The Experience, Athletics
November 5, 2014
In my 18 and a half years, I had never been to a gym.
That finally changed this past month. My friend Brion needed a gym buddy, and I obliged. I was a little hesitant about going with a gym aficionado; in fact, I was a little hesitant about going at all. I've always heard that gyms are intimidating, and I certainly don't know how to use any of the equipment, except the treadmill and exercise bike. I was afraid that I'd walk into the gym and immediately be pegged as a fish out of water.
I was surprised to see a number of students and College staff doing different exercises at their own pace. There were probably a few washboard abs in the room, but it actually wasn't that intimidating. Everyone was paying attention to their own things, and I didn't feel like I was being watched or judged. There was a lot of equipment that I didn't know how to use, but Brion helped with that, as did the handy-dandy instructions on every machine. There was also a lot of empty space in the complex, so it was easy to find some privacy when needed. I also got to use the pool, which was great because I love swimming.
Another bonus element to working out: The gym offers a gorgeous view of the Thames River, so you can try to focus on something pleasant while your pores cry with sweat.
I've come to appreciate our gym in many ways. One of my friends that goes to school in a city was given a membership to a gym a few blocks away as a consolation for the lack of a complex at her school.
Overall, my first trip to the gym was not a terrible experience. Although, for about a week afterward, I could barely walk ... but that's another story.
September 24, 2014
Every Tuesday and Thursday, my friends and I head to the Athletic Center for dance fitness class, also known as Zumba. Dancing along to Shakira's "Waka Waka" or Nikki Minaj's "Pound the Alarm" is probably the most fun way to stay active.
June 18, 2014
At the beginning of June, I was one of 40 students who returned to campus for Reunion 2014. As student hosts, Sam Santiago ’17 and I had the pleasure of working with 15 ladies from the Class of 1959 who returned for their 55th reunion. (For historical reference, it would be another 10 years after these ladies graduated before Connecticut College would accept men.) Sam and I also served as hosts to a 100-year-old member of the Class of 1935 who returned to celebrate.
At Reunion, most returning alumni stay in the residence halls. For the weekend, the Class of 1959 called Wright dorm home. With cookies, the 1959 yearbook, posters of celebrities of the era and decorations, Sam and I transformed Wright’s common room into a “hospitality suite” fit for reminiscing. Our alumni called us “house mothers,” a dated reference to the young, female professors who used to live in the residence halls and tend to the students.
Highlights of the weekend included a “blue-book quiz” that tested the ladies’ memories of their college years and a class dinner at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum that featured a vocal performance by the talented Nancy Savin ’59.
Most of all, I simply enjoyed talking with the alumni, learning about their lives during and after college. An alumna named Gail described how each student used to take a required final examination in their area of study. If they failed it, even if they had a 4.0 GPA, they could not graduate! Gail also described how the number of people in a particular class used to diminish greatly, as women left to marry men from the Coast Guard Academy, Yale, Wesleyan and other schools.
Members of the Class of 1959 have a deep love for their alma mater. Despite the College’s changes and renovations over the years, the 55th reunion class kept saying that what never changed about Connecticut College is the truly wonderful people.
May 22, 2014
When you revisit an old passion, you often can’t help but throw your all into it. It makes you feel alive. For me, that passion is soccer -- the best sport on the planet.
I started playing soccer in middle school, as an ambitious player who was on on two or three teams at once. While I didn’t continue on to play the sport in college, I’m still getting the chance to play frequently -- this time with less competition.
Intramural athletics at Conn are a way for students like myself to continue playing sports they enjoy, but more for fun than for competition. We make our own teams of friends, and we play two or three times each week against other teams that students have formed. It’s exciting for me because, of course, I get to get back out on the field and, with that, comes a rush of adrenalin.
