King's Athletics: how those higher-up can help


This column continues the discussion of balancing the demands of athletics and academics at King's.

I’ll be brief. I love sports; I love basketball in particular. I believe in King’s. I believe that King’s has a lot to gain from sports. I also believe that the idea of student-run programs is generally good. But sports cannot flourish at King’s if there is no support from above. A handful of students and one athletic director cannot develop a serious athletic program. As a student athlete and House president, I say we need help.

We need the help of Student Development. When House competitions—events intended to rally school spirit—conflict with games and tournaments (also intended to rally school spirit), the school is divided against itself. When training for student leaders falls on the same day as a game, student leader-athletes are in an impossible position. Since the House system has been around longer than sports, naturally the Athletic Department suffers.

We need the help of the professors. As David Dantzler, president of he House of Reagan, wrote earlier in the EST, we need the chance to make up work missed because of games. The current policy makes it feel as though the school is saying, “Sports are fine, but if you want to be a serious student, you shouldn’t play sports.”

There are people at King’s who want to be serious students and serious athletes. We are asking for the chance to prove that we can be both. Letting student athletes make up work is not a weakening of rigorous academic standards. We still have to do the work, but it does allow for flexibility when games or tournaments (which are dependent on other schools’ schedules) overlap with classes.

What we need most is the encouragement of our superiors. In a college that prides itself on student organizations and students with initiative, who aggressively pursue professional goals, we desperately need a voice with authority saying more than “You want that? Make it happen.” We need a voice of authority (or rather more than one voice) saying, “Yes! This is worth doing! I’ll help you accomplish it!”—a subtle difference, but important nonetheless.

And the students who feel a little lost in the clamor of New York--or the clamor of student orgs that demand much attention--may need guidance in answering the question, “What do I give my time and energy to?” Having the independence to make a decision is wonderful, but having the support and encouragement of people that are wiser and more experienced than ourselves is just as important.

So far, it seems like the athletic director, Sean Horan, is alone at King's in saying that athletics is worth it. That is a sad story to tell anyone.

Kate Knowlden is a junior Politics, Philosophy and Economics major and president of the House of QE1.