I was known as “the hipster” during high school because of my fashion sense and impeccable taste in all things indie rock, but here at Columbia, I am no longer unique because of this. I thought my trendsetting days were over until I realized my Nikes and thrifted, neon sweatsuit could be used for more than just making a statement against the fashion industry.
Passing through Grant Park on my way to campus, I saw college kids with Columbia t-shirts chucking frisbees at each other. Who are these people? I thought.
When I got back to my dorm I did a quick Google search for Columbia College Chicago Sports and this website is what I came up with. It’s proving to be difficult to choose between tennis, ultimate frisbee, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, dance, poms and volleyball. If my schedule permitted it, I’d play them all! I’d be so active, healthy, and did I mention… ironic?
Columbia College Chicago is not known for their sports. This has been an ongoing issue since the 90s. In the March 19, 1990 issue of the Columbia Chronicle there was an editorial entitled “Columbia doesn’t need the common sadness inherent in collegiate athletics today”, the first paragraph reading”:
“Every once in awhile, talk surfaces within these hallowed halls of Columbia College about how wonderful it would be if the school started a sports program. A genuine sports team — basketball, perhaps–many students say, would help bring students together, give them something to rally around.”
The article continues and ends with: “Intramural sports, on the surface, sounds like a viable alternative. The problem is that, too, will cost money — money that is better spent elsewhere–easing overcrowding, for example. Perhaps when the public relations firm the school hired last year start to generate endowment funds, the time will come to start thinking sports. Until then, the idea best remains what it presently is–talk.”
Sports at Columbia, until recently, has been a joke- despite having a softball/baseball team off and on since 1946. An article titled “Columbia in the Big 10; vows to kick DeVry’s ass” did not even make the front page of the 1993 April Fools’ Day issue of the Chronicle.
Paula Weiner, Administrator and Manager of the Liberal Education Department and Tai Chi Instructor in 1999, commented in a Columbia College Oral History that the college wanted student organizations, but sports teams were almost non-existent at the turn of the century, despite students expressing interest in having them. At the time, we didn’t have the facilities or the space for sports. Being an athlete might not be on trend today either, but to state the obvious, playing an intermural sport after class is a healthier approach to relieving stress than smoking a cigarette on Michigan Avenue. Many students are unaware that sports even exist, but a student sports organization aptly called the Renegades is active and thriving on campus. The intramural approach to sports seems to dispel the competitive nature that often is accompanied by organized leagues.