I have a newfound respect for athletes. But I did not always have this. My family consists of musicians with little interest in sports, so growing up, neither did I. To me, sports were just various games where grown men and women chased after balls, or threw things, or ran around. My perspective about athletics has undergone a complete reversal. I respect the work athletes do every day with their bodies. I respect the coaches that discipline and support their clients. I respect my peers at Colby who work so hard in the classroom, just to work even harder at the gym. I truly admire athletes in a way I never have done before and I am grateful for this new lens of respect.
As a non-athlete, I learned a lot about athletics at Colby through this class. I learned about the rigorous training, the knowledge needed about processes in the body, and the passionate dedication to live the life of an athlete. But not all non-athletes know this. And not all non-athletes at Colby have the opportunity to learn about athletics in this class.
At Colby there is a subtle divide between athletes and non-athletes. In dining halls, many teams will have meals with each other after long days of practice. On weekends, parties are sometimes named after certain sports (“Are you going to the football party tonight?” “Nah man, soccer party all day.”). It is a special dynamic, enforcing the strong bonds that teamwork can create in groups, displayed through how tight athletes become when training so hard.
The guest speaker talks were of my favorite moments in the class. From the Nordic Ski Coach, Tracey Cote, I learned the amazing intricacies behind closed vans in Nordic skiing, as well as her intimate knowledge of the body, sports psychology, and the numerous kinds of Nordic ski equipment. I was amazed by her experiences adventure racing, something I truly did not know existed. From History professor, Dr. Paul Josephson, I learned how much an athlete can love his sport. His excitement about all the different places in the world in which he ran was simply inspiring. I wish that everyone at Colby could have heard those passionate talks, and learned about the dedicated training occurring throughout campus, across all departments and ages.
I would like to see more sports awareness talks like this on campus. I think it would be really cool if Colby had a series of talks open to everyone by inspirational athletes like Tracey Cote or Dr. Paul Josephson, who can share with us their remarkable achievements, which did not unravel in a lab, a studio, or an office, but instead, in the great outdoors, or the gym.