Despite the laments I make occasionally about the 6 years of my life I spent living in good old Springfield, MA, The College itself has a place in my heart. After all, SC afforded me the opportunities to excel athletically, academically, and in my career. I learned a lot of life lessons on Alden St, and after recently reading a tragic article that failed to capture any of the magic that exists on the shores of the Massasoit, I figured I needed to do some damage control. So here it is, a list of distinct quirks, qualities, and qualms that exists only in the lives of current and former Springfield College Students.
You know you went to Springfield College if…
1. You made friends with Joe the Egg Guy in Cheney
or whoever was working the grill during the morning period you went to breakfast. This meant forgoing the long line of clueless freshmen and sidling up to the grill with a grin as Joe flipped your 3 eggs, 2 with cheese, fried onto your plate. And if your guy wasn’t making eggs one morning, you knew it was gonna be a bad time, so you would opt for french toast sticks instead.
2. You quickly developed a special kind of hate for Yellow Cab
You probably called them once as a freshman trying to get off campus, or maybe as an upperclassman trying to go downtown, and never called again. They were late if they showed up at all, the cab smelled like feet and slim jims, and in some weird twist of fate, your driver was the same guy who is always lurking at 6 corners. Speaking of which…
3. You knew that both 6 Corners and the DM were scary
Because even though campus was pristine with perfect grass that nobody was allowed to walk on, and flowers that lined the road were replaced every 2 weeks, at either end of Alden street the neighborhoods turned a little sour. Horror stories and gunshots alike flowed into campus from these places steadily, and if you ever found yourself there accidentally, you probably scurried your way right out.
4. You went to the events for the best team on campus… Men’s Volleyball
Since we have one of the best volleyball coaches out there, and tbh our football program really wasn’t that exciting to watch, since they traditionally run a triple option offense. Our other sports are great too, don’t get me wrong, but the most well attended games were definitely MVB.
5. There was no Greek life, but everyone was fiercely faithful to their team
And you all ate together, practiced together, lived together, and celebrated together at your designated house. When ill-advised freshman would wander into your territory, whether it be “your table” at Cheney or “your townhouse” to access the backyards, you and your teammates would band together and kindly explain just how unacceptable this was.
6. Having class on the 3rd floor of Locklin was the absolute worst
It was always too hot or too cold, you were always winded when you finally got up there, and the bathrooms were weird. Not only that, but prior to the renovation, 2 people abreast did not fit on that staircase, and the metal panels always felt like they were about to slip off and slice your shins in half.
7. You were either Starbucks or Dunkin, and your choice was mutually exclusive.
Before Starbucks came to campus along with the Locklin reconstruction, Dunkin in the union was the only option, and Phyllis was good to all of us. Despite her faithful service, some have chosen to betray the magenta and orange for the ugly green siren of Starbucks. Guess which one I support.
8. You know someone who got sick from jumping in the Massasoit
You also know that body of water is Watershops Pond, not Lake Massasoit, and that jumping off either the railroad bridge or the road bridge is something of a rite of passage. Those who attended precamp, outdoor pursuits, or any outdoor adventure class had special opportunities to get involved with that dirty (literally, gross) water.
9. Downtown was a mysterious and hard to get to place
But of course you went anyway, if you were lucky enough to have someone to drive you there or get a yellow cab that actually arrived. (I realize that Uber is a thing, but it wasn’t when I was in school, so bear with me.) From Alumni Club & Sky Bar for the all night dancers to Smiths and Theos for the more laid back, popcorn oriented crowd, there was somewhere for everyone. Your opportunity to mingle with WNEC and AIC kids was ripe in these godforsaken places.
10. WNEC always has been and always will be WNEC.
They can cut the University crap anytime, and everyone knows that Paddy’s is a Springfield Bar.
11. You still have your beanie, and always will
Springfield is rich with tradition, and that included wearing a beanie for all of orientation and thereby suffering minor humiliation for a few days, but now that beanie stands as a memory of your first moments on campus and some of your first friends. You stood in solidarity with your fellow freshies in your beanie, secretly grateful that at least the tradition didn’t include wearing it until Stepping up day in the spring.
12. You had fierce pride for your freshman year dorm, and every subsequent dorm
Everyone knows that Gulick Hall was the worst, but also the best, because even though the rooms were small and windows reminiscent of those in a prison, you were the only one of your friends who could navigate the 3 wings and split level floors like a boss. After freshman year, everything was fair game, though the L rooms in Lakeside and corner rooms in Inty (and middle rooms pre hurricane!) Were all coveted. When it came to the battle between senior suites and townhouses, your choice was based on 3 factors: Number of friends (8, or not 8) willingness to rage (townhouses always raged a little bit harder, especially if you lived on the backyard side) then clean the next morning, and lotto number. Wherever you ended up, you loved your room, roommates, and senior year!
13. You have mixed feelings about the Arch
And possibly some other new additions to campus, like that daggunn front of Cheney that sports the IIII instead of IV. The arch is nice to those who don’t know how annoying it is (e.g. prospective parents, the general community, probably everyone but me).
14. You know all about the important parts of Springfield
such as Bueno y Sano on Sumner Ave, Hot Table, Peppas Pizza all you can eat Tuesdays, and Wong Wok with their per person scorpion bowls (yeah) for food icons. As for places to go, Forest Park and East Campus provided nice respite from the city and college life, while midtown downtown provided plenty of cultural experiences such as the BBall hall of fame, Dr. Seuss & Quadrangle Museums, Crown Fried Chicken, and the PVTA.
15. Above all, you’ll have good things to say about where you spent some important years of your life.
Sure, Spfldcol has its downfalls (traffic, potholes, crime, winter weather, lack of parking! How did I not talk about parking? I hate Campus Parking!). But it also has its upsides (being able to fall asleep to the sound of sirens, making friends with dorm security, getting sad when dorm security betrays your friendship and calls public safety on you and your not-so-sneaky friend with a backpack).
In all seriousness, SC is a place to look back on fondly when some of those quirks that used to irk us all start to fade away. The location right in the Pioneer Valley is pretty beautiful once you get outside city limits, and the people you meet there are generally pretty great. Even though I’ve moved on from the Pride, I’ll always bleed Mar