Columns

Susannah Kroeber ’11: Why the athletics department is bad for Brown

By
Opinions Columnist

I used to be a believer in the project of “sports.” Sports bring people together, allowing people to see others as equals on the field, regardless of all the other markers that differentiate us in everyday life. In high school, sports were how I felt I could earn the respect of my classmates, how I found a place among my peers and how I learned how to fit in.

But high level sports teams in the way that they currently operate do not have a place at Brown. The Department of Athletics should be cut, or at the very least be forced to undergo massive reform, if it wants to see continued funding. Sports teams at Brown currently encourage all of the attitudes that the University stands against (or should stand against):

On a team, you lose your individuality. The more you stand out as different, and the less you cohere to the group, the less you are worth and the more you are stigmatized.

On a team, many people acting as a mechanical unit is appreciated far above diversity.

On a team, methods of dictatorship are appreciated far above those of democracy.

On a team, anyone who fails to obey the strictest of rules is punished.

On a team, anyone who doesn’t play for your team is an enemy.

If you learn nothing else from Brown, you should learn that plurality is something to be embraced. Elite athletics teach exactly the opposite. Divergence from the coach’s plan is abhorrent. “Alternate lifestyles” are all but denounced. In attitude and zeitgeist, sports teach disrespect on the basis of arbitrary difference.

Watch a football game, a field hockey game or a soccer match. Before the game you see the two sides gear up for “battle,” ready to “fight” with their teammates for their schools, ready to “beat” the other side into the ground. Pregame rituals are all about domination; coaches and captains may even talk about brutalizing or killing the other team.

Take a second to think about that terminology. It is all centered on warfare, from its metaphors to its goal of absolute victory over a perhaps somewhat unknown opponent. Isn’t this something our administration stands against in its refusal to allow ROTC on campus? We might talk about the differences between Brown and Harvard, Yale or the University of Pennsylvania, but are those differences really ones that merit the metaphor of war?

Talk to the varsity athletes who have left their teams for any reason. Some might tell you they were scared to leave because of what their teammates might say, or what their coaches might do. Some might tell you that they felt like they were “deserting” — or at least, that is how their teammates viewed their departure. Teams are as tight as units in the military, and they are just as narrow-minded.

Plenty of student-athletes at Brown have legitimate reasons for leaving their teams. Maybe it was a bigger commitment than they had expected, or as they approached senior year, job hunting and thesis writing took up too much time. They should be allowed to leave an activity without losing the respect of their teammates.

Here’s a little secret: Sports, especially at Brown, are not that big of a deal, nor are they anything to sacrifice a friendship over.

One comment I know I will receive is that left-behind teammates can feel abandoned, especially if a star athlete leaves and thereby diminishes the team’s chances of winning. Most view that decision as selfish. What is horrific is the pressure exerted by coaches to keep their athletes playing, no matter the academic sacrifices, because the coach and the athletics department want winning teams.

What is equally abhorrent is the lavish spending the athletics department dotes on teams, coaches and players alike. At a university facing budget cuts, I can only be grateful that athletics haven’t seen an increase in funding (though students, athletes or not, have seen an increase in tuition thanks to the new athletics fee). It is absurd that some teams spend $40 per student each day that they are on the road for food alone. As a student off meal plan, I can tell you that it is easy enough to live on that for days.

The American model is not the only one for student involvement in athletics. In Australia, universities do not have institutionalized athletic departments. Rather, extensive and accessible sports clubs exist for potential athletes of all skill levels. Isn’t this a more efficient and less divisive — and, perhaps, more egalitarian — way to provide high-level athletic opportunities?

Brown has its priorities in the wrong place when it comes to sports. No other extracurricular at Brown absorbs as much money as athletics does, and no other extracurricular is allowed to be as dictatorial and disparaging of all kinds of diversity. The department’s budget could easily be allocated to academic programs desperately in need of funds. Sports, with all their potential social benefits, belong at Brown — but not within the current context of the Department of Athletics.

Susannah Kroeber ’11 is a proud former Brown athlete who wants a lost Econ junior to pick up the thesis topic of long-term punitive remuneration versus short-term athletic participation in Ivy League schools.

