Student Body Joins Football Team
FOOTBAL FIELD – A strange silence pervades the Grinnell campus. Classrooms stand empty, books sit unopened, and there’s no line for stir-fry in the D-Hall. An event even optimists have called “highly unlikely” has occurred. The Grinnell Pioneers have won a game.
“When I heard about it a week after it happened,” Neil Afzal ’18 says of the Pioneers’ first win in two years, “I was like ‘Holy shit, we have a football team?’” In fact, school spirit is so high following the Pioneers’ 15-6 triumph over Trinity Bible College that, in a unanimous but apparently uncoordinated decision, the entire student body has joined the team.
The cacophony of the field is audible from all across campus. Cries of “Hike!” and “Blue 42!” rise above the din as the team runs drills in their new uniforms. These practices, a daily occurrence, are approached with the rigor typical of Grinnell.
“We have to lift weights every day,” describes Lauren Jaster ‘19. “Since we’re out of real weights, we just have to lift each other. ”
“Whenever I get the ball, I throw it as hard as I can,” says Roy DiFranco ’17, jersey number 803. “I’ve broken two noses and three windows!”
Some, however, expressed worries.
“I don’t know,” says Professor Erin Selimaj, History. “When I told my students the Pioneers won, they started talking about manifest destiny. I don’t think they know anything about football.”
But according to the Pioneers themselves, this could not be farther from the truth. “I am glad,” says Pioneers quarterback Anthony Kirtikar ’17. “Now we have many people for ball! Throw ball!”
In fact, some new recruits have even supplanted the old guard. “Some women’s frisbee player took my starting spot. And she’s never played before!” complained Rufus Jones ’18. “The worst part is that deep down I know she’s better than me.”
“Throw ball!” echoes the field, 1200 strong.. While an awe-inspiring sight, the expanded team is not without problems.
“Obviously we don’t have enough room on the bus to transport the team to away games,” says Coach Kozak.
“We’ve been temporarily requisitioning the security golf carts, but security has really been getting on our case.”
Additionally, students complain of feeling peer pressure in their decisions to join. “I actually don’t want to play football, but I’m not fast enough to get out of the way when everybody runs to the field,” says Jack Micklo ’19 as he straps padding over his jersey. “And you can’t even chill on the bench. There’s no room!”
Since the benches are full, the student-athletes have swarmed the bleachers. Some voiced concern that there would be no room for fans, but then remembered that no one goes to games anyways.
Other students protest concussions, loss of homework time, and being carried off the field on the team’s shoulders. “Like, it was cool the first few times,” says Gabrielle Blair ‘21. “But now we do it every single play! I think some people are here to recreate The Breakfast Club.”
Despite setbacks, the overall feeling on campus is one of pride and accomplishment. “We have the first coed football team in the country!” RayKay exclaimed. “We truly are Pioneers, trailblazing the way. It’s really no big deal, just continuing our tradition of social responsibility. No one can accuse us of anything now.”