Letter to the Davidson Community Re: Orange Out

Sam Thomas-

Dear Reader,

There’s not much that I can say that hasn’t been said already. Andrea Robinson is just a model human being. Kind words and donations from the basket- ball community and the greater Davidson community cannot do justice to her character. The only thing that I can add to this already deservingly crowded space of publication and support is my own perspective.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about sports. Perhaps even over the top. My friends will tag me in Internet memes trashing my favorite teams just to get a kick out of how irked I can be. I love sports, and I cannot deny that. However, I love sports because it is an escape from the real world. Time slows down when the day finally ends and I can flop on my futon with ESPN playing in the background. I am at peace in a gymnasium full of fans that voluntarily scream their voices away.

This is why I sat down on my bed and cried after Wednesday night’s double-overtime women’s basket- ball thriller. It wasn’t that I was sad necessarily, though the ever present unbreakable sadness that comes with heavy moments relentlessly persisted. I originally used the word ‘confusion’ as the explanation of the feeling in my heart. I told myself that it was my safe place of diversion suddenly overlapping with reality. Everything about it just seems so arbitrary. And so incredibly unfair. I was placed on Base Rich last year after I chose a bunch of characteristics that I thought described the person I wanted to be on some survey that I took during the spring of my senior year of high school. I chose this
school because it had a pretty cam- pus with good weather. Anyone could have been put in that situation. While the opportunities and privileges that lead someone to David- son are selective, anyone could have imagined a version of themselves that they want to be in the future–selecting answers on housing forms that correspond with that image. That is to say, anyone could have been lucky enough to have experienced fresh- men year on the same hall as Andrea. It was arbitrary, but I was given those opportunities. And still, devastatingly, anyone could have been diagnosed with leukemia. This disease does not care who it attacks nor how good of a person he or she might be. Which sucks. There’s no better way to say it.

Twenty-four hours after the game, I was thinking about what had happened. I knew confusion was not really how I felt. Confusion was a description of the situation. I experienced an identity crisis of sorts, as my escape from reality was in full-force collision with reality itself.

Because of this, it really wouldn’t have mattered which team had finished the game with more points be- cause what we experienced showed the strength that comes with community. Yet, the fact that the game played out the way it did – a comeback that showed resilience and poise, Mackenzie Latt scoring over 30 points in Andrea Robinson’s uniform, a great brand of team basketball, a victory in double-overtime after UMass played an impossibly perfect game of basketball for much of regulation, the energy in Belk arena that has yet to be matched this year – was beautiful.

The world is so full of injustice and situations that make us want to punch a wall, jump and scream, or just curl up in a ball and cry. At the same time, it is so full of beauty.
Beauty is how we can make sense of this dreadfully confusing rollercoaster that we call life. For two hours on a Wednesday night we were allowed to escape all that exceeded reason in the form of a game of basketball. It was apparent that everything, every loose ball, every student section chant, and everything else that made Wednesday night everything but a typical Wednesday night, was done out of love for Andrea Robinson, the strong, caring, compassionate, positive Wildcat.

Reader, I certainly hope that you can take away the same things that I can from Wednesday night. Davidson is an incredibly challenging place and comfort zones are pushed to the limit each and every day. There are some days when your stress-level might seem unbearable and your world is falling apart at the seams. When these moments come about for you and me, remember the beauty in life. Give your roommate a hug, look out- side at our beautiful campus, or smile at a new face on your way to class. A simple game of basketball allowed us all to come together as a community in honor of a person’s situation that I can only imagine she struggles to for- get. When the world unravels, find
your solace. When someone else’s unravels, be theirs.

With love,
Sam Thomas

Sam Thomas ’20 is a Computer Science and Political Science double-major from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Contact him at sathomas@davidson.edu.