Will Petrie ’12 was absolutely confounded as to how he became this week’s “One in 2000,” what he called a true campus honor. Sitting down with him in Paresky on Saturday, it became immediately clear that this guy has more than enough stories to grab an audience.
I was able to creep on you a little bit, but Ari Binder [’11] ended up being a far more helpful source than Facebook. He said you have some pretty good stories about food … maybe about Chipotle?
I went to Chipotle with my friends this summer. I love Chipotle and there is nothing around here. So, I sort of go all year craving Chipotle and then when I get home, I need to satisfy that craving. We went through the line once and just got some normal stuff – it was good.
So we went back through the line again and some people got tacos the second time because they were getting kind of full, but I was like, “Come on. It’s Chipotle. You go big or you go home.” I got a second burrito and the guys at the line were sort of razzing us a little bit as I plowed through this burrito. It was even better than the first one and I went back through the line again. They gave me it for free, which was nice.
They gave you your third burrito for free?
Yeah, they were just shocked. So, I finished my third burrito and I was pretty full at that point, but it was so good. When my friend had only eaten half of his, I just said, “Give me that.” So I had three and a half. The important thing to note is I didn’t have three and a half ordering four and not finishing. It wasn’t like I stopped. I ate everything I could. It’s not like I couldn’t … I don’t think you can ever really get full enough – or at least I don’t reach that point where I have to stop. One time over spring break my freshman year, [the tennis team] was in California and we went to this all-you-can-eat sushi place. The way it is structured is whatever you order, you have to eat or else you pay for what you didn’t eat. That’s their control because they don’t want people ordering a ton of food and wasting it. I planned ahead and was really hungry after a day of tennis. I just kept ordering and it was delicious sushi. By the end, the plates just kept coming. I ordered way too much. That was the one time I maxed out. We were shoving sushi in our pockets so we wouldn’t have to pay for it and people were trying to help me out because I ordered so much. Then I threw up in the parking lot.
Very classy. You know, actually, it was very dark, I found a bush, it wasn’t as not classy as it sounds. I did it as best I could with as much flair as possible.
That’s a commitment to get all that sushi though.
That’s what it comes down to. It’s about a certain level of commitment and either you have it or you don’t.
Touching story. Speaking of, I heard that you also transferred that commitment over to playing three tennis sets without drinking a sip of water.
First of all, I had some water during that match. This story has been a little distorted through the grapevine. What happened was I was playing this kid from Middlebury during my freshman fall in an individual tournament. We played on this court that was so far away from everything, almost near the elementary school.
This match was going to be really long and I had this one little water bottle from Ephporium. Not my jug – my water jug. I drank it all in the first three games and I couldn’t run to the water fountain in between games because we were so far away. So the first two changeovers I drank my entire bottle of water. Then I started not drinking and not sitting down in between games. This guy didn’t know what was going on and is renowned for being crazy about fitness and preparation and all this stuff.
Here I am and I walk on the court with my two rackets, no towel even, and one measly bottle of water and I win the first set. It was an insanely long first set and I lost the second 6-3 in another really long set. At this point, I haven’t had anything to drink in like an hour and a half of intense tennis. I haven’t sat down and just walked back and forth. He wins the second set and looks over – at this point people are there, my teammates are there because they are out of bed and finally made it down to the courts to support one of their freshmen.
After he wins this point, he just yells, “FITNESS! FITNESS!” It just got real. At this point I’m really thirsty, but I’m seeing that I’m getting inside this guy’s head by not drinking. I walk over to my friend and my line of teammates and one of them had just gotten an Odwalla … he popped open his Odwalla and I had three or four swigs of his brand new fruit smoothie. It was hot and this guy just wilted in the third set. I won that match 6-2 in the third not having water after the middle of the first set, but I had some Odwalla. It felt really good to beat that kid who was yelling in my face about fitness. It freaked this kid out that I wasn’t drinking water.
Do you do things a lot for pure shock value?
No, but I did get a mohawk once. I didn’t keep that for very long. I had to shave it off. It was pretty terrible. I showed up with this ridiculous white mohawk this year. I don’t just do things for shock value so much as I am just very energetic and I get focused on certain ideas. Obviously, carried too far that’s a weakness, but I think in a lot of ways it is a strength.
Food seems to be pretty critical to your focus. I also heard stories about cereal.
I don’t eat a lot of cereal here, but at home, you would be horrified. We spend so much money on straight cereal. We have these big bowls – plastic fish bowls – and it tastes so much better in that bowl. I would say I eat five to six giant fish bowls of cereal a day. I probably drink three-quarters of a gallon of milk a day [at home] and it’s all in cereal. Let’s get off the food topic though … What else can we talk about? I have younger siblings.
Okay, tell me about them.
I love my family. I shared a room with my brother [until] my senior year. I had a single my freshman year and I didn’t like it because I was used to sharing a room. I guess people at Williams love their singles, but I really like coming back at the end of the night and talking to someone. My roommate this year is Dylan Page ’13 and I would say he spends Sunday to Wednesday in Mark Hopkins with his girlfriend, Friday and Saturday he doesn’t even know where he sleeps – random couches, snow banks, bathrooms – and Thursday he generally comes home and regroups. We have a good catch-up chat then. I love having a roommate and I think that stems from my brother. It was really hard for me at first to come here because all of my siblings were home and that took some getting used to.
And you are from Ohio?
Yeah, I’m from Ohio. So clearly I worked on a farm. I worked on this small organic farm the past two summers. I spent a lot of time knee-deep in chicken crap. It’s dirty, but it was so fun. I loved it – it was simple and pure.