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ISSUE 115 VOL 21 PUBLISHED 5/10/2002

Tostrud makes for stifling rules

By Erin Nickel
Contributing Writer

Friday, May 10, 2002

Thinking back on some of the events that kicked off the fall semester, I’m not surprised to find that the opening of Tostrud Center was one of the most memorable.

Truly, sitting in the bleachers around the newly-built track listening to President Thomforde and the other speakers share their thoughts was an awesome experience.

While I am still psyched about the new center, my enthusiasm was tempered when I noticed the strings attached to our gift.

My problems started the day after Tostrud opened. I waltzed into the weight room only to discover that I could not enter in my current attire. I was a bit confused at first. I did not know what to say. I was denied entrance for wearing a sports bra and shorts...not a t-shirt with sleeves. However, I needn’t have feared, because I was quickly handed a XXL Olaf shirt as a replacement.

As a fashion statement the shirt looked pathetic. More importantly it made it nearly impossible to work out.

At first I thought they were simply trying to hide my body. Perhaps they were trying to force everyone into the same mold, as part of our “diverse” campus.

Then I found out that the true reasoning behind the dress code was to prevent the machines from getting too dirty.

This makes even less sense. Jogging for a half hour around a track will definitely create a pool of sweat, potentially leading to an injury. God forbid this happens at Olaf.

Still, I found that needing to wear a t-shirt a bit stifling. True, to most students at Olaf it might not be a huge deal to get to wear a sports bra when working out, but for me it is the principle behind the matter.

How many people hate being told what they can and cannot do – not to mention can and cannot wear? At this moment I am reminded of old junior high dress codes in which girls were not permitted to wear shorts that fell more than an inch above their kneecaps. It might just be my opinion, but for most the students on this campus, the next nine months are stressful enough, between the economy, the job market, graduation, and the possibility of marriage.

It seems to me that expressions of individuality might provide relief from stress, even if they take place in the gym.

It reminds me of the policy held by Bon Appetit, who will deny us entry to the cafeteria simply because we forgot our ID on the dresser. Just as Bon Appetit should not flatter itself by thinking that random people will come off the streets and pose as Olaf students simply to eat cafeteria fare, those at Tostrud should not be so distrusting as to think we are sneaking into the gym.

Please do not let these facts sway your opinion of Tostrud because it is a beautiful facility. My concern is that we remain so set in the rules and regulations that we forget the true purpose of this facility: to allow us to grow physically, just as the library helps us grow intellectually, and the church spiritually.

In other words, why not loosen up?

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