I started watching sports during my puberty-riddled days in middle school. The living room in my childhood home had a spiral staircase that led up to my bedroom but also overlooked our living room TV. After I’d finished my homework, I would crawl up the stairs and pretend to go to bed, only to creep down the stairs moments later to quietly perch myself on the middle of the staircase. Peering through the slits in the railing, my eyes were illuminated by the bright lights of an NBA game.
The Golden State Warriors were playing, and their star point guard Steph Curry was having quite the night. Wearing neon-yellow basketball shoes he would dash around a screen, catch the ball, and throw it up in a seemingly perfect arc that would swoosh through the basket so lightly that the net barely moved. I still remember seeing that for the first time and thinking to myself: “How on earth does a human do that?”
The most important thing I’ve learned as the sports editor for The Varsity is that university sports are just as fun to watch as the professional leagues.
I’ve heard a lot this year about U of T “not being good at sports.” The U of T Varsity Blues get an unwarranted bad reputation. They play in a Canadian sports league that is nowhere near as popular as its American counterpart and on top of that, they are U of T’s sports team. Archetypally, students come to U of T for academics rather than sports.
However, to believe that the U of T is not a sports school is to be incredibly misinformed. Our swimming program has over 100 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) titles and has produced multiple Olympians. Our baseball team has six OUA championships and our women’s hockey team just won the McCaw Cup.
I was there for that win, and as the final whistle blew, I couldn’t help feeling like the middle-school version of myself, except instead of watching the scene from the staircase in my living room, I was on the ice, talking to athletes, their family members, friends, and coaches. I knew these players, I had been watching them all year — heck, some of them were the same age as me. And here they were, celebrating being the best in their province at their sport. And here I was, witnessing it all unfold in front of my eyes.
I wouldn’t be able to witness moments like such if it wasn’t for my incredibly hardworking sports team at The Varsity. I want to thank Cole Hayes, not only for covering the women’s hockey team extremely well, but for endowing the sports section with his seemingly endless hockey knowledge. I want to thank Victoria Paulus, for sneaking into the men’s basketball locker room to record our most viewed Instagram reel this year. And last but certainly not least, I want to thank Kunal Dadlani, for picking up whatever I threw at him.
I’d also like to thank everyone on the masthead and management at The Varsity this year. Being one of the youngest masthead members wasn’t easy, and I was constantly doubting myself at every turn. Your support was much needed and much appreciated.
Most importantly, I’d like to thank all of you sports fans at U of T. In a world chock full of endless studying, club meetings, and late night commutes, sports serve as our one escape from reality. Our way to peep through the spiral staircase. Without you viewing our work, none of what we do in The Varsity’s sports section would be possible.
And last but not least, To those of you that think that there isn’t any value in going to university games, I’d encourage you to go to a Varsity Blues game of your choice, sit on the stands, soak up the atmosphere, and tell me that what you’re experiencing is nothing short of magical.
— Mekhi Quarshie
Sports Editor, Volume CXLIII