A need for training tables
Letter to the Editor | Friday, December 1, 2017
Upon arriving on campus, confusion flared up among the student athletes, including myself, at the University of Notre Dame. The University decided to discontinue the dining hall services authorized for student athletes, known as training tables. Located in North Dining Hall, this was an area where athletes could grab a healthy meal in the midst of a busy schedule. Picture a separate room with a couple of rows of food laid out on buffet style tables, where you can fill up your plate with healthy options. Athletes would often show up with their team and dine together, which often built more camaraderie in the process. Now that training tables are history, many student athletes who lived with this service in previous years have found themselves skipping meals due to time, finding it harder to find a place to sit with their team and wondering if what they are dishing into their mouths is a healthy option.
In an effort to bring more inclusion to the University, the administration has pushed one of the student-athlete privileges to the side. But it’s not like the administration is holding back a pair of shoes. This privilege they took away is a service that student athletes need in order to reach their potential athletically and academically.
Student athletes find themselves up at early hours of the day training for their sport. This often requires adequate nutrition, and the lack of training tables has left many student athletes drained of that. For example, I am a member of the men’s golf team, and we often skip meals in order to make it to practices and class in time. Specifically, this fall, my team had lift early in the morning followed by practices before class. We had to wake ourselves up in the early hours of the morning, endure an hour-long workout, then head to the golf course to practice. We did all this while only fueling ourselves with nutrition bars and other snack-like substances. This can be attributed to the fact that the dining halls were not open early enough before our lifts, and we didn’t have enough time to grab a meal between lift and practice. Those of us with class in the morning would then rush to campus while nibbling on a protein bar, still without a single meal in our bodies. How are we supposed to perform at our highest abilities on the sports field and in the classroom fueling ourselves like this?
Sure, other students deserve adequate nutrition, but they do not have the same needs to fuel their bodies the same way athletes do. Of course, many members of the non-student-athlete student body are competing in various athletic endeavors around campus, but they are not representing the University through their athletic abilities the way us athletes do. Also, there are still plenty of healthy options for the regular student body in the dining halls.
In addition, I can see the argument that I am just demonstrating for more separation between student athletes and non-student athletes. I can see how this view persists, but I am lobbying for the overall benefit of the student athletes. There is more to be gained for the athletes with the return of training tables than the loss the student body would endure. What would the student body be losing out on? Nothing, unless they enjoy sitting next to a group of sweaty athletes who just finished lifting in an over-crowded dining hall.
Student athletes aren’t any more special than the regular student body, but we do have a need for training tables. Oftentimes student athletes are pressed for time balancing class, studies, meetings, training, travel and competition. Not being able to replenish our bodies with healthy options, or even not at all, is hindering our ability to represent the University as well as we should.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.