Abby Wambach ’16
Assistant Sports Editor
A recent study found that several Smith sports teams are hazing their members for failing to wear their team’s apparel regularly.
While the Smith community expressed shock over the hazing, many students interpreted the study’s results as a long-awaited explanation for the athletes who seemingly do not own clothing other than team apparel.
Teams use a variety of hazing methods. One popular method is to cause public shame.
In this method, the team forces the offender to walk straight across Chapin Lawn during a high-traffic time while the rest of the team is dispersed in the crowd. Some team members look reprovingly at the walker while other members yell, “Please do not walk on the grass if you are going across!”
This humiliation has led many to quit their team. Two years ago, after a particularly embarrassing PDNWOTGIYAGA hazing incident, a member of the crew team transferred to another school.
There are even more severe punishments for repeat offenders or those who criticize the team apparel. For example, the rugby team forces the player to attend a party at an Amherst College fraternity.
“Telling the team I didn’t like this year’s apparel was the worst mistake of my life,” said a tearful sophomore who asked to remain anonymous. “There were so many straight white men with rich dads. So many wearing backwards baseball hats and Vineyard Vines. The entitlement I witnessed will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Anya Field ’17, field hockey captain, said teams Hazen those who don’t consistently wear apparel not only to create a feeling of team spirit but also to ensure that the rest of the campus never forgets who are athletes.
“We want to remind all other students that we’re athletes,” Field said, “and that means we are more busy, tired and hungry than they are. Always.”
Field added that the lack of team-themed formalwear is an unfortunate gap in the market, but the economics major dreams of someday starting a business to fill it.
“I’ve always worn my soccer sweatpants every day,” Saw Kerr ’19 said. “I just had a feeling that I should. This report just backs that up.”
The college released a statement about the hazing issue and has created a committee to address it. The committee is currently considering methods to discourage hazing, investigating whether it would be more effective to incentivize the teams with free food or punish them for poor behavior by banning them from the gym’s treadmills.
Players said that while the hazing was “obviously unfortunate,” the situation was not all bad. Being regularly clad in sweatpants and t-shirts means that the athletes are the most comfortable people on campus.
“Being on a sports team gives me a good excuse to show up to class every day wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt,” Ath Leet ’17 said. “What’s your excuse?”