  • gianc

    Leave it to a stupid Brown Univ. hipster to ever produce such a dumb strand of logic. Do you realize that the ability to work within a small group is the reason human’s evolved? You are no better than the creationists whom you probably criticize due to your paradoxically intolerant “tolerance.” You are a chauvinist in the utmost sense of the word (i.e., you are akin to Chauvin ).

  • gianc

    Leave it to a stupid Brown Univ. hipster to ever produce such a dumb strand of logic. Do you realize that the ability to work within a small group is the reason human’s evolved? You are no better than the creationists whom you probably criticize due to your paradoxically intolerant “tolerance.” You are a chauvinist in the utmost sense of the word (i.e., you are akin to Chauvin ).

  • Dagny

    Ms. Kroeber,

    As with you and sports, I used to be a believer in the project of “journalism,” but no longer. Allow me, if I may, to attempt some sort of translation of the emotionally hyperbolic ranting you are passing off as a column.

    You do not like that sports teams emphasize cohesion. It is ludicrous to claim that “on a team, you lose your individuality.” You do not lose your individuality; you cede parts of your decision making to a codified structure with a form that you chose. Here, as throughout your writing, you seem to find personality and the ability to follow directions mutually exclusive. Athletes aren’t suddenly Orwellian automatons simply because you don’t like that sports – and sports teams – have rules. If you’re worried about individuality, go pick on the Rockettes.

    You do not like that sports teams emphasize what you so derisively call “acting as a mechanical unit.” Again with the automatons! Since when is being a part of a unit incompatible with diversity – and since when is it considered acceptable, let alone good, writing to make sweeping generalizations with no data to back them up?

    I realize that this is your prerogative as an “opinions” columnist. Please accept that it is my prerogative as a reader to disregard what you write when it is presented without a shred of evidence or journalistic integrity. I don’t know what kind of diversity you seek – racial, socioeconomic, academic – but I feel certain that it can be found on Brown sports teams and college and professional teams throughout the nation. Unless, as I suspect, you mean a diversity of talent, which I believe has no place in high-level athletics. For that, we have intramural and club teams, which you may be surprised to find outside of Australia.

    I could go on about your nonsensical objection to discipline in sports, for being punished for breaking stated rules (regardless of your perception of their strictness). I could discuss the offensive comparison you made between sports teams and the ROTC, and Brown supposedly banning the latter because of some inherent anti-war sentiment you take for granted. I could talk about your similarly offensive comparisons of sports teams to dictatorships, and the gross misunderstanding of political systems you managed to show off in a column that purports to be about athletics. I could argue that your article lacks focus, as you rail against everything from the composition of sports teams to their funding to their effect on friendship.

    However, I’ll exercise restraint and simply say that your article is histrionic drivel. You make illogical and incompatible arguments based on conjecture and misplaced emotion and expect the reader to react with something other than confusion and scorn. Most of all, you call the reader to action, but not the action you intended. Rather than calling for an end to athletic funding, I am left with a strong desire to locate and reprimand the person who first convinced you that high-level sports were an egalitarian democracy where the end-goal is not victory or the pursuit of athletic excellence, but rather to make every player feel special.

    I wish Brown’s athletic teams the very best this season. May they fight, and may they emerge from battle victorious.

  • snoopy

    You complain about a $40 dollar increase per student for the Athletic Department. Contrary to your sources, that money is not going towards the $40 meals you think the student-athletes eat on away trips. It is going toward the upkeep of the various facilities around campus. It is not only for the OMAC, but also the weight rooms in Emery, Keene, and Gradcenter. Moreover, the majority of the funding that pay for Varsity teams on away trips does not come from the school. It comes from those teams’ alumni who so selflessly donate. You’re financial arguments are just plain wrong.

    And wait, theres more. Weren’t you the girl who wrote about how Brown should increase their tuition by two-fold? You want the school to raise tuition to $100,000 because those who will be affected by the increase can pay for it. First, ludicrous. Second, what is wrong with a $40 increase to give you the opportunity to maintain your physical health when you are asking for a $50,000 increase in tuition. And you ask for the tuition increase in order to build a shiny new humanities building for you? Hardly the selfless statement, don’t you think?

