Volume 93, Issue 45
Thursday, November 18, 1999
Ending the dumb jock myth
TELL ME THE SECRET OF BALANCING SPORTS AND SCHOOL. Whatever it may be, Western honoured 132 of their brawniest and brightest at Tuesday afternoon's award luncheon.
By Michael Murphy
Jocks, getting good grades?
May sound fishy to the insecure, pointy-headed ectomorphs out there who still dismiss all sportos as "dumbbells," but as a recent awards luncheon proved, many of Western's varsity athletes have brains to spare.
Two sets of winners were honoured at the Great Hall on Tuesday. The Ontario University Athletics Academic Achievement Award was presented to all those athletes who managed an 80 per cent or higher in the 1998/99 school year, while playing on a varsity team that does not compete at a national level.
Those athletes who met the same scholastic standard, while playing for a team that does compete nationally, were presented with the CIBC Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union Academic All-Canadian Award.
"These awards are a great measure of what the university athletics experience is all about. I think it's a wonderful achievement," said Darwin Semotiuk, chair of Intercollegiate Athletics, in a brief address to the assembly.
Semotiuk added he was impressed that so many student athletes were able to meet the award criteria. Out of a total of 750 varsity athletes at Western, he stated, 132 achieved the 80 per cent requirement, which means approximately one in every five is an "A" student.
After all the certificates had been presented, various recipients offered their thoughts on the pains and pleasures of combining athletics with academics.
"It's very difficult for student athletes," said women's volleyball team captain Marnie Simpson. "With our sport stretching from September to March, we don't really know a time without volleyball. Out of necessity, you become a good time manager."
Amber Stewart, a second-year women's rugby player, agreed juggling school and sports commitments can be challenging. "It's definitely very tough during rugby season, which goes from September to November. I find I usually fall behind, then have to catch up once the season's over."
Sometimes the time commitment of a gruelling sports schedule, coupled with the demands of school can simply be too much to handle. Mike Hall, an award winner who played in goal for the hockey team last year, said he had to hang up his skates this season in order to pursue a business degree at Ivey.
However, Hall still felt sports and school can complement each other. "They go along together nicely. Both require discipline. Learning to work hard at practice makes it easier to work hard at the books."
So what does an "A" average athlete think of the old stereotype about stupid athletes?
"I think there are a lot of intelligent people who play these sports. It's not like they can't do well at school. It's just a matter of setting priorities and being focused," Hall said.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999