OP-EDS

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November 25, 2003

Be thankful for U of C sports

For the second time in its history, the University women's soccer team is two wins from a Division III national championship. While the team's achievement is extraordinary, many club and varsity teams alike have long but often ignored histories of success. Student attendance at athletic events is barely noticeable in most cases; both the basketball and swim teams debuted their new facilities to crowds made up of parents, other athletes, and supporters of opposing teams.

It would be foolish to attempt to create the kind of sports culture prevalent in Division I schools at a university that built a library on top of its football field and prides itself on intellectual pursuits. But the academic culture created by former University president Robert Maynard Hutchins and the support of our athletic teams are not mutually exclusive. Chicago athletes take great pride in their efforts both on and off the field, and supporting them is no different from appreciating the intellectual and artistic efforts of other students.

Two weeks from now, the University may very well host the women's soccer championship game. Should this occur, students will have an opportunity to witness their peers accomplish the greatest athletic feat a collegiate team can achieve. While few at the University count themselves as die-hard sports fans, our athletes appreciate it when their fellow students show them support. Chicago's academic orientation need not cast a negative stigma on attending athletic events.