Conversations by Candlelight: Intimate Profiles in Athletics

Every week, Senior Sam Mathai sits down with a new CC athlete, coach, or trainer and gets intimate about athletics.

As we approach a new year of Colorado College athletics, something in the air is different. The expectations might be higher, the teams more motivated and the talent more talented. It might also be pollen.

I was curious, so I went to a place on campus where all of our athletics converge: the varsity weight room. The weight room is a sanctuary where your team can listen to their favorite flavor of techno music while bench pressing, squatting, or sprinting on bikes under the supervision of Kevin Cronin. Cronin is a fiery strength coach with a penchant for dismissing unruly children like a much cooler, much scarier school teacher. In his own words, the varsity weight room is the “only place where [he] is funny and in charge.”

I sat down with Cronin to ask the hard-hitting questions on why things seem different this year. What is his role? Is he the school’s hype man? Does it have to do with that maniacal glint in his eye unique to punishing athletes in the early morning? Is it his beautiful new beard?

To answer my questions, Cronin began with a story about an old coworker. I lost track in the middle, but I’m pretty sure the conclusion was that he was here to bring the energy in a way palatable to the athletes that were in his domain. He denied, however, his role as a hype man for the school. A motivator, at best. Was he being modest? Perhaps. But I only had so much time to spend talking.

As far as this heightened sense of expectations on campus, however, he chalked that up to the teams themselves. Whether the students are more eager to return, or that they care more, or that they actually trained over the summer instead of a steady regimen of 12 ounce curls, he wasn’t sure. It was clear to me that despite his uncertainty as to why this is happening, he is impressed. Still, he thinks there is room for improvements.

“Improvements, like anabolic steroids?” I asked, intent on finding what secrets he was hiding behind that red chin curtain of a beard. Unfortunately, his responses were rather banal. He listed things like scheduling improvements and disciplinary consistency.

Convinced I was missing something, I pressed him about his beard. Is he hiding secrets in its bushy interior? Is it some sort of talisman against a pervasive apathy towards athletics? Does he use beard oil?

Somehow, he evaded me again. Turns out he grew it because his wife had made him shave for his wedding last year. I saw parallels between his beardly act of resistance and those athletes who subtly disobey him in the weight room as a sign of burgeoning independence in their new college lives.

He dismissed this as nonsense, to my astonishment. He insisted that what was at the heart of this optimism surrounding the Colorado College athletic program was not some secret cabal controlled by him. He told me there just seems to be more talent and the motivation this year. We have all the recipes for success and we are at the beginning of what could be a very, very good year for our teams.

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