Sixer's Games

As a NBA fan, I was more than pleased that one of this month’s Feb Club events was a Sixers game. I had only previously been to one other game (Lakers vs. Sixers!), but that first experience – between the roar of the crowd, the flashing lights, and the energizing music – was more than enough to get me addicted.

This particular event was even more enticing because I got to enjoy it with the other members of my Senior class. It’s not often that you get to see all of your friends in one place, especially since everyone on this campus is so involved that it’s usually pretty difficult to set aside time to hang out or even just to catch up. 

-Rachel T.

A Sport's Tale

Being a Penn kid can be a pretty heavy burden to bear sometimes. The nights are long, the classes are tough, and the expectations are so massive that it becomes easy to feel really small. There’s a big, scary world out there. This is the time of the semester where I begin to feel really grateful for the friends that I’ve made here.  

Too often, elite schools carry the stigma of being a cutthroat, hyper-competitive place. I can’t argue that Penn is a place where competition isn’t prevalent. It’s one of the most beautiful things about being on campus. Great minds rub off each other like flint and steel, and flames of inspiration and innovation can be seen illuminating Locust Walk. This kind of brilliance can be overwhelming. It is easy to think that everyone else has it figured out. The honest truth is, nobody really does. Every student you meet is dazed and confused, letting their ambition replace their doubt and hoping that their hard work opens doors that they can’t imagine just yet. This is something that my friends here have taught me.

I’m proud to say that some of the best friends I have ever had are right here. It’s hard to imagine my life without them. They have quickly become key elements of my existence. They offer warmth, laughter, and comfort in a place that has become my home. Their stories and backgrounds have opened my eyes to worlds that I couldn’t have imagined before. Being a Penn student doesn’t just mean having the best education. It means sharing my campus with some of the brightest young minds in the country. I am very grateful for the opportunity. Whenever things seem rough, I can look back to memories that I’ve made and smile. I can look forward to memories in the future and become excited. Classes can kick my butt all they like. Walking to my dorm room and hearing laughter from the hallway can make all of that go away so quickly.

If playing rugby has taught me anything at all, it is that the most talented team isn’t always the one to overcome the odds. It is the team with the most chemistry and teamwork that goes the distance. You’re only as good as your bond. That goes beyond the field. Everyone here is a genius. That’s something you realize on day one. The people that truly get the most out of their Penn experience are those who allow others to touch their lives and leave their mark forever. That’s what being a Penn student is all about. Wharton kids call it networking. I call it friendship.

-Ibrahim B. '18


Rugby and Reality

It isn’t always easy to find yourself in college. Our obsession with the future tends to blind us to what is right in front of us. There are expectations to be met. This mentality is magnified at a place like Penn, where every move we make is towards a bright future that we’ve deluded ourselves into believing we already have figured out. The truth is, we have no idea how to go about finding our path. That’s the beauty of playing a sport.

    Coming into Penn, I had never played rugby before. I heard a great deal about how physical it was. The name of the sport itself carried so much weight. It’s association with hard running and harder tackling made it seem like a sport that only the strong could play. My desire to prove myself in front of my peers led to me to walk on. This spur of the moment decision may have been the best decision that I’ve made at Penn.

The practices are grueling. I’ve been sore for so long, I don’t remember how it feels not to feel that way. The action during matches is nonstop and exhausting. Every position is an important position. Slipping and letting your guard down for even second all but ensures that you’ll expose a weakness in the team’s defense. Nothing has ever prepared me for the world beyond college more.

Rugby has taught me discipline. It has taught me that preparation and working hard is meant to be painful. Striving to be the best at what you do isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. But the exhilaration, the pure ecstasy of realizing how far you’ve come and what you’re capable of because of the work that you’ve put in beats the pain every single time. You grow to love and care about every member of your team. Success can’t be reached alone. You need people around you who care about you- people who will always have your back because they know that you will always have theirs as well. You grow to respect them more than you can say. Nobody on a team actually wants to be the best player. The goal is to grow together. You even grow to have a begrudging respect for the athletes on the team opposing you. They’re playing their hearts out just like you are. The handshakes at the end of the match are completely genuine. Most importantly though, rugby has taught me to run without fear. There will be times when you have the ball and the only option is to run forward. There will be guys on the other side waiting to tackle you to the ground. This is something that you accept. The best option is always to take the hit. Run without stopping, have no fear, take the fall. It always leads to you and the ones you care about being able to move up to field. Even when things seem hopeless, they aren’t. The field constantly changes. As is life.

There’s an entire world waiting for me after college, but it doesn’t seem very scary anymore. All I have to do is keep moving forward, for myself and for my loved ones. The best advice I have when it comes to finding your way in college: find a club or a sport to love.

-Ibrahim Bakri '18