We all know the story of the high school footballers and cheerleaders who dominate the sports scene — it is depicted in every John Hughes and coming of age ‘80s film, where the band geeks, the chemistry nerds, and the remainder of the non-athletes are undervalued. When considering colleges, sports did not sit at the top of my priority list. In fact, I only applied to select liberal arts schools that have little to no emphasis on sports. When it comes to athletics, Emerson College, although carrying a strong reputation in few sports departments, focuses on school spirit and enjoyment rather than competition and ranking. Living in sports-thriving New England makes the experience culturally meaningful though.
The Wizardly Sport
“We don’t fly. We don’t think we fly. We play Quidditch.” The most widely entertaining and serious sport at Emerson College is Quidditch: the wizardly game from “Harry Potter” that involves “riding” on broomsticks, braving scrapped knees, and competing in the fictional Wizardly World, (but let’s not forget the wild parties thrown by upperclassmen after competitions). Just joking, the parties aren’t that wild, but the sport is.
Quidditch consists of six teams, all culminating in a championship cup known as the Griffith Cup, similar to the Quidditch World Cup in “Harry Potter.” Games take place in The Common, where students and staff cheer on The Old North Outlaws, The Faneuil Falcons, The Boylston Berserkers, and the other three teams referencing Boston street names and districts.
New England Spirit
Although most students at Emerson would rather watch the season premiere of American Horror Story or create an independent, psychological thriller with friends, sports are hardly looked down upon. In the dining halls and student lounges, New England football, Bruin’s ice hokey, and Red Sox baseball games can be found playing. Students take pride in their New England sports teams, especially since Boston is one of the capitals of sports history and culture, and loudly entertaining baseball fans.
Attending Red Sox games are perfect for date nights, Friday evenings with friends, or fun-filled experiences of passionate Bostonians shouting and rooting for their home team. Coming from San Diego, my hometown showed little enthusiasm towards sports — the Padres team being placed at #5 in the “longest losing streak in Major League Baseball history,” according to Baseball-Reference.com, devoured my spirit. Though arriving in Boston around the time of Derek Jeter’s last game at Fenway Park, my knowledge of sports increased, as did my interest in attending baseball games, wearing red and white colors, and speaking highly of my new college city/hometown.
The Truth About Sports
How do we define “sports?” A physical activity for competition and enjoyment? A form of exercise to build muscle and increase strength? These are physical descriptions of sports, but what about the mental components, the communication with peers, and the spirit of the game? The question that should be posed is, what magnitude do sports carry? From my experience at Emerson, I’ve learned two valuable things that answer that question.
First, sports don’t have to be physical. Meditation, yoga, breathing excersises, and building relationships with peers are all forms of healthy activity. My West Coast persona shines in Boston when I practice downward facing dog and “leaping lotus” in The Common with friends, or when I attend community outreach meetings, shake hands with visionary students and strangers, and let my open-mindedness unfold in classroom settings.
Second, sports can apply to anything. If listening to the beats of Disclosure or jamming to the riffs of Nirvana are your callings, by all means, pursue it. If excelling in documentary filming or reviewing concerts excite you, follow that as well. There are many “sports” or avenues of interests at Emerson and surrounding Boston. Whatever that “sport” or passion is, don’t give up on it. Everyone caters to something.
Sports generally carry a physical or competitive connotation, but when that’s eliminated, the term becomes more subjective and insular, allowing students to free their minds and explore different avenues of interests. New England’s spirit and Emerson’s pride make up the culturally and academically enriching experience for college students.