Timeout with Max Kelly

Photo by Mark Russell

Coming from the United Kingdom, sports at the collegiate level has always been alien to me. In the UK, the only comparable event between colleges is the Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race that happens once every year along a small river just outside of London. Let’s just say Jacket football games which attract 55,000 people to the stadium and millions more on TV are an incredible spectacle.

Upon receiving my acceptance letter from Georgia Tech this fall, I realized I had much to learn about the many sports programs at Tech. A lifelong fan of sports, notably soccer (try saying that word to some of the English ‘football’ fans), I came to learn about the extremely wide variety of sports offered at all levels here at Georgia Tech. How many people knew that we have a Sport Parachute Club here on campus? What about our historically successful GT Waterski & Wakeboard Club?

The varsity level sports are a spectacle in their own right. Immediately, one would think of a packed-out Georgia Tech football game as the definition of varsity sports. However, I have learned about the amazing range of Georgia Tech varsity level sports on offer and how accessible they are for every student to get involved in. With the exception of football games, students can watch every varsity sports game for free with just their BuzzCard as means of entry. This is music to the ears of every avid sports fan as it means one can immerse himself in a whole range of Georgia Tech athletics, perhaps even allowing him to learn to love a new sport just through going to a few games here at Tech.

I am personally very excited for the start of the tennis season, with matches at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex sure to be a highly enjoyable way to watch some of the best collegiate tennis in the country. This includes watching our very own US Open sensation Chris Eubanks, the first tennis player to get to the opening rounds of the tournament whilst still being enrolled here at Georgia Tech.

Further to the whole array of clubs, varsity athletics, and intramurals here at Tech, I think the whole sporting culture is incredibly diverse. Whilst football often takes the limelight, Tech and its students hold all-round sporting culture in high regard. To reference my experiences in the United Kingdom, we often sat down to watch soccer, rugby or cricket games in old and largely shabby stadiums. In contrast, many of the sporting facilities here at Tech are incredibly advanced and give a great experience when watching all levels of sports. McCamish Pavilion, which hosts Yellow Jackets’ basketball games, is a perfect example of this as it was opened for the 2012-13 season to raving reviews. The stadium is renowned for being technologically advanced, yet it still provides the atmosphere and noise that makes watching Yellow Jackets’ games a breathtaking affair.

And those who favor history and tradition over fancy features need look no further than Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field, the longest continuously used college football venue in the United States, replete with its own set of idiosyncrasies (not the least whatever is left of old architecture under the west stands).

My overriding impression of Tech athletics is how diverse yet encompassing it is at every level. It is not just the number of sports that are offered here; it’s the level of dedication that cannot be understated. Not bad for a bunch
of engineers.