Tulane truly grateful

first_imgNine weeks ago, Tulane University football players had many things to be excited about. They were picked to finish third in the Conference USA preseason poll and were returning a talented crew of upperclassmen. Players were even discussing a possible return to a bowl game.”There are no specific goals, it’s just to be a champion,” Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard said in a preseason press release. “Whether that’s conference champion or some type of bowl. My expectations are high. I feel like we can go 13-0, max it out.”In the beginning, expectations were high and players were pumped. However no one was expecting Hurricane Katrina.When the hurricane hit eight weeks ago, it forced Tulane athletes and students to relocate for the semester. Green Wave athletes suddenly had different goals in mind. “We’re not going to use being a homeless football team as a reason to not try to succeed on the field,” Tulane head coach Chris Scelfo said in a press release. “We’re playing for a lot of people and the pressure is high, but our coaches and players are all up for the challenge. We are representing our university and our city and that gives us inspiration.”Though heads may have initially hung low, Tulane football players and other athletes have been grateful with their new homes. The football team has relocated to Ruston, La., and enrolled at Louisiana Tech University. Six other teams — men’s basketball, women’s swimming and diving, women’s volleyball, women’s soccer and men and women’s tennis have moved to Texas A&M University. Texas Tech has welcomed baseball and women’s basketball squads, while Southern Methodist University has admitted men and women’s golf. Both cross country teams will not compete this year.It’s been a rough two months for these athletes. They no longer need a win to be satisfied. Most players have been thrilled through simply competing.”Our team opened with an exhibition meet this weekend and that was the best four hours of therapy this group of student-athlete and coaches could have gotten,” Tulane head swim coach Daniella Irle said Monday in an e-mail. “Eight weeks ago we were not sure we were going to have an athletic department let alone a season. In these past eight weeks I can honestly say that this staff has been truly challenged both professionally and personally, as have our student-athletes. It has been very difficult at times but we also have had some very gratifying and humbling moments as well. I have always felt that the swimming and diving community possessed unusual generosity and camaraderie and I really know that to be true.”It may have taken a new home for these athletes to finally find the true meaning of sports — the thrill of competition — but they have been in a struggle to find ways to win. Though once tabbed the nation’s No. 1 defense after allowing an average of 176 yards per game, the football team has been in a rut, winning only two games this season. Tulane volleyball has only managed to post a 2-8 record midway through the season. Last year, the team won seven of its first 10 games.The Green Wave women’s soccer team has only posted one victory in 11 games, although it did not have an impressive record last season (7-10-2).All sports teams have found their schedules shortened. They have also been forced to play all games on the road.It’s a grim situation, but their seasons would not have taken place without the help of Texas A&M, SMU, Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech.”Our thanks go out to so many people who have made this season happen for us,” Irle said. “So many people have come together to help us provide our ladies with a season that is similar to what they had beforehand. [Everyone who has donated is] the reason we got off to a great start this year and the reason we are even in business right now. Our budgets are really non-existent at this time, so these gifts have been our only source of securing items and a sense of normalcy for our young women.”Though winning may not be a priority for Tulane, as it is for other schools, Green Wave athletes are satisfied by just competing, and that is what athletics should be about.last_img

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