Thursday, February 1, 2007

Another Powerful Letter

From the Athens News:

Letter: Sports columnist insensitive to noble efforts of OU athletes

I just read Mark Chalifoux's most recent commentary in Monday's Athens NEWS and as a member of the recently cut women's lacrosse team, I found his article to be extremely hurtful and degrading to the efforts that my teammates and I, along with the men's track and field, and men's swimming and diving put into our respective sports. Every day, we are out there practicing, lifting and working toward winning games, meets and championships. We have worked toward the goal of playing Division I athletics our entire lives. For that dream to suddenly and with no warning be ripped away from us is heart wrenching, and we have every right to be upset and angry. Mr. Chalifoux seems to not care that our lives have forever been changed and that the underclassmen face the most difficult decisions in the next few weeks.

The height of Mr. Chalifoux's insensitivity is seen when he states that "men's swimming and diving, men's indoor and outdoor track, and women's lacrosse are not as important as football and basketball." Financially, Mr. Chalifoux may be correct. None of the four sports cut is a revenue producer. But to say that we are not as important as the football and basketball teams is wrong.

Our contributions to the athletics department, the school and the community extend well beyond the field. As students, the men's swimming and diving team, the men's track team, and the women's lacrosse team help bring national prestige to the school and the athletics department alike.

Last year, the lacrosse team placed 18 of 27 players on the American Lacrosse Conference's academic honor roll for having GPA's over 3.0. As a team we were also honored on national honor rolls. The athletics department would not be able to raise funds or run some of its other programs without us.

If you have ever been to a football or basketball game, then you have seen us, the swim team, the track team, and countless other teams selling split-the-pot tickets. In order to sell programs at the football and basketball game, the athletics department again recruits us to do it.

Volunteering is another huge part of being a student athlete -- and it is something that all four cut teams take pride in. Every quarter the lacrosse team participates in some form of volunteer work to give back to the community. Most recently, we volunteered with local children to teach them about Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Don't say we aren't important. You can't measure importance by the amount of money a program brings in. Importance should be measured by the contributions that we make, and I know without a doubt that the athletics department, the university and the community are going to be worse off without our four teams.

Jayme Levy
Women's Lacrosse, 2007

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