The campus connection

Andrew Bucholtz
Andrew Bucholtz

“So, you work for the Journal? That’s awesome! What do you do?”

“Well, I write sports stories.”

“Oh ... that’s cool. I guess.”

I’ve had the above conversation—or variants thereof—far too many times since I started writing for the Journal last year. In my opinion, it’s pretty indicative of the place sports—particularly those of the Queen’s variety—hold on this campus. To be fair, my own feelings in first year weren’t all that different. I went to many Gaels’ hockey games, lured by the promise of a former NHL star as head coach but somehow managed to avoid caring too much about the rest of the campus teams.

I still read the Journal’s sports section regularly back then but when I went to apply to work for the paper, covering campus sports was far from my mind—I wanted the glamour and intrigue of covering news and politics. Back then, I loved playing sports and watching professional games but I couldn’t seem to get too excited about university teams. Well, has that ever changed. I managed to fluke my way into writing for the sports section regularly last year and found the world of campus sports was far more exciting than I thought.

There’s a very high calibre of play in Queen’s sports, making them exciting to watch and report on. But what made the job even better was the chance to meet some of the most interesting people on campus. There’s the coaches who have invested large amounts of their lives into training student-athletes to fulfill their physical and mental potential, the trainers and managers who do far more than they get credit for; and, most notably, the athletes themselves.

Anyone who ever calls athletes lazy or selfish should go and meet any of our Gaels—they deal with all the academic stress that goes with being a student at Queen’s while also putting in huge amounts of time at practice, in the gym and on road trips. Despite the strenuous nature of their own sports and their academics, many of them choose to spend their free time cheering on fellow athletes from different sports. Huge egos are remarkably absent when speaking with these athletes—the stereotype of muscle-bound jocks taking courses such as “The Significance of Tiled Streets” while running roughshod over a campus is anything but true at Queen’s. Instead, we have a surplus of remarkably nice people who will take a few minutes to speak to reporters even after tough losses, who go out of their way to show their appreciation to fans and who never complain about the stress and pressure of being a varsity athlete at a fiercely academic school.

My work at the Journal has given me a new appreciation for what these campus athletes do. The world of sports has much to offer, especially on the big stages of the professional leagues. I love to see the best competition and covering bigger events would certainly be fun to do someday. But there will always be a special place in my heart for the lesser-publicized athletes of this world—the few, the proud, the Gaels.

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