Apartment draw has now come and gone, with living arrangements scouted and decided upon. As is always the case, those leaving the dorms to try out the Town Houses, Terrace Apartments and the like have been partitioned into different locales spread out across campus—some will be situated right by the soccer fields, others by the Athletics and Fitness Center. Others will reside in the South Commons, slightly removed from the party scene so much a part of this campus.
I, along with some teammates on the men’s varsity basketball team, will be living in TH 156 for what will be two final semesters at Vassar College. It’ll be a blast, and I grow excited just thinking about it—not only living with some of my best friends, but also having an on-campus apartment to call one’s own. We’ll be able to barbecue and toss the football around in some warm weather, in our own space and, finally, as five housemates looking to have some fun. Living together will be a wonderful way to cap off our undergraduate careers, during which we spent months together.
TH 156 will be the place to be—and we’ll take care of it with a sense of pride—but it was by no means our first choice, harking back to the apartment draw process and the stress accompanying it. In fact, we really wanted to live in one of the TAs right by the basketball courts in the AFC. It made the most sense at the time, as basketball players drawn to the gym and in love with the game.
What could be better than living right by our varsity basketball court, by our locker-room and close to a new weight room? We spend hours and hours in the gym, shooting around and playing pickup games and lifting when there’s not much else going on. It comes with the territory, as competitively driven student-athletes looking to make the most out of collegiate athletics for four years. We live in the AFC, not only during the season but outside of it as well. That gym on the hill has become a part of each and every one of us, not only because of team practices and locker-room meetings but also the spring days spent dribbling and shooting and running after class.
My teammates and I, we’re there from autumn to winter to spring. That’s exactly what is required of us, since winning games truly matters to each and every one of us. As a college basketball player, I have to work on my game — in all kinds of ways — to reap the benefits when the spotlight is turned on come early January; that also goes for my teammates who will shoot and shoot to improve and excel. The same logic applies to studying for a test, which we all know too well. With an additional hour spent studying, performance will also improve as a result.
Thus, I shoot a lot of shots to become a better shooter—and, hopefully, perform better in competitive situations. That’s what the gym is for.
That’s also why we really wanted to live in a Terrace Apartment. It makes the most sense, since the varsity basketball court is a home away from home.
Quite frankly, that should mean something during the apartment draw process. A group of five varsity basketball players should be awarded some sort of preferential treatment, when it comes to living right next to AFC—home to the varsity basketball court, but also our team locker-room and all kinds of useful resources. We all spend hours on end there, doing one thing or another for the betterment of the team. So, why can’t the school help out in some tiny way? From a logistical standpoint, it makes the most sense!
Living right beside the AFC would mean more to me than it would to a non-athlete living in the same area, with no sense of dependence on the building right next door. The same goes for a varsity swimmer or anyone so closely tied to the Athletics and Fitness Center out of sheer necessity. The apartment draw process should be reformed to accommodate the student-athlete juggling study time spent in the library and practice time spent on the court or in the pool. That’s the most pragmatic solution. Helping one and not the other can be a dangerous proposition, but not in all situations. If “preferential treatment” actually makes a whole lot of sense, why not? If it make the most sense, why not help out?
Imagine spending five hours in the gym on a Monday, three more hours on the next day, and five more on the day after that one. Imagine spending days and days in the AFC, even during October break and for most of the dreary winter break on campus. Imagine practicing twice a day, followed by a team lift and a meeting to cap it all off. That’s varsity basketball in a nutshell, and it’s really easy to see why the basketball players on this campus become one with the varsity basketball court and the locker-room and the AFC weight room right on the hill.
It’s not a cliché to characterize the Athletics and Fitness Center as my second home. So, why not provide me—just as committed as myself to improvement via repetition—with the chance to live right by that second home? It would mean so much, having a first home and a second home just a few short steps apart. Our lives would be made so much easier.
It seems like a pretty valid justification for “preferential treatment,” or whatever you want to call it. My housemates and I, we’ll have a lot of fun wherever we are. The THs will still be a pretty cool place to live as college seniors. But, it does not mean that we’re not left longing for something a tiny bit better and a little more practical. Living in a Terrace Apartment would be more practical, without a doubt.
That’s where reform comes into play. The apartment draw process should involve some level of accommodation for the student-athlete, at least in this case. It’s just common sense.