Conversations by Candlelight: A Hot Take on “NARPs”

I want to take this time to address an elephant in the room. And by room, I am referring to the terminology on campus. I talk about athletes and athletics because that is what this column is about. Athletes already have a proper moniker, while those who don’t play a collegiate sport do not. Of course, on campus you may hear different terms, but I have refrained from using them because I don’t want to offend anyone outright.

On the other hand, I don’t care all that much. So, I am doing a hot take on “narps.” I have to say now that I think this is, in many cases, a totally unfair nickname. Supposedly, its origin lies in an acronym for “non athletic regular person.” I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the physical build of students on campus, but there are some super athletic people here. You ever walk by the climbing gym and see people just hanging their whole body casually on the strength of their forearm? No one could truly call that person a narp and mean non-athletic. You could call them a narp, though, to say they don’t play a varsity sport, which would be great because what athletes really need is to further distance themselves from the general student population and become even more insular.

I have seen plenty of my friends transition from athlete to narp life, and even I’ve considered it myself. As with any big decision, there are pros and cons, like trying to balance the convenience of Rastall with the inevitable GI distress. The pros of being a narp seem so evident from my perspective as I get to the library at 7:30 p.m. post practice: there is a huge chunk of the day you get back. Without film, practice, treatment, then dinner, I could start my homework, and this column, so much earlier in the day. And honestly, I could probably produce better work for both, though not that I would.

I’m also told by former-athlete-now-narp, senior Louisa Mackenzie, that it’s nice not to feel beat up all the time. When I asked my teammate, senior Riley Hoffman, about that, he said, “Sounds cool … I would like to experience that one day.”

And Block Breaks! I can’t believe it took me this long to get to Block Breaks. Though I really do love heading to exciting destinations like Salem, Va., and Montclair, N.J., it would be fun to have some agency over where I go for my spring Block Breaks. Again, not saying that I would do exciting things, but it would be cool to have the option.

It is hard, realistically, for me to assess the negative aspects of the narp life because the grass is so much greener on the other side, and there’s so much more room for activities over there. Mackenzie informs me that there are some, though. The biggest, it seems, is losing the support and community that comes with playing a sport. Being on a team gives you automatic access to a friend group, whether you like it or not. It also provides a massive support system through coaches, trainers, and teammates. Trading that in seems insane. I cannot say enough about the training room staff and the support they have given me, along with my coaches and friends.

Overall, there are pros and cons to both the collegiate sport life and the narp life, but I think the term narp is heavily misguided. Colorado College is full of daring, adventurous individuals who climb, skate, ski, run, hike, and bike; they may not be on a sports team, but most of our student body is unbelievably athletic. Also, CC kids are so unique—I wouldn’t call anyone at this school a “regular person” … well, besides maybe some of my teammates …

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