A multitude of Mills undergraduates will leave this college without attending a single athletic event, a sad truth that speaks volumes about the lacking sense of community that frustrates many Mills women. Schoolwork, midterm preparation and nightly take-home reading monopolize our time and often hinder our attendance of on-campus events. However, many of us forget that the athletes participating in sporting events are also students who bear similar
academic workloads as the rest of us.
As a Division III school, Mills has neither the resources nor the competitive environment to attract stellar high school athletes. We are incapable of luring them with fancy athletic scholarships and other perks. Our athletes are the women sitting next to you in class, frantically taking the same notes. The fact that may elude the student body is that Cyclones do not merely juggle athletics and academics; they excel at both.
As of Spring 2005, the average GPA of Mills student athletes, at 3.42, was higher than the 3.39 average of the general undergraduate population. In addition, many of our teams earned numerous awards from the National Athletic Intercollegiate Association (NAIA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Awards include the Academic All-American Honors, the Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character and also, multiple community service awards.
Because Mills does not have a history of dominating the soccer fields and volleyball courts, achievements in swimming, crew and cross country are often overlooked. The cross country team was CalPac Conference regular season Champions in 2005, while the crew team was nationally ranked in the same academic year. In addition, several swimmers represented Mills at the NAIA national swim championships in the past two years.
Even with these athletic triumphs, what resonates most with Mills athletics is the absence of community support. This year, the volleyball team had stunning crowd attendance only after extreme effort on the part of the athletes who organized themed matches. This endeavor required extensive organizing and publicizing, daunting tasks for the already overwhelmed student athletes. Cyclones should focus their energies on improving their game, not on fumbling for support from the student body they proudly represent.
Where is this proudly represented Mills student body when our athletes need us most? As a community, we fail to support our athletes. This is not only shameful; it is a contradiction of the spirit of community that many of us came to Mills to experience.