The highly anticipated eighth annual Student vs. Faculty Basketball game took place Saturday night April 8 in Vassar’s Athletic and Fitness Center. Despite edging the students out with a phenomenal buzzer beater in the inaugural event in 2010, the faculty has been lagging in the series overall. Coming into this year’s matchup, the student team led the series 5-2 and was on a winning streak for the past three competitions.
Fired up and ready to finally show the students who really rules the school, the “Old School” team smashed that record, defeating the students by a whopping 13 points, as the final score was 73-60 in favor of the faculty.
The win did not come easy for the Old School though. Each athlete trained extensively in order to take back the “Top Brewers” title that was originally theirs.
Dean of the College Chris Roelke stated, “Us old-timers have had to search our attics and basements for our basketball shoes, dust them off and get to the gym. We had to start stretching three weeks ago in order to be limber enough for our one or two minutes of playing time in the contest. Our Coach (Sociology professor) Diane Harriford has been keeping us focused and calls each player at 10 p.m. to make sure we are all adhering to curfew, eating right and keeping our eyes on the prize.”
Likewise, while first-time participant Dean of Students Adriana di Bartolo has not yet actually touched a ball since arriving at Vassar, she has been reminiscing on her eighth grade basketball glory days.
According to Vassar’s Director of Athletic Communications, Jamie Chagnon, Professor Harriford’s strategy included using the faculty’s age as benefit rather than a hindrance. He commented, “We have to use our years and years of basketball knowledge and intellect to our advantage. While we may not be as athletic at some spots as the students, I think that our depth and basketball IQ could be the difference in getting us this W.”
Chagnon’s prophecy fulfilled itself when the obviously less well-led and experienced, yet slightly more athletic team proved unable to keep up with some who were more than double their age.
Reflecting on Head Coach of the student team Noah Goldberg’s leadership skills, sophomore Emmett O’Malley stated, “Noah Goldberg made a group chat of everyone who wanted to play in the game. He then made two bad jokes in it and asked to have practice during the Zadie Smith lecture. Unfortunately, the proposed practice time was not one of his two jokes. I’m not saying there is anybody to blame for the loss. I’m just saying that you should blame Noah Goldberg for the loss.”
Certainly the blame was not to be placed on O’Malley as he prepared for the game as if it was game seven of the World Series. “I trained with (Vassar Women’s Basketball standout junior) 1,000 point-scorer Ariella Rosenthal for months in advance; I watched LeBron James’ historic performance against the Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals 23 times in a row leading up to the tip-off; and I watched clips of Winston Bailey missing uncontested layups. Essentially, I was trying to understand what to do, in the form of LeAriella RosenJames, and what not to do, i.e. DJ Airball,” recalled O’Malley.
Immediately before tip-off, the entire student team downed kale smoothies with extra chia seeds, picked their jerseys out of an old box and enthusiastically completed their warmup, comprised of a few rounds of hotly-contested knockout.
The Miscellany News was able to get insider information from nine-year-old guest reporter Salihah Cann-Polentz. At 7 p.m., the game began with a basket sunk by Old School and a rising crowd of exclamations. But New School made a comeback, tying the score at 3. The referees running the game and motioning signals got boos from people in the crowd who had different opinions on who had been fouled.
Nonetheless, shots were taken, and Old School had a varying lead in the first quarter that was taken up by a different but no less determined group in second quarter. New School showed some different colors in the second quarter, but continued to trail behind.
It wasn’t until third quarter though, that Old School really started taking the lead. The third quarter was fielded by all women and exampled some whooping girl power that came true from the heart. The score was edging over 50 points for Old School and creeping up into the 40s for New School, when the last quarter of the game was played, accompanied by a somewhat sleepy (because it was late) but still jeering crowd. The game was ended and all fates were sealed with a final spectacular shot made by Old School.
Following the game, Professor of Education and No. 14 Colette Cann was interviewed by 10 year-old guest reporter Ellia Bailey. When asked about the results of the game, Professor Cann replied, “The game was good because we won.” She also commented on the student team’s style of play stating, “New School played very aggressively, a little too aggressive. Old School played very peacefully.”
Some of this agree New School defense might have been carried out by a trio of Vassar women’s soccer stars, sophomores Emma Lavelle, Rebecca Andrews and Dahlia Chroscinski. Their supreme athleticism and competitive drive allowed their defensive skills to shine, ultimately highlighting their team’s play in the third quarter.
Chroscinski was awarded the student team’s MVP title, while former Vassar women’s basketball star and two-time Liberty League Player of the Year Cydni Matsuoka was named the staff’s all-star.
Commenting on the notable honor, Chroscinski stated, “I hustled as much as my out of shape body would permit me to and left it all on the floor. But alas I did not have the rare privilege of seeing (Vassar men’s basketball Head Coach) BJ Dunne cry. Maybe next year.”
All jokes aside, the Student vs. Old School basketball game is an opportunity to bring Vassar’s diverse campus together for the purpose of cheering on friends, colleagues and mentors in the name of Brewer pride.
Dean Roellke, an original creator and player in this tradition stated, “I always have a blast at this game because it brings our diverse community together over something silly, yet competitive and fun. I most look forward to getting to know my colleagues and students in a completely different environment from our day to day routines. Every single year, I have developed a new friendship with someone through basketball, exercising together and through our shared objective of not trying to embarrass ourselves in front of a large crowd.”
Roellke continued, “For me, it is really about getting together a wide range of students, faculty, staff and administration to pursue entertainment collectively. We don’t have a lot of opportunities to do that and I am so very, very proud that this healthy, multi-generational tradition lives on!”
His motto of the game is “just go out there and have fun, try not to get hurt and go for it!”
For now, the Old School and New School will be training tirelessly, while convincing themselves they are the next Stephen Curry, until next year’s much anticipated Old School vs. New School basketball game.
-Additional Reporting by Ellia Bailey, Salihah Cann-Polentz & Niambi Mills