G is for Getting Buckets or Dying While Trying
Yes, the ENTIRE Kenyon College Men’s Basketball team. I thought they would give an interesting perspective on collegiate-level team sports at a small Liberal Arts college such as Kenyon. What I didn’t count on was how difficult it would be to condense an entire interview in one blog post. I mean, the guys were so cool and really funny, but writing up the interview afterwards kicked my butt. I kept procrastinating, then I fell ill and finally, my professors killed me with tons of homework. The truth is, I picked the worst sport to write an interview about. Basketball goes against every single bodily inclination I’ve ever had. In my third year in Secondary school in Lagos, I turned in my jersey after 2 years of benching each game because I couldn’t bring myself to get in someone’s face for a ball. With this bit of my autobiography in mind, it’s easier to understand how I felt during my interview with these guys;
I had two dinner interviews with members of the team; one on the 1st of February, and another on the 4th of February. I had never conducted an interview before, talk less of with an athletic team, so I looked up the kind of questions to ask on Google. Apparently, no-one interviews teams and I could only find interviews of coaches and individual players. I was totally breaking into uncharted territory with this.
At Kenyon, everyone has the opportunity to meet with new people, but sometimes, especially at dinner, people pretty much just want to hang out with their friends. That is how I came to have dinner twice on what is known to the general public as ‘the Basketball table.’ The Basketball table can be defined as a table in any Peirce dining room at which at least 5 basketball players are seated (regardless of whether non-basketball players are seated at that table or not).
Sitting in the Great Hall with Julian Pavlin, Ikenna ‘Iyke’ Nwadibia, Cameron Bell, Noah Morayniss, Kevin Phillips, Connor Garrity, John Bray, and later with Brian ‘Lebo’ Lebowitz, Daniel Voigt, Max Siegrist and Cooper Handelsman, I listened to their stories. Coming from diverse athletic backgrounds, from football and soccer to ice hockey and polo, most of the guys agreed that other sports were too hard in comparison to basketball as most of them had been dunking balls into nets placed at impossible heights from a tender age. That is, everyone except Iyke, who picked up Basketball in 10th grade.
From what I gathered, most of the team found Kenyon because of its great academics, and chose Kenyon after they got to hang out with the basketball team during their Campus visits. Now, as members of the team, after getting to spend New Year’s Eve together, the close knit team agrees that “as a team [they] often are hurt together,” with as many people as 6 getting hurt at the first practice of the season. But, they also rejoice in every member’s efforts, citing Iyke’s layup that led them to a win against Allegheny in February as one of the best moments of this season.
There was a disagreement among the group as to whether Cameron was the first to ever dunk a ball at the Tomsich Arena at the Kenyon Athletic Center but they were all quick to say that he is the coolest kid at Kenyon and he models in his free-time. When not on the court “taking care of business,” the team can be found at a Cracker Barrel’s before each away game, supporting other Lords and Ladies at their home games, and avoiding taking Dance classes to fulfill diversification requirements at Kenyon.
With most of them coming from cities much larger than the ‘bier, I asked, how do you survive at the ‘bier, they conceded that the small, close-knit community is something they were not used to at first that they have come to appreciate. To any of you out there, considering coming to Kenyon to play a sport, they say “Come here because you like the school, and stay because you love the people you get to play the sport with.”
*The Lords brought the season to a victorious close, coming third in the NCAC (North Coast Athletic Conference) tournament with 9 wins and 7 losses.