A senior looks for his final Big Green game
I'm in sports writers purgatory. Graduation is still 16 days away, but today is the final newspaper edition of the spring. By the time you read this, I'll be unemployed. And there are no games to cover.
Just one game, please. I'll admit it, I'm a Dartmouth sports junkie and I need just one more hit before I leave. But the schedule doesn't lie. There will be no games in Hanover today. So I'll have to go in search of a game. Hopefully my internal sports compass won't let me down this one last time.
Hopping in my car I grab my pen and notebook and throw them on the seat like I do every time I drive to the game, trying to forget that this is my last story. I head out to the outdoor basketball courts, but nobody is there. Frantically I race to the football field, but there is an eery silence lingering over the field like the morning frost. Leede Arena is dark, Thompson Arena cold and the baseball field empty. The stark reality is beginning to set in. There will be no games in Hanover today.
And with that stark realization I realized I was no longer a part-owner of Dartmouth sports. Dartmouth athletics are a unique thing--by paying tuition every year you become one of 4,000 owners of every Big Green team that takes the field. And at today's prices, paying $30,000 a year to own over 20 teams is a pretty good bargain. For $120,000, we got to root and cheer for our roommates, our classmates, our lab partners and our friends. More importantly, we could talk about Big Green sports teams using the word "we." We beat Princeton in football, we beat Harvard in hockey. It was never they. It was always we. I don't want to lose the "we." I don't want to sell my shares of "we" to the incoming class of 2003.
Mostly I'm afraid the class of 2003 won't be as good of owners as we were. Over our four years, we led the football team to a 24-game unbeaten streak, a perfect season and an Ivy League championship. Our shrewd decisions helped the women's lacrosse team to three Ivy League titles in a row and a Final Four appearance.
Under our guidance, Dartmouth captured 13 Ivy League titles. We were winners and we did it without cheating. Never once were we put on probation for a recruiting scandal, our players didn't shave points and nobody abandoned Hanover for the bright lights and big contracts of the pros.
Despite losing our ownership priviliges, I hope everybody in the senior class will take at least one memory of Dartmouth sports with them to the rest of their lives. Furthermore, I hope that as alumni we never forget the "we" mentality. Dartmouth teams will always be your team. Every time you are in your home, at a bar or on the internet, every time a Dartmouth score passes by you will get a shiver in your spine and think back to the time you stood in the bleachers after a football game singing the alma mater, win or lose. Remember, the Ivy League is merely an athletic conference that happens to have some good schools in it. Your "Ivy League" experience in reality only describes your athletic memories from your four years, whatever they may be.
But our experience is over. Yesterday, I wanted one more game, one more chance to root for Dartmouth sports in person. But there are no games in Hanover today. It's time to leave the owner's box.