Playing soccer and meeting new people is what it’s all about. We bond through sweat, hard work and the passion to win. Even more important, though, might be the grace of losing. In fact, other teams have told us that, even when we’re losing, we still look like we’re having fun. While no one particularly likes losing, everyone loves being together and going for the goal. Yea, that’s right-GOOOALLLLLL.
May 9, 2014
Floralia, our spring festival, kicked off a day earlier than usual with a 5K color run last Friday afternoon. My friends and I threw on our white T-shirts and met at the back of Cro, the student center. We joined a giddy, lively crowd as music pumped-up the runners. Clouds of colored chalk powder already floated through the air as we dipped our hands into buckets and threw globs of it at each other.
Moments later, the race began and we were off on a course that took us all around campus, even to places I hadn’t known existed. (As we looped around the Lyman Allyn Museum, on the south end of our campus, I realized there was a stone mushroom garden. Who knew?!) As we ran past different intersections on campus, members of campus organizations, including Student Health Services, the Think S.A.F.E. Project, Student Activities Council and others, threw colored powder at us. We blindly ran through the clouds of color, which added to the thrill of the run.
My friends and I were having so much fun that, before the run had even ended, we talked about our plans to do it again. We had to pause our conversation, however, when we encountered obstacles such as low-crawl nets, hurdles, and a stone wall. Though the quirky, unexpected obstacles bore no resemblance of my usual 5Ks from the cross-country season, the hills certainly did. My friends and I agreed that the color run would beat a cross-country race any day. There’s just no competing with color.
May 7, 2014
This past weekend was the track team’s annual home meet. Each year, we host one meet -- The Silfen Invitational -- and it’s always a big day. For once, we don’t have to wake up early and take a bus somewhere. Instead, eight other colleges travel to New London! By having the meet at home, it’s an opportunity for our families and friends to see us compete and support our team.
I had more family at this week’s meet than I would have ever expected. Since the Invitational coincided with Easter, my Philadelphia-based family was visiting and they were able to spend time in New London cheering me on. One of my cousins had never been to a meet before, so it was a great experience for her.
I just loved that my family could see me pole vaulting, doing something that I love. Best of all, they got to see Camels win!
April 21, 2014
I joined the women's club rugby team my freshman year, and since then, it's been a whirlwind of practices, games and team bonding. This year, along with the men's team, we hosted two fundraising games to benefit breast cancer research. While the two games were just for fun, we hope to help raise awareness on campus and make a difference in the fight against cancer.
April 10, 2014
I try very hard not to take night classes.
Not that there aren’t good classes being held at night, but as a track athlete whose practice regularly goes to 6 or 6:30, the added stress of having to get to class afterward is one I try to avoid for my mental health. However, when I joined the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, I was signed up for a seminar that takes place 7-8:30 pm.
Now, you might wonder how I can leave practice, change, eat, get my books and get to class in under a half hour, but luckily, the College has a nifty system for athletes whose practices end after dining hall hours, or for those athletes who also have night classes. We call it the “Cro Pass.”
With the Cro Pass, you get certain items from Oasis, our snack shop, for free. (Cro Passes are only redeemable on the day you were given it, and has to be signed your coach.) Because of my night course schedule isn’t typical for athletes, it’s pretty infrequent that others from my team are eating in Oasis. I try not to eat alone, and I certainly don’t want to be seen eating a whole pizza, solo, on a Tuesday night. So, I decided to use my Cro Pass as a way to befriend my classmates in the Goodwin-Niering Center.
One of my classmates, Maia, is also involved in tons of activities, including dance, so she occasionally hasn’t had the chance to grab dinner before class. She has become my regular Cro date for post-Goodwin Niering seminars dinners, and through this, also a very close friend.
Just this week, she texted me saying “Are you living that Cro Pass life today??” After all, aren't all good friendships are based on food?
April 2, 2014
One of the most valuable skills I’ve learned this year is how to organize: how to organize an event, how to organize people and how to manage down-to-the-detail. I was responsible for organizing a community service day for 50 volunteers. It’s a lot more complicated than you might think.
