Editor’s Column: The Importance of Athletes



Jaime Heilbron

From the moment we are kids to when we become college students, the word “sports” is synonymous with one thing: winning. That may be an effect of the emphasis the me­dia constantly puts on professional sports and which teams are on top and which are on the bottom. It may be fine to concentrate solely on victories and defeats once you are at that level. But when dealing with lower levels there are other, less tangible things that are equally as, or more important than, winning.

The life of a student athlete in college is as difficult as that of professionals. For one, they do not get paid for what they do. At the same time, they have to juggle the rigorous life of being a student at a prestigious and challenging university such as Colgate, while being expected to perform at outstanding levels on the playing field, court or rink. For that reason alone, all of their accomplishments are already remarkable.

Colgate has the best of both worlds. It is a small school of under 3,000 students, which is able to field several competitive athletic teams at the Division I level. Those student athletes deserve the support of their fellow students.

It would be one thing if this was a school like Ohio State, where the student body is over 55,000 students and student athletes are treated like superstars who are unreachable to others. In a school such as ours, students get to know student athletes very well in the classroom and in other extracurricular activities.

A topic that comes up often when discussing the athletic program is that of attendance. For the past several years, attendance at sporting events has been down, especially when compared to what it used to be in the 1990s.

Everybody wants to, and will, go see a winner. However, when it comes to athletics at a school such as this one, it is great to win, but that is not what it is all about. Student athletes at Colgate are prepared to be more than the best they can be; they are also working on becoming future leaders in their field or career of choice.

These men and women deserve the support of the entire student body. Win or lose, the effort, pride and love for what our university represents is always there in every goal, every tackle and every check. These young men and women are the face of Colgate University in the national spotlight and they represent Raider Nation better than most, if not all, others.

While there may have been bad moments throughout the past few years, there have also been occasions in which the taste of victory has been over the top.

Some moments that come to mind include the men’s lacrosse team’s Patriot League Championship game and ensuing victory over eventual national champion Syracuse in the spring of 2008, and the football and soccer teams both clinching Patriot League Championships against Holy Cross in back to back weeks in the snow.

The most recent victory came a few weekends ago when the men’s hockey team traveled to Schenectady, New York to take on top-seeded and fourth-ranked Union College in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals and managed to pull off an upset to become the lowest seed to ever advance to the semi-finals of a conference tournament.

This upcoming weekend the Colgate men’s lacrosse team will be hosting its biggest game of the year yet against the defending Patriot League Champions, No. 9/8 Army. It is time for spring and the third annual Springcoming. It is also time for Colgate stu­dent athletes to start receiving the support they deserve from both students and the Colgate community.