SPORTS

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November 11, 2003

My attempt at fandom jinxed women's soccer

The fact that our undefeated women's soccer team lost the UAA championship this past Saturday is entirely my fault.

It all started when I first learned of the team's immaculate record sometime last week. I got excited and figured I'd show some school pride. I was going to try to negate the aura of those who wear "Where Fun Comes to Die" shirts—though some would argue that those shirts and others like them are Chicago's own version of school pride. I was going to try to make it easier for the tour guides who must try to convince the prospective students that yes, we do have an athletics program, and yes, it is pretty good for what it is.

Yes, it's Division III, but then again, we have a sizable list of recent championships. I heard that the men's basketball team was doing really well a few years ago. Then I heard a bunch of people quizzically responding, "Team?" Yes, we have teams. Yes, sometimes they do very well.

Why not celebrate this? Because former President Robert Maynard Hutchins, the guy who banned varsity football, would disapprove? Apparently sports are just not what we do here. We sit in our rooms and read Great Books, and that's what Chicago is all about.

First of all, Hutchins did not axe the football team as part of his agenda to make Chicago as impractical as possible (which he actually did by introducing Great Books, the Core, and shying away from technical or vocational training). He did worry that a college's obsession with football harmed its academic emphasis, but the football team at the time also sucked. It was embarrassing for the administration to continue it any longer. The University first tried to lighten the schedules of the boys playing football, but when that didn't help, Hutchins took it away.

Well, our women's soccer team does not suck, not in the least, and in honor of this I decided to have my first College Sports Experience.

It is precisely because this was my first College Sports Experience that the team lost. Upon arriving to the field in the 35-degree cloudy weather, I noticed that I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was not Greek, I was not a mom or dad who knew every team member's name, and I wasn't from Wash U or Notre Dame. What were Notre Dame people doing here in Hyde Park anyway?

So of course I jinxed it. In attempting to support something going right in the realm of athletics at our fine university, I only disrupted that perfect matrix in which women's soccer was already existing without my help, just as when my Latin TA is in his apartment when the Cubs play, they always lose.

I guess I have a lot to learn about being a sports fan. I'm truly sorry.