The community service day I organized was part of a class project within the College’s Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, and the 50 people were my teammates from the Conn College Track and Field team. The job? Clearing invasive species and brush from two preserves managed by Avalonia Land Conservancy in nearby Mystic, Conn.
For my Goodwin-Niering Center project, an academic center at Conn that focuses on the environment, I’m working to broaden Avalonia’s member base and get more young people involved with the organization. Since the track team does a community service project every year, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Since the team is large, we decided to split up and spend two days working at two different preserves run by Avalonia, both in the Stonington area about 20 minutes north of campus. The most challenging part of organizing the whole event involved gathering the equipment we needed to clear the heavy brush. To do that, I reached out to the geology department and the Connecticut College Arboretum; who each kindly lent me clippers, loppers, shovels and gloves.
Both days were great successes. The activity also seemed to provide a fun break for the athletes. I loved being able to connect two of my passions in such a productive way, and I look forward to using this new knowledge to create other such experiences.
March 11, 2014
Some friends and I headed down to Dayton Arena to catch the annual Club Hockey vs. Coast Guard game. It always proves to be one of the most exciting games of the year.
February 16, 2014
On February 8th, I attended the Green Dot hockey game to help raise awareness about Conn's Green Dot program. The program works to end to sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking. The game always draws a large crowd and is one of the only sporting events I've seen where people wear colors other than Conn's traditional blue and white - in this case, it was bright green for a great cause.
February 16, 2014
A journey is something that you don’t always take alone. The Green Dot program here at Conn has truly been an amazing journey for me and my friends. We signed up for Green Dot training during our freshman year together, as a group. Ever since, we’ve gone to athletic games, events and discussions focused on Green Dot’s mission: bringing about an end to sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking.
As Green Dot graduates, we have been trained to recognize “red dots,” like dating violence and escalating situations at parties, in the world around us. We can then step in, a healthy way, to protect others and ourselves. Amongst other graduates, we share our experiences, and we’ve developed a community from which my friends and I learn more and more every year.
Recently we went to the Green Dot hockey game and it was quite spectacular, to say the very least. For the last three years, members of the men’s hockey team have been dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence prevention and initiated this tradition. Darcie Folsom, the College’s director of sexual violence prevention and advocacy, is doing amazing by leading the charge of cultural change here at the College but the journey surely hasn’t been just her. There’s an entire community devoted to the improvement of a culture we don’t condone. To me, that does not sound like a journey one must take alone. Like the Green Dot slogan says, “no one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.”
February 11, 2014
My friends Alysha and Alysia give me the rundown on their Dance Fitness class. It's definitely something I'll be checking out in the coming weeks. Good music, good people and one crazy workout.
February 10, 2014
Occasionally, The ConnCollegeLive Experience will invite guests to blog about their experiences as a Camel. The following is part of this guest blogger series.
At the beginning of this month, I had the opportunity to work on the ESPN production team for the week of the Super Bowl. The job landed me in Times Square, NYC, where I worked at Times Square Studios (TSS), the location in which we shot our Sportscenter shows, and a variety of other stories, for the week.
During the fall, I worked for ESPN on College Friday Night football games at both Boston College and UCONN. I originally got the position through close family friend and alumna Caroline Davis ’99. Caroline is a production manager for ESPN, and works primarily with Monday Night Football, PGA and the major tennis tournaments across the world. She set me up with the hiring team for ESPN, who contacted me to work my first game in September at Boston College. After connecting with the staff and meeting a wonderful group of people, they set me up with the production staff that invited me to work Super Bowl week.
I worked at TSS each day from 7:30 a.m.-5:30p.m., helping our studio production manager and talent producers make sure everything went according to schedule. We covered live Sportscenter hits, as well as different taping and live hits for The Scott Van Pelt and Rusillo Show, Highly Questionable and Numbers Never Lie. My job was to ensure that talent got from the front doors of the studio, to hair and makeup and onto set on time.
