Preseason for UR sports is always an interesting time.

In those hot August days, two weeks before most of the students arrive, athletes are at practice trying to learn their plays and compete against their peers.

But probably some of the greatest times of preseason are the lunches and dinners at Danforth.

Since the dining plans haven?t become active yet, the Danforth employees open up their gracious hearts and serve us the most gourmet meals money can buy ? there is a little bit of sarcasm in that statement, in case you couldn?t tell.

The bill is taken care of by the individual athletic teams. So as we mingle among fellow athletes and eat our filet mignon and lobster tails, the phrase that usually starts up a conversation is ?So what did you guys have to do today? ?

This usually implies that the person that asked this question doesn?t really care what you did they just want to tell you what they had to do today.

So this brings up the question, ?What is an athlete??

The Webster dictionary defines an athlete as ?a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina.?

But does that really sound like a good definition to the word athlete?

In that dining center, you have people that go out and run 12 miles for fun. You also have people that go out and hit other people until they ache, people that are on their feet for hours and then use their feet to kick a ball and other people that use sticks to smack around a rock hard ball.

Notice that I used the word ?people? to describe what most would call athletes.

Some people think that an athlete is someone who can play a whole game ? no matter what sport ? without getting tired.

Others think that they only have to play a few minutes a game, but give a 110 percent every minute that they are in. Others think that an athlete is someone who simply gave sports a try at one point in his/her life.

Is an athlete somebody who plays more than one varsity sport?

Is an athlete somebody that only participates in intramural sports? Is an athlete somebody that goes to the gym once a week?

It?s hard to say. I think what it comes down to is a personal decision. If a person wants the image of an athlete, he/she will call themselves an athlete. If they don?t, than they won?t. I don?t think that there is much more else that you can work off of on this topic.

Johnston can be reached at

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