A recent Phoenix article detailing a new series of Garnet pledge-violating parties made special mention that most of the partygoers were “affiliated with athletic teams”, to the chagrin of some athletes. Despite being a swimmer at Swat myself, I know that the Phoenix is justified in making this mention. As one of our editors wrote in a Facebook chat, there is a history of athlete exclusivity at parties and the vast majority of party incidents past and present have involved athletes, despite them being only 20% of the student body. The truth is, athletes are mostly to blame for the negative stereotyping around them.
This is not to say that athletics is not good for college. In fact, the opposite is true. Pride for sports is a unifying factor throughout colleges. Good sports teams bring revenue and improve the quality of applicants. The athletes themselves form life lasting bonds and learn skills like teamwork, leadership, and perseverance. When Swarthmore admissions is loaded with 10000+ incredibly qualified applicants gunning for less than 500 spots, filling out sports teams (yes, volleyball may have gotten her in, but she would have thrived at Swat even without that hook) makes their jobs easier. However, I personally still sense enough resentment of sports teams on campus that I find myself saying that I got into Swat Regular Decision, so as to convince people that swimming did not help me that much. This is due to a clear divide, almost to the point of segregation, between athletes and non-athletes.
Us athletes need to work harder to reach out to fellow non-sport playing Swatties. We should talk to that one guy sitting alone, make friends with classmates, and not give off an aura of arrogance or clique-behavior. Too often do I (as a socially awkward guy who sometimes feels that if I did not have swimming, I would have a tough time making friends) hear fellow athletes mocking academically-oriented Swatties. In the middle of the pandemic, athletes must stop partying. Once the situation clears up, parties should be more inclusive. This could be done by throwing no alcohol ones, making groups smaller so shyer people would feel more comfortable at, or engaging in speed dating/friending for introverted relationship-seekers. People look upon athletes as leaders and sometimes wish they were more like them socially. So, athletes, I ask you, to be positive and productive members of the community, not exclusive and unmindful ones.