Jersey Over Apron: Why Tufts?

“Why Tufts?” That essay prompt is what brought me to Medford/Somerville. It’s the prompt that countless current members of the Class of 2016 had to answer through the Common App to seal our deal into Tufts. Even though I’ve been asked that several times I’ve never really had a concise answer. My response usually covered the academics, proximity to Boston, our uncanny and unique mascot, the amazing people and of course, the dopeness that is Dewick. But what’s always been central to my Tufts experience is being a part of Tufts Athletics.

As a member of Tufts women’s basketball, I’ve been blessed to be a part of a dedicated group of individuals and extended family for all my four years here. Playing basketball at Tufts has brought me memories that I will never forget. Whether that be Liz Moynihan’s buzzer beater a few years ago in a packed Cousens Gym, winning some NESCAC championships or reaching the NCAA Div. III Final Four three years in a row, you could say we’ve been pretty fortunate. But with all of those accomplishments, there are a few things behind the scenes that people don’t see.

Whether it be the off-season workouts, sweaty indoor pickup games on slippery courts, getting treatment from our trainer and savior “Pat” or after getting it in the weight room with our strength coaches Dan and Alex, there is an unbelievable level of commitment and work that goes into each season. This is true with all other Tufts sports. The amount of dedication that all Tufts athletes put in prior to and during each season is remarkable. This includes not being able to take certain classes within practice times, having shortened breaks or missing them completely, spending countless hours on long bus rides and lastly but not least missing a few Zeta weekend dance parties. But Tufts’ fan appreciation doesn’t seem to match all this dedication from student athletes.

Tufts Athletics has recently been incredibly successful, whether it be the dominating forces that are Tufts women’s softball and men’s lacrosse or the emergence of Tufts football. Tufts has emerged as a powerhouse, not only in NESCAC sports but also nationally within NCAA Div. III. As an athlete I have to admit that I am biased. However, when I see few student fans at a softball game for a program that has won three consecutive national championships or when visiting teams bring more fans into Cousens Gym for volleyball and basketball games, I’m pretty devastated. Where is the disconnect?

While in Scranton this past weekend I was extremely excited to see the number of Cousens Crazies that packed the gym to experience Tufts men’s basketball’s historic run in the NCAA tournament. Their run has seemingly ignited Tufts students and community support and it reminded me how we’re all “One Tufts.” Although some teams seem to get more attention than others, I urge all students to go out and enjoy a game. I hope that that this spring retired Cousens Crazies can make their way out to Bello Field, Ellis Oval, the tennis courts, etc., to support fellow Jumbos. Let’s keep the ball rolling.