The great athlete/NARP debate

Bridgette Simpson

As the Fall 2020 semester stumbles into its seventh week, the leaves are beginning to fall in a brilliant metaphor for student motivation; the food is still inedible, and the homework is still unmanageable. 

However, I had a realization the other day that I am sure most others have realized, but I wanted to take this special moment to put it into print. 

If you’ve never heard of the term NARP (non-athletic regular person) or have never had someone call you a NARP, you’re either an athlete or someone who isn’t cool enough to be friends with athletes. 

Due to the circumstances of this school year, teams have not been able to practice the same way they usually do. Most workouts are in groups, most games have been delayed or canceled and conditioning, for some spring athletes, has only recently started. 

In other words, the days of athletes locked in eternal conflict with NARPs are no more. Gone are the days of the inferiority complex which these non-athletes feel when standing next to their Division I athlete friends. Gone are the days of that boy in your math class talking about how exhausted he is from practice, and gone are the days when that mean girl on your hall would knock on your door and tell you to be quiet at 9:30 p.m. because she has a 5 a.m. wake-up the next morning. 

NARPs can finally sit back and enjoy their days without the continuous drone of talk of practice and coaches and game day nerves that so many of us left behind in high school. Somehow, this talk enters our ears at a frequency lower than how we actually speak, which simply turns it into never-ending background and white noise. 

At least, this is how the semester started off. Then came “the masks.” 

“The mask” is a term used to describe those grey masks that have a small version of the University’s logo on their cheek, given to those who earned the privilege of being on a Division I team (I want to make it extremely clear that I am not knocking your guys’ hard work, just highlighting a very real, very important issue, as per usual). 

“The masks” have made their way across campus and infiltrated the dorms, classrooms and the cafeteria. I even saw a couple in the bookstore downtown and many others tossed to the side of a table at a certain popular downtown restaurant. Nowhere is safe.

Fellow NARPs, we are no longer safe. We had our moment where we operated under the false impression that we, as a group, would be regarded as equals, as equally hard workers in the classroom and just slightly less coordinated outside of class.

But everything is temporary, much like our moment of equality.

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