Varsity athletes deserve our support
What made you choose Washington University over other universities? Common answers include the availability of certain programs, how enticing the housing and food options are or maybe that it was the highest ranked school you got accepted into. Whatever your specific answer, the University’s sports won’t enter many peoples top five, 10 or 100 reasons. We can’t offer the surreal experience that comes with packing a stadium with 50,000 people to watch a football game or partially deafening ourselves during March Madness. We don’t get national coverage or have class with an 18-year-old who is definitely going to be a millionaire before they can legally buy a drink. Sports are an afterthought for many Division III schools like Wash. U., and it is understandable why: we have a mountain of academic work; we have our eight clubs to keep track of; we don’t know when or where the games are happening; none of our friends want to go; and we don’t know anyone on the team. I get it—I really do, but none of those reasons should keep you from supporting our fellow Wash. U. students while they compete.
The first and foremost reason to up your support of the Bears is simply how good they all are. The women’s basketball team just ended their season in the Sweet 16 with three seniors (Madeline Homoly, Becca Clark-Callender, Rachael Sondag) cementing their place in the record books as some of the best players in program. The women’s cross-country team won their second national title this year, while the track and field teams have routinely won conference titles and placed very well at nationals, with the women winning it all in 2017 for both indoor and outdoor events. Within the last month, the women’s track and field team finished second at indoor nationals while the men finished fifth, highlighted by sophomore Eka Jose winning the title for the triple jump. This week, the men’s swimming and diving had its best finish with fifth place at their national meet with the 400-medley relay team of junior Peyton Wilson, senior Kevin Van Cleave, senior Andrew Pek and junior Chase Van Patten winning a title while setting a school record. Those are just the first ones that come to mind, but there are many more students rewriting the Wash. U. record books every year.
Secondly, while their athletic achievements are good enough to stand on their own, their academic achievements make it that much more impressive. The athletes have to go through the same back-breaking work as all other Wash. U. students. Imagine waking up before dawn to work out, going to class, being involved in clubs or a job, planning your future, practicing for a few hours, then having to do homework after. This is a common day in the life of a Wash. U. athlete, and it is damn impressive. The amount of work they do is Herculean, and the least we can do is show up to games and support them.
I know school gets chaotic to the point where you forget what day it is or who you are, but we can help ourselves and others by being more invested in Wash. U. sports. These are our classmates, our friends; and they deserve more support from us as fellow students. There isn’t a person on campus who is too busy to attend a few games throughout the year. We need to show our support by showing up and letting the athletes know we see how hard they are working and telling them how proud of them we are.