When I grab a copy of the News every day at lunch, I instinctively flip over the first page to the second. Maybe it’s because I, myself, am a columnist. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of my opinionated personality, but I read newspapers — and ours is no exception — for the columns.
There are a few things to note: One, if you only read our columns, you would think every student despised Yale; two, sports at Yale or our athletes are rarely, if ever, mentioned; and three, if athletics are mentioned, you can surely bet it’s in a negative light.
To the first point, the News is not unique. I, for one, fall prey to this tendency all the time. I have been known to randomly ask friends, family or completely random people “so, anything in sports bothering you these days?” Columns, eo ipso, are arguments — most frequently arguments against something. It’s rare that we want to write an op-ed to proclaim how much we like one thing or another. The goal is almost never praise, but change. As such, columns highlight something negative, something an author would like to see change.
But, according to a recent survey by the News, almost 70 percent of Elis are happy. So maybe the opinion section is not a clear indication of how we really feel.
As to the latter two points, however, our opinion section might be representative — and frankly, unfair. I am not sure that Yalies love our athletes like other schools love their athletes.
So, in this column, let me change my own ways and do something our columnists don’t do. Allow me around 500 more words of praise. Or maybe more accurately, allow me these words to thank our athletes.
As summer approaches and spring draws to a close, many of our athletes will end their careers. For most, if not all, of their lives, they have donned their team’s colors on a nightly basis — and for the last four, they have done so in our Bulldog blue. Our seniors deserve a royal sendoff. But this column is about all of our athletes.
Thank you to our hockey team for being the sole reason a history major such as myself ever walks past WLH, and for packing the Whale, and my weekends, with memory after memory. And thank you for not only putting up with, but encouraging the members of my fraternity to attend your games in Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars and Disney-themed costumes.
So thank you. Thank you to the rowers, who participate in two-a-days. Every. Single. Day.
Thank you to our football players who lift hundreds of pounds of weights at ungodly hours, and follow Tom Newman’s hysterically unbelievable dietary program. Thank you for providing us with the single best day of every year: Yale-Harvard. And oh yeah, thanks for giving us the opportunity to storm the Crimson’s own field last year, and absolutely romping them on our home turf this time around.
Thank you to the volleyball team for celebrating every point like it’s our last, and making your games electric as a result. Thank you to the softball and baseball teams that give up half the weekends of the year, traveling across the country, playing 40 games a season.
Thank you to Yale basketball for defying the odds and doubters and besting Baylor on national TV.
Thank you to those of you who play in the fall, and give up Yale-Harvard; and thank you to those of you who play in the spring and give up Spring Fling and for you psychos who run cross-country and track, thanks for giving up both. Thank you for sacrificing not being able to take most afternoon classes, and sucking it up to take the bloodbath 8 p.m. Wednesday sections. Thank you for sacrificing the many opportunities this school offers you, but you don’t have time to take up. Thank you for dedicating thousands of hours to a single craft.
So many of my memories are born from moments tailgating for, cheering on and celebrating with our athletes. I know my future memories of Yale will be suffused with our sports. And for that, I thank you, athletes.
We NARPs — non-athletic regular people — should appreciate you more. The grind to which you commit yourselves — to practice every day and lift when you don’t, to taking buses to our fields or to the closest river, to accepting the physical beating that running mile after mile takes on your body — and still perform academically without a single caveat or exception should be more appreciated. You deserve more recognition.
Thank you all for providing another reason for my pride in attending Yale. Jeez, I almost forgot, thanks for presenting me with the forum in which the News was foolish enough to let me write!
Kevin Bendesky | email@example.com