Aimercat (aimercat) wrote,

My love/hate relationship with the Dayton Flyers

Looks like the Cindererlla of this year's NCAA basketball tournament is The University of Dayton Flyers with their last-second wins over both Ohio State and Syracuse (both were favored to win). While I spent my first 3 years of college at Dayton, it's definitely been a love/hate relationship.

I loved my time at Dayton. I'm still friends with my housemates from 1610 Alberta St. where we were the only sophomores with a university-owned house in the ghetto (the term for the student housing area) and we kept that house our junior year as well. I was a local phone call away from my family (that might be a weird concept to you younger readers) & somehow I conned my way into being one of the rare freshmen who was allowed to have a car on campus (I think we told the university that my private tennis coach was in Springfield and I had to have access to him). Of course, I loved the parties....I went there when we were on the news every St. Patty's Day, got a shoutout from David Letterman's top 10 & we were on the party school lists.

What I hated was the lies and empty promises from the athletic department that forced me to leave my friends behind after 3 years. I didn't get offered a division I tennis scholarship out of high school and it was all or nothing for me. I knew I was good enough to play Division 1 and I wasn't settling for 2, 3 or NAIA. Dayton didn't have scholarships at the time, but they were getting them....or so I was told. I agreed to the 5-year athletic plan & I sat out my freshman year (to adjust to college...i was having a rough time) & I joined the team at the start of my sophomore year with the promise of "play 2 years & when we get scholarships, the people already on the team will get them"

My junior year rolls around and I start hearing recruits coming in being told scholarships are theirs. EXCUSE ME!?!?! I'm racking up student loan debt like no one's business for this pricey private school because I was told I would get help after 2 years of playing. Turns's all lies. They're using their new-found scholarships to REPLACE all of us already on the team...sure, we won't get cut, but our playing time will but "you'll get to play at least 1 match a season" EXCUSE ME?!?! You want me to bust my ass at practice like 5 days a week, offseason training, etc for 1 match a season and this isn't even a winning team??!?! FUCK THAT! As painful as it was, I started scoping out schools to transfer to and I wasn't going to sit out a year because of some NCAA stupid transfer rule so that mean jumping down a division. I kept my mouth quiet too.....and waited for the right time to make my move.

At our end-of-season banquet (at an Olive Garden...really? Dayton? that's all you can afford for like 10 girls?!?! Olive Garden?), the coach invited the athletic director and he's bragging about how deep the team is going to be with all the new scholarship players along with the returning players and one by one, a few of us stand up and say "I will not be returning next year because I've accepted a scholarship to....."

So here lies the rub....sure I went there, sure i had a good time there, but it's hard now to cheer for a school kinda forced me to leave my friends and family behind if I wanted to afford my education and get playing time. That's why my priority of my 3 schools always goes 1. Findlay (who, trust me, JUMPED at the chance to land a Division 1 caliber player. I have so much adoration for Coach Smyth & what he did for me), 2. Ohio State and then a distant 3. Dayton.

Every now and then, I get a phone call or letter from them wanting money. The answer is always the same: "You did not give me money when I needed it from you therefore I am unable to give you money now." (I did keep the Dayton tennis shirt one of the new coaches sent me attempting to "olive branch" things though.)
Tags: basketball, college, sports, tennis
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