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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Gobble Gobble by Snively '11

Geeks with guns

Each year of elementary school, in late November, one could walk into any of the classrooms and see hordes of hyperactive chillin’s running around. Half of them would be wearing paper bag vests, construction paper headdresses, and wielding construction paper bows and arrows, chasing around the other half who had to dress up as pilgrims instead of indians. That was elementary school. In middle school there was much less Thanksgiving festivity, likewise with high school.

This blog isn’t about elementary, middle, or high schools, this blog entry is about big kid school, MIT, the best school in the country, the school that makes all those other school cower in fear. No, it’s not MIT’s outstanding academics, its research opportunities, its philanthropy, its architecture, or its tuition that strikes fear into the hearts of state schools around the country. What really frightens, what really concerns, all of the other schools is our pistol team.


Pistol, as in guns. That’s right, you may not know it, but buried deep underneath a basketball court, behind several locked doors, and hidden in the bowels of MIT are two shooting ranges, cases upon cases of ammunition, and more guns than you can (or would want to) shake a stick at. A not so well known fact about MIT is the plentitude of sports opportunities available. You’ve got your typical sports (basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer), your specialty sports (fencing, rowing, pistol), your club sports (curling, taekwondo, rugby), and your intramural (IM) sports (dodgeball, flag football, air pistol). Not a lot is said about these, I guess we bloggers are trying so hard to talk about all the things that people assume are tied to MIT (academics, research, campus life, food, etc) that we forget about the parts of MIT that are surprisingly like other schools, sports included.

We’ve gotten e-mails and comments saying “You never blog about varsity sports, why?” or “You try to hire bloggers from a wide variety of backgrounds but you never hire any varsity athletes, why?” This makes the varsity athlete bloggers sad because we realize that we don’t ever blog about what we do. Laura did field hockey, I’m in pistol, Lulu and Mollie cheer (not technically varsity, but w/e), Shannon sails, and I’m sorry if I missed any of the bloggers, but the point is, admissions definitely does have blogger athletes.

Anyway, back to pistol and Thanksgiving. The MIT pistol team has a reputation for not only being very good but also having a lot of fun. This means that, even though we shoot little black circles day after day, week after week, we like to mix things up one day out of the year. Each year, the day before Thanksgiving, the MIT pistol team has its very own turkey shoot!

No, we don’t shoot real turkeys, how could you possibly think that!? That’d be horrible! Instead we all make hand turkeys, draw turkeys, or photoshop turkeys to shoot at. No no, this doesn’t make us terrible people, we promise! If anything, our turkeys are made out of endearment and love. Don’t think of it as shooting the turkeys, think of it as an opportunity to focus all of your concentration on one beautifully hand made piece of artwork, an opportunity to bless it with a single perfect shot. That’s love for ya right there, pistol-themed love.

We shoot our turkeys with air pistols, meaning there’s no actual combustion happening. Everything is compressed air and we use little lead pellets as ammunition.

My pellets sitting on top of my freshly photoshopped hand turkey (courtesy of my awesome new pen and my tablet)

My gun, chilling with two more turkeys

Andrew ’11, Michelle ’10, and I decided to celebrate the turkey shoot occasion by showing a little school spirit. We drew out the letters “MIT” on three separate targets and decided to shoot them out. Try to ignore the cluster of shots in the lower right corner of my “I,” they grouped there for some reason.

Haven’t you wanted your name shot out before?

After shooting out some letters it was time to work on the turkeys. I went for my photoshopped hand turkey first, promptly filling him with little holes.

In between turkeys I watched some of the action down at the duck-shooting area. You see, we have this little set up of steel ducks that get knocked down if you shoot them (like at carnivals with the air rifles) and we would go 1 on 1 with each other to see who could shoot down their ducks first. It’s a lot of fun, especially since everybody not shooting takes pride in harassing the shooter and trying to get them to miss.

I see your hand shaking! I SEE IT! DON’T MISS!!!!!

Then it was back to shooting turkeys. I went for the 2.005 turkey next (for those of you who don’t know, 2.005 is one of the hardest classes I’ve ever taken in my entire life and it’s kicking my butt). Here he is before I sent him down range . . .

*taps plays in the background*

And this is how he came back to me.

Holy Turkey Batman!

I looked around and saw everybody else taking aim at their turkeys.

Andrew ’11

Michelle ’10

Fu ’09

Next it was time for the beanie/scooter turkey.

See? One shot, just down from center

My final turkey wasn’t really a turkey, it was actually my chance to defend PacMan from his ghostly foes. You see, he was being chased by three ghosts who all needed to be stopped.

I stopped them

You will live to see another day PacMan

In the end, I went back to my dorm with a backpack full of turkey targets, a full stomach (chips, soda, cake, dip, and ham), and lots of silly pictures of teammates.

Consider joining the pistol team if you come to MIT. No shooting experience required/expected/desired, you can start right off on Varsity as a freshman. Everybody is really nice, the atmosphere is very relaxed, and once a year we stray from our plain and boring circular targets and have some fun with turkeys. It’s not to be missed.

*For more information, please visit the MIT pistol homepage*

29 responses to “Gobble Gobble”

  1. srt23 says:

    Interesting way to spend thanksgiving break.

