Eye of the Storm


by Ben Lucas

Why do we have college athletics?

I don’t mean in terms of what everyone says athletics provide for people. We all know that they build character and give us drive. I’m referring to why our schools and athletics are so intertwined. What does it give us that we would not otherwise have? Believe it or not, not everywhere does things the way we do here in ‘Murica.

Many European countries have sporting clubs that are unattached to any educational facility. Both lower and higher education is completely separated from any sort of competitive sport.

Instead of having an intense loyalty to a school’s sporting team or franchise, such as Simpson students identifying themselves as the “Storm,” athletes have a loyalty to their respective athletic clubs and a second loyalty to their educational facility.

This European method has its benefits. For one, students are able to focus on being just that. They get accepted to a college to learn and figure out where they will fit in the future global workplace. They compete only academically, not physically.

The European schools have less to maintain and expand in terms of athletic facilities, an incredibly costly thing for schools here at home to do. What’s more is that the clubs will usually have very skilled players as it can cost money to get in.

All of these things aren’t necessarily bad, but I think they leave something to be desired, something we as Americans might miss.

I like to call it our “go for broke” mindset. The term “school spirit” always struck me as kind of annoying and unsatisfying, like two-week-old Pfieffer beef that has the consistency of granite. It seems like one of those meaningless words, which everyone accepts as being “kind of good.” But here at Simpson, we go for broke in everything we do. Our school spirit is really our Simpson mindset.

Simpson prepares us to get ready to take big risks in the workplace; where just being ordinary and average no longer gets you as far. Our schedules are already infuriatingly tough to handle without putting sports on the table, but we know that to accomplish anything, we have to go big or it’s not really that worth it.

And so we do. We struggle through two-a-days and the nerves before a big game. We take time out of our schedules to watch our fellow students and athletes compete with all they have. And we share the intense highs that come from narrow victories, and the disappointment and resolve to improve that comes from heartbreaking losses. We do this all the while knowing that homework and papers and lectures and quizzes are waiting for us, but we keep coming back.

That shared struggle gives us something a separated school and club team does not. All of the emotion and learning involved in athletics does not simply become a part of the game that we love to play or watch; it becomes the foundation of our Simpson experience.

We share more as students and athletes than just students or athletes could ever hope to alone. Our community is stronger, closer, and can hopefully better impact the world in a positive way.

The question comes down to this: Will we look more fondly on our college days knowing that we shared both the highs and lows with our peers, or would we rather our college days were just academic struggles where we played a club game on the side?

I know which I’d prefer.