I would like to preface this article by saying three things. First, I support all Bates athletics; second, some of the best friends that I have made here are varsity athletes; and third, I played four years of high school basketball, so I have nothing against athletes or athletic culture in general. Writing this is not a way for me to bash the athletics department or any of the athletes. Writing this article is a way for me to critique one particular part of Bates athletics that seems to go against the usual Bates attitude.
The issue is two-fold. The first part is the lesser of the two, and it is the exclusivity of the parties thrown in the athletic houses. The athletic houses seem to go against the natural Bates attitude of openness and inclusivity. However, from throwing and going to parties in high school, this aspect is somewhat understandable. Parties cannot be open to every single student that wants to go, simply because they would get dangerously large. And admittedly, the athletic parties are not the only parties on campus that are exclusive. The second part of the issue, and this is the real problem, is how the sports houses choose who to let in.
This often revolves around gender. What I have seen and heard is that to get into a party you either have to be a girl, or the group you’re with has to have substantially more girls than boys. In the opening weeks of school, I caught myself checking the guy-to-girl “ratio” when I went out. I was really disgusted with myself when I realized that I was doing this, and I was more upset when I realized that everyone around me was doing it too. However, I was most upset when I fully realized that this is how much of the social scene at Bates functions. It’s not fun for anyone, especially the people that get left out. Unfortunately, the issues about gender do not stop once inside the party.
There is also another issue that I had never thought of that was brought to my attention when talking to a freshman varsity athlete about parties. He said, “I was feeling that I was being pressured to do things that I would not normally do to seem cool. The irony of it was that with this behavior I was getting a lot of support, but at the same time, that support was not for who I really am, it was for an image, a persona. I was pretending to be someone I was not.”
As a final disclaimer, I do not want anyone to think that I am insinuating that all Bates athletes take part in this. I am saying that as a community, we should stop going along and do something to change this theme.