Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Insider’s guide: Varsity athletics at Brandeis

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: Sports

I do a lot of things at Brandeis. I am involved with nearly twenty organizations, and I cherish my participation in all of them. Still, my favorite activity is being a Varsity Athlete on the Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field teams. This experience has been wonderful for me, as the support provided by the Athletics Department has ensured that I can enjoy every aspect of my involvement. In addition, the social incentives of being in the group, and the camaraderie of my teammates, have sustained me through the mid-season slumps and the other ups and downs that come with being an athlete. Finally, being a Varsity athlete has opened up an entire world of new experiences, has kept me in shape, and provides other benefits as well. Id like to record one persons experiences of Varsity participation at Brandeis, as one of so many students who can claim this title.

Being a Varsity athlete affords me significant support from the university. Not only do I have great coaches, but the staff of the Athletics Department is awesome. The administrative staff makes sure that I am being looked after, and is always available to field complaints and suggestions. My coaches are also excellent and generate the right aura for a Varsity team;

academics always come first, as they realize the real reason for attending college. They encourage me to take time off when Im injured and to explore other experiences while in college. Also, traveling to a variety of different universities, getting free gear, and other perks also exist for Varsity athletes. And although the Track locker room smells, and is a complete mess, punching in the combination on the keypad to get in makes me feel like Im in Mission: Impossible.

Being on a Varsity team is also a great social opportunity as well. A Varsity sports team is kind of like a fraternity, except I dont pay to be a member, I dont get spanked, and acceptance is centered on athletic ability rather than arbitrary traits. It provides a great social network that truly enhances the college experience. We practice together, we compete together, and the bond forged between teammates is strong indeed.

Also, practicing and completing workouts has numerous physical benefits. It ensures that I am at the gym at least ten hours a week and allows me to be in prime physical condition (Yeah right!).

Still, even though all the Varsity athletes work really hard, we dont get a lot of support from the Brandeis community at large. It is certain that the university administration and the Department of Athletics support us, but the institution at large really doesnt. Numerous people make fun of the teams and say that we arent good. Some even call our athletic conference the nerdy nine, and generally speak down upon the teams. This is absolutely horrible.

First of all, I would like to see some of those people toe the line in a hundred meter dash or run the field in soccer. Most of these critics cant even place out of the physical education exemption test. They dont understand that the athletes work extremely hard, have other commitments, and play in a pretty competitive conference. Also, certain campus publications propagate incorrect stereotypes by relating negative headlines about Brandeis sports events. Some of these titles are wretched. They might as well say Brandeis brutally violated by Bentley, or Brandeis trampled and massacred by Tufts. It doesnt help anyone to be negative, and the effort we put into the programs should be considered.

I am involved with a lot of activities with Brandeis. Still, my Varsity participation is an experience that I truly cherish. The university treats us pretty well and provides us invaluable services as we pursue our athletic dreams. In addition, the social, physical, and other benefits of being an athlete truly make participation worthwhile. Still, I am adamant that we can be treated better by the community at large, as I dont believe we get the respect we deserve. Being a Varsity athlete provides many benefits. These go well beyond merely placing out of the physical education requirement.