“Six,” I counted, after another lap around the field house – The Lamb-Miller Field House that is. Hated by some, loved by many, the field house is home to five full-length indoor basketball courts, four indoor tennis courts, four badminton courts, three volleyball courts, a baseball and softball batting cage, and my personal property (a boy can dream), the 215-meter banked tartan track. Above me, evening light passed through the translucent dome, scattering a glow that reminded me much of the building at early morning. Catching my breath, as I felt that familiar stab of early season fatigue, the rhythmic trumpets of Jack Ü’s “To Ü” beating in my earbuds was slowly swallowed up by something even louder.
To my left, I began to see what I was hearing. Thirty-two women began to process, one by one, into the field-house and then out to the turf – all the while chanting a surprisingly strong rendition of the familiar World Cup theme, Wavin’ Flag. I paused to share a laugh with the golfer who had previously been swinging away inside the practice cages; both of us were visibly impressed by what could have rivaled any of those goose-bump inducing scenes from your favorite sports movie.
After pushing through the last few reps of my workout, I made my way out to Clothier Field. After their battle to defend the Centennial Conference title in the previous week and their first round NCAA championship win the night before, the women’s soccer team had more than earned the energy gathering as the stadium filled with fans. The game was soon underway. After 40 score-less minutes and a number of close calls, however, I began to wonder if the team had met its match. A few moments later, a shot finally found the back of the net, and the crowd behind me exploded. As I turned to snap a picture of the pandemonium, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with pride by the words emblazoned above them all: “Home of the Garnet.”
Coming to Swarthmore, I remember being unsure what to expect of athletic life here. Now, I am certainly not trying to imply that my average workout is interrupted by a musical number, courtesy of our talented women’s soccer team. However, I am trying to share just a slice of the continued beauty of athletic competition I’ve enjoyed here. For most lifelong athletes, these four years are the last and greatest years of our competitive careers. And it’s often moments like these that remind us that we wouldn’t have spent them anywhere else.