On first glance, it’s alarming enough. 53 all Americans, 12 national champions, 2 world record breakers, 41 olympic trials qualifiers, 2 Rhodes scholars. What?!
But let’s talk about the real people behind those stats. The All-American pole vaulter who, hours after shattering the school record, decides to take up a game of Connect Four against me, just a high school senior on a recruiting visit, to try to convince me to commit to William and Mary, all while discussing his favorite computer science classes. The 4x400m anchor leg who can guarantee a win for your team, but might accidentally set a turtle loose in the training room because he saw it crawling through traffic and needed to save it without being late for his appointment. The USATF competitor whose laugh is so joyful, so boisterous, that the second it echoes through the weight room, it can snap you out of wanting to drop your barbell and quit, and snap you back into remembering why you love this team. The sprinter phenom who has a kick like no other, but which can’t even compare to his limbo skills.
These are the people who make up the unique, irreplaceable culture of W&M track and field. This group of men AND women works TOGETHER to push themselves to unparalleled heights both in their sport and in the classroom. This culture opens doors to people who might otherwise never make it out of their hometowns, and breeds the greatest future Olympians, leaders, doctors, teachers, lawyers, problem solvers. By cutting the men’s track and field program, William & Mary admin is doing a disservice to the William and Mary community and the world as a whole.
W&M admin has a lot of issues to address right now. The needs of contract workers have yet to be addressed, the school has yet to take meaningful action against racism in the past and present, and the school is struggling to handle bringing students back to campus during a global pandemic. These are all problems that deserve protest. The problem of cutting 7 sports teams has an easy solution. Reinstate these teams, and get on to dealing with the real problems.