Story posted November 11, 2010
Author: Lidey Heuck '13
Winter has arrived at Bowdoin, or so it seems. The maple outside my window is naked; the November wind whips right through the lining of my warmest fleece. Daylight savings time has ended. The sun set at 4:22 PM last night and gave way to an evening of endless, bone-chilling rain.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since being at Bowdoin, however, it’s that Polar Bears aren’t discouraged by cold weather. In fact, we welcome winter- perhaps because it gives us a chance to fulfill the stereotype that people who know little about Bowdoin love to believe. “It’s in Maine!? Brrrrrr. You must love the cold.” The truth is, not of us all love it, but even those who’d give anything for Bowdoin to be in Hawaii take pride in enduring winter. What better excuse to wear flannel and Bean Boots every day? I’d like to believe there’s a little Admiral Peary in all of us and that it emerged from hibernation at the men’s soccer field yesterday afternoon.
The NESCAC men’s soccer final was a true testament to the Bowdoin community’s perseverance. First and foremost, the team played an impressive game, keeping the ball near Middlebury’s goal for most of the game and only falling short during the penalty kicks that followed double-overtime. The Polar Bears’ last-minute defeat certainly was disappointing, but from a fan’s perspective, standing outside for the entire game was an accomplishment in itself.
The temperature never rose above forty and the gusts that accompanied it turned the game from a sporting event to an act of survival. Yet despite how cold we all were (a friend informed me at halftime that amputation of her frozen toes might be necessary), there was a certain sense of camaraderie along the sidelines. We were all frozen, but we were in it together. We were going to stick this one out for the team.
Students weren’t the only ones braving the cold; it seemed as if the whole community had come out to support the Bears. Professors, alumni, Brunswickians and their families filled the crowd…not to mention a whole host of friendly dogs. As a college student, I find it easy to become so absorbed in my schoolwork, activities and friendships within the college that the greater Brunswick community seems distant and disconnected to my life on campus.
Today, however, the student body and the community came together to support men’s soccer, and despite the weather, we had a great time. I loved seeing my economics professor with his young kids and another one walking his dog around the field. There’s an element of comfort in being around families at Bowdoin, since I now live two flights or a twelve-hour drive from my home in Pittsburgh, Pa. My group of close friends at school often feels like a family, especially now that we live in a social house together, but there’s something to be said for toddlers in woolen mittens and Labrador retrievers. Nothing reminds me of home quite like a lick on the hand from a furry dog.
Yesterday’s game reminded me that though I am excited to go home for Thanksgiving in a few weeks, I’m lucky to have such a great family of friends and acquaintances here at Bowdoin. Regardless of my freezing fingers and the game’s unfortunate conclusion, I was happy to be outside, making the best of a November afternoon in my home-away-from-home, Brunswick, Maine. Brrrrrr.