Category Archives: sports

Op Ed: Responding to The Campus, A Look at Athletic Privilege

Today, we have an op-ed in from middbeat contributers Aleck Silva-Pinto ’16 and Lizzy Weiss ’17 on the ongoing discussion surrounding the article about athletic privilege recently published by The Campus. The article has certainly sparked a lively debate, and here is yet another take on the issue. Read up, post replies, and feel free to submit your own opinion piece to the middbeat gmail ([email protected]). 

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Did this Yak bring you here? If it did– good! We wrote it.

When soon-to-be graduates Isaac Baker ‘14.5 and Hannah Bristol ‘14.5 published an article for The Campus entitled “It’s Actually Just a Game,” students took to Facebook and Yik Yak to add their voices to the debate. Too often, the yaks and anonymous comments on the online version of the article were vitriolic personal attacks on the authors that offered little substance. We will leave it to you to note the hypocrisy of a yak that criticized the cowardice of publishing a controversial opinion just weeks before graduation– because that anonymous yak really makes you brave.

We felt the need to post an inflammatory yak about our own article because it seems like members of our community are only willing to engage in debate when they feel like they have some skin in the game. Athletic privilege is a hot-button topic, but it took a slightly radical (although we would argue not too radical) piece to get us to have this conversation. So a big shout out to Hannah and Isaac for starting this debate. Clearly, it’s one we need to have.

Our campus is small enough that anonymity can feel essential when talking about controversial issues. No one wants to estrange those they are close to despite their own strongly held convictions. Therefore, we applaud Jake Nidenberg ’16 for submitting a response to The Campus. Though we disagree with him on some points, his willingness to be held accountable for his opinion is laudable.

This point being made, let’s get on to the issue itself.

In many of the responses to Bristol and Baker’s article and also in the middbeat audio piece, students have tended to defend the academic standing of athletes, either through anecdotal evidence or uncited statistics. We would argue that these defenses stem from the very true and acknowledged reality that many of the athletes on our campus are in fact high-achieving, well-rounded students. Many respondents cite their NARP-athlete relationships as further proof that the social boundaries are not nearly as rigid as presented by The Campus article. The bottom line is this: most students seemed to want to say, athletes are just like us.” 

We agree! We are also friends with athletes. They are real people too. And many of them are incredible individuals with a wide variety of interests that extends beyond sports.

However, just because a male lacrosse player is also a ballet dancer and hikes Snake Mountain every weekend with his community friend does not mean that he is exempt from the inherent privilege that comes with being a member of a team. 

This is the crux of our argument: Privilege cannot be dismantled by individuals defying stereotypes. Instead, the privilege granted to athletes on this campus is engrained in the cultural makeup of this institution.

Where The Campus article got into trouble on this point was their lack of hard facts. The reality is this: when talking about athletic privilege, many of us want to make a point about the admissions process, about class selection advising, about room draw advantages; but the facts and quantitative evidence are just not there. 

So why don’t we hold off on baseless attacks on the institutional advantages given to athletes. Instead, let’s talk about the perception of social privilege reserved for members of certain teams.

Let’s call a spade a spade. The Campus article was not talking about the women’s softball team or the men’s cross country team. There are athletes on this campus who enjoy a special social standing not granted to every member of the athletic community or the Middlebury community as a whole.

It’s hard to articulate exactly what that social privilege looks like. In our experience, something happens almost immediately during freshman year. A group of students, determined by certain social parameters, gravitate towards one another and their counterparts in the grades above. They join, as we call it, ‘the scene.’

Is this different from when the canoe-paddling, Carhartt-wearing, Chakko-strapping, freshmen start hanging out at Brooker? Not necessarily. It’s a natural tendency.

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Stand Up Show, TONIGHT, Hepburn Zoo

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Stand up comedy makes its triumphant return to Middlebury this evening, with a fantastic lineup of comedians set to grace the mic in the Hepburn Zoo, at 8 PM.  Start your evening the right way, with laughter, in preparation for the tears that inevitably end the evening, and admire the talent and bravery of some of your peers.  The night will feature performances from Michael Brady ‘17.5, James Lynch ’16, Luke Smith-Stevens ‘14.5, and Bryce Parsons ’15.

