Athlete calls for preferential housing

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.

19 Comments

  1. this is ridiculous. what is the reason for preference for athletes as opposed to any other groups on campus? do you truly believe you are THAT exceptional to deserve special treatment from administration? quite frankly, as athletes, you should be able to walk the half mile to and from the basketball courts from the THs. take a look around you and look at the people you’re advocating for: primarily straight, white men with an overwhelming sense of superiority. this is not “common sense”, but rather the opinion of an egocentric, privileged person whose concerns only revolve around how his well-being. perhaps you should open your ears and eyes to other issues around campus and gain some perspective about how your personal qualms about athlete housing may not be as important as you think.

    • While there may be more serious issues around campus, belittling someone’s opinion on any matter is not an effective way to encourage a discussion. It’s one thing to bring up counterpoints, another to berate someone who took the time and effort to communicate their opinion. I think we could create a much better community here if we tried more of the former and less of the latter.

    • I agree that the proposal is bizarre, and I’d add that it demonstrates an embarrassing lack of self-awareness on the part of the person making it. But surely you didn’t mean to suggest that the race or presumed sexuality of members of the basketball team has anything to do with it. It’s pretty outrageous to reject someone’s idea on the basis his race or sexuality, don’t you think?

  2. You dare not address me up front, so you hide behind the veil of anonymity? If you actually knew me, you would realize that I shudder at the thought of egocentrism and privilege — I strive for humility in my life, and you can ask some of my closest friends for proof. I’m merely advocating a common-sense approach because a gym right next door means more to me than it does to a non-athlete in the same location, nothing more. Thank you for your comment.

    • Look Luka, I don’t know and am not pretending I do. I am merely pointing out that by solely offering an argument that would specifically affect student athletes, you are positing that your (collective) needs outweigh the needs of others. Why create an unnecessary power structure within the apartment draw system and on the campus as a whole? The reform you speak of advocates segregating the campus, creating atmosphere of separatism.

    • And I want to live in the TAs so that I can be close to Blodgett and Kenyon because I am an Econ major. I probably spend more time in those buildings than you do in the AFC. So………who gets the preferential treatment then? Dude…I’m sorry…you just don’t make a good argument.

  3. I think the author makes a very solid case for the necessity of Vassar to up its Freshman Writing Seminar game.

  4. All right, preferential housing for athletes has a few issues:
    1) Athletes are not the only individuals who utilize the AFC. Just because you are a varsity athlete does not mean that you should have closer access to the facilities over someone who goes to the gym everyday as well.
    2) Walking from the Ths to the gym is at max a 15 minute walk. You’re not going to gain that much time on a daily basis by being closer to the Gym
    3) The TAs would then become exclusively athletes which would further the divide that exists already between our athletic community and the rest of the student body.

    You live in a community of not only athletes. Please take the rest of the community into consideration as well.

  5. Luka, I have all the respect for you and what the men’s basketball team has done this year, but this is just frankly not an argument I think makes any sense. I went to Vassar to get a good education. I was an Econ major and had most of my classes in Blodgett or Kenyon, much closer to the TAs then THs or SoCos. I spent most of my time in those buildings studying (probably not the same as you guys in the gym, but perhaps over a full year it averages out–especially since you don’t need to spend much time there after March). Should I get preferential treatment to be close to the buildings that house my departments?

    Why do athletes deserve to be close to something they need at the expense of other students?

    I appreciate you putting this out there, but can’t agree.

  6. OK so while my last comment was in jest, why should this even be discussed? It’s a drastic measure that benefits a very specific stratum of the Vassar population. It might make your lives easier, but all of us here would enjoy the college accommodating our every whim. There are bigger issues to discuss on our campus, so I don’t see the harm in trivializing an issue of such relative unimportance.

  7. Why is this in the Sports section and not the Opinions section? This is not objectively reported news but an incredibly biased and entitled opinion piece. Reporting this as if it’s fact makes it look as if this one writer represents all sports players which is certainly untrue.

    Get it together, Misc.

  8. There’s a slippery slope here: Give athletes automatic dibs on housing close to the AFC, sure, and then give math majors preference in Raymond, people on the Deluxe Meal Plan priority in Noyes or Lathrop, etc. Suddenly, housing across Vassar is segregated. As a fellow varsity athlete, I think it would be a disaster. We chose to play D3 at Vassar for a number of reasons; we are privileged enough to live around great people — non-athletes — whom we might never have met without the housing situation set up the way it is. Don’t try to segregate us for the mere sake of convenience.

    • I absolutely agree with you. We have a small campus and there is no need to segregate people based on their activities/classes.

  9. I admire you, Luka. I wish I had the courage to speak out about issues of concern to me like you do. Rather than berating you, everyone should be envious of your courage to put ideas out there that may not be appreciated by the majority. I give you all the respect you deserve man, keep writing!

  10. As an adult who has known Luka since he was in kindergarten, I can tell you that he doesn’t have one iota of an “overwhelming sense of superiority” in his bones and neither does any member of his family. So before M and others make these kinds of judgements against someone they have never met, get your facts straight.

    And from my perspective, although good arguments can always be made for and against almost any issue, when you express your opinion anonymously, it is and should be meaningless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *