With the Coles Sports Center closing last weekend, it’s probably a good time to ask the question: what are NYU Athletics? With all the jokes that go around about the non-existent football team — even in official NYU merch — you’d think that we didn’t have a sports presence at all. But as a former member of a sports team at NYU, I can safely say that athletics at NYU do exist, and it is much larger than we think it is.
Last Sunday, we held our final event at Coles: two home games for women’s and men’s basketball. Yes, we lost both games, but the quality of sport, the atmosphere and the logistical support that our teams had was nothing short of spectacular. There was cheerleading, a concession stand, a pep band, halftime entertainment, radio coverage, post-game interviews and, of course, two really great games of basketball to watch. It was the closest thing to school spirit I’ve seen at NYU. In other words, this was your all-American sporting event, and while the turnout was not pathetic, it certainly wasn’t amazing.
Inside Coles, there are hundreds of people working almost every day to make NYU athletics happen, but no one takes notice. At a school where we often complain about a lack of campus and community, we overlook all our athletic facilities and dismiss them as nothing more a weekly session at the gym.
To me, capitalizing on our sporting events is one of many small solutions to the lack of school community at our massive institution. In fact, why isn’t an annual basketball game part of the freshmen Welcome Week? The NYU student body boasts a breadth of talent, and it’s only fair that the athletes get their time in the spotlight. There needs to be a change in athletic culture here to preserve what little spirit we have after the closing of Coles. Hopefully the funds being poured into the renovation aren’t wasted building another monument to the student body’s apathy towards athletic achievement.
Given the amount of time and effort going into our sports teams, and given the resolve with which every athlete dedicates themselves to their work, it’s a shame that they’re not a more prevalent part of our school’s culture. This is where you scream “But we’re Division III!” and I’m supposed to back off and let you get back to watching Netflix all weekend. But it doesn’t matter what division we are, we should watch our athletes do what they’re good at. Because if our athletes are using part of our tuition fees to fly all over the country to compete, the least we should do is go to a game once in a while. And we don’t always lose. By much.
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A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 29 print edition. Email Nishad More at [email protected]