It’ll be a great show.  Roll up and roll through.

Where: Hepburn Zoo
When: 8 PM
Cost: The question is really what will you cost yourself by NOT going

Hidden Gym: Middlebury’s Rock Wall

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Sasha Digiulian in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, on Pure Imagination (5.14d)

With the beginning of a new year on this idilic college campus, we returning students have found ourselves blessed with a half a thousand or so new students to populate our school. All the new faces, in fact, bring me back to the early days of his own Middlebury career, and conjure up old memories and impressions…

Stumbling through the first couple of weeks on campus I remember seeing great imposing green mountains, plenty of marble buildings, fluttering flannels, Patagonia clothing at every corner like a plague, and many, many athletic-looking people.

While there are plenty of other things that make us Middlebury students unique, the athletic stereotype is something that has stuck out to me even before he was a student here, and still does. While there are all types of body types, levels of athleticism, and different styles of people on this campus, as a student who never played organized sports, the abundance of fit-looking people on this campus was a bit of a surprise, as I’m sure it is for most people who have spent some time at Middlebury. Where on earth did all these people come from that made them so damn athletic? The Olympics? Sweden?

While 27% of the student body are varsity athletes, this statistic doesn’t seem to give a full explanation. A simpler way to explore this phenomenon would be to head down to the Nelson arena at 2 pm on any given day and observe the literal fuck-ton of students either on their way to, in the middle of, or just finishing up exercising. Shocking as it may be, the easiest answer to this question of why so many people look so damn fit is that so many damn people work out. A lot. Before class, after class, late at night, between homework and labs, before meals, after meals — anyone who has spent any time near the athletic center has most likely been witness to the constant ant-like stream of students that plow in and out of that sweaty smelling corner of campus.

However, for the rest of us, those who don’t take any pleasure in sprinting many miles on an obnoxiously humming treadmill, or pushing metal weights over our chests (though there’s a place and time for every exercise), it’s easy to feel a little left out. So, it is for the sake of all the students at Midd who are not natural born Greek Gods and were never close to being varsity athletes or long distance running junkies, that I’d like to provide an alternative the traditional, and fanatic, Middlebury fitness world. It’s called Rock Climbing.

Whether you’re new here or have just never heard of it, I am writing to let you know that Middlebury does indeed have a rock wall, and that you should all definitely at least come to check it out. Read more about this awesome place beyond the jump…

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The Middlebury Rock Wall in all its resplendence.

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Middlebury’s First Running Club!

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Do you love to run but get tired of running the same trails alone? Want to meet more recreational Midd runners, and explore new trails? This year Middlebury’s first running group is tearing up the TAM! The group meets Tuesdays and Thursdays on the track at 4:30 pm. Tuesdays are long runs and Thursdays are a variety of track workouts. Check it out no matter what your fitness level is! The mission of the club is to connect runners around Middlebury and give runners the opportunity to switch up their routines with some fun workouts! If you are interested in joining you can email [email protected] or come out on Tuesday or Thursday!

Tailgate Policy PSA

AlumniStadium-FootballIf you’re a student here, chances are you’re pissed about the new tailgating policy. At the RAJ (Robert A. Jones Conference Center) at 7 PM tomorrow night there will be a meeting about the policy with Athletic Director Erin Quinn, Dean of Students Katy Smith Abott, and the SGA, led by President Taylor Custer ’15. All students are invited, and everyone should come. This is a chance not only to make your feelings about the tailgating policy felt, but support the SGA in giving students a voice. It’s great to make noise on the internet (thank you, we the Midd Kids!), but even better to take action. It’s a lot harder for the administration to ignore us when we actually show up to meetings like this to make ourselves heard. So 7 PM tomorrow night, RAJ Conference Center. See you there.

