Win or Lose, Someone's Going to the Hospital

by Corey Hutchinson,, November 7, 2010

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Prepare yourself to learn the true nature of Cortaca. This is important stuff, people.

As any New York State college student knows, Cortaca is the annual college football game played between SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College. It's one of the most prominent match-ups in Division III football, and it was once called "The Biggest Little Game in the Nation" by Sports Illustrated. This year's game could prove especially exciting, as both teams sport solid records and sit on or near the top of their respective divisions.

Blah, blah, blah.

Cortaca Jug is best known as a yearly booze-a-thon in which students from these two well-regarded universities drink themselves into oblivion. The streets often flood with half-drunk Keystone Lights and the alcohol poisoned bodies of underage kids. The local police are overwhelmed as Bombers and Red Dragons alike desperately attempt to cut their IQ's in half in a single weekend adventure.

But anyone who's ever been to Cortaca knows that the party isn't merely restricted to Cortland and Ithaca students, as approximately 87 % of New York just so happens to be visiting that weekend (according to my personal estimations). And this, ladies and gentleman, is one of the many pitfalls of every Cortaca weekend: overpopulation. House parties that would normally never exceed 50 or 60 people are suddenly expected to provide alcohol for upwards of 200. By the time you finally manage to make your way across the room to talk to that smoking-hot girl in the leggings, she's already been snatched up by some other dude. You'll literally spend hours of your life camped around the keg, waiting and praying for your chance to fill your red Solo cup with whatever piss water the house happened to order.

And the bars are no better. Freshman year, I stepped out of the front door of my dorm with a friend, dead set on trying out our new IDs, and I was already at the back of the line to Dark Horse.

My freshman year of school was an absolute blast. College was my first true taste of freedom, and Christ, did I take advantage. But one of the few things I managed to remember from that year was how disappointing I found Cortaca. You could say I didn't know the right people, you could say I didn't hit the right parties. But for me, Cortaca did little else but drown in a sea of expectations. Cortaca pitfall numero dos: it gets hyped up way too much. People come into town expecting the greatest weekend in the history of weekends, and often walk away disappointed.

Now please don't mistake me for a pessimist; Cortaca can be a fantastic weekend. It's the one time of year where the tiny college has the big party that everyone wants to go to. The sheer number of people makes it much easier to get laid, the sheer amount of alcohol makes it much easier to succumb to liver failure, and it's the one Friday when you can show up to class drunk as hell and the teacher can't say a word. When you find yourself stopping outside a house to actually compare the number of empty beer cans to the number of visible blades of grass, you know a good time was had. The year I made it down an entire block without spotting a passed-out drunkard in the bushes, I called the Vatican and demanded that the Pope come to Cortland to confirm what would surely be considered a miracle.

Perhaps people enjoy the idea of Cortaca more than they actually enjoy Cortaca. Maybe it is over-hyped, maybe it is over-populated. If you go into this weekend thinking it will be far and away the best weekend of your life, like I once did, you will probably walk away disappointed. But if you go into Cortaca weekend with reasonable expectations and the full intention of getting hammered out of your mind, then you my friend will have one awesome fucking weekend.

Happy Cortaca everybody.

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