  • varsityathletes

    your editor should be embarrassed to ever let this run. Just because you weren’t good at rugby doesnt mean that athletics are inherently evil. who cares if athletes are expected to follow their coach’s rules? I’m pretty sure that we must all follow rules set out by professors and bosses. Clearly, you neither have played or interacted with a single varsity athlete. Per diem is NOT $40. Additionally, more than 1/2 of many teams funding come from alumni, not the school. My team loves me and would support me if i quit, sorry for having real friends. Now, to address your claim that coaches or members of the athletic department put athletics before academics– just get informed before you bash these people who tirelessly support student-athletes at Brown. We are taught that academics come before athletics, and I have known athletes who were banned from practice until they improved their academic performance. Bob Kennealy and Brown’s various coaches support our student-athletes’ academic endeavors. Please be a little more considerate and thorough in your research next time you bash the 15% of Brown’s student population who dedicate countless hours of their time to something that they believe in. Here’s a little secret: sports, especially at Brown, are a big deal, and are one of the greatest sources of friendship and camaraderie available.

  • bahaha

    Please use logical reasoning, combined with facts, to formulate an opinion. Then, write about the opinion. Adhering to this plan should prevent you from wasting your time, the time of the readers, and quality paper and ink. This is an utterly wretched piece of journalism.

  • WLove

    Susannah –

    Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking for years. Screw these guys. You’re a fucking champion for speaking the truth. We need to look to schools like UChicago who have eliminated varsity sports and put their emphasis on academics.

    And, mind you, first poster (‘varsityathletes’), not all Varsity coaches put such a weight on academics. When I left my varsity sport, my coach told me that all of my teammates would abandon me as friends, and that this would start a lifelong pattern of quitting. She didn’t give a damn if my academics were suffering. She didn’t even care how I was emotionally. So don’t you dare speak for all varsity coaches and athletes, you goddamn meathead.

  • KN

    Do not futilely try to ruin something that is good for everyone else in it, a substantial part of the student body, just because you had an isolated (non-specified but painfully obvious) problem. Take it up with your own former team, or better yet, just get over it. This is merely an embarrassing cry for attention; whatever your grievances are, they do not apply to the rest of us varsity athletes.

  • littlebear

    All of these comments are great and I totally agree…

    First of all, being “different” is not at all looked down upon. My team has a thespian, a gay athlete, a journalist, and so many other different kinds of girls. We are all equally accepted and we all love each other… our diversity is looked at as a strength rather than a weakness. My coach also embraces this diversity, and no form of discrimination or even remote marginalization would be tolerated by any of the coaches or players. My team is not alone in this regard.
    Second… sure, we have to listen to our captains and our coaches, but I’m pretty sure that in the real world, you’ll have so listen to a boss. They will tell you what to do and you will have to do it. Good luck finding a job where you get to do what you want all the time. Additionally, working in groups is a huge part of the job market… teamwork and team-building skills are a very desirable quality. Yes, sports have rules, but this is not unlike any other part of life.
    Third, I have never had an away trip where I received $40 a day for food. Once, we received $6 for breakfast AND lunch. Our athletic department is severely underfunded. We have old equipment, facilities, and fields.
    Fourth, not only are athletic teams mainly funded by alumni and other independent donors, but athlete alumni are FAR more likely to donate to Brown in general. Why? Because they have had an extremely positive experience here and they feel an intense sense of commitment and love for this school.
    Fifth, academics is stressed ALL THE TIME. Our coach’s philosophy, which she truly does implement, is that our health is most important, our academics second, and our field hockey third. We report our grades at least every month to her and we are always held to high academic standards. My coach is way more proud of my GPA than she is of my performance on the field.
    Sixth, athletes, at Brown especially, work in an incredibly unfriendly environment. Views such as yours are common among Brown non-athletes. Instead of writing rude opinion articles about it, however, we continue to dedicate mass amounts of time to our sport and to our team. I have never seen dedication, having goals, and persevering to reach those goals looked down upon in any other context and I have certainly seen NO OTHER SEGMENT OF THIS SCHOOL chastised for these very qualities.
    Finally, teammates who quit are not looked down upon at all. Two of my teammates who quit for academic reasons are still two of my best friends. This year, another girl quit to pursue other extra-curricular activities and we were all very supportive of her. People feel a commitment to the team because it is a fun and important part of their life, and it is something they have dedicated their lives to for a long time before and during college. They do not feel pressured to stay on the team from sources other than themselves.

