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Best Sports Event I Saw
Rachel Cowan Jacobs, Alum
Columbia College 1990

In the spring of my sophomore year, 1988, I asked the Office of Sports Information how to try out for the position of Lion mascot. The answer was "You got the job!" The lion suit was dragged out of a closet for me to try on. It fit well enough, and my upcoming fall semester Saturdays were accounted for. The only real instruction I received was not to suit up if it was raining out because the lion costume wasn't meant to get wet. When football season rolled around, I dutifully reported to the Wien Stadium Press Box an hour before game time for each home game. I also traveled to Harvard and Penn for away games, where I spent entertaining bus rides with the marching band. Dressed as the lion during football games, I heard the crowd and I felt the energy, but I didn't see very much. I did my best to watch as much of the games as I could but it was tough to see out of the mesh screen that was the lion's nose. I could see straight ahead, but had to turn my head if I wanted to look right, left, up, or down. Between kids pulling on my long tail (and having to reattach it with a safety pin every time it got yanked off) and mingling with the crowds, I was pretty busy. But then came October 8, the day we played Princeton. I might have been the only person who was glad that a steady rain fell all morning. It meant I could leave the lion suit behind, sit in the stands with my friend, and watch. And what a game it was! I don't remember the finer details now, but I sure remember being one of the first people to rush the field, thanks to my press pass. I remember tears among the players and the goal posts coming down. I remember the impromptu pizza-beer party the deans planned for campus that evening and the throngs of students shutting down Broadway and 114th. And most of all, I remember wearing with legitimate pride the "I was there to break the streak" t-shirt an entrepreneurial student produced within a day of the win and that I bought without a thought to the cost. Breaking the streak was the best sports event I saw at Columbia.

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