My summer plans: optimism

Campus is quiet here. Aside from some Donovan-residing Orientation Leaders, the melodic carousel of new student orientations, a much-quieted construction crew, some new piles of dirt and, assumedly, our invisible administrators, there really isn’t much to speak of on the Queens campus.

It just seems empty without all the commotion that goes with the Fall and Spring semesters.

There are no students in the classrooms, nobody in the Sullivan computer lab, not nearly enough people smoking cigarettes on the Marillac terrace for me to feel comfortable and Anthony Mason, Jr. isn’t standing in his regular spot in the Marillac cafeteria. And he isn’t playing basketball games either.

In fact, the sports world here may be quieter now than the realm of reading, writing and arithmetic. At least it seems that way. The baseball team got eliminated from the NCAA Tournament early this month, and the softball and lacrosse teams were done long before that.

There won’t be action on the courts and fields of St. John’s University until all the incoming freshmen have been properly oriented and the smokers return to their places when class starts up again in the fall.

This calm before the Storm, so to pun, makes my task of providing commentary on our athletic programs much more difficult when there are no games, no actual black-and-white demonstrations of athletic progress, promise, success, decline, failure or otherwise.

Uh oh. How can I say how great I think the basketball team is doing this year if “this year” hasn’t actually started? How can I tell people that they should go see more women’s soccer games if the schedule doesn’t start for months?

Well, I think: what a great opportunity for me, and for us. What a great opportunity for us to be optimistic.

Two of the best sports days of the year are the day of the NFL Draft and Opening Day of Major League Baseball. Both days are fraught with optimism. On those days, every team has got a chance to win it all.

And if it’s your team we’re talking about, they’ve got a legitimate one, don’t they?
The act of following a team throughout a sports season is a lot like going on a picnic.

You start out with a real juicy piece of watermelon, but sooner or later the ants are going to get to it and you’re not going to be able to eat it anymore.

What I’m trying to say is, in sports, all but one team, and one corresponding fan base, always goes home
disappointed.

The blogosphere had been red hot for months with complaints about the state of Red Storm basketball. Alumni and fans were upset, typing furiously about the last season, with some questioning whether or not Norm Roberts’ new contract was deserved.

But last week the mood changed for a bit when Lance Stephenson, the Brooklyn high school basketball phenom added St. John’s to his exclusive list of potential colleges.

I don’t know if Stephenson is considering the Storm because the Torch asked him to do so last semester, but, regardless of whether he decides to stay in New York or not, having the No. 7 overall recruit in the country look at the program can’t be a bad thing.

Right now, Red Storm fans have got as good a chance as any to be the ones that go home happy, with their bellies full of watermelon, especially this upcoming fall.

After all, we’ve got some great teams in the fall.

It took a shootout to oust the women’s soccer team from the Big East Tournament last year, while the men’s team made it to the second round of the tournament.

And, of course, we all know about the volleyball team and their 33-win season (the best in program history) and their near five-game comeback against national powerhouse USC in the NCAA Tournament.

In truth, we could see great things out of all three of those teams this fall. There is no doubt the women’s soccer team is an ever-improving program and the men always seem to be on the cusp of superior success.

Plus, we don’t even have a reason at all to be pessimistic about a volleyball team that was ranked in the top-25 in the country last season.

So let’s take this chance, while the sun is hot, the campus is quiet, and the fruit is still fresh in the cooler, to
be optimistic.