On Yale’s mission

My initial instinct after reading Cole Aronson’s ’18 (“Admissions and athletics,” Feb. 27, 2017) column was to write a passionate defense of Yale student-athletes. But this would be pointless: Anyone who doesn’t see the value student-athletes bring to our community is too blinded by their prejudices and ego to actually listen to what I have to say.

Instead, I would like to address the lazy, ill-informed and downright condescending argument made by Aronson in the opening lines of his column, in which he claims sports have nothing to do with the mission of this College.

As one of my teammates pointed out, “The mission of Yale College is to seek exceptionally promising students of all backgrounds from across the nation and around the world, to educate them through mental discipline and social experience and to develop their intellectual, moral, civic and creative capacities to the fullest. The aim of this education is the cultivation of citizens with a rich awareness of our heritage to lead and serve in every sphere of human activity.”

Does Yale Athletics seek exceptional students from around the world and from all different backgrounds? Yup. We have football players from Chicago, a golfer from Hong Kong, two pairs of sisters from Massachusetts on the field hockey team, rowers from Australia and Thailand, volleyball players from California and an Olympic ice hockey player from Switzerland.

Are athletes educated through mental discipline? Again, yes. Like all Yale students, student-athletes need 36 credits to graduate, which means we attend class, write senior theses and complete problem sets like everyone else.

As for social experiences? Nothing beats sports. You don’t get to pick your teammates, you don’t get to decide who your coach is and you can’t quit whenever you feel like it, yet you are pushed to be your best regardless of the circumstances. Through sports, athletes learn emotional intelligence and communication skills.

To top it off, Yale Athletics has cultivated great leaders in a variety of spheres: President George H.W. Bush ’48, Lawrie Mifflin ’73, Jack Ford ’72 and Jon Reese ’90, just to name a few.

So to anyone else who agrees with Cole, I urge you to actually read Yale’s mission statement before claiming that sports have nothing to do with this college’s mission.

Emily Reinwald ’17

Emily Reinwald ’17 was formerly a member of the varsity field hockey team.