Athlete’s Reaction to Relay For Life Being Held Inside

After reading both Amber Slater’s informative article, as well as Ben Shoudy’s demeaning commentary, I was angered and upset that the athletics side of this conflict was basically being swept under the rug and not heard.
So, hello fellas, here I am.
Number one, Student- Athletes never, I repeat, NEVER skip class for practice. If they are, that is something for their coach to know so they can punish that athlete accordingly. We give our class schedules as soon as we register for classes to our coach, who then creates a rough draft of a practice schedule that they then send to the other coaches to see if that works out. Turf time is valuable time, and scheduling it takes a lot of time, effort, and headaches.Number two, grass does not only feel different, but playing ANY sport on grass is COMPLETELY different than playing on turf. Hence why our soccer teams practice on the turf if they will be traveling to a school that has it. It is a faster, more competitive game, and playing on grass the day before you have a huge game on turf is like studying the game Operation for a human anatomy exam, you’re gonna fail.
Women’s lacrosse has one of, if not THE, biggest games of the season on Saturday against Washington College. It is their senior game, where the four talented seniors will be honored for their commitment to the college and to the team. Playing a sport in college is not easy by any stretch of the mind. It takes up a majority of your time, has you walking around in a constant state of soreness, and will probably stress you out more than any of your classes. So the fact that these four women made it all four years playing a sport? That’s pretty remarkable, if I do say so myself. Also, for those of who do not know, WAC is one of our biggest rivals, only taking a second to Hopkins, if anyone. I wish I could describe how huge the rivalry is, but the only way to get my point across is to use some colorful four letter words and insulting their upbringing, so I will just pass. These athletes, especially the seniors, have dedicated countless hours and months to prepare for not only
this game, but for the season as well. Their efforts have been rewarded in that they are going to the Centennial Conference playoffs for the first time since 2009. And just guess who they will be playing in the quarterfinals: Washington College. A win on Saturday would be huge for the morale and psyche of the team. To take away an advantage after everything they have sacrificed, is (to quote an earlier article) hogwash.
I know Marjorie “Muffie” Bliss personally, and she is probably one of the most caring, self-sacrificing people I have ever met. She is accommodating to every person she comes in contact with, and will do anything for her players to ensure their wellness and success on the field and off of it. To say that she is being uncooperative and selfish about this leaves me completely awe-struck. Coach Bliss has been nothing but genuine and extremely helpful ever since I stepped foot on this campus, and I am not even a lacrosse player. I could never see her blatantly blowing off another student group on this campus, and I resent that the articles made her seem so.
Now that I have gotten that off my chest, lets move on to Relay itself.
My question is, upon hearing that there was a possibility that Relay would have to move to another location because of sports practice, why was there not a plan b drafted just in case? As someone who has planned multiple events for my sorority, there always needs to be a back-up plan, just incase things like this happen. Why wasn’t there a plan to host the survivors lap or opening ceremonies in a different location, that could possibly lead to the event in Gill itself? Also, why is the committee not seeing the silver lining of using Gill instead of the stadium? More people use Gill than the Stadium, and anyone who passes by Gill will want to see what’s going on, where as after practices are finished, no one gives a second glance at the turf. Stop giving excuses and use the strengths of having Gill as a venue.
Furthermore, WHO CARES WHERE THE EVENT IS HELD. Relay is about coming together to raise money for the fight against cancer. As someone who has been directly affected by cancer in my immediate family, I applaud and thank each of the individuals who give their time and effort for this great cause. At the same time though, there is no reason to be wasting time casting blame on one organization or another. This is effort that could be used to make Relay that much better, but instead, the effort is being used to sling mud at a small (innocent) obstacle.
When I heard about Relay for life, I was told it was going to be taken place in the gym, and this was WEEKS ago, if not earlier. Why is this just now coming to the press conveniently the night before the event? I do have to give some credit, now campus definitely knows about Relay, even if you throw athletics under the bus. Alls fair in love and PR, I am aware. But in the midst of all of this, I feel the real message has been lost. We are here to help others, not to blame one person or another for why we cannot. Relay, if anything, is about overcoming obstacles to reach a better tomorrow, and these articles do not portray the event as such.
Students, come out to Relay for Life in the gymnasium tonight, starting at 6pm. Come spend some money to benefit the American Cancer society. But then, Saturday, come out and support the woman’s lacrosse team on their senior day as they take on the Washington College Shorewoman at 1pm. Let’s show the community that we are united as a student body, athlete and non-athlete alike, because isn’t that what our real student values are?

