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ISSUE 121 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/12/2007

A Word from Our Editors: People care

By Matt Tiano
Executive Editor

Friday, October 12, 2007

On Saturday, St. Olaf had a chance to conquer the college football world. It was a chance to triumph over a team and a conference that had left the St. Olaf football team in the dust for 28 years -- 1979 was the last year the Oles claimed a MIAC title. But this game, this battle, meant much more than a 30-29 defeat on paper. We had climbed down our Hill -- our comfort zone, our greatest symbol of safety and security.

The fourteenth-ranked Oles marched into the jungle with an agenda: to battle, to hit someone hard and then harder, to compete with a passion and a will to beat the fourth-ranked Johnnies. St. Olaf was one third down stop and a Paul Fortman '08 field goal away from stunning St. John's on their homecoming, a task that once seemed improbable.

The sold-out crowd of 12,339 at Clemens Stadium at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., greeted the Oles as if they were a bunch of nobodies. On this hot and sunny Saturday afternoon, something just wasn't quite right. Television cameras roamed the sidelines, several newspapers featured the contest and quarterback calls were not audible due to crowd decibels. The world was watching.

People cared about us. Although the 12,339 at Clemens have no idea who I am nor have a clue about what I stand for as an individual, they acknowledged St. Olaf College and the black and gold. A key part of our identities, at least at this very time, is that we represent St. Olaf -- in many ways, we are St. Olaf. And thus, people cared about us as a collective whole -- at least on Saturday.

The fact that people cared goes against our intuition and what we are trained to believe. Whichever way you look at it, we want to be cared about. We want to believe that we are something more than another someone on the Hill. We want to believe that people care now, rather than at a job interview once we've graduated. But, it seems, we are here, isolated and, of course, comfortable.

Sure, Saturday's game was just that: a game. But maybe the fact that people cared was much more than Christmas morning for St. Olaf's public relations or admissions departments. Maybe all those television cameras, all those people supporting small college football and indirectly, the mission of academic-centered schools, meant that we aren't as isolated as we think.

But what does being un-isolated even get us? Well, maybe nothing. But perhaps we need to be un-isolated to realize our full potential, to deliver change, to positively impact others and to get the most out of our St. Olaf education in the present rather than in the future.

A single football game can't possibly put a student body on the map. But, it can bring an insightful eye to a campus that is in need of this type of exposure. Exposure not related to our overachieving football team but to everything St. Olaf represents -- the people and the things those people do.

As students of a liberal arts college, we need to understand that our decisions today, as St. Olaf students and not as graduates, affect those people that do care about us as students.

And most of them probably won't be football fans, either.

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