Ephs react to anti-Williams piece

Most Williams athletes will tell you that Little Three matchups are among the most fiercely contested games in any given season. The weight of history and tradition falls on the backs of all competitors, who can be counted on to boost their effort for the dual causes of victory and embarrassing a hated rival.

Most often, each college will have one home contest and one away match per sport per season; this winter’s four-part basketball slate against Amherst stands as the exception to the rule. The fact remains, though, that home contests against the traditional adversaries are to be cherished, and the fans know it. Backing at these games often reaches a fever pitch, with the local supporters doing everything in their power to make the visiting Ephs, Lord Jeffs or Cardinals as uncomfortable as possible.

That tactic was given an uncommonly official edge in Middletown two Saturdays ago, however, as local fans distributed many copies of a provocative anti-Eph piece published in The Wesleyan Argus. Men’s LAX and track and field were on hand for the chilly reception, which characterized Williams students as “two thousand gin and tonic drinking aristocratic wimps.”

The opinion piece, entitled “Wes senior reflects on Williams” and written by Cardinal senior Adam Diamond, was published in the April 15 edition of the Argus. In the pseudo-tongue-in-cheek essay, Diamond castigates Williams students for their alleged racism, anti-Semitism, overly-preppy fashion sense, lame partying habits and right-wing political affiliations. Additionally, he alludes to an incident at this year’s Williams homecoming, when several Wesleyan fans captured a paper-mache purple cow commissioned by ACE for the weekend’s events, referring to the culprits as “red face-painted super-fans.”

The column was posted on the results board at the track and field meet, according to Eph competitors. Copies of the bi-weekly publication “were all over the place,” said other athletes, leading many to conclude that the Argus staff or other interested parties had been very effective at spreading their message. “You couldn’t turn around without tripping on them,” Audrey Lumley-Sapanski ’04 said.

Men’s and women’s track and field took the Little Three titles, as the men totaled 166 points to Wesleyan’s 125 and the women racked up 170 to the Cardinals’ 132. Lacrosse could not capitalize on their mid-week momentum at Conn. College, falling 19-10.

The former president of the Beta Thi Pi fraternity and fall season captain of the golf team, Diamond is listed as a student in the class of 2003, but graduated in the fall. He remains at Wesleyan this semester, and has written a number of columns for the Argus this spring, including “Student educates community on history of Beirut – the game” and a two-part series on “The art of the Wes-tech hook-up.”

Despite the best efforts of the Cardinal supporters, few of the Ephs in town admitted to being intimidated by the piece, with some taking a forgiving angle on the article. “I almost thought that its intent was to make fun of Wesleyan jocks,” Matt Winkler ’04 said. “Aside from being poorly-written, I felt that the humor of the situation outweighed the fact that it was badly thought out and unsportsman-like.”

Not all visiting athletes were as quick to ascribe fair-minded aspirations to Diamond and the Argus, however. “I thought it was based on obvious, if humorous misconceptions about Williams,” Aaron Wilson ’04 said, “but also on an intense jealousy of our great institution. You can’t justify Wesleyan’s academic and athletic inferiority with accusations that Williams is somehow not fun or uptight. Any attempt to portray Williams as a staunchly conservative school and Wesleyan as one that revolves around partying is just outrageous.”

These Eph athletes are fun-loving, though, and hardly vindictive. In the end, all they wanted was for everyone to have a good sense of humor about the whole thing. “I hope it was a humor piece,” Chuck Jakobsche ’04 said. “It was just so ludicrous and unfocused that I don’t believe anyone could read it without laughing. I certainly didn’t.”

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