underdog affinity is good, bad, or indifferent?
It doesn’t get worse than this. There’s no sugarcoating what we just saw; Penn women’s basketball choked. And as much as it pains me to say it both as a journalist and a fan, that’s the evidence that coach Mike McLaughlin’s program isn’t quite at the next level yet.
While most Penn students were making their way to exotic locations like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo for Spring Break, many Penn student-athletes were embarking on their annual spring training trips.
Without a doubt, the inaugural Ivy League tournament was a success by any definition of the word. But was it the best move for the league to make? Ultimately, I’m still skeptical.
Penn's victories this weekend showcased some of the best this team has to offer: great ball movement on offense and stingy defense that forces teams to make tough shots and Michelle Nwokedi dominating on both sides of the ball. But even still, there are plenty of questions left for this team as they approach the NCAA Tournament.
There’s no escaping it — Penn men’s basketball choked in the end of its Ivy League Tournament loss to Princeton. Penn’s spirit looked remarkably shattered after the final whistle, but the players can go home with their heads held high.
After falling to last place in the Ivy League with an 0-6 start, Penn men's basketball was down in the dumps. Big time. But thanks to the new Ivy League Tournament, Penn was still not technically out. Outside Penn’s locker room, few gave the Quakers any chance, but this team persevered.
So, despite the loss, the Quakers have a lot to be proud of from this game. It’s now time for them to channel that pride into improvement and to win the next two games against Dartmouth and Harvard in hopes of securing an Ivy League Tournament bid.
The work Penn women's basketball has put in and its dominance over the course of the season should be rewarded with both the Ivy League championship and a chance to make waves on a national level. A collapse in the final stages of the season would be heartbreaking. One title without the other would be a hollow victory. It would be a shame if the conference’s best team didn’t represent it on the biggest stage.