Call me naive, call me oblivious, call me whatever you please, but I never thought that my little blog post about cheerleading – a sport (or activity, if you prefer), that few people care about – would ever go as viral as it did. I started this blog last semester, and from September – December I received a little over 400 hits, or views, total. Since I published my post last night around 7 o’clock or so, my blog has received 1,098 hits (as of 2:21pm on Jan 30th, 2012). For my number of views to nearly triple in a matter of hours astounded me. Yet with a topic so controversial, and with wording and speculation as amateur as mine was, I guess I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am. People always say that hindsight is 20/20, and mine is clearer than ever.
Let me start off by saying that if you have not read the string of comments that went along with my post, please do so. They were the inspiration for this rebuttal and I appreciate the individuals who took the time to share their opinions with me. There were a few people who decided to comment by making blatant character attacks upon me, which I cannot say felt too great. Yet maybe that’s just my karma coming around and kicking my ass like it was supposed to.
Now to the point of this post. I made some errors in my initial post “Club vs. Division 1”. The title in itself should have been tweaked, for I did not make legitimate comparisons, just ranted about my own annoyances that I have acquired throughout the years. Within my post, there were three points that I wrote about that hit home to a lot of individuals, and not in a good way. Those three things were that I made incorrect assumptions about D1 athletes receiving free meals, apparel, and tuition. Yes, I was wrong. Not every D1 athlete receives these “perks” as I called them. While some athletes receive full rides and free meal plans and excessive clothing, this is not the case for every athlete or even for every team. I was wrong to question the motives of others for why they partake in the sport of his or her choice. That judgment should be made by no one but the individual.
Perhaps my biggest mistake, though, was generalizing all D1 athletes into one category, and I apologize for clumping every athlete and team together. There are far too many individuals and personalities and character types within Division 1 athletics to categorize them all as being the same. This is where the wrath that I had to endure came from.
Just like there are cheerleaders who are ditsy and overly-peppy, there are D1 athletes who are arrogant, unappreciative of the things that are given to them, and take complete advantage of their academics and their professors just to save their athletic eligibility. I have seen this first hand while working at multiple offices on campus for four years now, and it is a sad sight to see. However, for those of you D1 athletes who do appreciate the things that you are given, who do bust your ass inside the classroom and out on the field or on the court, and who are humble, kind, and considerate of others, I apologize to you. I should have never questioned the character of an athlete, an athletic team, or anyone else for that matter.
I am a senior and have spent four years building and acquiring relationships with athletes from swimming and diving, synchronized swimming, baseball, softball, women’s and men’s basketball, women’s and men’s soccer, women’s and men’s lacrosse, and golf. It took a long time to gain mutual understanding with these individuals who I have gotten to know, and for one blog post to tarnish those relationships is unfortunate, yet no one’s fault but my own. I love Canisius and rant and rave about it to more people than I can count. I give tours through the Admissions office because I want to show off the school that I love so much to others. I was an orientation leader for two years because I wanted to foster the excitement that I have for Canisius in new students. I have also spent four years studying communication studies and business management, hoping to go into social media marketing or public relations. My last post and its wrath is my real-life lesson that I have had to learn the hard way. The mistakes I made were simple, and could have been avoided if I had been more careful, but I wasn’t. I wrote out of frustration and on a whim and I am now dealing with fixing the things that I broke.
I stand by my frustrations that club sports are often under appreciated and poorly recognized. Many individuals, D1 athletes or not, have poked fun at my cheerleading team, harassed us, laughed directly in our faces while we performed at games, and have walked all over us as though we were the scum of the earth. Yet with my last post, I was no better than those people who made fun of us, because I underestimated them. We all make mistakes. We say things we don’t mean, we do things we wish we hadn’t, and we look back thinking “What the hell was going through my head?”. But it’s how we bounce back from those things that matter. Again, I apologize to anyone who I offended, I appreciate the comments and criticism that I was given, and I hope I can be forgiven and looked at as someone who not only loves cheerleading, but respects Canisius and everything that it comes with – including Division 1 Athletics.
– Katie Costello