Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Streak Starts Now!

The scene today at the Baker Atheltics Complex will be bright and sunny, not only literally but metaphorically as the Columbia baseball team will begin its final day of the regular season with its second Lou Gehrig Division title in three years already in hand.

But almost 22 years ago, it was a dreary rainy day when the Lion football team took the field in hopes of finally ending a record 44-game losing streak... on Homecoming no less against the preseason league favorites, the Princeton Tigers.

Martin Huberman, a filmmaker who graduated a year ahead of me with the class of 1991, is putting together a movie about the extraordinary young men who finally ended the streak that day and forever proved to themselves and taught everyone else the lesson of perseverance.

As a young freshman in the stands that day, (someone who was very torn about missing the Mets playoff game that was on TV that same afternoon), I was forever impressed with what those guys achieved. Over the years, I've become even more impressed as I now realize the kind of commitment and toughness it took to get through that ordeal.

A featured character in the film is the great Greg Abbruzzese, who ran for 182 yards that day. In the years since, Greg has become a good friend of mine and an even better friend of Columbia athletics. I'm glad that so much of the video Martin is making available now shows what Greg could do when he first joined the varsity.

Martin is looking for more backers for this project, so please enjoy the information and film clip linked above and let's get this thing done!


April visits to this blog were up 31.3% year-over-year. Thanks for reading!


At Sat May 01, 10:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You touched a nostalgia nerve, Jake, of the "small world" type.
We've never met, but I was in the stands that day too with my freshman daughter and the rest of the family, then ran out on the field with the rest of the delirious Lion fans. Drove to Yale the next Saturday to see if we could make it two in a row. We didn't, but I consoled myself afterward with the garlic pizza at Pepe's in New Haven.

At Sun May 02, 06:45:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps George Gianfrancisco (CC '88) can join in the fold and help get this film off the ground. I know he's thought about versions of this film in the past....

At Sun May 02, 07:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lions win 3 of 4 from hated Penn!! Ivy playoff for Championship next Sat at BAKER !!
be there!

At Mon May 03, 03:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New basketball coach!!

At Mon May 03, 10:53:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing to mention is the rowers have been doing great lately too.

At Tue May 04, 11:33:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think the win against princeton is marred by columbia being allowed leniency with AI.

so i would compare the win to mark mcgwire and sammy sosa breaking roger maris' record. there should be an asterisk next to the win.

ironically, had the garrett brothers stayed at columbia, columbia could have won 5 games per year.

At Wed May 05, 12:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand the last comment at all. What is AI? I think the comparison to McGwire/Sosa is despicable. If it's a joke, it's a poor one.

At Wed May 05, 05:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By "AI" the poster is referring to the Academic Index, and is suggesting that Columbia's requirements in that regard are less stringent than Princeton's, which is why the Lions were able to defeat the Tigers last year by a score of 38-0. Perhaps someone else can comment on the specifics, but I'd say that's pure hogwash, sour grapes at their sourest.

At Wed May 05, 06:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make sure you remember Princeton's AI argument when you Columbia people criticize Cornell's AI. Becuase like you said, it is a poor excuse. And it is. Columbia's athletic department is absolutely heading in the right direction.

At Wed May 05, 06:23:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

No, the commenter was referring to the special deal Columbia was given to lower its A.I. Way back in 1987 for that year only.

At Wed May 05, 09:00:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, so the win over Princeton he was referring to was the streak-breaker of '88, I get it now, sorry.

At Wed May 05, 08:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


For sake of accuracy, please note that Columbia was given a break in AI requirement for two years.

See below, NY TIMES
November 18, 1987
Ivy League Eases Standards To Bolster Columbia Football
Columbia University, whose varsity football team has not had a winning season since 1971, has been allowed for the last two years to admit players who do not meet the Ivy League's minimum academic requirements, school and league officials said last night.

''We were given a minor dispensation to take students who are slightly outside the guidelines,'' said Roger Lehecka, Columbia's dean of students. Mr. Lehecka said that 11 football players had been admitted under the waiver, five who enrolled in 1986 and six this fall.


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