Every year, the athletic teams of Cooper Union are taken to Cape Cod for a week to engage in a unique, focused, purposeful and successful training program. Because of who we are and because of what our students are capable of doing, this is the perfect venue to help us achieve what was once unthinkable.
I once had a young woman student who worked in my office and told me that she was so proud of the fact that she was a Cooper Union student. She was also very happy with her 2.7 index. She felt she had worked so hard focusing on all of her Cooper Union work and she knew that a 2.7 index was a very good GPA. She worked with me for three hours a week, had no other means of employment, no did she have time to play a sport, have a relationship, or to engage in any social activities. She knew she had to dedicate all her time to being a good Cooper Union student. I didn’t find out until junior year that this young woman was a nationally ranked tennis player.
My business card reads “no gyms, no courts, no fields, no pool, no horses, no time…no excuses”. This only helps illustrate how difficult such an undertaking might be for any other school or any other group of students. Add to this the fact that the majority of students go to class until 9pm. How can they practice a sport or be committed to an activity unless they stretch themselves and their clocks to the limits? Cooper Union is the most uncivilized academic venture, any student at any level can attempt. Most schools are prep schools compared to Cooper Union. Most schools arrange classes from 9 until 5, practice their sports every afternoon, have a couple of games each week, and the overall experience is quite enjoyable and civilized. Our handful of students finds a way to practice at 6 am or on weekends or late at night. Noting all of the above, no one can have a more enjoyable daily situation than us. We know we have to achieve more than anyone else. We know we have to work harder than anyone else. We don’t have facilities, yet we have ourselves. We are the most resourceful and determined group of people and all we want to do is improve.
It is an incredible mixture of commitment for each of the players to make to themselves, to their teammates, to that day of practice, and to the games they will play. The coaches and the players know who they are representing which makes them even more proud. They know that the majority of their fellow students can not make the commitment or any commitment similar to what they are doing. Our particular brand of commitment results in success and enjoyment that only we can realize.
Cape Cod and the ski trip are the only two activities during the academic year which allow us to focus on athletics without thinking about Cooper Union. It allows our players to become sure amateur athletes focusing on all the good things that their sport can afford them. Cape Cod is a place where they get up every day knowing they are going to get better at their sport and improve upon themselves as a Cooper Union student.