Brunch honors athletic achievement

Many Yale student-athletes were the guests of University President Peter Salovey for brunch in an annual event to honor Yale’s varsity captains and Ivy League champions,

On Sunday, Salovey held a brunch in Commons with sports captains and the Ivy champion sailing and men’s lacrosse teams.

At the brunch, Salovey and Director of Athletics Tom Beckett spoke to the student-athletes and discussed the accomplishments of Yale athletes and enjoying the success of others.

“At the brunch I also talked about the principle of a more unified Yale — on which I have been elaborating throughout the year — and how athletics bring all of us together across the university,” Salovey said. “For example, I think many of us were following the progress of men’s basketball through the recent CIT tournament, all the way to the final. People around campus talk about our student-athletes’ achievements in sport, and this brings us together. There are many other activities that perform this service for our community, but sport is certainly one of them.”

Student-athletes at the brunch said they believe Salovey will have a positive influence on the future of Yale athletics.

2013 football team captain Beau Palin ’14 cited Salovey’s physical presence at many athletic events and the importance Salovey puts on relationships as reasons why many feel Salovey will benefit Yale student-athletes and athletic-university relations.

“He said he tries to go to at least one game for each of Yale’s varsity teams per year and [that] he and his wife are dedicated to that goal,” Palin said. “The bottom line with him is he really cares about the individuals and relationships he has with the student body. We really feel that as student-athletes.”

Salovey has touched on the concept of “basking in reflected glory,” or “BIRGing” as he calls it, before. As a social psychologist who has studied love, Salovey told the student-athletes that the highest form of love is when others are capable of enjoying another person’s success. He went on to discuss how BIRGing can help unite the university and make Yale a stronger community, citing the example of Kenny Agostino’s ’14 first NHL goal with the Calgary Flames.

Student-athletes at the brunch said Beckett discussed Ecology & Evoloutionary Biology professor Jeffrey Powell’s opinion piece in the News published Feb. 17 during his address.

In the piece, Powell discusses how Yale provides a platform for students to pursue their passion. Whether it is a student with a passion for music, a student with a passion for research or a student with a passion for their sport, Yale’s job is to facilitate that growth, according to Powell. Though some students and some members see student-athletes as different from students that have a connection with another pursuit, he wrote that he believes this is unjustified.

“Yale student-athletes definitely take great pride in the successes of their fellow classmates and friends on other teams,” Beckett said. “Students supporting students here at Yale is one of the truly impressive aspects of the Yale Community. The [John J. Lee Amphitheater] was packed during the men’s hockey team’s national championship run. Reese Stadium is packed with fans, friends and Yale students during the Yale Lacrosse season, and I can’t begin to estimate the number of Yale students who watched the men’s basketball team postseason quest for a championship in the CIT.”

Both prior to and at the conclusion of the brunch, Salovey and Beckett made time to speak with student-athletes individually to help develop personal relationships, they said.

“I always enjoy meeting with students, and I enjoyed talking to many student-athletes before, during and after the brunch,” Salovey said. “I am looking forward to attending as many games and matches as I can in the upcoming weeks before the end of our spring seasons.”

Previous University President Richard Levin held similar events for coaches and Ivy champions, although they previously were separate and held at the president’s house at 43 Hillhouse St.

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