Aidan quotes approvingly from a Record article by Grant Eskelsen ’05.

Shame on you. If you never made it down to Cole Field, never made it to Weston Field, have never watched your classmates in action, then you’re missing out. But you’re not just hurting yourself, you’re hurting the athletes and you’re hurting the college community.

How does the fact that I never went to Cole Field hurt anybody? Eskelsen seems to suffer from the common (jock?) delusion that the rest of us have some sort of affirmative obligation to cheer on our happy warriors on the playing field. There is no obligation.

I — and, presumably, all the others that fail to make the treck to Cole with the regularity that Eskelsen demands — have nothing but good wishes for Eph teams on Cole field and elsewhere. We hope that they play well, do well, enjoy their time on the field and learn from it. We realize that those athletes might like to be cheered on. (I certainly would have liked to have had more than a handfill of close friends cheer me on during squash matches at Williams.) But we hope that they are not so self-centered as to believe that we don’t have other things to do to.

The other problem stems from the attitude of many of these critics. They make no effort to understand that the things the people I admire do on Saturdays are not for themselves. They are for their friends, their school, even those members of the community who don’t support them. The games are the most important and most memorable events of their college careers. To fail to recognize that importance, and to consequently avoid experiencing it, is plain wrong.

“Most important and most memorable”? For all of them? Every member of the women’s field hockey team would describe her games as the central part of her Williams experience? Even those who don’t start? Even those who rarely play?

I doubt it.

As always, I stand second-to-none in my support of athletics at Williams. My coach, Sean Sloan, had as important an influence on me as almost any professor at Williams. I learned as much about life-its-own-self playing squash as I did in any classroom. But most important and most memorable? Hardly.

Of course, your mileage may vary. There are many athletes at Williams who, coming back for their 15th reunion, would agree with Eskelsen. But, I suspect, just as many would disagree. Athletics are important, even as important as the academic and social side of life at Williams. If athletics are ever more important than anything else at Williams for a majority of Williams athletes, then there might just be a problem.

I think that it is great that Ephs play on Cole Field. I think that it is marvelous that Ephs like Eskelsen want to cheer them on. However, I like to think that they should respect my choice to spend my time elsewhere.

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