Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! As a lover of romance, I’ve always been a big fan of the holiday. And as a big fan and follower of sports, I’ve noticed a few occasions on which professional athletes’ romantic relationships have directly affected them on the field. This effect is not always a bad one—it is often beneficial. The same thing happens here with the student athletes at Columbia.
Arguably the best part of relationships is sex. Not even Columbia tries to deny it—from NSOP week on, students are encouraged to discuss healthy sex tips and learn that consent is sexy. So how do relationships and sex affect student athletes on campus? Let’s find out.
Here are some ground rules for this column: 1) I won’t be talking about any previous or potential sex scandals—it’s all about healthy, regular relationships. 2) I won’t be naming any names when using examples that I know have happened here, mostly so I don’t get myself into any trouble. 3) I won’t be separating “just sex” from a relationship—that never works anyway. 4) The safe word is “cantaloupe.” If you see this word go ahead and stop reading.
It takes two to tango, so who is tangoing with whom? Convenience can be a driving factor when it comes to meeting new people for a potential relationship, which is why you see so many athlete-athlete couples here on campus. Nothing wrong with that; it happens everywhere (even at Spec!). When people run (excuse the pun) in similar circles, they’re more likely to meet and hit it off. The fact that someone plays a certain sport may make him or her more desirable as well. No, I’m not saying that soccer players have foot fetishes or that there’s any particular reason a swimmer may swim the breaststroke. I’m referring to uniforms. The fact is that athletes wear short shorts, skirts, tight pants, or cut-off shirts, and they also tend to be quite fit—some people may consider that to be sexy.
Moving on from how a relationship (however loosely you want to label it) is established, let’s talk about the actual making of love. Does it harm an athlete to have sex the night before a game, or even the morning of? There are more than a few articles that say it absolutely does not. In fact, during the 2010 World Cup the players on Argentina were encouraged to have regular sex throughout the tournament as long as it didn’t involve keeping them up too late. I even know of a student athlete here who claimed to have morning sex on game day and went on to score a goal that afternoon.
Of course, there is always the possibility of injury. For athletes, the negative effect is doubled—sex injuries hamper them both in the bedroom and on the field. This happened a few weeks ago when AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng received a groin injury that put him out for over a month. His Italian super-model girlfriend claimed that it happened because they were having sex around ten times a week. It was rumored, however, that Boateng’s teammates and manager did not blame him at all. So, final lesson here is that sex is good.
Last year, another Italian soccer club, Napoli, issued a letter to each wife and girlfriend of its players letting them know that “behind every great man is great woman,” and even went as far to tell them, “We are counting on you, so please avoid useless family tension.” I hope I was a little less forward in this column, but I agree with the sentiment. A good, healthy relationship—with good, healthy sex—is good for a person’s well being.
If one or both of those people happen to be a student athlete, that goodness could translate onto the field, court, or pitch. Happy Valentine’s Day once again. Now go out, and enjoy some lovin’.
Ronnie Shaban is a senior in the School of Engineering and Applied Science majoring in mechanical engineering.
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