“Jocks” at Lawrence

Jessica Newsome

If you’re like me, your favorite
Lawrentian stereotype is that this
university is the ultimate “Revenge of
the Nerds” school. We host LAN parties.
Most students know someone
who plays Dungeons and Dragons,
or perhaps they play themselves.
Yet – as I was discussing with a
friend of mine whose gender-related
class is continuously disrupted by
certain students – sometimes the
“jocks” still ruin certain aspects of
university life.
First I must make it clear that
my definition of “jock” differs from
my definition of “student athlete.”
Student athletes are just regular
nerds like the rest of us, who happen
to enjoy physical activity and
play an organized sport on campus.
However, the “jocks” are a little different.
They still sit in the back of
classrooms, disturbing the general
atmosphere with the fact that they
don’t care about Lawrence, because,
to quote one of my FRST classmates,
they’re “only here to play – insert
varsity sport here.”
At Lawrence, the social totem
pole is largely determined by who
you are and what you get done.
In other words, you’re important if
you win. Winning Fulbrights, winning
Watsons, winning Nobel Chemistry
Prizes, becoming the first chair
musician in the National Symphony
Orchestra. The people who “matter”
socially at Lawrence are the ones who
are going somewhere with what they
are doing – something that student
athletes accomplish but that “jocks”
still don’t seem to understand.
Maybe that’s because, at least in
my observations, “jocks” still socialize
mainly with each other, meaning
they don’t get the exposure to
people outside of the athletic world
at Lawrence. Sitting with the team
for every single meal of every single
day may be nice for building team
unity, but it doesn’t really do much
for encouraging outside opinions.
I think this is the main reason that
some “jocks” haven’t discovered that
this isn’t high school. Most Lawrence
students do not regard “jock” as an
enviable title.
As a senior, I have yet to go to
any Lawrence varsity sports events.
I’m proud of that fact, because it
means I am putting my time and
energy into things that produce,
results. Or, to put it in a less-elitist,
more touchy-feely way, people that
are polite and intelligible both inside
and outside class.
Does this mean that I’m not interested
in Lawrence sports? that I don’t
have any school spirit? No. I just prefer
to care about club teams, because
they tend to be filled with student
athletes – people who have excelled
at sports and academics.
My favorite team to care about is
the crew team. Being a club sport has
advantages, but it also had significant
disadvantages, including lower
funding, and well, fewer people actually
knowing they exist. In case you’re
wondering, rowing is a three-season
sport, which means these athletes
are working hard every single term to
thrive academically and athletically.
Recently, the crew had a regatta –
tournament, in crew-speak – which
turned out rather well for them. The
team is the largest Lawrence has ever
seen, and together they won a gold,
a silver and a bronze at that regatta.
If I had my way, I’d like to see more
articles covering the crew team –
and not from the op-ed section.