Senior Beth Sebian is what many Oberlin students consider “a hidden
gem” on campus. While her life consists mainly of elegant hustling between
Mudd library and the lacrosse fields while disguised beneath a pair of amber
aviator sunglasses, Beth also seduces her friends and acquaintances with her
charm and level-headedness on the field and in the classroom. Famous for
showcasing her incredible feats of athleticism at sports practice, drawing from
her large database of Arrested Development references at the most
opportune moments and establishing herself as a strong role model and captain of
the women’s lacrosse team, Sebian sits down to talk about spandex,
horseback riding and divine intervention.
L: Beth, you began the school year playing on the women’s soccer
team. How did you conclude your soccer career at Oberlin?
B: My position on
the soccer team this year was keeping the bench warm and taking hits for the
team. I did, however, I’m pleased to say, have my greatest sports moment
ever this fall, scoring off a bicycle kick in practice. All I remember is seeing
the ball flying toward me when we were practicing corner kicks, and then this
divine force took over. I have no recollection of the actual event itself. I
woke up on the ground with the ball in the net behind me. The crowd was going
wild and everyone was cheering my name. Beth! Beth! Beth! It was beautiful. I
stayed on the ground for a while afterwards and just savored the moment.
L: Have you had any similar displays of ball-control dominance this spring
on the lacrosse field?
B: No, but I’m determined to score off a
“superman shot,” which is something I came up with
myself...it’s pretty much what it sounds like. It involves a lot of
airtime and laying out horizontally.
L: So it’s like laying out for a Frisbee?
B: Yeah, but
there’s a quick shot involved, too. And again, the crowd would most likely
be going wild afterwards, everyone cheering my name. That’s what I think
about before I fall asleep.
L: How does your team look going into the last couple weeks of your
season? Do you foresee many crowd-cheering victories in the near future?
We’ve lost our first two conference games, but they were also the two
hardest teams in our conference, so I’m not discouraged at all. There are
three games that we know we need to win to make it to the conference tournament.
It is definitely in our reach.
L: Does your team have any pre-game rituals? Are there are any
superstitious team members who refuse to wash their socks after a
Beth: It’s funny that you ask. There are some pretty unique
personal hygiene habits on our team, none of which are appropriate to discuss. I
will offer one anecdote about a teammate who, as part of an ever-evolving quest
for creative tasks to procrastinate from doing work this winter, decided to do a
trial run bikini-line shaving experiment before going to the beach on spring
break. That alone was not so bad, but the decision to go horseback riding
immediately afterwards is what did her in. It took a good week before she
stopped writhing in pain whenever she got goose bumps. If you know that
sensation, I’m sure you’ll understand, and if you don’t,
consider yourself lucky.
L: But you don’t have any pre-game group rituals?
B: The chicken
dance is this thing in Arrested Development where all the characters have their
own dance. It has kind of become a pre-game ritual. We also say “come
on” a lot. I have started saying that as a reaction to everything, which
even I find annoying. I myself am also a big fan of visualization before games.
We’ve been using a lot of horse analogies; Seabiscuit, Wonder (the
Thoroughbred Series), and incidentally, Meghan Schott reminds me of a pony.
Thinking about the heavy breathing of horses and the anxiety and anticipation in
the air before a race helps me get my adrenaline pumping. For others,
it’s the thought of Tobey Maguire on their backs. To each her own.
L: Do you have any teammates who remind you of Arrested Development
B: Yeah, Beth Gula reminds me of Buster. I think it’s
the way she walks or maybe her charming naivety.
L: What are some of your other hobbies besides soccer and lacrosse?
Well, I used to horseback ride and show cats. I like to clean a lot and
L: You showed cats?
B: Yeah, you know. It’s from a time in my
life that my mom has paid a lot for therapy for me to forget. There’s a
scene in Anchorman that captures the experience more than I wish it did.
L: Hmm... So what are your post-graduation plans?
Beth: I got into grad
school recently so I’m going to go for my masters in theological studies
in Boston, at Harvard. I’m really excited.
L: Will you continue your athletic endeavors there?
B: Yeah, totally. I
really want to do crew. I love the idea of waking up early and being on the
water. It sounds great. That was a big drawback about Oberlin. There was no
river nearby, so I settled for lacrosse and soccer.
L: Beth, I am pretty sure
that I have spotted you around campus in spandex pants or a spandex-tight trench
coat on more than one occasion. Was it the spandex crew outfits that initially
drew you to Harvard?
B: Yeah! Why do you think I’m going there? To qualify
that, though, I think the real attraction is team huddles with a dozen spandexed
teammates. I have visions of quoting Socrates during our warm-ups and
deconstructing our socio-athletic identities on study breaks from classes titled
“The Protocol of the Gaze” before we grab coffee and attend lectures
just for the sake of intellectual enrichment.
L: Next year, in between your presumably intense school schedule, will you
find time to come back and visit?
B: Oh yeah. I’ll come back wearing a
pink oxford and khakis or something equally pretentious. Deck shoes? I
won’t let Harvard eat my soul, but I can’t promise I won’t
look like it has. In all reality, I’ll probably just look tired and
overworked, but that’s my MO, and I secretly get off on academic