“What’s a Garnet?”
When chanted by Haverford fans, this begins to sound awfully similar to, “Let’s go Garnet”, which is what Swarthmore fans kindly chant back– much louder. However, neither the meager Haverford student section’s taunts nor the (perhaps by now apparent) rivalry between Swarthmore and Haverford serve as the focus of the coming paragraph. Rather, the focus is the seemingly simple question posed by the Haverford students. After all, what is a Garnet?
Garnet is both the birthstone for the month of January and one of Swarthmore’s colors. Formally, “The Garnet” is the name of Swarthmore’s Athletics teams— a role that changed slightly with the introduction of Phineas the Phoenix as the College’s mascot in 2006. An introduction that came perhaps because it is slightly more exciting having someone dress up as a phoenix at College events instead of a stone. Saying “Go Garnet” in the context of Swarthmore is not saying, “Go Gemstone”, rather, it is similar to the University of Michigan saying, “Go Blue”, Cornell University saying, “Go Big Red”, or Dartmouth College saying, “Go Big Green”. “Go Garnet” is simply a way of celebrating the teams and students typically dressed in Swarthmore’s school color.
To me, Garnet is the embodiment of the Swarthmore Athletics community I am fortunate enough to be a part of. A community that is relentlessly supportive of each other’s endeavors on the field/court/track, in the pool, in the classroom, and everywhere else. Student-athletes at Swarthmore are not confined to being just a student and an athlete. Some of my teammates are engaging in research through the Biology, Psychology, Education, Chemistry, and Math Departments. Some of my teammates are the presidents of the clubs they are involved in. All of my teammates, despite having their Google Calendars filled, make time for the incidental experiences and the people with which they occur.
Garnet is a color, a gemstone, a name, and, most importantly, a representation of one of many student groups on campus, that help enhance the Swarthmore experience of those who choose to participate.