4 Comments on "Athlete’s Reaction to Relay For Life Being Held Inside"

  1. You are correct in saying that the point of view of athletes was underrepresented in pieces published about the Relay for Life location controversy so far. However, while it is indeed valuable that you have expressed your opinion and that your opinion comes from a perspective different from the ones already expressed, I find that your opinion ignores some of the facts reported in Amber’s article as well as additional facts. I would like to point some of those facts out.

    First of all, neither article directly criticized Muffie Bliss. While the commentary by Ben Shoudy criticized the athletic department as a whole, he did not single out Bliss, nor did he single out “the lacrosse coach.” While you may believe that Bliss is accommodating to everyone she comes in contact with, it was reported as fact in Amber’s news piece that Bliss declined to comment on the situation. She did not act helpfully to the Free Press reporters, and this needed to be reported into the article because if it hadn’t, then readers would have to question whether or not the Free Press even bothered to get information from the coach. Declining to comment, on Bliss’s part and requesting that the Free Press speak to the athletic director, is in fact, an act of uncooperation, and the Free Press had a journalistic obligation to report this. The fact that they did so was without malice.

    Additionally, in this letter to the editor that you’ve written, you criticize the Relay for Life committee for not having a backup location. This is in fact, false. The committee did in fact book the gym as a backup, but it was only supposed to have been used as a backup in case of bad weather.

    You argue that the gym receives more foot traffic than the stadium. While this may have some truth to it (I admit that I would not know because I rarely go through Gill), holding the event in Gill makes the event less likely to attract people from outside of McDaniel because in Gill, the event is contained. Fewer outside visitors means less money donated to the cause. While McDaniel students will certainly donate money to the cause, it seems fair for me to argue that people from outside of the college would have more money to donate and would be willing to do so. Statistics, which were reported in Amber’s article, showed that Relay has raised more money when held outdoors then when held indoors. While Relay for Life is held at McDaniel, it is an event for Westminster–a community that wants to fight cancer as much as the next–as a whole.

    • 1. Although neither article directly insulted Coach Bliss, they did indirectly criticized her. You’d be lying telling me that those articles did NOT leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth about her. She followed the proper means and procedures of dealing with press as a coach, which was directing them to her AD. She was being cooperative as possible, it just saddens me that because it wasn’t what people wanted, it was viewed as “uncooperative.”

      2. I simply criticize the lack of a back-up plan, not venue. I am aware they rent it out as a rain-venue. I was trying to say that when dealt with this situation, they could’ve creatively incorporated other parts of campus, while still having the central location of the gym. This also ties in with having the gym be “closed off” from the community. There are plenty of community events for westminster held in Gill that are very successful, I think that it could have been just as successful in the gym as outside if handled properly.

      All things aside, the main point I was trying to make was not who should really be blamed but that we really should look beyond where it is, to what Relay was/is about. I think that Relay was done amazingly this year, I had an awesome time and cried like a baby at the survivor’s speeches and lap. Extreme props to everyone who made it a success.

  2. I think the perspective of athletics is one that needs to be shared, but people seriously need to stop blaming the free press when they don’t like a perspective that’s being shared and learn the definition of the commentary section. Every time something controversial happens, the free press is blamed as if nobody has ever heard of an opinion article before.

    Additionally, if athletics wanted to be represented better in the straight news article by Slater, then they should’ve given her better quotes to use. This young lady has written countless balanced stories for this publication, and her record shows that she wouldn’t withhold a perspective if she had been given the information to begin with. Only improvement to that I can see would have been to quote a student athlete like yourself.

    Otherwise, thanks for bringing up the alternate perspective. The fact that you’ve been published here should indicate that the free press perhaps does like to provide balanced perspectives. If it was really a PR stunt as you’ve indicated, that wouldn’t have happened. Maybe if people actually read the student newspaper in times other than a big controversy, y’all would know that the free press has values.

    Sincerely, an alum.

  3. Vicci-
    I think it is great that you posted this from an athlete’s perspective. You are exactly right in all of your comments. This was not a matter of putting athletics ahead of Relay for Life. I applaud you for putting your views out there and also telling everyone to get over the fact and enjoy Relay.

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