Sports have played a substantial role in my life. I was one of those kids being carted around from soccer games to basketball practice to volleyball clinics.
At Oberlin I played on the varsity basketball team for three years, I am an office assistant at the gym, I write about sports for the Oberlin Review, and I work out more often than I brush my teeth [maybe not literally]. In short, sports aren't foreign to me in the least.
Athletes often get a bad rap, especially college athletes. Division I [aka sports at large universities, e.g. Michigan State, North Carolina, Duke, Texas, etc.] athletes generally have their educations fully paid for. They are required to eat, breathe, and dream about their sport--probably to the point that they don't have much time for anything else. They may even literally do their sport more often than they brush their teeth.
Oberlin has Division III athletics, meaning there are no scholarships given for athletics. Students participating in a varsity sport here are not doing so because they have been given a scholarship, but rather for their love of the game. Because Oberlin's sports are Division III, Yeomen/women have a bit more time than Division I athletes to dedicate to Oberlin's rigorous academics, and do things outside of sports.
Recently, the men's and women's swimming and diving teams were named to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA)'s list of Scholar All-American teams for the 2009 fall semester. The Yeomen had the highest GPA in the country regardless of division at 3.60.
Just in case you didn't quite grasp what I just said, let me just re-iterate: Our men's swimming team has THE HIGHEST GPA OF ANY COLLEGE MEN'S SWIMMING TEAM IN THE COUNTRY. That is a big deal. Do you realize how many colleges there are in the country? Let's do some Alicia math to figure it out:
Let's say each of our nation's fifty states has at least three state universities [and that is surely an underestimate], and three private colleges [also an underestimate]. 6 schools x 50 states = 300. And then let's add about 378 since I underestimated. So let's say according to my spur of the moment calculations that there are 678 colleges and universities in the country [I am far from majoring in math so this may be off--these are mere brilliant estimations]. So, in short, we have some smart swimmers on our hands and in our pool. Smarter in fact than the swimmers at 677 other schools. I'm aware this is a sweeping statement, but that's how I do.
The Yeowomen also had the 18th highest team GPA in Division III with a mark of 3.42. WOWZA!
Earlier this year, I attended a performance that demonstrated the essence of Oberlin multi-faceted student-athletes. My housemates and I went to the Cat in the Cream to attend a guitar performance by junior football player Ron Rupard.
As I listened to Ron sing Matchbox 20, Jack Johnson, and others, I was blown away by his passion for what he was doing. To add to the touching-ness of the situation, nearly all of his teammates were there supporting him at the gig, along with some other students.
The highlight of the evening was when Ron performed Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me," and the whole team sang along without missing a word. It was probably better than Taylor Swift herself.