Sunday, March 20, 2011

School Sports

Most of my previous posts have focused on the academic side of the LGO program, but to leave it at that would be to describe only part of the LGO experience. LGOs actually have quite a bit going on in the extracurricular world, too. There are clubs, social events, music, sports, and who knows what else. This post will look at just one of these -- the world of the LGO athlete. I'll touch on what I consider to be the four pillars of LGO sports, starting with the most important...
  • Intramural Sports - There is no better way to bond with your classmates (and to find out their true personalities). During the current academic year, the LGO program has had/will have teams or players in at least eight sports: flag football, hockey (more on this in a minute), basketball, softball, water polo, table tennis, real tennis, and volleyball. The existence of most of these LGO teams has been the direct result of one or two overly enthusiastic students (different ones for each sport), who are able to motivate an unsuspecting group of LGOs to play a sport in which they have no experience or skill. Such is the case with this spring's Water Polo team, which I was foolishly tricked into joining by being shown totally cool pictures like the one on the left. There is one sport, though, that has become something of a tradition among the LGO classes: Hockey.

    LGO hockey is one of those "perks" of being in the program you hear about as a prospective student. You are told great tales of epic games between utterly terrible teams, and you think to yourself, "I might not know how to skate yet, but I bet I could be the star of that team." At least, that's what I thought around this time last year. Then, upon lacing up the skates and trying to do something -- anything -- with the puck, you suddenly realize, "I'm actually really bad."

    True to tradition, the LGO '12 team was mostly dreadful at the start of the season. Our two players who had played previously looked like NHL stars skating around with a bunch of 3-year-olds on the ice for the first time. It would take some players about five minutes just to skate to the faceoff circle. It reminded me of watching Bambi try to walk on the ice, legs splaying in all directions. Fortunately, we played our six-game season in the MIT D-League, which should tell you something about the skill level we were up against. As bad as we were, we still managed to win a couple of games and come very close in a few others, including a tie against the LGO '11 team that had annihilated us in our first meeting. It was fun to watch everyone improve, and we left excited for next year and our match-ups with the LGO '13 team.

    [Note: Hockey was not all fun and games. As the picture on the left shows, the learning curve was not without its bumps. This is me, after I fell while practicing and broke my face. I now have some really nice titanium plates and a lot of people who think I'm an ultimate fighter.]

  • Working Out - The LGOs are a generally fit group of people, and we are fortunate to have some great indoor and outdoor options for keeping up our impressive physiques (see water polo picture above for accurate representation of LGO bodies). On campus, there's an older gym and pool relatively close to Sloan, and this is where many of us go to lift or swim. We we are feeling especially enthusiastic, we sometimes venture to the Z-Center on the other side of campus (see picture on right for mostly useless view of the exterior). The Z-Center is where the ice rink, indoor and outdoor tracks, an amazing swimming pool, squash courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, etc. are located. All of these facilities are free to students and are really quite impressive.

    MIT also offers a huge number of phys ed classes and fitness programs for very low prices. I've been thinking of taking the massage class just so I can get a back rub for half of the class time.

    Off-campus there are a bunch of other options. Running along the Charles is extremely popular, and for good reason. The scenery is beautiful, the paths are easy on the legs, and it's right off the MIT campus. Many of my classmates also take short excursions to do indoor and outdoor rock climbing. We're also not too far from great skiing and hiking in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, and kayaking/sailing in the Charles or off the coast is always fun when the weather is nice.

  • The Boston Sports Scene - As a New Yorker, I can't even pretend to root for the Boston sports teams. In fact, I dislike the teams even more after being surrounded by their fans for the past few years. However, I have to admit that this city has a passion for their teams unlike anything I've ever seen, and it is enjoyable to be in that atmosphere. The MIT campus has a great location for local sports fans, as it is within walking distance of the TD Garden, where the Bruins and Celtics play, as well as Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox.

    College sports are also pretty big in Boston (though not really at MIT), and we're right down the road from BU, BC, and Harvard.

  • Fantasy Sports - I couldn't write about the sports in my life without including the ones that aren't real. It might sound strange, but the LGO '12 fantasy football league was actually a great bonding experience for the subset of us that played, and I'm sure it will be a nice way to keep in touch while we're away on our internships next fall.
As busy as we are with school, taking the time to be active, especially when doing it with my classmates, has proved to be some of the most valuable time I've spent during this first year. Expect some short updates this spring as the Softball, Water Polo, Volleyball, and Table Tennis seasons get underway. And no matter how bad we are at any of them, at least they're not on ice!


  1. Wow Chris, that black eye was awesome.

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  3. real humble, you didnt even mention you won the league...