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More proof that RIT’s got game(s)! News hits

The games are gone, but their impact is sure to linger. The 2006 Empire State Games concluded a successful four-day run yesterday, bringing 6,000 athletes, their families and other supporters to Rochester for this annual Olympics-style competition.

RIT was the venue for eight (if I’ve been counting correctly) different sporting events, and 2,600 of the athletes from across our state stayed in the RIT residence halls. The atmosphere here during the events was electric, and you can’t help but wonder what kind of impression the Empire State Gamescampus made on these young athletes (perspective RIT students) and their families. It’s a question the local media posed in its reporting, and the overall impression seemed quite favorable.

I’ve used this forum in the past to extol the underrated beauty of this campus, and I hope our visitors came away with some sense of that. My only concern was the condition of the Eastman Kodak Quad. Only three years after it was incredibly relandscaped and turned into one of the university’s most beautiful destinations, the area has been torn-up for what’s described as the “boiler interconnect project.” It now more closely resembles the limestone quarry near my boyhood home in LeRoy than the park-like paradise of just a few months ago. I can’t speak to the circumstances that warranted the unfortunate timing of the project, but I’m sure it’s safe to say there would never be a “good time” to have it completed. Still, I can’t help but reflect upon the opportunity missed. But let’s place this in perspective. There are many other resources on campus that I’m certain impressed our visitors.

One other reflection on the games, if you’ll permit me. I was pleased with the opportunity to serve as a volunteer at the soccer matches—basically assisting the scorekeeper. I am not a soccer fan, but I couldn’t help but be impressed with the skill and commitment of the young athletes who gave it their all on the field. I also thought they exhibited great sportsmanship. I’ve always believed that, in its purest form, sports offer a window into the triumph of the human spirit. Nothing I witnessed over the past many days has swayed me from that.

Let’s hope the Empire State Games make a return trip to Rochester one year very soon!

  1. Silandara
    Jul 31

    It must be good to see the campus come alive in the middle of the summer when it's usually so still and quiet (except for the construction). Now soccer is one of the few games I can get into - when I was a little English kid, my mum used to drag me out to Saturday morning matches to cheer on our local team.

  2. omar
    Jul 31

    Yes, it's not often that I'm able to watch some baseball on my lunchbreak one day, then soccer after work the next (without having to drive anywhere). It was a fun week.

    RNews interviewed a spectator from Vermont, she said she came expecting Rochester to be "run down" and "dirty." She later said that her expectations were wrong, but still.

  3. Paul
    Jul 31

    That raises a good point, Omar. I saw a lot of people here from downstate (New York City and Long Island), and there's been some publicity down that way about our city's crime problem. Hopefully those folks got to see more of the Rochester that we all appreciate. Obviously, I tend to view things more from an RIT perspective, but our region certainly had a lot at stake with the success of these games as well.

  4. John
    Jul 31

    It was an incredible week. The games were a blast and the campus really came alive. But what I was most impressed with was how smoothly everything went. Serious kudos to Michelle Seger and everyone else who had a hand in hosting the event. Their planning, along with our magnificent athletic facilities and hard working grounds crew (the freshly painted RIT in front of the field house looked awesome) truly allowed RIT to shine.

  5. Pete
    Aug 01

    run down and dirty!?! I've been to vermont. I"ve seen their 'cows' and 'trees.' They know nothing of civilized life (save Ben & Jerrys, maple syrup, foliage tours).

    Also, they don't allow billboards there.

    So yea. Rochester's better than the state of Vermont, IMHO.

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