Finding one’s niche in regards to athletics at Wesleyan can be difficult, especially for those who precariously straddle the line between, shall we say, one side of the dining room and the other. We’re surrounded by a lexicon in which there is a big difference between capital-A Athletes and athletic people, and we endlessly appropriate and re-appropriate the word “Techie,” which is the Helen of Troy of Wesleyan jargon.
For clarification’s sake, a brief history of the “Techie” battle: Traditional NESCAC athletic rivals Williams and Amherst deemed Dear Old Wesleyan “WesTech,” implying that our varsity teams’ abilities were comparable to those one would find at a technical school. After recent successes by our football, soccer, and baseball teams, the athletes in the two frats on either end of High Street claimed the word from our purple peers of the Little Three, appropriating it to then describe only the non-athlete Wesleyan population. “Techie” currently seems to belong to non-athletes, though, who have reclaimed it as a point of pride.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of being identified as either an Athlete or a Techie. However, for those of us who refuse to identify as one or the other, which I encourage every student to do, there are plenty of athletic resources.
In terms of viewing, there are constantly varsity events happening, so be sure to attend and support your capital-A Athlete friends. Wesleyan students never have to pay to attend sports events, and the Cardinal Faithful show strongly at most home games and events, from soccer in the CFA to football on Andrus, and from volleyball in Silloway to the Wesleyan-hosted crew regatta downtown. In all of these places, the fight song has been known to break out and inspire our athletes in even the most dire of situations.
For little-a athletes, there are plenty of opportunities at the club, intramural, and even academic level. Wesleyan’s club rugby, Frisbee, and volleyball teams welcome all genders and skill levels. Wesleyan even boasts water polo, sailing, equestrian, and fencing club teams for those looking to continue the sports they learned in California and/or their New England prep school. They are competitive in the best way, with a coach or team captain leading the team against other schools around New England and the country.
For those who aren’t able to commit to a varsity team but are looking to continue their glory days as former high school athletes, intramural athletics pave the path to stardom. Most intramural sports play in three different leagues, in ascending levels of competition from C (the Just-Trying- to-Have-Fun crowd) to A (with participants who have played the sport before, and might be good enough to play varsity but “Just Don’t Want To”).
All students may also take classes in the athletic department, since all head coaches are also professors in the department. They teach courses ranging from tennis and golf classes to weight training, swimming classes, hiking, and even yoga. All of these courses are available via WesMaps.
Athletics are fun. They are an important way to bond with new people, to be healthy, and to avoid the WesWings 50. But regardless of what level one involves hirself in, it is crucial for all Wesleyan students to reconsider the divide that allegedly exists between athletes and non-athletes, and to recognize how ludicrous it is to separate ourselves on these bases. The divide surely exists, but it’s also completely ridiculous that it does. The best athletic advice I can give you is to pursue your interests, regardless of what your friends or teammates tell you to do. Refuse to sit on “your side” of Usdan. Attend a Second Stage show and a soccer game in the same day. Write for both the Sports and Arts sections of The Argus (we promise, we will let you and love you.)
This divide is silly. Play sports, watch sports, make friends with Athletes, athletes, and Techies, and help fix this nonsense.