The Sophomore Invasion

corby's picture

It's finally warm and nice out. And of course it's almost the end of the semester, so some people, like Ross, are in a crush to get their big final projects finished. That left us tonight with nothing but grey-haired guys at Thursday night UVa practice. No worries, we'll just knock around a bit, experiment with my compact camera which I bravely mounted to the front of my helmet, then call it a night after some bruise exchange.

Along the way, one ebullient young undergrad wandered by on the way back to the dorms from dinner as Philip and I were taking a break. She asked what we were doing, and after explanations was very excited to find that we were (theoretically) part of a UVa CIO. Throughout the rest of the evening, there were many calls of "What are you doing? What is this?" replied to with "It's a CIO!" 

Seems like being a CIO makes even armored guys beating each other an entirely relatable thing.

Ebullience turned into excitement when offers to let her learn how to do it came up, and an interesting effect made things snowball: Once our Patient Zero (shame on me for not recalling her name) started participating, hardly two minutes could pass without a friend running up and asking what she was doing. So before I could say "form up a shield wall" I was no longer just knocking around in armor at at a practice/sausage party; I was teaching five smart, sharp, athletic sophomore-ish co-eds how to throw flat snaps, all while they swapped around trying on my helmet.

It was a level of enthusiasm and exuberance I've rarely seen, at once unexpected, welcome, and sadly greeted with a bit of cynicism as there is more than a little chance we were dealing with tourists. There were many comments of "So is there a list serve?" (Suggesting real interest.) And "My least typical Thursday night all year." (I had to reply "Not for me.") 

To balance out the tourist observation, I definitely saw the potential for great fighting from at least one of them, and all of them could authorize without much trouble. But then this is a regular thing: Over the years I've seen more than half a dozen kids start at this practice who could be dukes (or duchesses by their own hands) with a few years of helmet time. It's UVa: they're ALL smart. But some are so very, very physically gifted. Moreso than I ever was. If only they stayed with it!

One generational change I noticed for the first time tonight. Can't say if I just didn't pick up on this change at earlier practice, perhaps it was the sudden influx of FIVE enthusiastic women all at once. Approaching a group of four men practicing, all of them at least ten years their senior, not a one of them asked "Is this something women do?" They all assumed that women did. They all assumed that they could. 

As they should. They were all good students tonight.

Tonight's videos are odd, all just the tops of helmets. I'll nevertheless post it tomorrow. Here's the only picture I took with my camera that does really poorly in low light. The new students took many, including some fetching ones combining gang signs, my helmet, and gym shorts. Perhaps they'll come back and share them. I did hand out some business cards.

Blurry pics of the sophomore attack.

I have some lovely McDavid Padded Shirt hexagonal outline bruises to go with tonight's mail shirt bruises. And if my helmet smells of perfume, I'm sure Kit will understand.