College Essay: Oliver Folan to attend Ohio University

College Essay: Oliver Folan to attend Ohio University

Oliver Folan

I never understood why people cared so much about sports. During the winters of my freshmen and sophomore years of high school, I played JV basketball, and those two winters were unequivocally the most miserable periods of my entire life thus far. The nights were long, the practices were late, and my body was always aching, a fact that can be attributed to the intense drills put in place by my insane coach. The games, despite being considerably less memorable than the practices we had, represented the only moments of tranquility I felt during the basketball season. The coach would lay out icy cold refreshments for us to drink, I would conversate with my fellow teammates, and, most importantly, I almost never left the bench. Thank God.

When my classmates arrived early in preparation for the Varsity games, I would always stare off into the stands as the rowdy crowd cheered on for my team. Watching the insanity go down from the sidelines gave me a whole new perspective on a game I had learned to hate. Instead of partaking in the craziness, I observed it and tried to make sense of it in my head. This became a form of escapism for me.

My love for escapism did not originate from my basketball games, however. For as long as I can remember, films have always been my ultimate form of escapism. I love the worlds they build and the characters they create. A great film can linger in my mind for days and control the way I act and think.

My favorite film of all time, and the film I find myself relating to the most in my personal life, is Jacques Tati’s French masterpiece titled Playtime, released in 1967. The story focuses on Monsieur Hulot as he bumbles his way around Tativille, struggling to cope with the overwhelming number of technological advances that have modernized society. The film is lighthearted in its approach, however, building an atmosphere that feels intoxicating, lived-in, and oddly beautiful, like a happy memory unfolding before the viewer’s eyes.

Playtime feels less like a film and more like an observation of how people adhere to the craziness of our changing society. Monsieur Hulot is perhaps the most unequipped person to handle the stresses and complexities of modern society and, as a result, moves through life quite haphazardly.

On the basketball court, I felt like Monsieur Hulot, taking part in a world of which I understood very little, failing miserably at the challenges it threw at me. However, on the sidelines, I felt like Jacques Tati the director, trying to make sense of the craziness, processing it through my own lens. As I sat in my director’s chair, the white noise from the crowds became an inspiring hum, and the games transformed into stories of beauty and excitement. Two teams competing for glory like lions in a coliseum full of barbaric fanatics.