An insult to athletes

Cole Aronson’s column (“Admissions and Athletics,” Feb. 27, 2017) is not only insulting to thousands of Yale students and alumni but also poorly reasoned and absurd.

Three of my college roommates were varsity athletes. Today, all three hold graduate degrees from prestigious universities, and they are accomplished professionals working in law, business and medicine. One of them was the MVP of the women’s lacrosse team. She is currently a surgical resident. These women have not only the “grit” and “hardiness” to which Mr. Aronson condescendingly refers but also tremendous intellect and poise. I am proud of their accomplishments and grateful that they enriched my life at Yale and in the seven years since.

Athletics were an integral part of my college experience, even though I could barely earn a spot on a varsity team in high school. As a staff writer for the News, I interviewed dozens of student-athletes and coaches (for the record, their grammar was excellent). I cheered for my roommates and friends as they battled it out on the track, soccer and lacrosse fields. I painted a “Y” on my face for Harvard-Yale and yelled myself hoarse. But I also benefited from the presence of Yale athletes as ordinary students. We studied for exams, discussed history and literature, and did the crossword puzzle together. The only difference between varsity athletes and the rest of us was that on top of classes, they spent countless hours practicing with their teammates while I lay in my bed watching the West Wing on Netflix.

Mr. Aronson’s blindness to the talent and intellect of Yale athletes is unfortunate. I can only imagine whom he would deem intellectually worthy of attending Yale if he were in charge of the admissions process. And I have a strong suspicion that I would have had no interest in attending such a school. I do agree with him on one point: Yale does produce a tremendous number of talented doctors, lawyers, writers, scientists and engineers. Many of them were also varsity athletes.

Danielle Kehl ‘10