  2. Snively says:

    I’m not sure about specific sports, I would e-mail the coach. Look around on

  3. '12 says:

    How many hours a week do you practice for varsity pistol? Is it the typical 5-7pm every day, plus Saturday morning?

  4. Snively says:

    At the beginning of the season it’s 40 minutes on Monday through Thursday, no practice on Friday. There are only 15 lanes so we have to split it up into three relays. As the season goes on it turns into 1 hour on Monday through Thursday.

    We have competitions on Saturdays but not usually practice. If there’s a long weekend sometimes the range will be open for additional practice.

  5. Monorina says:

    Wonderful blog!
    But please don’t post any more fun links in your posts till march, I just got addicted to text pong!

  6. Banerjee says:

    Seriously is that your gun?

    So unexpected for MIT. You would think that students in Unis like Rice would own one, but MIT?!

  7. Gobble Gobble…Frank Caliendo!!

  8. Patrick '11 says:

    Missed the turkey shoot =(
    Looks like you guys had fun!

  9. Mikey says:

    Aww, this takes me back to the days of PE pistol with Coach Hart. I think on the “MIT” targets, you should have shot at the borders of the letters until you cut them out of the paper. (Although that’s probably too hard, eh? Challenge, son!)

    Hope you had a happy gobble day smile

  10. '12 says:

    Ok, thanks. Maybe I’ll look into that, it sounds pretty cool.

  11. Sina says:

    Great post as usual, locker-mate. But I think that pic of me looks more like a buffalo than the beetle I was promised…

  12. Funny thing is, when I read “buried deep underneath a basketball court, behind several locked doors, and hidden in the bowels of MIT are two shooting ranges, cases upon cases of ammunition, and more guns than you can (or would want to) shake a stick at,” the first thing I thought of was “that’s where I’m going in case of zombie attack”

  13. deng says:

    do you guys only shoot standing up?

  14. Errand says:

    Oh man, this blog is awesome. especially when u are high on weed

  15. Anonymous says:

    Off Topic, Question if I get accepted into MIT can I still play intercollege basketball even if I didn’t play in my highschool.

    p.s I’m really good or at least I think I’m good—intermediate

  16. navdeep says:

    so what was the result of that blogging competition you took part into ?
    i voted for you though !

  17. navdeep says:

    i second that question by ‘anonymnous’

  18. Snively says:

    Yes, pistol shoots standing up and with only one hand. Rifle sometimes shoots lying down.

  19. '12 hopeful says:

    So are students allowed to own pistols on campus? I have my own .22 pistol, which I would love to bring to MIT.

  20. Snively says:

    @’12 hopeful
    a) Hopefully you mean ’13 hopeful, unless you’re applying for a transfer.

    b) I believe (but don’t quote me on this) that it may be possible to keep your gun locked up on the range with special permission from the coach. You would only have access to it if the range were open, and you’d have to shoot it during club hours (Tuesdays at 6:30 PM), but it could be ok. Again, I don’t know, so for an absolute answer I would e-mail Coach Hart (e-mail address available on pistol team website).

    For more info, check out this site:

  21. Errina says:

    I seriously wish I could shoot.
    First experience with a gun: My brother, great teacher as he is, forgot to correct my form as I was aiming. Chipped a tooth from the recoil.
    Latest experience: simulated shooting range at West Point Summer Leaders Seminar. Failed to hit ANYTHING first round. Second round, put it on three-round bursts, waved it back and forth. I got two!
    This pistol team looks fun, though!

  22. Dane says:

    Hm, this looks very interesting. I’ve been shooting before, with a pistol and with a rifle and shotgun. I’m pretty good with all three, although I’ve practiced with a pistol least so it’s probably the one I’m worst with at this point. I really wish my school had sports like this; all there is right now are the “normal” sports, none of which I’m particularly interested in. If I manage to get into MIT, I’ll look into this.

  23. Adrian says:

    What is 2.005? I looked on the course index ( and I found no 2.005. Firefox’s ctrl-F has failed me.

  24. Snively says:

    Partly why this class is so difficult, they don’t post anything to OCW. Nothing. According to the course catalog:

    Integrated development of the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer with applications. Focuses on the development of the first and second laws of thermodynamics with special consideration of the rate processes associated with heat transfer and work transfer. Entropy generation and its influence on the performance of engineering systems. Conduction heat transfer in solids including steady-state and transient situations. Finned surfaces. Coupled and uncoupled fluid models. Hydrostatics. Inviscid flow analysis and Bernoulli equation. Internal and external laminar viscous flows. Turbulence. Boundary layers. Head loss in pipes.

  25. Alayibo says:

    I don’t really like team sports apart from soccer and this really looks like fun. I have never shot before though. I don’t have to learn before I can join , do i?

  26. '13 hopeless says:

    @ Snively

    Yep, I meant ’13 hopeful. (One of the many reasons a blond like me should never be admitted to MIT smile

    Thanks very much for your help. I love your blogs, although I should say there has been a definate decrease in my productivity at home since I discovered them: “Hmm… home alone… study my Advanced Physics… or read Snively’s new hilarious blog??”

    I’m a hopeless procrastinator.

  27. Aditya says:

    ZOMG. You nearly missed the pink evil blob thing.

  28. Ehsan says: