You’re awoken by a loud, obnoxious beep that seems to only silence when it is smashed. Alarm clocks are annoying enough, but when it is 5:45 a.m. it is something just short of agonizing. To make this morning more unpleasant, it is 17 degrees and the snow on the ground has now turned to ice. This would not usually be so bad, however this morning your legs are still sore from last night’s workout, which ended at midnight. By the end of the workout you are so hungry that you are almost looking forward to Commons food. Why would you willingly put yourself in this situation? The answer is because that is what it takes. It is the difference between beating and losing to the last defender. It is the difference between making the buzzer beating jump shot or just missing it. It is the difference between running the last mile faster than the first or falling short. It is the difference between winning a one goal game and going to the playoffs or going home.
There are life experiences that shape people and give them the tools to be successful. Drew Athletics is that tool for many here in “The Forest”. Being a student-athlete is a privilege, not a right, something that gives a student a new identity. Fortunately for Drew, its student athletes fully embrace their role on campus as more than just students. I believe all Drew athletes would agree with me when I say that every time you put on your Drew uniform you are fully aware that you are not only representing your team, but your academic institution.
No matter how nice it feels to score that goal, dish that assist, dunk that basketball, break that record time, or hit that home run, none of it would be as special without the support of fellow Drew athletes from other sports or even non-athletes.
Student organizations are stepping up to give athletes more exposure around campus. “This season starts off an exciting new era for the Rangers with Jack Beers (’13) and RJ Voorman’s (’14) new blog Ranger Nation and Hayley McNeill’s (’14) Drew ZOO,” stated Caroline Kuras (’13), a midfielder for the women’s soccer team. “These student-run organizations are working hard to get our campus more involved with its sports teams. Our school spirit is growing exponentially and I am proud to be a Drew Ranger,” she added.
Being a part of a team gives a student the chance to make lifelong friendships that cannot be replaced. “Being an athlete at Drew means that I get to pursue a sport that I love while still receiving a great education,” commented field hockey midfielder Alexandria De Sousa (’15). “It also means being a part of extremely valuable friendships not only with my teammates, but with other athletes as well.” De Sousa is not alone in thinking this way. “It’s like one big family,” added Men’s Lacrosse Midfierlder Steve Gentile (’13). With this bond, teams have a positive affect on the school as a whole. “All the teams form a great dynamic on campus, which adds to an already collective community,” explained Men’s Lacrosse Attackman Scott Humphreys (’13).
Athletes here at Drew put their heart and soul into their training, striving for greatness. How one Drew athlete performs is indicative of every member of the student athlete family. “To be a Drew athlete,” Cross Country player Jen Van Wingerden (’13) expressed, “means representing the rest of your fellow athletes in how hard you work during practice and in both games and races.”
Professors at Drew have a history of a strong mutual respect with athletes. It is never easy to work around athletes who have to miss class for games, yet the Drew faculty have been more than happy to work around their schedules. “[Students] are a major source of school spirit. From the perspective of someone who teaches management, they recognize that teamwork is integral to success.” Baker Professor of Sociology Jonathan Reader commented, “After all, in the business world, companies rely on effective teamwork to carry out projects that are central to their missions.”
Despite a close bond with each other and the ever-present support of the faculty, Drew athletes still have a way to integrate with the rest of the Drew community. “I have a largely positive view of Drew athletes, yet I feel as though there is still room for an improved relationship with the rest of the student population,” said Austin Schiano (’13). “Personally I do not feel as though Drew athletes deserve the negative reputation they have with some of the non-athletes.” Hopefully this gap between athletes and non-athletes can be closed, as it would only bring the Drew community even closer.