    Sports are an incredible part of the Brown experience for athletes. No, they are not the only aspect, but they are truly valuable to a large segment of the Brown population. Sports are a big deal, not because of any one score or game, but because they instill qualities in student-athletes, such as leadership, teamwork, and dedication, that they carry on into life after Brown. These qualities are extremely valuable and it is a terrible thing to ever denounce them.

  • bruno

    Most of these comments have covered what I want to say, but just to highlight a couple things:

    Your insinuation that the athletics department is overfunded is flat-out ridiculous to the point of hilarity. As others have stated, please do some research before you throw out this and other interesting claims. Brown’s athletic department is blatantly underfunded compared to similar institutions of its caliber–namely other Ivy Leagues. Have you ever competed at other schools’ facilities? I’m surprised that you didn’t notice this in your time as an athlete.

    Secondly, I’m very liberal politically speaking, but I would NEVER make the ignorant statements you made about the military and the ROTC. It’s clear you haven’t researched what you’ve brought up, and it’s grotesquely offensive, even as someone who doesn’t know anyone serving in the military.

    Third, Brown Sports aren’t a big deal? Once again, your narrow-minded approach towards Brown athletics has made your argument deeply flawed. Maybe the team you competed on didn’t have a great season, but there are plenty of high caliber sports here–I’m guessing you didn’t cheer on the men’s soccer team in their recent NCAA qualifier game (or in any of the NCAA games over the past few years). Nor do you know about the women’s crew team’s 6 NCAA titles in the past decade. You probably also didn’t follow the national successes of several members of the track and field team, or the equestrian team, or the ski team, the women’s lacrosse team, or the men’s crew team, or the gymnastics team. And you obviously don’t care about the other successes of all the Brown athletic teams, as you have deeply offended the majority of us with this article.

  • arnold

    This has to be some kind of joke. I am appalled that any editor would let an article as hyperbolic, idealistic and simply inaccurate as this one into a daily publication. As a former student athlete who quit during his junior year to pursue other goals at Brown, I cannot tell you how offensive this article is to me. My coach encouraged me to be different (in fact, he even agreed that it was best that I quit, despite my being a starting athlete), because he was open-minded and tolerant of differences. Coaches must do this in order to be successful – they benefit from what different athletes, different people, bring to the table. They also lead, teach, give advice, give orders, they demand – not because they are dictators, but because they are professionals, experts in their field who have far more experience than the student athlete. This isn’t undemocratic. This is how people learn, just as any non-athlete does from a professor or an upperclassmen at Brown…
    If you are going to write an opinionated column, do not base your argument on flat generalization. To be careful, just try to consider how your opinion might be countered and maybe try to flush out some of those details before you generalize. Sports are different, teams are different, coaches are different, teammates are different. Just because your experience as an athlete was bad (or you had some burst of intuitive revelation) does not mean anyone and everyone’s experience was bad (or full of dictators, war, intolerance… and lavish spending) too. Weren’t we supposed to learn that in pre-school?
    Also, is using war as a metaphor too threatening to you? Get over it. Using war terminology can usually work pretty well to get a team “fired up” on adrenaline (a feeling that could help you with your next column, to replace boredom), and it leaves no one dead. But aside from all this, you left out how important it is for some athletes to pick their teammate or opponent up off the ground when they get knocked down – another thing we might have learned in pre-school, and definitely learned in sports.

