Monday, February 7, 2011

Morning Coffee With Caitlin Cahow

This is the second installment of our "Morning Coffee" series. For those of you who missed our first piece on BC fullback Codi Boek, Morning Coffee is a series in which we interview BC athletes about academics, athletics, and the BC experience. The goal is to allow our readers to see a side of BC athletes that they were previously unaware of, and to help them appreciate the complexity, richness, and honor of the ACC student-athlete experience.

This morning, we are proud to introduce Caitlin Cahow, current BC Law student and member of the USA Women's Hockey Team. Caitlin won a bronze medal in the Turin games in 2006 and a silver medal in Vancouver in 2010. Between 2007 and 2009, she picked up two silver medals and a gold at the World Championships. Caitlin is also quite possibly one of the smartest hockey players ever to don the USA uniform, as she now owns a Harvard undergrad degree which will be supplemented by her BC law degree in 2013. It's truly an honor to have her sit down with our blog this morning. For a more complete bio, see this amazing piece that ESPN wrote on her last year.

Caitlin is all the way to the right in this picture, courtesy USA hockey.

Make the jump for the full interview. 

Thanks so much for sitting down with us today, Caitlin. We know how busy you are with law school work so we'll get right to good stuff. 

Q. How difficult is it to balance USA hockey with the rigorous academic work of a school like BC?
A. It’s definitely a balance, but it’s something I have been doing since I was a little kid. I am not sure what it would be like to be in school without also playing hockey. I grew up doing homework in the car shuttling between practices. I wrote much of my senior thesis at Harvard in a hotel room in Harbin, China while I was there for the World Championships in 2008 (we happened to also win, making it a highly productive trip all-around). I applied to law school during the Olympic training year while I was living in Minneapolis and preparing for the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Playing hockey gives a sort of rhythm to my life that keeps me motivated and psyched to wake up every morning and challenge the day.

Q. Why did you choose BC law? Was there something specific about BC outside of athletics that drew you here?
A. My uncle is actually a BC Law grad class of 1974. He had a great experience here and encouraged me to come to BC. Mostly I was really impressed with the Jesuit tradition of civic responsibility in the practice of law. It means a lot to me to be a part of that tradition. The most important thing I have learned through my years of playing hockey at every level is the need to sacrifice oneself for the greater good and the ultimate goal. I hope to bring that perspective to my study of the law and my future practice.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish with a law degree upon graduation?
A. I think like most 1 L’s I’m primarily concerned with getting through my Criminal Law reading...  Ideally, after all that, my law degree will open up a world of doors and opportunities, here’s hoping! I have been fortunate to travel around the world to compete as an athlete and the people and places I have interacted with have changed my perspective on a global scale. I have also had the privilege of being surrounded by strong female role models. I hope to become active in the local as well as international law communities working in pursuit of women’s rights.

Q. Have you had the chance to take in any BC sports games yet?
A. I have had the distinct pleasure of attending quite a few BC hockey games as an undergrad at Harvard. Mostly the Crimson men were on the losing end, but it was always an exiting and entertaining environment at Conte.

Q. What is your favorite BC sports tradition so far and how does the gameday atmosphere compare to Harvard?
A. The obvious answer is Saturday morning BC Law softball. As third baseman for the Section Fun Saucy Intruders, I can attest to the ferocity of the competition  (Mike Reer’s legit batting average) complemented by superlative sportsmanship, particularly from the 3L teams…

Q. Have you had the chance to play with any BC athletes on USA hockey? 
A. Definitely! Kelli Stack is one of my Teammates from the US Olympic team. We won a silver medal together in Vancouver as well as a couple of World Championships. Molly Schaus is another Eagle I consider myself proud to have played with. She was actually my roommate for the Olympic residency year. She is a goalie, and you know what they say about goalies, so we had a pretty eventful time of it especially on the road. She is quite the prankster and I am known around the team as an easy target. 

Q. Will you be attending the Beanpot this year, and if so, who will you be rooting for?
A. I can’t wait to take in a Beanpot game. For my money it’s the best sporting event you can be a part of in Boston. There is so much tradition and pride on the line. In the women’s Beanpot, I have to say that old habits die hard and I am going to have to be rooting for the Crimson, but on the men’s side, I plan on cashing in as a winner picker… go Eagles!

Q. Conte Forum seems to be one of those sports arenas that people either love or hate. What is your opinion of Conte Forum? Does it stack up favorably against other big-time hockey college arenas?
A. As a women's player, I tended to prefer smaller venues in college because our game is not so well known yet that we would pack Conte. It's not super validating to hear crickets when you score... On the flip side, its a great place to take in a men's game because it gets really loud. So all you BC hockey fans out there, get out to a women's game, you don't know what you are missing! As far as stacking up to other college arenas, Bright arena at Harvard may not look like much, but its cozy, its loud and because we don't swap out ice for wood every other weekend, the ice is hard and fast. Atmosphere as a fan is paramount, and Conte certainly stacks up with the best division one barns across the country, and it can be thrilling as a player, but for me, it's the little things like the pace of the ice that count.

Q. What do you think of our food in Stuart? And how are you dealing with freshman eating at the same dining hall?
A. Well… I tend to frequent the soup bar, which is typically lovely. And obviously the coffee is to die for…

Q. Last one! Give us one really nerdy fact about yourself that we don't already know.
A. I am a closet violinist. I was not allowed to go to hockey growing up without doing my homework and practicing my violin first. Thanks mom for making me so well adjusted and cool!


  1. How did you get her to lie about your softball batting average?

  2. I liked this interview.. Caitlin is awesome

  3. Caitlin seems great, I've now got a new athlete to root for in the Olympics.


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