Kilt Krew: We're Mac, too

By Kilt Krew

As an organization supporting our athletes, we, Kilt Krew, would like to address an issue on our campus that has affected over half of our student body. It is completely unfair to claim that athletes clash with the Macalester community, when in all actuality a large division exists between each social group on our campus. The blame for this division cannot be placed upon a single group, but rather must be acknowledged as a campus-wide problem. Over the years, athletes have succumbed to a stereotype of being unmotivated students and “mainstream.” However, many athletes came to Macalester not only to play sports at a collegiate level, but also to be a student-athlete at an institution where the student comes first. The student-athletes at Macalester have proven this idea to be true. This past year, Macalester had four varsity athletic teams with the highest collective GPA of any NCAA Division III team in their respective sport – they include women’s soccer, softball, women’s water polo and men’s cross-country. In addition, there were seven Macalester varsity athletic teams that earned national team academic honors last year – men’s track and field, women’s track and field, women’s cross-country, men’s swimming and diving, women’s swimming and diving, men’s soccer and volleyball. The athletes on campus work diligently on and off the court or field to be the best student-athlete possible. Macalester athletes are here for the same “round tables” and diversity as the rest of the student body. Diversity is not only defined by where we as students are from, but the ideas and personalities we possess as people. If Macalester truly prides itself on diversity, shouldn’t that include the athletes?

Let’s be honest, the student athletes are mostly secluded from the rest of campus, but it is not necessarily by choice. As evidenced by the most recent article, athletes are not welcomed with open arms by the rest of campus, but are compared to brutish Gaston. We are not saying that athletes are only friends with other athletes. Many of the athletes have friends in a variety of disciplines throughout campus, including the cultural and academic fields. Our students have diverse interests embodying Macalester’s vision.

However, in an attempt to explain why athletes are somewhat secluded from campus, let us ask you this: When you first came to Macalester, with whom did you bond first? More often than not, the first people you meet in a new place share something in common with you and you gravitate towards these people. The athletes that come to campus before school starts for camps or that meet their teams on the first day tend to have stronger bonds with each other, creating the “cliques.” The same concept applies to students arriving early for various other reasons. The bond also deepens within the athlete groups because not only do athletes share a sport in common, but also athletes spend a significant amount together for practice, games and tournaments. Athletes commiserate together about missing classes and trying to make up their work. This bond over a common interest should not be condemned, but understood as a reason for the athletic seclusion. Cliques also form outside the realm of athletics, and athletes should not take the sole blame for the cliques here at Macalester.

Instead of chastising one another for the cliques formed during our early years at Macalester, let’s embrace one another for our differences. Each person came to Macalester for different reasons. Some came here to broaden their horizons and see something new, while others wanted to experience a diverse campus life, and many came to partake in athletic events. To classify all athletes in any one group is na’ve. Macalester likes to eliminate stereotypes, not perpetuate them. Let’s come together as a school, support everyone, and celebrate the differences that brought us to Macalester. Each individual offers their own personality and perspective on life, including all athletes and non-athletes. Diversity is about being different, not the same.