Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl Sunday is always an eventful occassion, and last Sunday was no exception. As everyone here in the Northeast knows well, Tom Brady led the Patriots to the greatest comeback in football history, cementing his status as the greatest quarterback of all time (as a Jets fan it’s hard to swallow writing these words).

But even aside from the game, Superbowl Sunday is bustling with activity. There are parties to attend and foods to consume. I attended my first college Superbowl party past Sunday. Here’s what I found.

  1. Ordering is really, really complicated.

Getting a pizza for myself is hard enough. But pizza and wings for a group of 50? Impossible. We spent over an hour before the game trying to coordinate and settle on the amount and types of food. Then the entirety of the first quarter too. The group order never occurred. Instead, I had to scramble with a couple of friends to make a quick order of wings and hope we could get them before the second half. As one would expect, however, it isn’t so easy to order wings during the second quarter of the Super Bowl. The first two places we called had stopped taking any more orders. The next place’s phone lines were down.

We finally found a restaurant. The wings arrived during the third quarter. Any idea of pizza had long been discarded.

  1. Forget about being able to hear anything.

Want to hear the roar of the crowd? Or a funny-looking commercial? Forget about it. When everyone is packed into a room, talking amongst themselves in loud, feverish tones, it’s just about impossible to hear. And every play is followed by some combination of clapping and groaning , so there’s a nice ten second post-play buffer of solid, unharmonious sound. While in some ways the lack of television sound can be nice (no monotone Joe Buck or creepy Mr. Clean voice), simply put, expect to miss a lot of the game’s verbal experience at a party.

And people can shriek a lot louder than one would think. At ear-splitting levels. Especially in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Super Bowl.




  1. There will be bandwagoners.

For those who do not follow the NFL, it’s common to waver between the two teams playing. To use a more recent example, there were more than a few in attendance at the party who began to root for the Patriots during their comeback, after mocking the Pats when they fell behind Atlanta 28-3. They then acted like they had rooted for New England the entire time and used it as an excuse to party and talk smack. Not that I’m salty or anything. But someone who can’t name three defensive players on the Patriots or even anyone else besides Tom Brady really doesn’t have the right to act superior to fans of other teams —especially suffering fans of the New York Jets, who are stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith as their quarterbacks and have faced so much anguish over the past decade at the hands of Belichick and Brady. Again, not that I’m salty.

  1. People do homework during the game

I have to admit that this one surprised me. Yes, I know Brown is full of hardworking students, but I never realized to what a great extent. I could never imagine doing work during such a big game, and that’s probably why those kids doing their engineering homework will make a lot more money than me, though to be honest, I’m still not sure how well that homework was done. Once again, there was a whole lot of yelling and clapping, and it can’t be easy to write by the light from a projector screen.



  1. It was pretty damn fun.

Watching such a big game with everyone reacting around each other was awesome, even though my stomach still churns every time I go on ESPN. It was pretty to cool to watch Patriots fans lose all sense of hope and pride, sinking into their seats demoralized, before going completely nuts by the end of the game. The stories, people and sense of community are what make sports great. I’ll definitely be going to another party next year (unless, knock on wood, the Jets somehow make it, in which case I’ll be watching alone in my room in the dark).

Brown professors run NYC marathon

Nov. 6 Michael Vorenberg, associate professor of history, and Dietrich Neumann, director of urban studies and professor of urban studies, of Italian studies and of history of art and architecture, ran the New York City Marathon.

Though they had not coordinated their efforts, each professor saw that the other was running via their involvement with the local Ronald McDonald Running Club. They planned to find each other after the race and were able to meet up near the finish line at the American Museum of Natural History.


“It was a fantastic experience,” Vorenberg said. “The whole thing was an amazing spectacle. The weather was perfect, so the crowds were out in full force, and their cheering along with the music of the live bands along the way made the experience pretty special.”

