As I sit here typing this, I have no idea where I want this article to go. And perhaps that is something that points to a bigger idea.
I am a college student. I had to look up how to close window blinds on YouTube because I couldn’t get my apartment blinds closed. I am absolutely still trying to learn how to be a functional member of American society. I don’t think I’m doing a particularly bad job of it thus far, but I will also openly admit that I have made, do make, and will continue to make mistakes. I am a 21 year old junior in college.
So when our freshman cornerback drops an interception that hit him in the hands later this fall, please, remember this.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, these athletes are not truly paid. These young men and women decided to continue their athletic careers at a prestigious university just because they love their sport. Though we have excelled in American Conference play over the last couple of years, realistically speaking, almost all of our athletes will conclude their athletic careers at the University of Tulsa.
We are talking about teenagers and people in their early 20s giving up their free time, sacrificing their bodies and social lives, working hard as not only students at a challenging university, but also trying to fit in practices and work outs and time spent away from school travelling to compete with other schools.
I can understand yelling obscenities at people who are being paid millions of dollars to play their sport. Rude or not, anyone making several million dollars likely deserves some criticism if they perform poorly. Students at TU who play sports are not in the same category. When one of our many young basketball players misses a key free throw late in the game, please remember that he is 19 years old, just spent all day yesterday studying for a midterm in his Chemistry class, may be going through a breakup, and is honestly just trying his best.
Even if you are not one to yell, I ask you to temper your expectations. All of our teams are composed of amateur athletes, and some units (like our 2016 basketball roster) are very inexperienced. They are capable of very high “highs”, and very low “lows”. We may upset Ohio State in a back-and-forth thriller, only to lose to Tulane later this year. Upsets are pervasive in sports, and even more frequently so in amateur sports. When was the last time your March Madness bracket was even close?
Again, this is largely an exercise in stream-of-consciousness writing, but the idea has stuck with me as I’ve spent more time thinking about my life, my younger brother who is headed to college for his freshman year, and after my efforts to learn about our incoming basketball class.
Before you yell at someone for shanking that field goal, remember that he is still the guy sitting behind you/your daughter in Calculus 2 next Monday.