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Facilities For Varsity Athletes Are Lacking, Not Lavish

Letters to the Editors

By John Hastrup

To the editors:

I was disturbed that the March 15 staff editorial, “MAC Renovations, Finally,” felt a need to obscure its overall correct point by playing up the supposed “disparity” between varsity and recreational facilities. That the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC) is unacceptably crowded and poor is a fact we can all agree upon, but to wax eloquent about varsity athletes who have “spacious and uncrowded” weightrooms and “row upon row of beautiful unused” treadmills is unfair, implicit athlete-bashing and a testament to the ignorance of the writers of the editorial. Any athlete can tell you that the varsity weight room is not only tiny by both Division I and Ivy League standards but that it lacks many of the weight and training machines that are available at the MAC. And the facility is anything but uncrowded as the large number of varsity sports at Harvard necessitates that several teams share the facility at once. Additionally, cardiovascular equipment for varsity athletes does not consist of rows of unused treadmills but rather a few exercise bikes that lack the nifty digital displays of those in the MAC.

Though it is true that many varsity sports have been blessed with the use of “new monolithic facilities,” many of these are available for use by the general University population. Blodgett Pool has extensive recreational swimming hours while the Bright Hockey Center has seasonal recreational skating, for example. Varsity athletes face the same space crunch as everyone else and The Crimson should focus all of its ire toward the true problem for recreational athletic facilities: foot-dragging on the part of the Harvard administration. Athletes are not some privileged elite and should be considered allies in the struggle to improve student facilities for all students.

JOHN HASTRUP ’06

March 15, 2004

The writer is a member of the men’s swimming and diving team.

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