Vorenberg finished with a time of 4:02:25, while Neumann finished in 4:09:59. “ My plan all along (was) to enjoy the experience rather than worrying about setting some sort of personal record,” Vorenberg added. “Mainly, I was glad to finish.”

The New York City Marathon is the largest marathon in the world, with over 50,000 runners annually. The race weaves through all five of New York’s boroughs, beginning in Staten Island and ending in Manhattan. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie won the 2016 men’s division, while Mary Keitany ran the fastest in the women’s division. Geoffrey Mutai holds the record time for the NYC Marathon — an astonishing time of 2:05:06.

All in all, though neither set records, running for a cause was an immensely satisfying experience for the two Brown professors.

Dipping a toe in: new sport same sports fan

This past weekend, my mission was to watch a sport I had never seen before. Now I must admit, as big a sports fan as I am, water polo is something I have little knowledge about. Throughout my life, I have played the role of expert sports fan in baseball, basketball and football, so watching a sport I really don’t know very much about was a change for me. Here’s what I learned.

  1. Not knowing what’s going on can make it kind of hard to follow a game. There was a lot more kicking and grabbing and splashing than I expected. Water polo can be a very aggressive game. Most of the time, water polo offensive possessions are spent passing the ball around, looking for the best shot opportunity. I’d compare it to basketball passes around the perimeter to create an open three-point shot. Defenders often shove and slap the offensive players to try to stop shots, and players on offense return in kind.

I found my eyes jumping all over the place since I hadn’t mastered the technique of watching the sport yet. I missed goals because I wasn’t looking at the right place. (Most of the time I was instead focused on the aforementioned shoves and slaps.) It was harder to keep track of the ball than one would think, since there was a lot of splashing.

The Maury Show confused what am i doing what am i doing here shock

Everyone slow down so my eyes can catch up.

  1.       Otherwise insignificant details start to stand out.

For instance, the pool looks really blue. Some would argue that I don’t sound like the most knowledgeable water polo fan. Some might even say I sound like I don’t know anything about water polo. But that pool does look really blue — is that a dark blue? A medium blue? Turquoise?

Competition swimming pool block.jpg

The colors are mesmerizing.

I also spent way too much time looking at the water polo caps. They look sort of like those 1920’s flying helmets, if they were combined with normal swimming caps. So of course my attention started to wander — I always wanted to be a 1920s pilot like Snoopy was. He looked really cool on the top of his doghouse. How did he fit on that doghouse anyway? The dimensions of a doghouse wouldn’t be large enough for a dog to — huh? Oh yeah. Back to water polo.

File:2015-03-07 - Thinktank - Sasha Taylor - 61.JPG

  1.     It’s easy for people to think they’re “experts” way too quickly.

I found myself making critiques like I would for any other sport. Those passes needed to be crisper. That shot needed to be more accurate and on point. There needed to be more ball movement. It’s a phenomenon that rolls around with the Olympics when I somehow think that I know everything about figure skating and the triple toe lutz.

By the end of the game I was analyzing plays and defenses even though I didn’t even know how many players are allowed to be in the pool at one time. It’s probably best to know the rules of the game before designing basketball knock-off give-and-go plays for the team in your head.

internet computer bored nerd working

I could do it better.

  1.       It’s a lot of fun.

Sure, the popular sports like basketball and football are great, but they can get pretty stale after you’ve watched them day after day and year after year. People always tell you to expand your horizons, and nothing expands your horizons more than being put in a situation you know nothing about and floundering around for a while. By the end of the game — a closely fought match — I was rooting hard for Brown. It won’t be the last water polo game I watch.

Chicken Finger Friday


For those who miss the unhealthy brilliance and splendor of high school cafeteria lunches, and are tired of the Ratty’s usual offerings, Chicken Finger Friday serves as a much-needed break. Entering the VDub and walking though the brashly painted walls, one catches the heavenly scent of that chicken. After a long week, filled with homework, late-night reading, and the occasional, fear-inducing midterm (one of which I am writing this article instead of studying for!), there is no better way to let all the tension out then grabbing a plate, throwing those hunks of fried goodness on top of it, and spraying sauce all over. Ketchup and mustard are common choices, but for those who really know how to eat, hot sauce is the only way to go.

