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MIT Athletes Deserve Support and Recognition

Column By Daniel Wang
Associate Sports Editor

To all new students and new members of the MIT community, welcome to MIT. To everyone else, welcome back to the beginning of another term and another academic year at this most interesting place. The beginning of the year also means the beginning of the fall season and another year of sports.

I hope you all have the chance to watch and support the athletes of your school. The fine facilities are nearby, and admission to almost all events is free.

So the teams here, most of which are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III, may not be as good as the teams you might watch on television, or the ones that grace the front page of major newspapers. That should not be a reason not to come support teams at the Institute. The athletes here still display the spirit of amateurism at its best, without most of the bad things you might hear about in collegiate athletics.

Here at MIT no one is participating on any athletic scholarship, let alone "full rides." There are virtually no over-inflated egos seeking future fame and multi-million dollar contracts (at least not in athletics). Here you will most likely not hear about the various scandals you hear about from time to time at other places, such as drug use, academic ineligibility, or top recruits running into trouble with NCAA Proposition 48.

MIT athletes are probably one of the truest form of the student-athlete that founders of intercollegiate athletics had in mind. Almost all of those who comprise the Engineers play simply because they enjoy their sport enough to want to be serious about it and try to improve their skills. Most of them come to MIT with their studies as top priorities, and find sports to be another part of their lives. Even though MIT's sports teams are not of the caliber which capture national attention, many of the athletes, myself included, are grateful of that fact. They probably would not be able to compete at such a high level, but are willing to take advantage of the opportunities available at MIT. I urge you all to come out to watch and support their efforts.

You might even be surprised by the levels of ability and achievements. Some of MIT's athletes and teams are even among the best in the nation.

The past two semesters, there was a fair share of achievements by MIT athletes. In the fall, the men's tennis team produced the New England doubles champion for the third year in a row. The football team had its best season ever, going into its final game with a chance to win a conference title.

Last winter witnessed the second woman basketball player in Institute history to break the 1,000-point career scoring plateau, and later went on to become MIT's all-time leading female scorer. The men's gymnastics team, meanwhile, qualified for the national team championships.

There were also dramatic moments, when there was a crowd to witness and cheer, such as the time when the men's ice hockey team took on the league's top team, needing a win to make the next day's league playoffs. Amid a deafening roar, the Engineers managed to pull off the upset.

In the spring, MIT played host to the inaugural New England Women's Eight Conference Track and Field Championships. The event played host to the breaking of one Institute record and tying of another one. After final exams, the top men's tennis doubles pair made a run to the semifinals of the national championships.

Above all, every year the Engineers manage to produce scores of national award recipients, including All-Americans and Academic All-Americans.

These are only a few of the highlights of athletics at MIT last year. Expect many similar feats this year. I apologize to other achievements that I failed to mention.

For those who do not already know, Boston is a wonderful place to witness numerous athletic events. Professional baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and football games are always exciting to watch, but there is more. In October, the Charles River adjacent to MIT plays host to the Head of the Charles, the largest rowing regatta in the world. Months later on Patriots Day there is the Boston Marathon, an event which is great to watch, and according to some, just as good if not better to run. I witnessed it last year, and had a wonderful time. You might even see me there some time in the next few years.

In addition, there is always something happening, either in the city of Boston, or at one of the many college campuses in the area. When something does, do not miss it!

I must not forget to mention that athletics are not just something fun to watch but are also fun to participate in, whether or not you are competitive. MIT has wonderful facilities and opportunities for all levels to get involved. For new students, this time affords a wonderful chance to learn something new. Do not pass up on these chances to gain exercise and take a refreshing break from academics!

The Sports Department at The Tech will make its best effort to follow all of the action. Expect in-depth reports on most major MIT events. There will be occasional reports and commentary of national and international events. Despite the recent graduation of Mike Duffy and Andrew Heitner (a.k.a. Your Humble Scribes), the backbone of our opinion-based writing, we will try to continue their legacy. Finally, there will be many photographs which capture the moment and display the emotion. There is much to look forward to in this section of The Tech.

In closing, I wish the best of luck to the athletes of MIT, as well as to everyone else in whatever you do. I would also like to remind you to continue reading The Tech, the authority in coverage of athletic events at MIT, both in words and in pictures.