To the Editor:
Words upon words have been spilled in the editorial lately over the issue of Oberlin's less than spectacular football team and the need to cut a perceived dead branch from the healthy tree of our lovely institution. The claim is that money is wasted on a team that never wins and is a shame to our school in general. Arguments have already been given about how important winning is, and the purpose of the football team here at Oberlin (i.e. the brotherly-team argument). Well, what I suggest is that we all think back a second to high school.
Yes, high school, that dreaded place we all came from, where football was king and he who didn't play, was seen as some form of lesser being in the great all knowing aristocracy of high school. I remember at my school how strong the arguments for a football team were. It brings in loads of cash, it develops the divine school spirit, it is the unstated purpose of most high schools. I also remember the shame and scorn heaped upon those who chose other activities like band, choir, and orchestra-.or worse yet - school plays, forensics, and debate. I remember having to justify the need to build a new stage when my school was renovated, a project the community and student body saw as mostly frivolous and unnecessary. It represented a large chunk of money which many argued should go to more functional educational tools (presumably books, science equipment, and football uniforms). My school got its auditorium, I'm proud to say, but it was not well liked. I felt shamed and saddened that many in my community saw the arts in such a way, and were willing to use the tool of majority rule to squelch them, while leaving football untouched.
But, then I came to Oberlin, where the arts and diversity are appreciated by all who come here, and I would not have to fear a program I dearly loved being killed by those ignorant of what it gave me and those who enjoyed it. And, hell, as long as I'm in the majority (not playing or enjoying football at all), why not get back at the institution that robbed so much of our meager drama club budget back then.
I'm sorry, but I can't do it.
I see the scorn many football players receive here, I hear them forced to justify their enjoyment of the sport while others go unquestioned about their own reasons for participating in other Oberlin programs. I remember when the shoe was on the other foot, and I will not do to others as has been done to me. Doing such would be petty and irresponsible, and I am not willing to resort to stealing something from others as they would have stolen from me.
And for all those worried about the terrible reputation Oberlin is acquiring while our losing football team is mocked and ridiculed in the mainstream media, I have one question for you. When the hell did Oberlin ever give a fuck about what the mainstream media says and thinks? You may note that we are also mentioned as that heathen school that thinks lesbians and gays are people too, and should be accepted for who they are. And if either of these statements make Oberlin lose any prestige in your eyes, then I suggest you transfer to Ohio State or Notre Dame so you can hold your head up in pride about your school's outstanding football team and not worry about what the media says.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 8; November 8, 1996
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