Dance Floor out of Nothing
Crushed by the requirements of her athletic scholarship and seduced by the different world of Occupy, Sarah Rupp dropped out of UC Davis and moved to Oakland.
When I was 17, I committed to playing lacrosse at UC Davis. I’m from Virginia and had never even seen the Pacific Ocean. What I knew of California was gathered piecemeal from watching every episode of the O.C. until the day they jumped the shark and killed Marissa –the tragedy of my eighth grade. I had decided between the University of Delaware and Davis one morning while eating waffles at my parents’ house in Blind River, Ontario. But I went with Davis, because of California’s sunshine and supposed political radicalism and really because I just wanted out of my small Catholic high school where classmates sometimes hung roadkill in the outstretched arms of statue saints. I was talented and fast but only five feet tall and too broke for the Ivies, which can’t provide athletic scholarships. So, Davis.
I went out there with my parents and it was my first time west of Ohio. We stayed in this shitty little trailer park in Half Moon Bay the first night I got there. All night the fog horn at the lighthouse went off, and I remember being surprised by how cold the beach was and how scraggly and alien the trees looked to me, how the restaurant had soft serve with olive oil on top, how I was too depressed to be excited about moving but had the tingling sensation in my head that comes when you are about to face the unknown or when you think too hard about outer space.
Davis is a small college town near Sacramento. Lacrosse is a spring sport, but the NCAA is a racket and allows off-season practicing and scrimmaging called Fall Ball that should definitely be banned. It basically means athletes are always on the clock and are never allowed to just be students. Our first practice was two days after I had flown into California in August. It was the crack of dawn and the zero-humidity desert heat was already ungodly. We were told to meet at the track to run our fitness test. Our coaches didn’t even greet us. Girls on my team pissed themselves running.