I was in the first grade. It was the biggest game of the year, especially for a Miami sports fan: Monday Night Football at the Orange Bowl, featuring the Miami Dolphins versus the Chicago Bears.
The Fins were trying to defend their perfect ’72 season against the undefeated Bears. In a most exciting and rowdy showdown, Miami handed Chicago its first and only loss of the season. But, I never got to see the game. It was a school night.
And while first grade is nothing more than a blur to me now, if even that, I have not ever forgotten about that game. It will always remain a sore spot in my family.
Although the analogy is far from perfect, I do think the basic premise is very much similar to what happens here at Harvard. Unfortunately, the priorities of school create an ongoing “school night,” which keeps students from attending sporting events. And after four years of observing this, I felt the need to write my first and only column, in hopes of correctly, or at least alleviating, this terrible loss.
While I am not extremely opinionated on sports, except when it comes to Dan Marino’s place as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, I find myself very upset by the lack of attention and respect Harvard (both students and the administration) gives to athletics. And so I offer the following observations and advice.
While I certainly hope your college years are not a blur, I can guarantee that the paper, test or problem set that keeps you in today will be long forgotten tomorrow.
The few hours you spend watching a football game (other than Harvard-Yale) or tennis tournament will not lead to your academic downfall (and let’s be honest—you never end up writing that paper or doing that problem set when you plan anyway). However, what you will remember and regret is missing out on what I think is one of the best things about Harvard—the passion of your peers.
In four years, if there is one thing I am grateful that Harvard has given me, it is the privilege of watching this passion. I am humbled by this passion and incredibly inspired by it. And such is perhaps why I am so amazed by Harvard athletes, whose passion leads to countless hours of practice, competing and travelling for their sport, while still balancing the rigorous academics of this school.
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