The Collegian
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Work vs. play

This is not a column about school spirit. I know that the majority of Richmond students are proud to be Spiders, because if we weren't, then we would have transferred by now.

We have some of the most architecturally beautiful buildings on campus, state-of-the-art facilities for academics and student life and, of course, plenty of schoolwork to keep us busy.

But I thought that more people would have showed up for a gorgeous fall afternoon of football.

I know midterms are upon us, and sometimes that comfy chair in Boatwright is hard to get out of (or, if you can leave the chair, it's only for a double-shot espresso mocha Frappuccino from 8:15). We, as students, are inundated with tons of papers to write, articles to read, films to watch, labs to test, paintings to paint, spreadsheets to compute and more.

But don't you think you deserve a break from it all?

A few hours spent absorbing some much-needed vitamin D from the sun and fresh air (if you spend too long in Boatwright, you forget what fresh air smells like because the fresh air in that little courtyard on B-1 is more nicotine-filled than oxygen-filled) can do the body and mind good. Also, Saturday was one of the finest fall days thus far: no 90-plus degree heat, humidity was low and there was a pleasant breeze. What's not to love?

The culture of our campus is not one that would be featured on ESPN College Game Day, and I've spent the past four years realizing that. When David Anderton, RC '76, called the student section "a self-absorbed and over-indulged group of apathetic human beings," I knew he was wrong.

Students today probably have a lot more work than many of Anderton's classmates did in the 1970s because of the university's ever-present need to rank among the best. Students today probably are involved in a lot more activities than many of Anderton's classmates were in the '70s because of a larger student body and the mental complex of many students to do everything and anything.

So there was a poor student showing in the student section on Family Weekend. So what? The game was at an awkward time when many families had dinner reservations and other obligations. Also, because of poor planning, many students' families were not able to get tickets to the game. It was a fluke, and I don't think that the lack of students caused the Spiders to get trumped by Delaware.

With all of the hullabaloo swirling around Anderton's poorly written letter, I imagined more students would have turned out for the Coastal Carolina game last Saturday. We can yammer all day about the lack of student attendance, but really, what's the point?

For those students who were studying and working on their midterms: Good for you! I hope that crucial three-hour block of time on a Saturday afternoon spent in the library or wherever you happened to be went to good use. But you missed out on a remarkable fourth quarter of Richmond football.

I know this week is going to be tough for many, but I hope you will realize that you really can spare three (or two-and-a-half, if the Spiders have a huge lead, as we did against Coastal Carolina) hours when there is a home game. We only have six this season, and three are over, so plan accordingly.

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It's all about choices. Personally, I chose to go to the game because, quite frankly, I did not have anything else better to do on a beautiful afternoon. Also, I have a strong aversion to stepping foot in the library or any other study space on a Saturday.(It's just one of my idiosyncrasies.) The game was over by 4 p.m., and I was back at my apartment by 4:30 p.m. (and I'm a slow walker). There was still plenty of time to attempt some homework before the night's festivities began.

You can choose not to go to the game; that's fine with me. No one can make people go. But I wonder how much work I would complete if I spent a Saturday in the library.

I am sure that there will be a massive turnout for the Homecoming game against Towson University, but that's to be expected. Will there be another large turnout for the following week's game against CAA-rival James Madison University? I would hope so, but I'm not letting Vegas take my bet.

It's hard to predict the cyclical effects of the "work wave" that swamps students every few weeks at Richmond. I wish professors would realize their planning of tests, quizzes, papers, labs, etc. would adversely affect students' free time during a home game weekend, but then again, we're here to learn, not to be drunk and obnoxious fans at a giant state school.

To Anderton, I challenge you to switch places with a current Richmond student during a week of a home game (and perhaps you can try to do five midterms at the same time, just for funzies). I'm sure you will see that the current Spider has a lot more obligations, organizations and just plain homework than you did back in 1976.

To all of the current students, I understand the amount of work we have is sometimes impossible to complete on a Sunday (especially if you are still feeling the effects from the night before). But, there are three home games left. The schedule is available online. Get out your planner, and if you have a paper due the Monday after the game? Then don't go. But if you have nothing else better to do? Down a few drinks, eat a burger and enjoy an afternoon of friends and football.

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