Feb 19, 2021 | SPORTS | By Mar Jackson | Photo by Maren Greene
Although the Colorado College mascot is a tiger, a Canadian goose may be more fitting. All year round, the geese patrol campus, leaving ample evidence of their passage in their wake. While the geese interact with many campus-goers, the athletic community appears especially burdened by these feathered residents.
A close call with the geese caused one member of the men’s tennis team to reevaluate his affinity for the birds.
“I used to think seeing geese during practice was exciting,” Sam Hum ’21 said, “but the other day I learned I shouldn’t look up when the geese are flying overhead. I was about to serve when some geese flew over the courts. I looked up and saw droppings coming down. Luckily, they landed a couple feet away from me. I spent the rest of practice trying to avoid slipping on droppings.”
Interactions with the geese’s natural fertilizer are not uncommon amongst athletes.
“They aren’t out there when we are, but there is plenty of poop in the fields, which is pretty annoying,” soccer player Camille Weaver ’21 said.
Adding to this sentiment, Maggie O’Donnell ’22 of the women’s lacrosse team said, “Before CC turfed Stewart Field, we would play, stretch, slip, and fall in poop. After practice, our locker room would be full of poop — it was definitely unpleasant.”
Despite the impossible nature of avoiding goose poop, athletes have been attempting different methods to avoid physical altercations with the birds themselves.
“A pack of geese will stay on the path while I walk towards them and stare at me. I end up having to walk around them and step in geese poop!” Kendall Accetta ’23 of the women’s cross-country team said. Though passive approaches may not work, bolder methods have also yielded little success thus far.
Accetta’s teammate Dafna Williams ’23 explained, “Sometimes, with friends, we try and yell intimidating things at the geese to scare them off.” Evidently, the geese are unfazed by athletes charging them and an effective method to scare them off has yet to be determined.
Even though CC’s geese are commonly regarded as a nuisance, Megan Koch ’22 on the women’s cross-country team shared a different opinion: “In my mind, if we are training outside, it is the geese’s home and we should respect that.”
Urbanization vastly reduces biodiversity and the successful adaptation of geese to the city life warrants them some admiration. Appreciating the geese may be difficult for athletes; however, their speed makes them deserving of respect. At 30 miles per hour, a common goose can outfly the fastest runner. “I’m only scared when I’m running alone. I’m vastly outnumbered and know they can fly much faster than I can run,” cross-country runner Max Saliman ’23 said.
While there are downsides to the geese’s presence, athletes of all sports have learned to live among these feathered friends. In the wise words of Koch, “If goose poop is the worst part of your workout, your workout might not be hard enough.”