Your Friendly Neighborhood Sports Columnist: The rites of spring

“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead, mixing memory out of desire, stirring dull thoughts with spring rain,” or so wrote T.S. Eliot in his appropriately-titled poem “The Waste Land.” Do yourself a favor and don’t waste any of your finest days at Williams reading the rest of his, for lack of a better word, waste. In fact, I recommend not reading anything at all. That’s right, spring is here, the most enjoyable time of the year. My boy T.S. obviously never saw the women Ephs’ softball team play.

In honor of T.S.’s obvious deficiencies, it is time to reflect upon the annual enjoyments of spring. As a sports fan, there might not be a better time of year. The NBA and NHL playoffs are underway. The baseball season has just begun, so the Rockies have not been mathematically eliminated yet and you can do all those on-pace-for stats, like Barry Bonds is on pace for 467 home runs. The NFL draft just took place, which means that between Jimmy Johnson and Mel Kiper, enough hair spray had been used to speed up global warming by 3.5 years.

On a side note, and you have no idea how much it pains me to write this – I am awaiting a bolt of lightning to strike me as I type – how money is Boston right now? The Patriots won the Super Bowl, pulling off the biggest upset since someone decided to admit me into this school. (Wherever that person may be, and they have probably since been fired, I thank you.) The Celtics have made the playoffs for the first time in. . .well, a long time. I think Bostonians are half-expecting Paul Revere to come riding down Commonwealth Ave. yelling “The Celtics are coming! The Celtics are coming!” The Bruins somehow managed to earn the first seed in the Eastern Conference. Who knew Boston had a hockey team? The Red Sox took three of their first four from the Yanks, and it appears Pedro is healthy. And on top of all this, they just ran the Boston Marathon, and I have only one thing to add to this because I know nothing about running: I wish Denver had a marathon.

OK, enough nonsense. Let’s forget about T.S.’s B.S. and get back to the greatness of spring in Williamstown, with an abbreviated Lettermanesque countdown of the Top Five.

5. – Not that this one has anything to do with spring, other than they both occurred recently. I just think it is time to recognize the Regurgitator and the Mentalist – and Drew Newman ’04, because someone has to be organized enough to arrange these things, and Drew seems like a good guy for the job. Anyway, why can’t we have classes like this? These guys were phenomenal. The Mentalist was very impressive, but I still rate the Regurgitator as having higher entertainment value. It just doesn’t get any better than being able to swallow a cue ball. . . and then bring it back up, all the while making obscene sounds and even more obscene jokes. My only regret is not knowing about these guys earlier so I could say, “When I grow up, I want to be just like the Regurgitator.” But then again, it’s never too late to start, is it?

4. – Trips to the River. Bruce Springsteen came to Williams a few years ago and observed, “We’d (me and Mary) drive out of this valley down to where the fields were green. We’d go down to the river and into the river we’d dive. Oh down to the river we’d ride.” We all know what happened to Mary next, which is unfortunate, but not wholly unexpected given the ambiance the river provides on a warm spring night. I am not going to lie – I am a little skeptical of announcing the greatness of the river, as it is a relatively well-kept secret. Next thing you know the river (I am just going to keep calling it “the river” because frankly, I don’t know what river it is) will be drawing Regurgitator-type crowds.

3. – The Beirut Tourney. Not much else needs to be said here. This one obviously deserved to be in the Top Five, it was just a matter of where. For fear of its implications, the Committee on Beirut Life, one person really, wishes to remain nameless. However, anyone who doesn’t spend their weekends in the library has a great respect for this man. Started two years ago, this year’s edition offers the compelling mixed-doubles format. This one almost deserves an article of its own. Very good times.

2. – You might be surprised by this one, but at the number two slot is the softball team. With a cult following, the softball team provides fantastic entertainment for any afternoon. Come to think of it, the softball team, having another good year, also deserves an article of its own. There is nothing quite like listening to the heckling that takes place out past centerfield. We need a nickname for these guys. True story: at a recent heckling session, the umpire actually came over and threatened to remove the fans from the game, saying, “C’mon, this is softball.” That is softball in a nutshell. Like the NBA in the 80s, it’s FANtastic! And while we are here, Cole Field is the Sistene Chapel of small college outdoor athletic facilities. It just doesn’t get any better.

And the number one greatest thing about springtime in Williamstown is. . . (This one is a bit of a combination, where one is dependent upon the other.) In any case, coming in at the number one spot is, what else, cutting classes to barbecue outside. Not that you have to barbecue in order to skip classes, but you do have to skip classes in order to barbecue. Don’t know why, just some kind of liberating feeling, knowing you are enjoying Oscar Meyer and Samuel Adams instead of John Donne and Mark Twain, though Mark Twain seems like it would make a good name for a beer. “Yo, throw me a cold Twain will ya’?” Kinda catchy.