Although I did have to miss a week of school to participate in this work, I think that it was certainly worth it (sorry, Professors!). During the week, I not only met some of the best and most legendary football players in the NFL, but so many amazing people within production and operations from both the ABC and ESPN groups. As a senior who is approaching graduation, I am quickly learning that for where I want to be after graduation it is not necessarily what you know, but who you know, that gets you there. Making connections this week already provided me with a potential job offer, as well as a good deal of contacts in the industry that I can get in touch with as I am trying to decide where I want to end up when I leave in May.
Patty Shields '14 is a Psychology-Based Human Relations major, and has been studying Sports Communications. Through her work in the Sports Information Office, Patty manages the Camel Athletics social media outlets, including @CamelAthletics on Twitter.
Hannah Storm interviews AJ Hawk on the SportsCenter set (left,) and a behind-the-scenes view of anchors Hannah Storm, Mark Schelerth and Merril Hoge.
January 28, 2014
I’ll forever remember March 16, 2013: It was the first time I pole-vaulted competitively. It was about 30 degrees, and snow started falling halfway through the meet. When I cleared the first height, I was surprised to see that among those cheering for me were two pole-vaulters from the Coast Guard Academy.
Our team practices at the Coast Guard Academy’s indoor track. The Academy is just across the street from campus, only a few hundred feet away. Sharing their track gives us a sense of camaraderie, even though we’re also hometown rivals.
Those of us who practice at the Academy get to know a side of the Cadets that many Conn students don’t see. At track meets, our Coast Guard rivals are also our supporters and friends with whom we chat with while warming up. As a first-time pole vaulter (and as last semester’s only female vaulter from Conn,) I especially appreciate the new friendships I have found with our neighbors across the street.
January 15, 2014
I returned to Conn last Sunday and hit the ground running. Literally.
I dropped my bags in my room and ran to track practice for a timed 5k. Athletes return to campus a few weeks before classes start for training camps. As much as I have loved getting back to my running routine, I have also enjoyed the non-running aspects of being back on campus.
After our first practice, my friends and I ate a leisurely dinner while filling each other in on our winter breaks. We ended the evening in true slumber party fashion — sprawled out on couches and a jumbo beanbag chair while laughing and watching TV reruns. But unlike at regular sleepovers, we hit the sack early in preparation for our morning wake-up call.
At 7:30 a.m. the next day, the entire track team gathered in the Athletic Center. Instead of our usual morning jog and weightlifting, we played water polo. When not playing, we cheered loudly from the sidelines. The matches got pretty intense (by our standards at least).
Evenings are also active. The past week, we’ve played ping-pong and air hockey at game night, gone bowling, acted out charades, and crossed over an 8-foot vertical string in trust-building exercises. My friends and I also spent an evening making Mediterranean soup and fudge brownies.
For our first meet of the season, we headed off campus. On our way to Bowdoin College, we stopped in Freeport, Maine, to eat lunch and, as our coach called it, “shop ‘till we drop”. We ate crab cakes and lobster sandwiches at Linda Bean’s Tavern and then meandered through L.L. Bean’s factory store. After a practice at Bowdoin, we settled into the quaint Inn at Brunswick Station. I enjoyed meeting some of the sprinters over a dinner of chicken marsala and baked ziti.
Pretty soon, everyone will be back on campus, classes will start, and college will be back to normal. It’s been awesome to have a few weeks just to focus on running and building relationships with my teammates.
November 20, 2013
Since November 4th, I have woken up feeling sore each morning because Track and Field season has begun. What’s nice though, is that I see three of my teammates in my first class of the day. (That’s my 8 a.m. Chemistry class.)
Me: “My calvesssssss, they are solid blocks of pain”
Teammate: “My hamstrings are so tight, I can barely walk”
And then we go to class.
Being on a team, especially a large one, is nice because I see my teammates outside of practice. I see them in class, which makes for automatic study-buddies and conversation topics during warm-up.
