Though the University is reluctant to provide transparency in the decision-making process, the “Excellence in Brown Athletic Initiative” seems to take issue with the University owning just 2.8% of Ivy League titles over a decade. If the athletic department’s goal is to put more banners on the wall, eliminating the Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams is not a wise move; however, I think this point has been well made elsewhere, and I’d like to proceed on more philosophical grounds. Take the Olympic Creed, the guiding principle of the Games: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

To equate excellence with winning is to misunderstand the very spirit of athletics. Most of us didn’t come to Brown to win. We came to struggle. We came to be part of something beyond ourselves. Do we intend to win every time we step into the blocks? Absolutely. Do we consider our efforts a failure if they do not result in a championship? Of course not; we find excellence in other ways. Trinity Gray, one of the most decorated runners in Brown’s history, was asked if he would rather finish first with a mediocre time or second with a fast time. His response, “I would rather run for time.” Ultimately, track and field is a competition against oneself, a constant struggle for improvement. And when we see beauty in that struggle, when we turn towards it and embrace it, that is where we find excellence. No medal or banner will ever compare.

Track and field opened the door to an institution I would have never even dreamed of attending. It gave a small-town kid from Colorado the opportunity to become the physician he is today, and it blessed him with a truly remarkable Brown family along the way. To think that future generations of young men will be stripped of this opportunity that has given me so much is deeply saddening. Brown Track and Field taught me how to struggle, how to fight. It taught my brothers and sisters the same. And you best believe we are going to fight.