EDITORIAL: Supporting students’ athletic endeavors

EDITORIAL%3A+Supporting+students+athletic+endeavors

By Editorial Board

At issue: Recognizing student athletes’ dedication.

Our take: We’re all in this together.

Last Saturday, the women’s soccer team earned a spot in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference playoffs. Since the Lions joined the conference five years ago, they only qualified four times, and two of those are because of the women’s soccer team. One of the most challenging conferences in the region, NEWMAC, always seemed like an elusive ambition for each of the 11 qualifying teams. Yet, the women’s team qualified twice, despite our tired jokes, despite our campus climate that delegitimized and ignored our athletics for years.

With their recent win over Clark University, the women’s soccer team guaranteed a home game in the playoffs. Hosting a playoff game means more than what many students can perceive. It represents how far the team has come and how much work they consistently put in, on and off the field. And it’s not only the women’s soccer team. It’s every team. We owe it to the Lions and to the institution to not only recognize and value the teams and staff, but to support and encourage them as well.

The campus culture surrounding Emerson’s sports teams under-appreciates the discipline and passion of our student athletes. As an NCAA Division III college, Emerson does not have permision to give any athletic scholarships to its athletes. In addition, Division III schools usually receive less attention than Division I and Division II schools. Thus, Emerson’s student athletes do not play their sport for financial aid or in hopes of going pro—they play because it’s their passion.

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Just because Emerson is a Division III school does not mean that its student athletes don’t put in hours of hard work on top of an already demanding academic schedule. Most sports have an off-season in which athletes practice multiple days a week. Once a season starts, athletes dedicate countless hours of their week for practices and games. Student athletes then must balance their sport with academics, self-care, and their personal lives outside of Emerson––receiving no athletic scholarships and little recognition in comparison to Division I and Division II teams.

We can show our support for student athletes by attending their home games. It can start with the women’s soccer playoff game next week. A universal characteristic among Emerson students is our passion, not just in our classes, but outside. We spend our extra hours on film sets, rehearsals, and writing and editing for campus publications because we know it holds value for our future careers. Emerson student athletes dedicate their time to something they love, and that is something to celebrate.