On Your Marks: Even pro athletes cannot escape Residence Life

January 21, 2005

If youre a Brandeis student, the following situation is probably very familiar. Late February or early March you find everyone is crowding around the mail room, eyeing each person as they open a white envelope, to see either great satisfaction or intense sorrow overtake their face. Thats right, Im talking about the housing lottery.

Months later youve no doubt figured out your best possible option, and chosen to live with your closest friends in a living arrangement that makes everyone as happy as possible, and you all live happily ever after at least for most of first semester. When winter ushers in the cold air and snow, with it comes Residence Life, the department which, inadvertently or not, changes your living situation so dramatically that you no longer recognize the place you once called home.

Now in a suite of four friends live two outcasts. The first is a computer playing geek from New Jersey who showers once every two weeks and if you think that's bad, we wont even begin to touch upon the over-caffeinated pre-med living in the room where you swear you hear nightly explosions. It has happened to all of us, but if you think graduating from Brandeis will save you from such a situation, you must not be aware of the Department of Residence Life of sports that is, the mythical front office.

You might be asking, how does your best friend going to Cambridge for the semester and leaving an empty room in your suite for Residence Life to do as it pleases really compare with sports? Well, here is an anecdote about a talented basketball player by the name of Steve Francis. Steve played college basketball at the University of Maryland and was selected second in the NBA Draft by the Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Francis did not want to play basketball for their team, and he forced the front office to trade him to the Houston Rockets.

Imagine Francis was an incoming freshman at Brandeis who was assigned to live in an unnatural triple in Massell and he basically strong-armed Residence Life into moving him to one of the singles at the end of the hall in Usen that is supposed to be for upperclassmen. Francis played in Houston (that room at the end of the hall), until Houston decided to trade him to Orlando. Lucky for Steve, his best friend Cuttino Mobley was traded along with him. But alas, not everything went Steves way, because recently Mobley, his best friend and teammate for many years, was traded to Sacramento.

Steve now must live in Orlando not with his best friend, but rather with the stranger that the front office decided to move in. Surprisingly enough, just like Brandeis students would do with Residence Life, Steve has not stopped complaining about the trade to the Orlando front office.

Basketball is not the only sport where these circumstances can be found. The Philadelphia Eagles were the best team in the NFC this season largely based on the play of Terrell Owens, but no one is mentioning the fact that Owens was originally traded to the Baltimore Ravens (who just missed the playoffs in the AFC, thanks in large part to a poor passing game). While Owens was legitimately a member of the Ravens, he forced the front office to trade him to the team he wanted to play for.

Another example is the group of players labeled as team cancers. In Brandeis terms, these are the students who, no matter what situation Residence Life puts them in, manage to annoy each and every person they live with. Eventually, there is nowhere left to put them except the huge single in The Village or else all their suitemates move out and somehow they end up living alone in a four person Ridgewood.

Graduating from Brandeis will not free you from Residence Life. Youre not going to be able to control which cubicle you work in after you graduate with your BA and MA from the International Business School, not if even these millionaire athletes are unable to control who their teammates are and where their best friends are traded.

So as your new schedule this semester goes from unfamiliar to habit, and Residence Life lifts the moratorium on moving, do your best to get along with everyone you live with, even the smelly kid (and despite what you may have heard, spraying Febreze on him at night when he is asleep will not make up for his lack of showering).

If you think this was a stretch, check out this coincidence: The NBA trade deadline, the point at which players will remain with their current team and teammates for the remainder of the season, is Feb. 24. This is just one week before we receive next years lottery numbers and start to decide who our future teammates, errr … suitemates, will be.

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