To give an honest picture, Chicken Finger Friday can be a bit of a free-for-all. Hyper and tense, freshmen elbow and grapple for position. Hands frantically reach for tongs. Sauces get everywhere—on the floor, on shirts, hands, fingers, and especially napkins. The VDub is at full capacity; tables are entirely surrounded, every little corner taken up, every chair slid into impossibly tight spaces.

Eventually, one always finds oneself crammed around a small table with about nine or ten other friends, sitting on  half of a wooden chair, teetering on the edge of falling on the floor. Plates cover the entire table surface. Everything is encased by a coat of stickiness. Yet nothing beats the satisfaction that comes with a successful Chicken Finger Friday. The meal signals the dawning of the weekend, the end of the darkness of a mid-semester school week, and more than anything else, is reminiscent of those heavenly meals that featured McDonalds and Burger King chicken nuggets.

At Brown, some of the littlest things bring the greatest pleasure. It’s important to appreciate them. As some have taken to saying, “Chicken Finger Friday is life.”


Lowered freshpectations

I thought I knew everything about college before I came to Brown. I thought that I was headed off to four years of constant fun, excitement and recklessness. Sitting here on the month-iversary of my arrival on College Hill, I now realize that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. The following are the numerous mistakes in my thinking.

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Baby’s first bean bag toss

The Brown-Harvard Homecoming Game is the setting for one of a Brunonian fall’s most illustrious traditions: the homecoming tailgate. Brown and Harvard students come together to partake in a little harmless pregame fun with non-alcoholic beverages and family-friendly music. At least that’s what I told my parents. In truth, the event is called Brown State, because it is the one time when members of the Brown student body party like students at schools where car flipping and body painting are regular occurrences. I was told that, as a freshman, I needed to go. I took a few friends from my unit with me and made careful note of my observations.

  1. There is a lot of wandering aimlessly. Freshmen don’t exactly know the ins and outs of having a fun college time yet, and don’t even know very many people. So a lot of time was spent finding each other, losing each other and fearfully scanning the crowd for familiar faces. The moments when we recognized someone were emotional, with relieved hugs all around.


Ahhh who are these people?

  1. It’s hard to figure out what to do. Some people played complicated drinking games. Others decided to jump on top of cars. The most inebriated found that tackling each other and getting told off by the police was the best option. My friends and I just stood there and tried to look cool and popular, doing our best to avoid bumping into any drunk person who might get annoyed. In reality we probably looked more like TV show nerdy middle schoolers hiding from bullies.


Suhh Dude

  1. Awkward dancing. With little wiggle room in the crowd, the only way to move was really with upper-body gestures, with some light hip shakes sprinkled in. None of us had very much to drink since we weren’t able to find beers easily, and thus were acutely aware of how awkward and uncoordinated we truly were.



Hi. I’m a freshman. Am I cool yet?

  1. The weekend of the Homecoming game is really, really long. Friday night was Friday night, with everything that a wild Friday night entails. Then we woke up at 10:30 a.m. or so and it was time to party again. Then the game happened. Then we crashed like grandparents by the afternoon.


Woooo College!

Thanks to some hardcore napping we rallied like champs for A Night on College Hill and pulled off even more increasingly cringy dance moves.

  1. It was pretty fun. Nothing brings together a pack of freshmen like feeling uncomfortable and sticking out for all the wrong reasons. I never felt as close to my unit mates as when we were surrounded by drunk people and not really sure how to act or what to do. If anything, it was a good lesson that we weren’t high school seniors anymore and have a lot to learn. I know that I’ll be doing some more of that learning at the tailgate next year. See you then.