  • JBMPP

    Ms. Kroeber,

    This article is unique, perhaps, only in its specific and complete abandonment of logic coupled with an utter failure to grasp the meaning of sportsmanship. Sadly, I can deal with that. What I really find unflattering here is the presumption that the tone of the piece – this pervasive, age-inappropriate, stale brand of completely common teen-angst – is in any way “journalistic.” Allow me to assure you, it is not. Challenging societal norms to the point of aggravating your reader is, sometimes, exactly the point of an opinions piece. However, I registered an account on this site specifically to respond to this article for the sole purpose of informing you that on that exact point you have traded thoughtful counter-culture reasoning for a public display of ignorance. Your editor should have posted this article under the comics section – at least then I would have appreciated the humor. Better yet, post it under the obituaries because around the “dictatorship vs democracy” sentence I think your career in Journalism died.

    I’ll leave you with a modified, but highly applicable, quote:

    “[Ms. Kroeber], what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” Billy Madison, 1995.

  • brownubears

    “here’s a little secret: Sports, especially at Brown, are not that big of a deal”

    …there were 20,000 people at the Brown-Harvard football game. How is that not that big of a deal?

  • franf

    You wrote: “On a team, you lose your individuality. The more you stand out as different, and the less you cohere to the group, the less you are worth and the more you are stigmatized.

    On a team, many people acting as a mechanical unit is appreciated far above diversity.

    On a team, methods of dictatorship are appreciated far above those of democracy.

    On a team, anyone who fails to obey the strictest of rules is punished.

    On a team, anyone who doesn’t play for your team is an enemy.

    If you learn nothing else from Brown, you should learn that plurality is something to be embraced. Elite athletics teach exactly the opposite. Divergence from the coach’s plan is abhorrent. “Alternate lifestyles” are all but denounced. In attitude and zeitgeist, sports teach disrespect on the basis of arbitrary difference.”

    Dear Susannah, with all due respect, your comments above bear ZERO resemblance to my sports experience at Brown. To give you a little background: I graduated in 1983. I was the Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team, a 4 year All-Ivy Selection, All New England, and All American. I was honored to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame after graduation. Being a part of that team was one of the best experiences of my life. There was ample diversity, tolerance, and yes, love. Many of us just gathered again after 30 years for a reunion, and had a fantastic time. You obviously had a bad personal experience and seem to be projecting your anger and resentment on to all athletics. I’m sorry about that, but please do not generalize your experience to all of us. It’s inaccurate, simplistic, and insulting. Many of the things I learned during those four years have served me very well in my life–including respect, organization, focus, discipline and collaboration. And by the way, I was always valued and appreciated for my individuality and there were many different “lifestyles” that were accepted and celebrated. Frances Fusco ’83

  • franf

    You wrote: “On a team, you lose your individuality. The more you stand out as different, and the less you cohere to the group, the less you are worth and the more you are stigmatized.

    On a team, many people acting as a mechanical unit is appreciated far above diversity.

    On a team, methods of dictatorship are appreciated far above those of democracy.

    On a team, anyone who fails to obey the strictest of rules is punished.

    On a team, anyone who doesn’t play for your team is an enemy.

    If you learn nothing else from Brown, you should learn that plurality is something to be embraced. Elite athletics teach exactly the opposite. Divergence from the coach’s plan is abhorrent. “Alternate lifestyles” are all but denounced. In attitude and zeitgeist, sports teach disrespect on the basis of arbitrary difference.”

    Dear Susannah, with all due respect, your comments above bear ZERO resemblance to my sports experience at Brown. To give you a little background: I graduated in 1983. I was the Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team, a 4 year All-Ivy Selection, All New England, and All American. I was honored to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame after graduation. Being a part of that team was one of the best experiences of my life. There was ample diversity, tolerance, and yes, love. Many of us just gathered again after 30 years for a reunion, and had a fantastic time. You obviously had a bad personal experience and seem to be projecting your anger and resentment on to all athletics. I’m sorry about that, but please do not generalize your experience to all of us. It’s inaccurate, simplistic, and insulting. Many of the things I learned during those four years have served me very well in my life–including respect, organization, focus, discipline and collaboration. And by the way, I was always valued and appreciated for my individuality and there were many different “lifestyles” that were accepted and celebrated. Frances Fusco ’83

