The Plight of 'Cliffe Athletes

It has been said that Radcliffe moulds masculine women. It has also been said that Radcliffe encourages dialectical dates and pent-up prudes. As a matter of fact, a lot of things have been said about Radcliffe.

But very rarely has any attention been focused on athletics at Radcliffe. They do exist, if not in the form of athletes. The Radcliffe dormitories have intramural and intercollegiate athletic programs much like those in the Harvard House system. On the Radcliffe Athletic Association is a head of each sport, representatives from each dormitory, and intramural directors.

Each year, these 'Cliffies get the dorms together to form club teams for intercollegiate competition against other schools such as Pembroke, Wheaton, Wellesley, Jackson and Boston Teachers.

On the intramural level, in the same way Straus Trophy winners are decided at Harvard, cumulative points are kept for each dormitory through the year. At the end of the year, the dorm with the highest number of points receives a trophy known to most 'Cliffies as "the Cup." Last year, Whitman-Eliot won it.

In the fall, the girls play field hockey and fence in the Quad, sail on the Charles, play tennis at the observatory courts, and swim at the gymnasium next to Agassiz. Also, they are free to enroll in equitation classes and travel to Medford or Jamaica Plain for jumping and riding in the afternoons.


In the winter, 'Cliffies play basketball, volley ball, and badminton in the gymnasium and occasionally bowl in tournaments at the Harvard Bowlaway. In the spring, it's back outside for softball, lacrosse, sailing, and archery in the Quad. One dorm representative noted that the program even includes bridge and ping pong--"to keep them alive."

The spring season is climaxed with a large Field Day in the middle of May in the Quad. On this day, dormitories play the final matches in softball, archery, fencing, and tennis.

Freshmen keep the athletic program at Radcliffe together: They have to show up at least two times per week for Physical Training credits.

This week, Radcliffe had its annual six-day swimming marathon. Each dorm is given one point for every girl who shows up at the pool, and for each lap she swims. The dorm with the highest number of laps at the end of the six days usually wins. Occasionally, as happened last year, it was not the number of laps that paid off, it was the number of girls. Whitman won last year by sending more girls over to the pool for the guaranteed one point. On one day, for example, 70 Whitman girls showed up.