During dinner, the four of us in Chem discuss the homework or the topics covered in the lecture that morning. We moan about the struggles of being science majors and exchange phone numbers in case we have academic questions later.
Because of track, my social circle grows enormously, which increases my resources of people to study with or ask questions to. Since there are a number of upperclassmen on the team, classmates/teammates who have already taken the courses are always willing to meet up lif you have questions. For an underclassmen, that’s a huge asset to have.
November 9, 2013
This is Niles. I got him at a Connecticut College men’s water polo game.
How? The coach tossed him up into the stands for anyone to have. He’s only one of many free items I’ve gotten at sporting events, including a t-shirt and sweatshirt.
This is a really good incentive to go to water polo games.
I’ve noticed this happens with a lot of sports teams.
My track coach, for example,often draws rewards from “the prize box” for trivia night winners, or for those who get the highest score in bowling, a team activity during the season. Last year, my friend was the bowling tournament champion and got a Connecticut College Camels track & field t-shirt from a few years ago. The surplus swag sometimes piles up and it’s a win-win.
November 6, 2013
This past summer, I ran while in France, nannying for a family. I’d dash out before the seven-year-old woke up, taking narrow dirt roads to the 17th-century castle at the top of the village, passing the lines of people waiting outside boulangeries for their pain chocolat, glimpsing vineyards, farms and tree nurseries. Training wasn’t always so picturesque: The family’s guests would gawk as I did grapevines and exercises in the yard, the boy would jump on my back as I did push-ups and the family’s bear-dogs would paw at my legs as I switched to sit-ups. In spite of my spotty summer training and complete inexperience running cross-country, I decided to give it a go at Conn.
10 reasons why I’m thrilled I did:
- Coach Bishop
He’s constantly cracking jokes, calling out “hit it” when we begin speed workouts, all the while creating a positive and productive athletic experience.
- Pasta dinner at Coach Bishop’s mom’s house
Coach Bishop’s mother kindly opens up her home to us the evening of our first race of the season. Seniors take charge of a pasta and salad dinner and she provides the scrumptious desserts.
- Beautiful running routes
Sunlit foliage on forest trails, prayer flags on Mamacoke Island, sunsets over the beach at Bluff Point, glistening creeks on the Airline Trails...
- Voyages to meets
Meets occur in Maine, Indiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut. We occasionally stay in hotels but consistently enjoy academic, social, and scenic bus rides and a change of scenery.
- Our home course
No course beats our own. The course at Harkness State Park follows the ocean, surrounds gardens and passes a mansion.
During the first week of practice, while out on our long runs, conversation topics run wild. Everything is discussed: the joys of traveling and making international friends, parenting concerns, psychological disorders, favorite recipes, racism in the U.S. and occasionally some taboo thoughts. These girls keep it real.
- Pool workouts
We duel water polo matches and compete in swim relays. The winning team receives prizes (team gear!)
- Improved focus
The mental outlet at the end (and sometimes beginnings) of each day rejuvenates me and helps me return to my studies with renewed interest and energy. Not to mention that exercising helps those time-management skills...
- Morning workouts
There’s nothing like catching the sun rise while running, lifting weights and eating a hearty breakfast… all before 8 a.m.
Sometimes we leave campus before 8 a.m. for meets, but the thrill of race day is worth it. I recite our cheer to motivate myself while racing: “C-A-M-E-L. We’re the camels, run like hell. Ahh CC!”
October 14, 2013
This is a Rugby game that I attended during fall break. Rugby is a club sport on campus, but the team practices and treats the sport as a varsity team. Similarly, rugby is the only club sport that stays on campus during Fall Break along with the rest of the varsity sports teams. About 95% of the team had never touched a rugby ball before playing for Conn College. With great coaching and mentoring from experienced players, the rookies catch on pretty quickly to a sport that was foreign to them months before.