Filling the Bleachers

By Max Edwards

Last fall was my first term as a student and an athlete at Lawrence. Amidst adjusting to the trimester system and meeting the demands of the cross country season, it didn’t take long for me to experience the reality of the “great divide” between the conservatory and the athletics teams on Lawrence’s campus. While I don’t have a desire to pursue performance of an instrument at a high level, I can certainly appreciate the craft of the many fine musicians within the student body. The handful of concerts and senior recitals I’ve had the joy of attending have been more than just a study break—they’ve been very enjoyable and relaxing activities during which I have abandoned my thoughts and enjoyed some first-rate musical talent. Although I don’t currently play an instrument, I can empathize with the musicians who’ve spent hours and hours to improve their craft, just as I have spent lots of time trying to become a better runner.

Hearing athletes complain about low attendance at their events is all too common. I urge everyone, athlete or art major, conservatory student or philosophy major: be receptive to the wealth of talent within our student body, give yourself permission to attend some new events this term and maybe even learn something new.

Personally, I want to see some tennis matches and baseball games, both events that I have not yet had the chance to experience. I also want to attend some more senior recitals and experience the beautiful result of hundreds of practicing hours.

We all work hard at something, and some of us work hard at many things. If you feel your craft is underappreciated, the first step is to reach outside of your normal routine and support others in their showcase of talent.

In the age of mass invitations via social media, a simple word-of-mouth invitation can go a long way. Do we want our bleachers a little more full for sporting events? Do we want Memorial Chapel and Harper Hall to usher in some more students for concerts and recitals? We are all busy, but in order to foster the attitude of support between different campus performances, athletic, musical or otherwise, we must invest in the gifted student body by attending at least some of these fantastic showcases of talent. We must not view it as a chore; we should view it as a fun opportunity to enjoy a spectacular performance. Each time I attend a concert, recital or sporting event, I make it a point to try and learn something new about that discipline, or I simply revel in the complexity of the athletes’ or musicians’ performances. Let’s work together to foster an attitude of support and appreciation for the wide spectrum of talent here at Lawrence—make an effort to attend an event this term that you haven’t yet taken time to enjoy.