I also noticed that my Facebook badge has stopped pulling in my wonderful status updates. What a shame. I might have to look into fixing that. No time for that today, though. I've got big plans in just a couple hours. Today is the home opener for Wabash baseball, which means I'll be in one of those seats you see pictured at the top of the page this afternoon. If you're in Crawfordsville around 3 today, you'll find me there. Trust me, there aren't that many seats. I know I've made my feelings known on college baseball before, but I'm still all for live baseball action, even if it is a subpar product. I'm that starved for the old ball game.
The new ballpark is really wonderful, and I'm happy to see that Wabash has become a track powerhouse, too. A 'Bash runner just took home the national title in the mile run this year, and that team now has back-to-back indoor titles.
But I do have some mixed emotions about all the athletic upgrades. On the one hand, it definitely helps to get athletes when you've got great facilities. The baseball stadium definitely qualifies. The soccer stadium looks great, though I wonder about playing soccer on artificial turf. Same for football.* But as much as I love sports, do we really want to be known as a jock school?
*I question playing any sport on artificial turf, actually. And that was easily the biggest upgrade to the football stadium. The other was a new (and relocated) scoreboard, which was probably needed. The old one was almost impossible to read most games because the sun would shine directly on it. That part was nice, but bring back the grass!
I'm not there every day any more,* but it seems to me that I would rather become a factory for Rhodes scholars than a football factory. And I'm told that Wabash is starting to pull some great athletes with questionable classroom skills. Now, there have always been some athletes that were maybe a little softened in the admissions process, but none that I felt shouldn't be at the school. And I think that's a good balance. I just hope all this money spent to upgrade the athletic facilities isn't putting pressure for teams to win over getting great students who are also good athletes.
*Could possibly be changing, but I won't know until April.
And for those unfamiliar with Division III athletics, I would really stress for you to check them out. Unless you live out west, where there seems to be a dearth of D3 institutions, there is probably a small school near you. Admission to most events is free, and if you do need to buy a ticket, it won't run you more than $10. The majority of schools are like Wabash, where the only thing they charge for is football. And don't buy the myth that it's glorified high school. I suppose there are some teams like that, but that's not the majority, and it's sure not the upper end teams. Take a gander sometime at your local D3 football or basketball teams next season. I think you'll be really surprised at the product you'll encounter.