This year I went to the last football game of the season. It was the most exciting game of the year; Rutgers had just announced their addition to the Big 10 conference and were playing their rivals-Louisville. This was an insanely important game, and the hype around campus was pretty evident. The tickets were sold out quickly, there were campus flyers everywhere promoting the game, and professors were even canceling classes (mine weren’t cancelled-but we did spend the first 20 minutes watching our professor sing the Rutgers Alma Mater song). Within all this madness, the hash tag “Chop Louisville” kept appearing around campus. Every day for about a week before the big game, a giant TV in the student center just read “#ChopLouisville.” It made absolutely no sense to me. But even though I didn’t understand what “chop” meant, for some reason it stuck in my head and became a point of Rutgers pride for me. I figured if I was going to hop on the bandwagon and use the hash tag, I should at least look it up and find out what it means. I did, and I thought it was worth sharing.
The phrase originated from a sports psychologist, but Coach Greg Schiano explained it as this: “Right now we’re in a bad spot, we’re in the middle of the forest, it’s all dark, we can’t see. Get an ax and just start chopping away.” And that’s what Rutgers does, it keeps chopping that wood. If RU loses a game, it doesn’t look back; it moves forward and keeps choppin. If they miss a play, they just look ahead and focus on the next one. And if they make that play, and they win that game—it makes all that hard work worth it and they just keep on choppin because that’s what Rutgers does best. The phrase caught on so well, that the entire nation (well maybe not the entire nation, not yet at least) knows this as Rutgers football teams mantra.
But it applies to more than just football; this term can be used in anything in your life. Gave a terrible presentation in class? Keep choppin, and give an incredible one next time. Embarrassed yourself in front of the entire lecture? Keep choppin and walk in next day like a boss. Failed an exam? Keep choppin (or if it was REALLY low, withdraw with pride and chop it next semester). Look back and learn from your mistakes, but don’t panic because what’s done is already done and no matter how hard you try, you can’t go back into the past and undo it. The most you can do is repair it, but that requires you to look forward, and keep on doing what you gotta do. Life gets difficult sometimes, and at times we may feel like we are lost, but like coach Schiano said, you just get that axe out and keep choppin until you’re out of the dark. And once you’re out of that bad spot, you keep at it.
Rutgers has been through a lot in my past 3.5 years of attendance. From Tyler Clementi, to Eric Legrand, to the NYPD surveillance, to Hurricane Sandy, this school has had its fair share of difficulties. But we keep choppin. That’s called Rutgers resilience right there, and we go to the most resilient school in the nation. Take a lesson from that, and keep on chopping my fellow classmates. InshaAllah we will all go far.
I know this is an MSA blog and I am supposed to tie this back to religion (maybe throw in a Hadith or an ayah here or there), but I didn’t :) lol
“‘The Chop’ Is Secret to Rutgers Success.” The Washington Post. N.p., 11 NOV 2006. Web. 7 Mar 2013.