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What Does Rotblatt Mean to You?

July 24, 2013 at 11:07 am
By Holly

Marv Rotblatt died on July 16 at the age 85. Rotblatt has been a legend at Carleton for years. There is myth and mystery surrounding his name because of the day-long softball game that takes place each spring term. Charlie Cogan, class of  1982, tells a story of Rotblatt being an entire league of intramural softball that culminated in the 100s-of-innings-long game at the end of the season. Unfortunately due to external factors (and an incredibly strong club frisbee program) the intramural league shrunk, and the term of games turned into one campus-wide event to end the spring.

Before delving into further accounts, we wish to direct your attention to the unbiased account of Rotblatt that you can find in this New York Times article because for us, Rotblatt is not merely a softball game. It is more than just one day. It’s much longer than 147 innings. It’s a tradition that has passed the test of time. Therefore, we would like to provide you with some anecdotes and photographs that we feel can begin to scratch the surface at unveiling the Marv(el) that is Rotblatt.

The overarching theme that we have discussed today is that the game of Rotblatt creates a “community bonding time” for lack of a better description according to Issac Werner, class of 2014. A 2013 alum, Nick Stewart, agrees that Rotblatt is a “great way for the Carleton community to come together. Hope for good weather!” Mitch Campbell, class of 2014, will not be deterred by a bit of rain. He says that embracing the rain is an essential part of any Rotblatt experience and that last year “everyone had a wet, muddy, sopping, lovely time.”

Sorry, this photo and its description have been lost.

photo by Roy Wiggins ’13

I personally find Rotblatt to be one of the best days of the year because it combines music and softball into a day-long event. I happen to be a co-captain of the varsity softball team on campus and I sing in a coed a cappella group, the Intertwining Melodies, so a day when I get to combine two of my favorite activities seems like a dream come true! Here I am up to bat!

Sorry, this photo and its description have been lost.

Photo by Kayla Kramer ’12

Regardless of personal affinities, Rotblatt is an event for every Carl. Whether it’s the allure of a brand new t-shirt after waiting in line for hours, or the beautiful sunrise coming over the Arb, Rotblatt provides something for every student. Adam Webster, class of 2000, refers to Rotblatt as the “great leveler event” where everyone is welcome and skilled players are frowned upon. Adam was actually lucky enough to be able to share this tradition with a friend from the University of Virginia. Jaime Anthony, a 2006 alum, spoke to the power of tradition that is alive in many ways in the daily life of a Carl. She is a big fan of college traditions that are open to the entire community. Regarding Rotblatt, she likes it that everyone is welcome but certainly was able to underline that this is not unique - most traditions at Carleton are this way (don’t get us started on the Guardians of Schiller).

Brian Swann, class of 2003, says that Rotblatt is a “great example of the ease at which Carls are willing to do something silly and fun. It’s a tradition that defies logic and defies boundaries we put on ourselves.” As Fellows and current students, we certainly agree with Brian’s sentiments. Look below! You can see Michael providing musical accompaniment to the festivities during the day with his band. He’s so talented :)

Sorry, this photo and its description have been lost.

Photo by Roy Wiggins ’13

Rotblatt is not just a day. It’s not just an event. It is a “great hallmark of the Carleton vibe” so says Brian. And we owe this to Marv Rotblatt. From intramural leagues being whittled down to just one day of festivities and community his name remains and in his memory we will continue to play.

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