JV Sports: Who Knew?

By Guest Contributor

I am proud to say that I have discovered the best kept secret on campus. A new panini to be made at Proctor? No.  An uncovered secret society? No. Give up? Some people in this situation would say “I would tell you, but I would have to kill you.” But, don’t worry, I will be generous. Drum roll please …  JV sports.

JV sports are the middle child of Middlebury. The lost sock.  The Midwest.

You may be scoffing at this notion, but take a minute to think about it.  JV sports do not have a table at the activities fair. They do not send out harassing emails. They do not cover the dining halls in recruiting posters emblazoned with embarrassing photos captioned with quotes like “Don’t you want to be like us?” Nor do their members wander the dorms spontaneously serenading anyone with their door open.

Despite these perks, searching for mention of JV sports on the Middlebury website is like hunting for buried treasure. Based on some personal research, the most explicit reference to a JV sports team is a link on the women’s soccer page denoting a B Team. Hidden deep in the “About the Program” sections of women’s lacrosse and men’s soccer is also a mention of a B Team. No other sports’ websites acknowledge the presence of a JV program.

So how does one discover the secret cult of JV sports? It seems to all come down to word of mouth.

While this is a truth that may work out just fine for upperclassmen, word of mouth does not always trickle down to Battell. It can be rather problematic for ignorant first- years that are trying to get involved with activities on campus when they do not know what their options are. To further aggravate this issue of getting involved is the fact that not only does the existence of JV sports circulate via gossip, but so does information about how and when to try out. All in all, it is a practice that is preventing people from playing the sports that they love.

The word-of-mouth phenomenon of JV sports is also having a detrimental effect on the JV teams themselves. It is fairly safe to say that nearly every student on campus, male and female, knows that the JV Field Hockey team is desperate for players. In past years, the team fielded approximately 15 players and was able to play other club and JV teams from local schools competitively. This year, eight girls turned out for the first day of practice. Though the team has made strides thanks to a now rather infamous recruiting email, it will now merely be playing pickup games a few nights a week with no outside-of-Middlebury matches. It is frustrating to see the team suffer in this way and know that this problem could have been largely avoided.

The 21st century is by all accounts an age of communication. Across the globe, people are able to converse and share ideas thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web. Never has it been easier to send a message to a group of people, even as large as the Middlebury student body. Therefore, is it too much to ask for a JV sports shout-out on the Athletics page or an email blast announcing their presence and how to participate at the beginning of the semester?

The responsibility should not fall on the athletic department but on members of the JV teams themselves. These teams need to take a leaf from the book Horton Hears a Who and make a declaration: “We are here! We are here!” If they don’t, Junior Varsity may be converted to Just Vanished.

Written by Emilie Munson ’16, from Duxbury, Massachusetts