For a young child, Christmas morning elicits one of the greatest joys of the year. This exuberance, the product of months of anticipation and excitement, is shared by varsity athletes from colleges across the country with every season opener.
The day I began to question my commitment to varsity athletics was the day I no longer felt like a kid on Christmas morning.
As a member of Yale’s varsity softball team for two years and a participant in the sport for 12 years previously, it took a long time to notice the effects of this missing emotion. It’s a general rule of thumb in higher-level athletics that practice is not always fun. But it’s also understood that when the games are no longer enjoyable, it might be time to do something else. I took this feeling to heart and recently decided to end my softball career at Yale for the time being.
When I made this decision, which took almost a year and several pro-con lists (it’s the Yalie in me), I never imagined sharing it with the entire Yale community by choice. In fact, I have extended family who still aren’t unaware of my “normie” status. If my close friends had asked me at the end of the summer when my column for the News would come out, I might have questioned their sanity. To be honest, I’m still a little unsure of this move myself. My decision was one of the most difficult and personal I have made to date. And yet, I feel the need to use it to introduce myself to future readers of this column.
I love sports. I will never stop loving sports. Even though I am no longer a member of a Yale varsity sports team, I will continue to identify myself as an athlete. More importantly, I will continue to support every sport this school has to offer. It is my firm belief that athletic activities are an integral part of this institution, and as such, they deserve the same praise as all other endeavors. Personally, I know that even one more student in attendance at a softball game makes all the difference.
As an avid Yale sports fan and amateur crossword-attempter, I pick up a copy of the News every day. Unfortunately, and this is of no fault of the News itself, there seems to be a little something lacking in the sports commentary columns. There are two general themes we often see in the side portion of the back cover. Theme 1: Today’s reason why Jack Siedlecki should get fired. Theme 2: Why (insert writer’s favorite team) should win (insert appropriate sporting event). The credit for this observation goes to someone much wiser than I who will rename nameless. I do not mean to say that the News is lacking in talented staff. These columns are always well-written and usually very humorous. My purpose in pointing out this fact is to show what’s missing: Yale!
I plan on devoting this column to Yale teams and Yale athletes. It has always been a secret dream of mine to write for the News, and I can think of no better way to integrate my lasting passion for Yale sports in the midst of my current varsity hiatus. My hope is that News readers and sports fans alike will benefit from an ex-varsity athlete’s perspective on the dramatic and exciting experience that is the world of Yale Athletics. As this is my first attempt at journalistic reporting, I hope to do the News and its sports staff justice, while giving a more in-depth and complex picture of the Yale athlete’s life and love to the outside world.
Although this new chapter of my life leaves me without the safety blanket of my long-standing sport and smack in the middle of a new journalist’s world, I have one major consolation. Anyone heard of club sports? Say hello to the newest member of the Yale women’s club volleyball team. You should have known I couldn’t stay away from sports for long. Go Bulldogs!
Tracy Timm is a junior in Pierson College.