BYUSA Connection: Cougar athletes deserve recognition, respect

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    The incomparable nostalgia of hot afternoons and chilly evenings in Lavell Edwards Stadium. The three-point shot that floats through the hoop in what seems to be slow motion as the clock runs out in the Marriott Center. The uncomfortable, enjoyable crowding that occurs as screaming students pack the Smith Fieldhouse to capacity.

    These are but glimpses of the wonderful memories made possible for BYU students by Cougar athletes. It would be hard to argue that college would be the same without the rich traditions provided by athletics.

    At most American universities, intercollegiate sports provide students with a sense of pride, opportunities to develop friendships woven from the thread of school spirit and immeasurable hours of joy in watching and cheering.

    At BYU, especially, where we enjoy a noteworthy legacy of excellence in a variety of both men’s and women’s sports, the athletes who represent us add much to the culture and camaraderie that give our school a flavor of its own.

    Some of our athletes are on scholarship. Many are not. In addition to their full class loads, many also work part-time jobs to help pay for school.

    On top of work and studies, most of our athletes also train for five hours a day, regardless of the season. Various teams at BYU have distinguished themselves nationally for their academic achievements.

    In an attempt to recognize and thank college athletes everywhere, the National College Athletics Association recently declared Friday, April 6, as College Athlete Appreciation Day.

    The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the contributions that college athletes make to their respective schools.

    In cooperation with the Student Athletics Advisory Council, BYUSA was invited to help celebrate the day at BYU.

    On Friday, Cougar athletes will be honored with a party outdoors in Brigham’s Square during the noon hour. Events include a dance, videos of sports highlights and a number of activities in which students will be able to compete against Cougar athletes for prizes.

    Another highlight of the party will be a barbecue hosted by BYU Dining Services, which has offered to provide students with lunch for just $1!

    There are many ways to be involved, and BYU athletics are but one avenue of participation. There are countless other students who also make BYU shine through their involvement in clubs, our unrivaled performing groups and in service to our community.

    While all of these individuals add to the citizenship that makes BYU great, I am excited to have one day designated for applauding our athletes for the vital and public contribution they make.

    On behalf of the students of BYU, I want to thank them for their hard work, for their magnification of BYU standards both at home and on the road and for their commitment to excellence academically and in the sports they play.

    Indeed, BYU wouldn’t be the same without them.

    Bill Brady can be reached at .

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