 

If you want to see what specific bill will be discussed, here it is: Continue reading

Cross-Country Meet Saturday

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Ever wondered what gazelles in human form looked like? Well now is your chance to see these majestic creatures in real life! This Saturday, September 20, the Middlebury College Cross-Country team brings the competition home for the Aldrich Invitational. Several NESCAC schools will be attending this esteemed event to presumably preview the course that will be hosting the NESCAC championships this year. That’s right, the Cross-Country NESCAC championships are at Middlebury this year! Come to the Cross-Country course behind the athletic facilities to support your fellow Panthers as they run down the competition.

Date: Saturday, September 20
Time: Women race at 12:30 and men race at 1:15
Place: Cross Country course behind the athletic facilities
Cost: an hour you would’ve spent hungover in Proctor

Sticky: A Letter from the Athletic Director

Middlebury’s athletic director, Erin Quinn ’86 has defended the new ban on alcohol at tailgates in a letter to the student body found below.  He first modifies what was previously believed to be a ban on music, adding that the policy states “No Amplified Music.”  This limits music to guitars and the Pep Band, who I’m sure will be more than happy to be the sole source of jubilation at future tailgates. This is the first administration side response to the recent outcry over the controversial policy, and Quinn highlights the “embarrassment” and “disgrace” Middlebury tailgates have brought upon the institution as justification for the ban.  Read below, and please continue to comment and keep the discussion going.

Dear XXXX,Thanks for the note.  I know on the surface it may seem like a simple fix, but we have been making incremental changes over a number of years in order to address the issues, but to no avail.  For me personally, the biggest issues are integrity and safety.  You may be aware that Integrity is a core value or community standard we promote with our teams, coaches and staff members.  Before I was Director of Athletics I was an assistant football coach in the fall, and when I became AD I was surprised to learn that we allowed alcohol in our tailgate area.  It seemed inconsistent to me with everything we stood for, and inconsistent with all of the messages we were promoting about Athletics at Middlebury and more broadly in NESCAC.  I was willing to give it a try, and we changed some rules over time to increase staffing levels, and to limit the amount of alcohol consumed.

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Sign the Petition to Bring Back Tailgating

You’ve heard about the new Middlebury College regulations on tailgating. No alcohol. No music. Ostensibly, no fun.

It’s absurd, it’s wrong, it’s insulting. Namely, it’s just counterproductive.

It’s time to make a change. Sign this student-created Petition to Bring Back Tailgating now, if you’re in favor of this argument, and send it to as many alumni as possible. If the Midd administration won’t listen to the students actually living the Middlebury on-campus experience right now, maybe they’ll realize their absurdity if the alumni speak up. If not, one consequence of this policy is clear: a serious drop in alumni donations. 

Importantly, whatever your opinion might be, be sure to voice your thoughts on this matter by commenting on the middbeat tailgate feature here. We hope to provide a safe space for all viewpoints to be shared and for effective, respectful communication to be fostered.

TODAY: Soccer and Field Hockey at Home

WomenSoccer-Jiayi-Zhu-color-6-of-19-600x375Still got some first-week-of-classes time to spare in the afternoon? If you’re a sports fan, you’re in luck. Today, various Middlebury fall teams will be playing at home: Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, and Field Hockey. The soccer teams are doing pretty well so far, women are 1-1 and men are 0-0-1, though field hockey takes the lead with a 1-0 record. All the teams could use your support, and if you’ve got friends playing you gotta go. Go panthaas.

Men’s Soccer vs. Norwich: Wednesday, 9/10, 4:30-6pm at South Street Fields

Women’s Soccer vs. Keane: Wednesday, 9/10, 4-6pm at Dragone Field

Field Hockey: Wednesday, 9/10, 6-8pm at Peter Kohn Field

SATURDAY: Run, Forrest, Run!

Click here to sign up to run the annual GlobeMed 5K this Saturday. If you run fast enough, you could leave with a gift card to the Grille or Daily Chocolate in Vergennes. If racing isn’t your thing, don’t let that turn you away! It’s a great opportunity to get outside with friends and start your weekend doing something healthy for your body, and the community. Registration is $15 if you sign up now, and $20 on the day of the race. All proceeds benefit Middlebury’s Partner Organization, Gardens for Health International.

Date: Saturday, April 26
Time: 12:00 PM
Place: Proctor Terrace
Cost: $15 pre-registration/$20 day-of registration