All Male College


IMG_6487 Willem Aartsen
Willem Aartsen in 2016

Willem Aartsen begrijpt ´t: als je zelf met een aardig verhaal komt heb je grote kans dat ´t geplaatst wordt. Hij schreef “this is another contribution for our 50th Anniversary Reunion web site: see if you like it. It is an opinion piece. Some of it is tongue and cheek. Edit and add to it if you like”.

oranje leeuwinnenI could not have been prouder to see the Dutch Lionesses with their 2nd place finish during the World Cup Soccer this last Sunday. They lost the final match against team USA, my new Nation. You may guess twice who I was rooting for. The girls showed what determination and sacrifice can achieve, while exhibiting much joy and camaraderie in the process. The girls put the final dagger to what remained of my last male chauvinism in one fell swoop.

Which brings me to the subject of my opinion piece. I have been talking to friends and family members about attending the 50th Anniversary of my year at Nijenrode University. This invites the question: “What College did you attend?”. I explain that I attended an “All Male” International Business College, which was located on the grounds of a Medieval Castle with a moat and a draw bridge.

nijenrode kasteel slotgrachtOf course that description conjures up images of a rather archaic and elitist institution. An image not unlike that of Harry Potter. Seeing the damage I have caused to myself, I rush to add: This was 50 years ago and the College went co-educational the year after I graduated. But nevertheless I put some of the seeds of self doubt in my own mind. In all honesty those 2 years at Nijenrode were the best years of my life.

1971-03-13 rugby HEC-RCN in Parijs-06
Bob Schwartz en Willem Aartsen rugbyen voor Nijenrode in 1971

Yes. The school was all male and let’s be honest, we were all in our late 10’s or early 20’s and the campus was an incubator of male testosterone. We were in our prime. We lived in small quarters – 4 guys to a room of no more than 400 sq. ft. I cannot imagine having to share that room with female students. No wonder then, that during the weekends most students flew the coup to be with their girls friends or pursue other male exploits.

So what made those years at Nijenrode so special? Part of it was male bonding and part of it was the stage in our lives. We were breaking away from our traditional roots and growing into young adults, while learning about Marketing and International Business. The campus forced us to live together and form our own exclusive Society with Heeren V, Campusraad etc. thus finding out how we fit into this brotherhood.

Still this “All Male College” would be a hard sell in today’s Society. Male Chauvinism and Misogyny are not really looked upon as virtues. So, we were privileged to have lived those 2 years in male seclusion. I certainly found out a lot about myself and left this College with much more self confidence than I entered it.

oranje leeuwinnen-02Now; Could we not have accomplished the same result with women participating on this Campus provided we could find secure housing for them away from us predators and Alpha males? Certainly!! I would have to admit that the years probably would have been as enriching and it would have taught us to appreciate and respect women in business more than just seeing them as the object of our lust. We still had to learn how to deal with women in Business after we graduated. To that aspect of my life I received “home schooling” by Kathy my wife of 45 years.

But that being said: “It is what it is!!” Or rather: “It was what it was.” We were not politically correct, but we had the time of our lives. We don’t need to make any excuses for having had a fun learning experience while we were at Nijenrode those 2 years. For now: Let’s celebrate our Lady Lionesses 2nd place finish at the World Soccer tournament.

Reactie Erik Hemmes: Mooi verhaal over onze insteek in 1969 op Nijenrode. Reëel en overdacht geschreven. Herkenbaar. Dank Willem!

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Het Condoom, voetballers en rugbyers

IMG_6487 Willem Aartsen
Willem Aartsen in 2016

Willem Aartsen heeft dagelijks te maken met de gevolgen van zijn Nijenrodetijd. Hij ging studeren in Oregon en woont daar nog steeds met zijn Amerikaanse vrouw. Hij schreef het volgende:

Today I took Kathy out for dinner. Across the street from the restaurant I noticed a large “balloon” sportshall. This immediately triggered my memory to the balloon hall at Nijenrode – popularly called “Het Condoom”. I do not know if the old Condoom hall is still standing on the ground at Nijenrode. I doubt it!! It was a “sweat shop” and probably not very energy efficient.

condoom (2)It reminded me of the soccer tournament we played in Het Condoom at Nijenrode in 1970. The Rugby Club represented by Rob Bos, Simon Bommeljé, Eddie Brokaar, Frans Hazelhoff and myself reached the finals. In the finals we played against a “voetbal technisch” superior team from Plesman represented by Rob Ruitenbeek, Dick van Roozendaal, Thijs Craenmehr and ??? (Help me out here).

Although the team from Plesman consisted of “voetbal technisch” superior soccer players, the Rugby team played a physical game and ended up winning by tackling harder and outmussling the Plesman team. Attached you will find a photo of the similar Condoom sportshall I saw today. Now my memory may need some refreshing with regards to the details of the tournament and the final match. I welcome any comments or critique.

IMG_6476 Rob Bos
Rob Bos in 2016

Rob Bos reageerde, ook in het Engels:
If I may add a comment, those sissi’s Willem mentioned, the non-rugby-oriented soccer specialists, did the following. They first selected the best players for themselves and organized that team for the following reason. They wanted to be mentioned in the alumni book, therefore making sure beforehand they would be the champions of the tournament. And then they organized the tournament.

One element just was sort of beyond their control. Theo Widdershoven claimed to be the referee for at least the final match. The rest is history. We played it fair but with a well limited touch. And it speaks for itself we – rugby educated – supported each other better, corrected our own individual mistakes if still possible, better, were fitter compared to soccer players and or field hockey players. A rugger rather dies of exhaustion than loose. All the ingredients which are a bare necessity for a succesfull team. Prowse – if I remember well – came to watch and of course liked what he saw happening.

1971 Nijenrode sevens
Het winnende 7-a-side team. Geknield Rob Bos. Verder Boudewijn Kornmann, Jan Postma, Tom Visser, Dirk Jonker, Jaap van Voorden en Leo Koot.
1971-03-13 rugby HEC-RCN in Parijs-01 (2) Prowse
John Prowse naast Simon Bommeljé in 1971

When the rugby club organized the 7-a-side tournament we introduced the rule that per team no more than 2 rugby-club-players were allowed. All in the spirit of fairness. Last but not least: Oud tegen Jong rugby. 1969 has beaten 1968. Prowse was involved with Nijenrode for 13 years back then and he told me he had never seen the first years beating the second years team. Quite a memorable achievement!

Reactie Nijenrode 1969:
De vloer van Het Condoom bestond volgens mij uit het gemalen rubber van oude autobanden. Het rubcourt-toernooi komt bij mij boven, was dat het bewuste voetbaltoernooi? De regels voor het 7-a-side toernooi waren: maximaal 2 eerste team rugbyspelers, minimaal 2 niet-leden van de rugbyclub en minimaal één eerstejaars per team van 7 spelers. En zo was het winnende team precies samengesteld!

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