Cliffies to Jump, Dive and Toss in 23 Sports
"When I get the urge to exercise," a bespectacled Cliffie said yawning, "I like to lie down until the urge wears off."
That's one point of view. But pick an average girl trotting into the ancient Radcliffe Gym, and chances are that she is in a lot better shape than her Harvard counterpart in Lamont.
These girls don't just dabble in the 23 sports offered--including scuba diving and fox hunting--they really go at it. "I don't like girls' sports looked on as a farce," says tennis captain Polly Rogers '67. "I'm not necessarily going to give up smoking and drinking and go to bed early, but I am going to do this seriously."
So are lots of others like robin Barnes '69, who has helped make Radcliffe's ski team the best female college team in the northeast; Eleanor Thomas '69 and Ginny Storrs, '69 who have competed in national AAU swimming events; and Ginny Storrs, '69, who stars in swimming, skiing, squash, volleyball, soft-ball, and basketball, and could be another Babe Zacharias.
Of course, some go in for more aggressive sports like lacrosse, field hockey, and judo. Why do they do it? "The idea of being able to throw someone just appeals to me," says judo captain Julia Nowlin, a Ph.D. candidate in projective geometry. "Doing something with a ball seems kind of silly, but if you can throw somebody, it's not contrived; it's real.
The girls learn arm-locks, hold-downs, and chokes. "But we don't choke the windpipe, she adds assuringly. "We just temporarily cut off the blood supply to the brain." Then the opponent gives up, needless to say.
Almost unanimously, Radcliffe athletes don't think their physical prowess is un-ladylike. "I find my femininity not in the least bit altered or hindered," says skier Ellie Waterston '68, featured recently in Life as a Radcliffe beauty.
"Would it bother a boy to go out with a girl who participates in sports?" asks Collot Guerard '69. "Who wants to go out with a flabby girl or a China doll?" On the other hand, many of these female sports enthusiasts avoid wan, sallow-looking Harvard guys. "It's a disgrace," says one sophomore, "when people let themselves go to pot. They look so soggy and unhealthy."
This sort of slam hasn't had much impact in the Yard among any 97 pound weaklings in Group I. But a few lads have ventured down to the Radcliffe Quad to find out just how good these girls are. Miss Mary Paget, Coordinator of Recreational Activities, encourages this by organizing all kinds of co-ed competitions.
In the fall, the Radcliffe field hockey team takes on the Spee, Fly, and Porcellian, as well as the Lampoon when the boys from Bow St. can field a team. Usually the girls lose, but then that's because they play by the rules.
The sexes don't always compete against each other though. They get together for sailing, skating, and archery occasionally plus swimming once a month, and a mixed doubles tennis tournament at the end of April.
For many of the Cliffies, sports tie into other activities. Pat Wynn'68, takes dance courses at the Gym and has danced in Guys and Dolls and Finians Rainbow. Others work in recreational jobs for PBH. A few even go out for the CRIMSON, where they get a lot of leg-work.
Of all the sports, swimming easily draws the largest crowd, including many who compete by teams in a nine day marathon to see who can swim the most miles. Another large event is the intermural meet on April 20th, held in Radcliffe's indoor pool, one of the nation's oldest. Unfortunately, the pool is three feet short of the regulation 20 meters, so that five newly set pool records are not recognized outside the college.
There has been some discussion lately about taking up sky diving. Miss Paget thinks the program will never get off the ground. But as she also says, "When these girls latch on to something they like, they take it all the way." In this case, that's about 5000 feet straight down.