cheers! Your football face on the cover (Winter 2000)
and the nice story were great to see. Maybe things really
are changing in sports at Oberlin. For many of us old grads,
sports--winning or losing--played a significant role in our
Oberlin experience. Not just as fun and games, but as meaningful
learning and growth opportunities. It has really hurt over
the years to sense the marginalized--if not trivialized--role
of athletics in Oberlin life. Anyhow, let's hope trends continue.
Maybe winning will follow, even if not always, in all sports.
The lessons of teamwork, hard work, self-sacrifice, self-respect,
competition, and all the rest, are even more important.
me say that I love watching football, and I certainly
wish those young men all the best as they seek to end their
losing streak. But I have to wonder about the resources being
spent on recruitment and coaching and flights to California.
When I went to Oberlin in the mid-'70s, the football team
made Sports Illustrated. Not for its impressive record--then,
as now, they were perennial losers--but for being the smallest
squad in the nation with 16 players. I admired their grit
and tenacity, with most of them playing both ways, but I also
resented the resources they received. I was a soccer player,
and Freddie Shults was turning out solid teams with winning
records year after year. The year the football team numbered
16, we had dozens more out for soccer and established an informal
junior varsity squad. With a small portion of the football
program's money, that JV team could have had coaching, uniforms,
and a schedule of games. The soccer program, which clearly
had more athlete support (if less alumni support), could have
stepped up from being good to being truly outstanding. I recognize
that recruitment and alumni giving are part of the mix in
deciding which programs to fund and at what level. I only
hope the College is looking carefully at what athletic opportunities
are being missed because of the resources we are devoting
to the football team.
N. Sibley '77
Ambassador to Amman
Green Machine Stirs Response
my husband, Christopher Bates '94, read your article
about the new environmental industrial revolution (Winter
2000), he was so inspired that he's had a career interest
change. He now wants to get his master's degree in environmental
anthropology and work for responsible industries that are
using these self-sufficient buildings.
thanks for "The Green Machine"
on the new eco-friendly Lewis Center. The architectural
revolution evinced by the building is truly impressive.
However, the author failed to mention, or did not know,
that the edible fabric on the auditorium chairs tastes just
like chicken. The manufacturer could have easily fashioned
the fabric to taste like broccoli, but wisely opted for
chicken flavor to avoid depredation of the chairs by the
vegetarians at Keep Cottage.
enjoyed reading Michele Lesie's article on Dorothy Daub's
house (Fall 2000). I knew Dorothy and had visited her house
while she was alive and after her death. It was one of the
most individual and lived-in houses I have ever seen. She
had an unusual and very strong personality, so I wouldn't
be surprised if she is still hanging around. Good for her!
The portrait of Dorothy that you reproduced in color is
by alumna Ellen Johnson, who was one of her best friends.
By the way, the
Magazine has improved lately both in design and content.
Virginia, No Santa Here
a lifelong book lover and longtime independent bookseller,
I was dismayed by the spin you put on Barnes & Noble's
running of the Oberlin Bookstore ("Yes, Virginia, There
Is a Bookstore," Fall 2000). The Oberlin I know places
a deeper value on independent, locally run businesses
than to allow its loyalties to be so easily bought by
the cut-rate prices of large chains (or, as you put it,
a "one-day clearance...which melted the stiff resistance
of some of the locals"). I have yet to see a Barnes &
Noble that is genuinely concerned with meeting the townspeople's
"special needs," let alone valuing literature more than
the bottom line, and I find it hard to believe the Oberlin
Bookstore (which, like many college bookstores, tries
to mask corporate control with a local name) will be any
different. Perhaps retaining Barnes & Noble was the
only viable option for the College, but to present it
as "a new chapter in the history of the little shop on
the corner we have all known and loved" is a feeble attempt
to fabricate a continuity between the two businesses,
as if a business with corporate headquarters in New York
maintains the connections to the community a locally run
bookstore would. It is merely a new chapter in the history
of the building on the corner, no different than if a
Dunkin' Donuts were to move into the storefront that now
houses Gibson's Bakery. Yes, Virginia, there is a bookstore,
but the one on the corner is no more the real thing than
the red-suited man ringing the bell on the corner is the
real Santa Claus.
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