[Opinion] Stop excelling in high-level college sports

The motto “Glory and Excellence” is the DNA of the Laval University sports program and, more broadly, of all sports federations. Needless to say, they are driven by student-athletic success, the success achieved through athletic merits and, to a lesser extent, by the holder’s academic merits.

On the program page, we can read that “this invasion of excellence is being carried out daily by student-athletes in the program, as well as in competition areas as in school benches. Now more than ever, everyone adheres to this principle and pursues the same goal, which is to be a part One of the best college sports program in the country.”

This Thursday, May 5, all ‘Distinguished Conquerors’ are invited to take part in the Gala Rouge et Or, an annual event that is the culmination of the achievement of the past academic year. This meeting allows the various student-athletes to remember the successes of their teammates in a collective spirit that transcends the often-obvious boundaries that separate the various sports clubs in Rouge et Or.

However, it wouldn’t be a sporting celebration without a competitive dimension. What’s the point, aren’t we all beings that love competition? In fact, Gala Rouge et Or derives most of the excitement and excitement from the few prizes presented during the ceremony.

What is excellence?

Slightly more than five athletes “overcome excellence” on this final evening that forms the finish line of the year-round competition implied. By participating in the ceremony, the great majority of athletes necessarily come to witness their defeat in the few rewards of the celebrations. Besides the Rouge et Or colors, we, in doing so, are almost all united in defeat. At those words, the dynamism of the show seems to leave a bitter aftertaste. if all [les étudiants-athlètes] Adhering now more than ever to the ‘principle of glory and excellence’, why should we only put a handful of individuals in the spotlight and leave everyone else in the dark?

You will tell us that these few athletes embody the core values ​​of Rouge et Or and, through their achievements, deserve to shine at the expense of those who do not reach the same level of excellence. You will tell us that these athletes deserve great recognition, because their results are necessarily the result of a talent development process that combines unparalleled sacrifice, application, and effort. You will tell us that these few athletes contribute to the development of the greatest number, and that the majority indirectly benefit from their leadership and determination, to the point that glorifying these leaders benefits all.

Admittedly, if these justifications seem elevated to the rank of dogma in the sense that they are constantly recurring and assimilated by mathematicians wanting to explain the near-eternal portrait of award winners in concert and, more broadly, scholarships and other rewards offered by Rouge et Or, we want to use our platform to evaluate The advantages of these generally accepted practices and conventions. What is excellence? What values ​​should be valued in any sports federation?

Although distinction takes precedence among the core values ​​of sports federations, this concept does not appear to have been a subject of thought for some time. A realistic expression of the model of immutable success as understood by the Université Laval sports program, excellence corresponds only to a very narrow and static definition. In this reasoning, it is possible to evaluate the success of an athlete in light of his level of superiority mainly in light of his athletic performance. This objective examination necessarily determines the prevailing hierarchy within sports federations, where excellence takes the lion’s share of the main rewards offered by their programmes.

much wider spectrum

On the other hand, it is not satisfactory to put forward a shortcut between excellence and success: these two concepts are not interchangeable. In our opinion, excellence should be part of the spectrum that brings together all expressions of success, rather than unilaterally coloring our collective understanding of this concept. Success celebrates perseverance and daily effort. Success revives the different paths that lead to diverse goals, surely, just right. The achievement memorializes all successes and all victories, whether grandiose or unremarkable.

However, let’s be clear, our desire is not to eliminate excellence in high-level sports, but to bring it to the same level as other values ​​such as perseverance, ethics, fairness or justice. It’s time to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what definitions we want to give of excellence and achievement, what values ​​we want to promote in sport, and finally, what are the pillars we want to build our programmes, our federations and our communities. Sports are inherently a vector of hierarchy.

However, if rankings are an integral part of high-performance sport, we can re-evaluate the way we perceive athletic success across a more comprehensive spectrum of success. At the dawn of Gala Rouge et Or, we focused on excellence, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of as many people to reorient our annual celebration of college sports toward a more inclusive form, even if that meant scrapping the current awards at the benefit of the egalitarian and societal commemoration of the many meritorious aspects of Rouge et Or?

* This letter was also signed:

Jonathan Tedeschi, student-mathematics (middle distance) in philosophy

Catherine Buschmin, Student Athletic (Middle Distance) in Medicine

Jade Bérubé, student-athlete (middle distance) in criminology

Claudine Nafeh, Pole Vault Student in Visual and Media Arts and University Education

Mamadou Bazin Togola, Student Athlete (Sprint) in Agro-environmental Engineering

Let’s see in the video

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