Point/Counterpoint: Chipotle Illness Or Getting Left Out?

So guacamole isn’t the only thing you can get for extra at Chipotle.

Over the weekend, hungry customers got a bit more than they paid for at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Cleveland Circle. Dozens of Boston College students—including 10 men’s basketball players, according to reports—are suffering from food poisoning caused either by the bacteria E. coli or a norovirus spread by an employee.

So 10 basketball players are temporarily sidelined with food poisoning, but there are 15 players listed on the roster. Those other five must have gotten away by the skin of their teeth…or did they?

This begs a question—would you rather plague yourself with a terribly painful bacterial infection, or find out on the evening news that you weren’t invited on the team trip to lunch?

Give me E. coli and/or give me death | Tom DeVoto, A1 Editor

If I were on BC men’s basketball, I’d be pretty pissed if I got E. coli in the middle of a five-game losing streak at the beginning of the season. But I’ll tell you what—I’d be even more pissed if I didn’t get E. coli, but all of my so-called friends did because they were hanging out for lunch without me. Sure, that might not say the most about my social confidence, but regardless, if the guys are going out for tacos, I want to be a part of it—bacterial infections be damned!

The symptoms of food poisoning just sound terrible—abdominal cramping, diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting are common, just to name a few. I wouldn’t wish those malaises on my worst enemy, let alone a friend. But what’s really more painful: some temporary technical difficulties in the gastrointestinal department, or the existential crisis brought about by the realization that your “brothers” are enjoying fast, casual dining at Greater Boston’s preeminent burrito joint without you?

BC men’s basketball is in the process of rebuilding. For that to happen, all 15 players need to be on board with the process and in tune with each other. If they’re not rolling squad deep to Chipotle every day, how can anyone be confident in the team’s ability to function as one coherent unit? If you can’t recite my Chipotle order by memory—steak bowl, little bit of brown rice, black beans, mild salsa, corn, lettuce, guac (I know it’s extra)—how can I count on you to set a strong ball screen at the top of the key with the game on the line? The last thing BC needs is for this team to get clique-y, and this seems like it could only be the tip of the iceberg.

Sometimes it takes tragedy to bring a group of people together. Other times it takes the fact that 10 people spend an extended stretch of days living inside the Conte Forum bathrooms because they can’t control their bodily functions. This particular situation is the latter, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Plus, what builds team chemistry like a bacterial infection? A team-wide food poisoning plague could just be another sick plan from head-coach-but-maybe-also-evil-mastermind Jim Christian. Just imagine him sneaking into Chipotle at midnight and tainting the food with petri dish samples from Higgins Hall, whispering maniacally as he works, “If you can dodge a potentially fatal illness, you can dodge a ball.”

So screw E. coli/norovirus/Death Star. You spend a week within a 50-foot radius of a restroom, and then you get over it—no big deal (probably). You buy an extra bottle of mouthwash, you grab another pack of toilet paper from the store—no less than four-ply, of course—and you bear that burden like any good Division I student-athlete would. At the very least, you and your boys can bond over the fact that your delicious double steak burritos were all contaminated with bacteria. Just please, invite me the next time you guys go out for lunch.

And if you think that basketball players don’t care about that kind of stuff, look no further than the NBA’s Kendrick Perkins. Back when Perk was with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2014, a few of his teammates hung out on the town on an off day. Hasheem Thabeet posted about it on Instagram, and Perk took notice, crafting a terribly sad comment lamenting the fact that he had been left out. It happened again just four months later, and while Perk was able to laugh at himself the second time, it doesn’t make it any less sad.

Perk was a fully-grown professional athlete making millions of dollars, and he still got fed up when his friends did stuff without him. Imagine what that kind of emotional blow could do to a college student.

Revenge is a dish best served without E. coli (or norovirus, whatever that is) | Michael Sullivan, Sports Editor

First of all, what’s the biggest reason why the other players on BC men’s basketball would be upset? A little pride? Dignity? “Aww, wah, I’m so upset that my teammates all got Chipotle!”

