Last weekend saw the close of Lawrence’s sports activities for the year 1956-1957. Some of the accomplishments were worthy of a Viking Saga. Others did not appear to be.
To get the unfortunate out of the way first, we will begin with track. Our seventh place in the conference can only be called disappointing. We had hoped for a lot from this squad and they had done a fine job throughout the season, competition just got awfully rough when it came down to the conference meet.
Winsor’s first in the discus and second in the shot put are certainly worthy of a large amount of praise. Similarly, Sutherland’s fourth place in the mile, Schwendler’s fourth in the javelin, Mulford’s fourth in the half-mile and Klingbeil’s fifth in the 220 were all important contributions.
We can only hope that next year, with a promising freshman class coming up and improvement from those who will still be here, that Lawrence will do better.
Golf, in which the Vikes took fifth in conference, is a little more encouraging. True, a fifth place does not seem like anything to get excited about, but when the accomplishments of last year are considered, a great deal of progress can be seen. Also, with most of the men scheduled to return, we can look for a brighter future in golf.
Now for the gem of our spring sports squads—our net men really did a great job. In a shortened version of the conference meet, The Vikes took three of four first places—all in the singles. Doubles competition was canceled on account of the inclement weather; that is to say, it rained.
Dick Rine came through with his second non-consecutive conference win. In his final effort as a Viking, Dick was really in championship form. His teammates Dick Weber and Bob Van Dale also showed themselves to be competitors of the first rank as they brought championships home to Lawrence. Weber won the number two singles and Van Dale the number four.
The whole tennis team is deserving of a lot of praise as the men have had an outstanding record this year.
In some ways, Lawrence athletics has changed a lot over the last 60 years, but in others, things have remained constant. This article is a testament to both these similarities and differences.
The most striking difference is the absence of women’s sports. Today, Lawrence fields both men’s and women’s teams in most sports, with hockey, volleyball and football being notable exceptions. Back in 1957, this was not the case. The implementation of Title IX ensures that today, both men and women can participate in athletics. While we can sometimes take this for granted nowadays, it is important to recognize that this was not always the case.
The presence of golf is another notable difference. Today, Lawrence no longer fields a golf team. In 1957, the golf team was thought to have a bright future—and it surely did. The team had many successes over the past six decades. However, this brightness was extinguished and marked the end of a legacy at Lawrence. It is a shame and serves as a reminder that nothing is permanent. While some things seem fixed and immobile, all are vulnerable to change. If the 1957 golf team had been polled, I doubt they would foresee the demise of their team.
Accepting these differences, athletics at Lawrence have remained relatively consistent since 1957. Lawrence has remained in the same conference, the same sports (except golf) still exist today and athletics continues.
The most important takeaway is that change is inevitable but not unilaterally good. Some changes, like the addition of women’s sports, are a benefit to all. However, changes like the removal of the golf team hurt the tradition and legacy of Lawrence athletics. Looking forward, change is exhilarating and exciting, but not without costs. These costs and benefits should be recognized.