Dear freshmen, won’t you come out to play?

David La Vaque

Homecoming kings and queens, stars of the gridiron, Ms. Popularities and all other high schoolers new to campus, apologies are in order. Sorry for the long bookstore lines last week, the “Is this Math 1001?” queries and the dorm roommate with the Red Dwarf video collection.

College gets better.

After all, you’re no longer under pressure to graduate by the number sewn on your lettermen jacket. Take your time and get it done, the University will gladly cash your checks until then.

And since your paying for freedom in the form of exorbitant tuition rates, get the most out of the investment.

Turn off the Playstation 2 and leave the dorm room. Stop by a campus coffeehouse or gin mill and socialize over drinks both hot and cold. Join or start a club at the University.

Sports fan you say? Excellent. The essence of college is found at sporting events.

Teams made up of diverse individuals are cheered by even larger groups of diverse individuals. Sport is a great melting pot for athletes and fans alike – society’s consummate common denominator.

Of course, this is compelling so long as your team is winning. Well, Minnesota teams are winning lately. In fact, there’s a plethora of competitive Gophers teams to check out this season.

Football coach Glen Mason has put enough glorified high school teams on the schedule to ensure his Appleby Hall Raiders a bowl bid this season. Head down to the Dome and make some noise.

Or show up at the Sports Pavilion for volleyball. The matches are fast-paced and the team has beaten a pair of top-10 teams already.

With post moves smooth as a Marvin Gaye vocal, forward Rick Rickert should make Williams Arena a fine place to brighten dreary winter nights. Of course, going to a women’s hoops game lets you marvel at the mastery of your school’s most dominating player in any sport, guard Lindsay Whalen.

If you’re a Minnesotan, chances are you understand and probably even enjoy hockey. Direct your attention to the two arenas on Fourth Street. One is the brand new Ridder Arena, and it should house the 2002-03 women’s national champions. The other is called Mariucci Arena and it houses the defending national champion men’s team. A must-see either way.

Oh, and the wrestlers are two-time defending national champions. Best way to watch this pack of specimens is at the Target Center. Check you local listings.

Enough watching already, make sure to get involved, too. Contact the Recreational Sports Department and find the intramural or club sport you enjoy or always wanted to try. Do it today, because sign ups start today. Then get out and meet some folks.

Should you stick around campus next summer, sign up for intramural softball and quest after the Minnesota Daily’s open league title.

The Daily team of Gene Tannuzzo, Terry Delahunt, Dan Fordham, Anthony Maggio, Matt Simmons, Jason Thiel, Derek Holl, Eric King, Josh Ives, Ben Blair and I triumphed this year. The key to our dominance was this: 11 guys made this team a priority and our roster stayed virtually intact all season.

When you commit yourself to getting out and playing, good things can happen.

So get out and watch, get out and play. This campus isn’t a museum, it’s a library. And there’s a shelf waiting for your story to be written.