Veteran Cigarette Smoker Anchors the Sweets

Matt Raymond

Illustration by Emily Jones
Illustration by Emily Jones

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to see Frisbees flying across Ankeny Field like carrier pigeons. Reasonably athletic Whitties dress up in backwards hats, synthetic jerseys, soccer cleats and something the kids are calling “friction gloves” to throw plastics across the lawn.

In a recent study performed by Whitman’s sociology department, it was discovered that a small percentage of these plastics were thrown by Jean-Paul Cathcart (the last “t” is silent), a junior French major and recently converted plastic-throwing fanatic.

Cathcart’s recorded plastic tosses should come as no surprise, but they do. This weekend, the Whitman Sweets hosted Onionfest, an annual invitational Frisbee tournament which attracts teams from all over the Pacific Northwest. This year, Whitman fielded three teams. Unsurprisingly, Cathcart’s team, Whitman Team C, emerged from the pack to win 16th place.

“Whitman C’s success can be at least partially attributed to the stellar play and leadership of Jean-Paul Cathcart,” said captain Raymond Fatthew ’14 following the defeat of a team of Willamette University alums. “I mean, he was definitely on the field today. I think we all learned a lot from that. The less experienced guys like [Jacob] Janimal can really gain a lot from watching Jean-Paul be on the field.”

Cathcart smoked cigarettes and quoted the French existentialists off the field, but on the field he smoked opponents and quoted the French existentialists. Playing primarily as a cutter, he managed to get himself in position to catch the disc on several occasions. After his team’s victory, Cathcart spoke to The Pioneer about his play and his strategies.

“They forced backhand all game. I knew Janimal was trying to huck O-I, so I got in the ho-stack and tried to work on my unders. I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world,” he said.

Cathcart also told reporters that he doesn’t run at all, ever, and dispelled allegations that he was an elite athlete.

“I’m not really sure if my heart’s supposed to be beating this fast, but I definitely made some sick up-bids today. And a down-bid. I also made a couple of stationary bids today, too. Man is condemned to be free, because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

Perhaps Cathcart’s most impressive performance this weekend came in the famed onion-eating contest, held at halftime of Whitman’s showcase game between current Sweets and alumni players. Typically, contestants opt to eat the sweet onions raw. However, Cathcart julienned the onions with a santoku, caramelized them, simmered them in thickened beef broth and red wine and topped them with gruyere cheese-covered croutons.

“The rustic French onion soup method really worked for me,” said Cathcart. “I was able to maintain the rich natural flavor of the onions by slow-cooking them in a crock pot, but I balanced it with an appropriate savory stock and some Tunisian sel de mer. I had only a little time left and I didn’t want to waste it on raw onions.”