How we treat our athletes: firing back

By Anne Waggener

An opinion piece in last week’s edition of the Mac Weekly [“Macalester’s Achilles’ Heel: How we treat our athletes,” 2/20/2009], chastised the Macalester student body for the lack of “respect and support” afforded to sports teams. The fatal flaw of this argument, unfortunately, is assuming that a majority of the student body is even willing to be invested in Macalester athletics.Big-budget athletic teams have clashed with the rest of the Macalester student body time and time again, and it has nothing to do with the win/loss ratio. The fact is that these teams often exhibit the stereotypical behavior inconducive to peaceful coexistence on campus, and in such an unstable economic climate, the amount of money that Macalester invests in these teams has only increased hostilities.

For me, most Macalester College athletes don’t bring to mind Elijah-Wood-turned-flightless-bird so much as Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (“No one plots like Gaston/ Takes cheap shots like Gaston/Plans to persecute harmless crackpots like Gaston”). But with the rest of the student body following in Belle’s footsteps, sports players seem to feel persecuted. A combination of too much testosterone and too much alcohol recently birthed a very un-Macalester chant at a soccer party-“We f— bitches! We f— bitches!”

Obviously not all sports teams on campus behave this way, and it would be na’ve for someone to assume that this is categorical of all members on even an offending sports team, but this example does illustrate the type of atmosphere bred by the exclusive “cliques” that make up some varsity sports.

Books, internationalism, round tables, and diversity talks are the things that drew most students to Macalester. Don’t blame the student body for lost games: whining is wasted on those fed up with the concept in the first place. If you’re looking for AstroTurf-tinged limelight, you won’t find it here.