Understanding the desire for athletics at Linfield

Liam Pickhardt, Staff writer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

With 30 percent of the student body competing in intercollegiate athletics, Linfield has one of the most athletically involved campuses in the country.

Linfield sits well above the NCAA Division III national average of 21 percent of the student body participating in sports. And the school just south of McMinnville, Oregon State, has a mere 3.1 percent of the student body competing in athletics — Linfield and Oregon State have dramatically different student body demographics and compete in different athletic divisions, albeit the comparison is worth noting.

But with no scholarships, no compensation via an inundation of clothing, and little-to-no extra academic support, why do so many students desire to compete in athletics at Linfield?

As a Linfield athlete myself, I have pondered that question many times.

Competing in both cross country and track and field, much of my free time is consumed by athletics. And on some days, I look out my window to see one of notoriously rainy days in the Willamette Valley and the last thing I want to do is go to practice. But with the rain beating down, I always end up lacing up my shoes and taking off for a run.

And on my runs, I usually see other Linfield students studying in slippers and sweats, sipping away at warm cups of their favorite beverages, while I trudge through the cold and wet weather.

It is on those days that I — and I am sure other Linfield athletes — question why we put our bodies through misery, when instead, we could be watching a television show with friends and filling our chilled bodies with a warm cup of hot chocolate.

Although, just as that question begins to arise, I usually get an adrenaline rush and can’t help but gleam with excitement as the exhilaration of a good run sets in.

Just like that, I am subtly reminded why athletics are prioritized so highly in my life.

The adrenaline rush from both practicing and competing is a surreal experience that leaves athletes begging for more. And at Linfield, feeding that adrenaline rush is rather easy. Boasting an incredible tradition in athletic excellence, Linfield athletes are pushed hard and usually realize success.

Thus, putting on a Linfield Wildcat jersey stimulates a sense of pride—a priceless sense of pride that no scholarship or amount or gear could offer.

Attend any Linfield athletic event, and I guarantee the passion and spirited competition will be completely unparalleled. Potentially even more impressive is that the devotion does not end when the completion does; it is just as apparent on the practice fields, in the weight room and at the Training Center. The dedication that Linfield athletes possess — across all sports — is irreplaceable by any monetary or material item.

Competing at the NCAA Division III level also promotes genuine competition because with no scholarship athletes, everyone is competing for the love of the sport. The removal of scholarship money fosters fierce competition and makes it even greater when a Linfield team or athlete betters someone receiving scholarship money—a regular occurrence for many Linfield teams and athletes.

Being a part of Linfield athletics carries a prestige that generates an indescribable feeling. Fostered by the prestige and tradition, Linfield athletes develop into one loyal family.

And once you become a part of the Linfield athletics family, there is no turning back.