Cry me a river, y’all. If you’re the lucky five out there, which I’m going to guess is Steve Perpiglia and four others—love you Steve, love to pick on you—you’ve got better things to do anyway.

You’re all Division-I athletes playing, and some of you starting, for an ACC men’s basketball school that’s ripe with, uh, tradition?—no, that’s not the right word. Well, the school has played a long time, okay. You get to travel to Krzyzewskiville, the Dean Dome, and the KFC Yum! Center. You wear white and black backpacks that we all secretly envy. There’s no reason for you guys to have any low self-esteem. I know, it sucks to be left out. But take a word from Steve Addazio and BE A DUDE. You’ve got so much going for you.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a little bit vindictive. After all, your boys just hung out without you while you probably stayed in and Netflix-and-Chilled-By-Yourself. It’s time for you to have the last laugh. You’ve still got the sanctity of your bowels. You don’t need to spend hours on the toilet. And now that all those fools are sick, you get the ~~privilege~~ of starting against Providence College this Wednesday at 7 p.m. No one on BC will get in your way when the Friars’ Kris Dunn barrels into you for the and-one dunk because they literally cannot get out of bed. This will be especially clutch for walk-ons Jordan Barros and Aser Ghebremichael, neither of whom looks to get much court time once conference play begins. Plus, they’re also very sick. T’s & P’s, fam. But at the same time, give them the old side-eye emoji while you’re at it.

And finally, let me state for the record that I am thoroughly glad this happened.

Not the fact that anyone has food poisoning, mind you, but the fact that the world will finally join me in my #WarAgainstChipotle. I’ve never been a fan. It’s too expensive. Chips aren’t free. I never thought the quality was great, and turns out I’ve been right this whole time. There’s not enough toppings. No banana peppers? What about queso? Not even Chipotle mayo?! The place is freakin’ called Chipotle!

So no, if I’m the other five players that were left out of BC men’s basketball’s Saturday night plans, I definitely don’t believe I missed out. In fact, I laugh in their faces.

They could have dined at a much classier Mexican joint—one that doesn’t have you soiling your basketball shorts as you simply try to scarf down the burrito you get with the poor investment you call your cost-of-attendance check. Let’s go down the line with the first four that come to mind:

Moe’s Southwest Grill: An instant classic and my personal favorite. Moe’s has everything you want in a Mexican chain. It’s at your convenience, some places deliver (like the one in my hometown), and boy, does it have options. Getting a creamy dollop of melted queso on top of your delicious, sultry mix of carnitas, guacamole, and probably more cheese is the perfect thing for any 14- to 22-year-old to eat, especially if you were like me in high school coming home on the train and scrambling for first dinner in Penn Station before getting second dinner from Mom at home.

Boloco: To be honest, I’ve never had Boloco. So I Googled, “Is Boloco good?” Now, I would like Boloco. Dartmouth’s Spoon University blog has an excellent chart that shows exactly why this Mexican chain is the best, because it’s all about the burrito, not the contents inside. I’d love to get me a smattering of that buffalo chicken burrito, maybe Teriyaki, or even Mediterranean. I don’t like to be confined to a menu to the social conformity of what is or isn’t a burrito. Neither should you, BC men’s basketball rejects.

El Pelon: Call me a proponent of small-market America, but I just love the mom-and-pop atmosphere of El Pelon. It’s a two-restaurant operation that arguably has the best Mexican food in all of Boston. The crema tops any sour cream you can find from Brooklyn to Brookline. Their meats are fresh and scrumptious. Prices remain reasonable to play to the BC crowd. Plus, it’s the closest option possible, AND they’ll deliver. There’s really nothing that can beat El Pelon.

Taco Bell: Hey, if you’re in a rush, why not? Don’t hate on them for the fact that they made Doritos into a taco shell or a brownish paste for beans. At least they don’t get caught with FREAKIN’ E. COLI. (At least in the last 10 years.)

Featured Image by Abby Paulson / Heights Graphic