By Kevin D. Klipstein, President & Chief Executive Officer
As freshmen on the Cornell team, to say we occupied the back seat would be accurate both physically and metaphorically. College squash had yet to reach the level of charter bus travel that teams enjoy today. Twelve-passenger vans driven by the coach, with assistant, and a squad of ten plus gear left little room for the three of us in the far back seat. Beds on the road for freshmen were a luxury.
We were part of a decent recruiting year that included four-time All American Richard Chin, and a year which would turn out to be the last Peter Briggs coached the team before starting his now twenty-five-year run at the Apawamis Club. However, respect was earned through seniority and your contributions to the team. Where you played on the ladder meant nothing
After a long pre-season, our first non-scrimmage weekend of matches was at Williams College where we played a handful of teams in the eight to fifteen range. Cornell had never beaten Williams, and we thought we had a chance. Our final match of the weekend was against the host team, and I ended up as the last one on the court with it tied 4-4. Depriving readers of elaborate detail, I did defeat the senior captain of the team in five games to win the match.
I was then the slowest to get to the van for our long trip home to Ithaca; never a good thing for a newbie. Awaiting me when I stepped into the warm van, however, were rousing cheers like nothing I’d ever heard before, and nothing that I have heard since. As I took the moment in, I thought, “This is how it feels to be on a team.” The cheers lasted the entire time it took me to get all the way to the back of the van. Crammed between my two exhausted freshmen teammates, it was the happiest I’d been in my life.