  • dimes

    Miss Kroeber, I can say with wholehearted confidence that you have absolutely no future in journalistic writing, or any kind of writing for that matter. You will likely spend your life making many enemies in advocating such ludicrous causes, but will pat yourself on the back for being ‘different’ and ‘speaking up’. Know this: it is not your uber-hippie, off-the-wall opinions that will prevent you from being a writer of any sort, it is your complete lack of an ability to form a coherent thought and your strikingly apparent half-wittedness. Good luck with the loneliness and career (or lack thereof); I hear owning a lot of cats makes it easier to bear. ;)

  • bruno01010101

    I am shocked by the lack of journalistic integrity in the BDH. It is disgraceful to publish personal rants such as this, not to mention Chris Norris-Leblanc’s sweeping generalization of millions of young men from googling “fraternities sexual assault”. Where are the standards? As someone who works in the publishing industry I would never hire any writer or editor associated with this amateur newspaper. Consider this a wake-up call.
    -Concerned Alum

  • abuckley13

    To the creator of this article,
    I have no idea what compelled you to write this. What I can tell you is that I am compelled to write a response because I feel like this was a personal attack on any person who has put on a Brown uniform. As I can see many comments have addressed the flaws in your angry diary entry that you decided to publish, let me address this one small point: athletes who quit teams are looked down upon. Below is a very real email that I sent to a former teammate who had decided to quit our team. This is the response to his explanation for quitting:

    “(Name omitted), I really appreciate you getting back to me. I hope that all you take away from my email is that I was a concerned alum who cares about the program, and a friend caring about a friend. I completely understand your decision, and I am proud of you for taking the time to explain it to me. You’re a great person, and when it comes down to it, that’s what is important in life.
    It is just a game, and I understand that as well. Im just glad that you took the time to read my email, which I hope was not interpreted as malicious in any way. Sometimes it is hard to see a decision for what it is, and I was concerned that you weren’t seeing it for what it was. From the thought you have put into it, I know that you understand exactly what you are doing, and everyone else will too if they don’t already.
    I wish you the best of luck with everything, and if you need anything from me please don’t hesitate to ask. Only you know where your priorities lie, and far be if from me to try and tell you want you want. You will succeed in whatever you do, based on the maturity of your decisions at a young age thus far. I’m sure we will run into each other soon, until then good luck.”

    I find it amusing that an article which tried to stress the importance of diversity showed such ignorance regarding the very subject it was trying to address. Please keep your stereotypes to yourself; as a Brown graduate I find it offensive.

    -Alex Buckley ’07

  • fefew

    Dear Ms. Kroeber,

    As a proud alumni I would like to tell you how disappointed I am in you for writing such an offensive, thoughtless and poorly written article. It also worries me that Brown University would admit someone with such little class and intelligence.

    I suggest that you grow up and learn something about the real world. You will fail over and over again if you can’t learn to be part of a team. The alumni network at Brown is very strong and I recommend you don’t burn bridges.

    Thankfully many of the comments that have been left on this article give me hope that the majority of the Brown community is logical and intelligent. I suggest you read these responses carefully. It is my hope that you will learn from these people so that one day if you walk out through those gates we can be proud to welcome you into our alumni family.

    Ever True to Brown!

    R Alexander
    Mens Swimming & Diving
    Sc.B(h) 2009
    MD 2014

  • Richard

    Dear Ms. Kroeber,

    As a proud alumni I would like to tell you how disappointed I am in you for writing such an offensive, thoughtless and poorly written article. It also worries me that Brown University would admit someone with such little class and intelligence.

    I suggest that you grow up and learn something about the real world. You will fail over and over again if you can’t learn to be part of a team. The alumni network at Brown is very strong and I recommend you don’t burn bridges.

    Thankfully many of the comments that have been left on this article give me hope that the majority of the Brown community is logical and intelligent. I suggest you read these responses carefully. It is my hope that you will learn from these people so that one day if you walk out through those gates we can be proud to welcome you into our alumni family.

    Ever True to Brown!

