An Unusual Beginning
The 2007-2008 athletic year is finally underway, and it is great to be back. Two weeks into the fall season, and there have already been a fair share of ups and downs, but most importantly there is a confident sense of optimism and expectation that has replaced the old “Oberlin mindset.” With a plethora of talented first-year players, several new coaches, a nifty new football scoreboard and a brand new soccer field, Oberlin Athletics is really starting to take shape.
Initially, I was having trouble thinking of what to write about for the first editorial of the year. I did not want to be too cliché and discuss how every team is “positive about the future” and how the “season looks bright,” but I wanted to keep it Oberlin-related.
While I considered talking about this season’s potential, a different idea was unexpectedly handed to me on a silver platter. I had an opportunity to not only clear up a slight misunderstanding regarding an old editorial from last spring, but to explain “Sports Talk” a little more.
Two weeks ago, a member of the athletics department shared with me her disappointment concerning my opinions on the makeshift weight room that was moved to the racquetball courts after the 2006 Thanksgiving sauna fire in Philips Gymnasium.
She asked with a hint of sarcasm if I could try writing something nice about Oberlin Athletics for a change. Taken aback by this surprising, albeit long-overdue accusation, I was momentarily speechless. Does she honestly believe that I enjoy bashing the school? Does she think I sit all day in my luxurious quad in North, thinking up ways of how I could verbally abuse the college and its sports program, one that I have come to love and proudly represent?
Lulu and I know our column has a limited readership, so why push readers farther away by annoying them with useless blabbering? Your time eating at Stevie or sitting in Mudd reading the paper is precious to us, so we want to attract people with constructive, meaningful opinions.
I tried to explain to her my frustration with the department’s failure to keep the athletes, let alone the Oberlin community, informed of how long the weight room would be closed and why it appeared there had been minimal repairs to it.
I know criticism will be part and parcel of writing a school-wide editorial. I happily accept and welcome it. That is not what bothers me; rather, it was her too-quick dismissal of my opinion.
My qualm with the situation was not that students and athletes had to scrunch themselves into weight rooms the size of Dascomb dorm rooms or use weights and machines that are older than I am, but that it was disheartening to continuously arrive at this disheveled place and have no idea what was going on with the old room. Questions like “How long has it been since the fire?” and “When will the old weight room be up and running?” were more common than teenage acne.
I was frustrated out of pride. I watched coaches bringing prospective athletes to the gym, showing them our “facilities.” I wondered how impressed they were. Part of me also just wanted to get a new weight room because that would be the perfect addition to the athletic program.
But luckily, that built-up tension is all in the past. Oberlin finally reopened the old weight room and much to my surprise, fixed it up a little. For those who have not checked it out yet, it is more spacious and it even has new 20-pound dumbbell weights! No, but seriously, it looks a lot better.
While a new weight room will always be a desire of mine, I have finally made my peace with that situation. It is all in the past.
This editorial is not a pledge saying I will not bring up argumentative points concerning athletics in the future, but that my opinions have an ultimate goal: to provide insight from an athlete who also wants to improve athletics at this school.
But for now, it is a new year, and after stepping onto the two million dollar stadium and putting on the new, sharp, white jerseys, I have nothing else to say for now.
Here is to a good athletic year.