As a six-year-old, no other section of the newspaper mattered to me more than the sports section. The news, entertainment and commentary sections served little more purpose to me than confetti or kindling for another fire. For a boy of my age, this was not unusual. But even in high school, I was soaked in an environment that valued sports as inherent for any accurate understanding of a culture.
“Everyone either plays, watches or enjoys sports,” I thought.
My ignorance in this matter became fully exposed when I came to the University of Dallas, where I learned that Peyton Manning is not necessarily a household name.
Yet, why should it be? Why should students at UD — a university dedicated to the pursuit of a Catholic, liberal arts education — care about something as trivial as throwing a ball around a field? As my time at UD and my job as the sports editor both come to an end, it seems necessary to address this question wholeheartedly.
The answer rests on every athlete’s chest, each and every time he puts on his uniform. Deep beneath the fabric that stiches each jersey is an identity, an identity that carries with it a certain set of responsibilities that each individual accepts when he decides to attend the University of Dallas. No longer mere athletes, these individuals experience an incredible transformation; by donning the Crusader jersey, they become ambassadors for our school.
This unique transformation has a special significance here at UD, where we value the distinctive qualities of the Bubble. Our intense pursuit of virtue and truth, accompanied by a rich intellectual tradition based upon some of the most timeless works of all humanity, make for a proud community of individuals in pursuit of a common goal. Along with this pursuit of virtue and wisdom, however, comes an inherent responsibility to spread this gained knowledge and faith to the rest of the world, to broaden the reach of the Bubble and hopefully enlighten our fellow man.
If we take seriously our call as Catholics to spread the Good News of Christ, then our athletics department represents quite possibly the greatest opportunity to fulfill this calling. In each competition, athletes are given the chance to represent their school in a manner indicative of the values of their institution. The Crusader name across the chest thus takes on a whole new meaning. Each UD athlete becomes a symbol of an idea greater than himself, an idea that expects virtues of self-sacrifice, fortitude and resiliency in the face of both victory and defeat.
Each UD athlete, therefore, serves as a representative of the values of our school, and any UD student interested in spreading the virtues of our institution should necessarily care about the acts of its representatives.
In the years to come, I hope this section of the newspaper will only further draw people toward an awareness of this phenomenon. Athletes here work tirelessly and receive little acknowledgement for their achievements. While sports may never be an integral piece of UD culture, they will forever remain an essential means by which students of UD can reflect the values and traditions of our beloved school.