Letter to Editor

By Michael Coleman

The recent opinion pieces about Macalester Athletics in the Mac Weekly have got me thinking about who I play for when I step out onto the tennis court. One of my first Macalester Men’s Tennis team captains, Brad Goldstein ’08, once said, “You can play for yourself, you can play for your team, or you can play for your country. I think you know where I stand.” At this point he would point to his hat which had a bald eagle in front of the American flag. Very inspirational and thought provoking, it made me think, who do I play for?Now that I am in the midst of my second collegiate tennis season and have gotten accustomed to playing at the collegiate level, I’m still left wondering why I am doing it. It most certainly is not for the glory because no one really comes to watch tennis matches. Of course I would love to have a group of people come watch the Men’s and Women’s tennis teams in the coming spring season when we are outside, but if Mac can’t get fans to come out and watch basketball or volleyball, what hope does tennis have? I could also be playing for myself, but really, there are plenty of other things I enjoy doing that take up less time. Non-athletes may not realize it, but student athletes spend a lot of time training and practicing on top of going to class, doing homework, and in some cases working a student employment job to help pay their way through Macalester. As my great captain said, I could play for my country, and I do, but not as a conscious thought. So that just leaves playing for my team right?

Well, yes, I do play for my team. I give it my all out on the tennis court for my team, as many non-athletes give it their all when they are working on projects in class groups or student orgs. But there is something more, something bigger that I play for. I play for Macalester College; because when I am out on that tennis court, I represent every single Macalester student, whether they want me representing them or not. I play tennis for Macalester because I want Macalester to be seen as more than just a fantastic liberal arts and progressive college. I want Mac to be seen as a college where students who care deeply about current issues and policies can compete not only intellectually but also physically and mentally out on the battlefields that are our respective arenas. I would also say that some of Mac’s athletes need a reminder as to who they represent on and off the court/field. Hold Mac’s athletes to a high standard because we represent all that is wonderful about Mac. There should be no “athletics vs. academics” at Macalester; it should be athletics plus academics. Finally, I would say that if I am out there battling for each and every Macalester student, specifically you, I think you need to believe or “invest” in me and every other student athlete who gives it their all for the Macalester blue and Orange. GO MAC!!!