Athletics At The High School

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“This school is just like high school,” is a common a comment heard among Amherst College’s students, and to a certain extent they are not wrong. The small number of students alone is similar to the size of public high schools, but the greater resemblance lies in the culture and social scene of Amherst. Like any other higher education institution, sports are important. They help create a sense of school spirit, attract a more diverse group of applicants, and play a large part in many students’ college experiences. Athletics at Amherst seem to have a life of their own, omnipresent and dominant on campus as well as off campus, defining the school’s social scene and perception of nearby institutions. The issue at hand with athletics at Amherst is that the lack of integration between athletes and non-athletes, combined with the extremely small student population, plagues the school. One of the main concerns about the place of athletics at a college is that varsity athletes have to juggle both academics and their respective sport. Another aspect of college life not included is cultural events offered by the school and other organizations. These are important to consider because events like these allow students to intellectually and socially expand themselves. Athletes at Amherst are noted to either not have the time or desire to participate in such events. As the Diver Report notes, “in each of their four years, athletes reported that being a member of their group made it significantly more difficult to attend cultural events than did other active students. In contrast, non-athletic active students were significantly more likely to report having joined more groups on campus than athletes.” Events put on by cultural organizations also... ... middle of paper ... ...etes and non-athletes. At a college as small as Amherst, these gaps cannot be afforded as it severely hinders social and intellectual growth on both sides. Larger universities allow for students to be as involved with athletics as they want and find their own groups accordingly, whereas at Amherst a student is either and athlete or not, or a person who just parties with athletes. Typically, other sports teams will attend parties at other socials, and while they are open to almost anyone, these events fail to unify the school, just like how fraternities cannot accomplish the same thing at larger universities. An emphasis on athletes integrating into the school past their team social circles would help improve overall morale and cohesion of all Amherst students, creating the real, small, liberal arts college community people envision when they think of Amherst College.
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