    R Alexander
    Mens Swimming & Diving
    Sc.B(h) 2009
    MD 2014

  • crs3

    While I do not believe that Kroeber’s recent article on Brown Athletics provided sound evidence for her argument, I think that there were aspects that deserve further exploration despite the overwhelming outcry that has arisen since its publication.

    First and foremost, I want to say that I am a firm advocate for athletics. I believe that sports provide invaluable experiences developing both social interactions in addition to personal maturation. Furthermore, I believe there are unlimited possibilities in regards to sport and development both internationally and in the US.

    That being said, let us not be so clouded by our indignation that we refuse to see Athletics’ shortcomings. Athletics, yes even here at Brown, have many faults. Specifically, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that all sports teams are welcoming units. One respondent wrote, “our team has a thesbian, a gay athlete, etc.” in defense of her team’s diversity. Unfortunately, however, there still remains an overwhelming stigma surrounding gay athletes playing on teams at Brown University.

    I am an athlete at Brown but definitely feel embarrassed on occasion by some things that happen within the athletic community. What about when Thete, the football fraternity, made shirts that said, “why date a girl, when you could thete a girl?” Or when one Brown women’s athlete taunted a fellow athlete (a team that I will not bring up on this blog) for being uncomfortable in a locker room with a gay teammate.

    Yes, I am a Brown athlete and think playing sports at Brown was the single best choice I made during college. We as the Brown athletic representatives, however, need to acknowledge that there are issues within our community by addressing them head on rather than by vehemently defending against such accusations.

  • wrightld2

    Peer pressure and time management are a part of life. Whatever your experience, participation in the Brown athletics program sounds like a great opportunity to develop skills in dealing with these challenges.

    Laurel Wright ’09

  • sofhazman

    @bruno01010101: I don’t think I would want to work for someone so blindly hypocritical as to condemn a columnist for taking the worst possible aspects of the athletics program as defining the whole, then turn around and apply what is essentially the same unintelligent reasoning to the BDH. Nice try, though.

    - Another columnist

  • m12

    Your article did a wonderful job of describing everything my team isn’t. First of all, my team isn’t “absorbing” Brown’s money; it is funded completely by donors. We receive little from the Athletics Department, but are quite fortunate to have overwhelming support from alumni. Second, not once have I looked at a competitor as an enemy. Competing against the same schools each year has in fact allowed me to develop valued friendships with some of my competitors. Our coaches are good friends as well, and we all work together to create a healthy environment where we can learn from one another and improve. Last of all, I would like you to know that no group of people has embraced my individuality more than my team has. I will leave you with a powerful story to drive home this final point. The background to this story is that I admire LeBron James quite a lot, and I have always spoken about his great athletic skills during lifting, practice, and competitions in an effort to inspire everyone. Last Thanksgiving, in an unlucky accident, I broke my back. I was not able to come back to school after Thanksgiving, and stayed home for two months that winter recovering. During this rough time in my life, my teammates wrote letters to LeBron James telling about what had happened to me and explaining how I had made my best efforts to incorporate him into team life. LeBron James gets so much fan mail that he surely never reads all (or any) of it, right? Wrong. LeBron James, touched by my teammates’ efforts, sent back a personal letter to me. A PROFESSIONAL, big-name athlete connecting on a personal level with a BROWN athletics team–there’s no denying that that is BIG DEAL. And I can’t help but to agree with LeBron when he wrote: “The mark of a great team is how they rally around each other and act unselfishly as a unit.” My teammates appreciate me for me, and they absolutely mean the world to me.

  • Offended

    This piece of trash actually makes me embarrassed for you. I’m not an athlete, and I never have been. I also know that certain members of certain teams are guilty of some pretty awful traditions and activities. However, I believe that the athletic teams ADD diversity to our community. While some people spent their time in high school in the theater or the library, others spent time going to two-a-day practices and bringing in more alumni donations than all of the other programs combined.

    Also, unless you want people to start calling you Ayn instead of Susannah, I suggest that you drastically change your thoughts on teams. If you don’t, you’re going to live a very long, lonely, and socially destitute existence.