Courtesy of Dan Whalen
Dan Whalen, an SI summer intern, is the starting quarterback for Division III Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He will blog about life in D-III every week.
Somewhere between the hours of football practice and film study, I find time to put the "student" into student-athlete, though my three roommates might have varying opinions on that. Being an English major (and Psychology too, by the way) at Case, with the good, I have no choice but to accept the bad.
The three guys I live with are all engineers of some sort; one's mechanical, one's chemical, and the other's biomedical. So of course I catch constant grief about how easy it is being an English major at a school where pre-meds, pre-laws and engineers are king. Well, I really have to stick up for myself at this point.
They are up, sitting at their desks until the wee hours of the morning, chewing on their pencils while they try to formulate and figure out their quantum physics or determine the terminal velocity of whatever happens to be falling. "All you do is read a few books and write some papers," is what they tell me. "You never do anything."
I get my critical thinking done other ways. Like discussing how in the world newspapers and other print media are going to survive over the next fifteen years. Or studying the affects of attitude on behavior. And, though it isn't so much my style, I can overwrite a sentence like: "It was quixotic to expect the Browns to beat the Steelers on Sunday, rather I should have foreseen the maelstrom of the crowd that followed my roommate's prescient warning of us being defeated yet again." Can my engineer teammates tell you what that means? I remain unconvinced. They do science, I do the liberal arts deal. Less work? Maybe. Easier? It's all relative.
I get the same ridicule on the practice field. I've heard it all: Quarterback drills are a joke, the most I take is three or four steps on a given play, or my personal favorite, "You spend half of practice laying on the ground!" OK, maybe that third one is true, but it's for a good cause. Three minutes of the individual period of practice is devoted to "ball security meditation." I believe our top-ten ranking in turnover ratio to be a direct correlation of time spent on the ground with our eyes closed. (Cleveland Browns: take note.)
What is my response to their feelings of loathing and resentment? Sure, at any other position practice may be tougher and more physically grueling, but how many guys have to know the responsibilities of all the other players on the field? And yes, I get instant gratification and popularity with every win, but its not like I have a pair of mistresses fanning me with palm leaves while they feed me grapes. I break a huge mental sweat through all the "intellectual ferment" I do back there under center.
English majors are students. Quarterbacks are athletes. And ball meditation would probably keep the Browns from an 0-3 start. Let it be known.