/Athlete’s perspective on College Night 
Scene from Gold Side's 2024 College Night show. Photo by Britton Wade, Photography editor.

Athlete’s perspective on College Night 

By Drew Roberts 

It was a temperate November morning in Lakeland, Fla. I, along with the rest of my teammates, had just competed in the Division II Cross Country South Regional Championship. We waltzed down Main Street in our team-issued hoodies. By chance, there was a bustling farmer’s market lining the streets, and, by an even greater chance, we ran into a Montevallo alum.  

As soon as she saw us, she beamed with excitement. After all, Montevallo’s student body isn’t exactly large. I think it’s more likely for you to make it your entire tenure without tripping on the bricks than it is for you to run into an alum in another state. 

“Are you Purple or are you Gold?” she asked, on the verge of falling over as she leaned in for an answer. 

We shrugged. We were all Green. We were athletes. 

I’ve had many experiences similar to this one. It’s the standard question any Montevallo student gets asked. For the longest time I responded that I didn’t care. I arrived at Montevallo in the Fall of 2020, and nothing about that year was normal. That means College Night, the university’s most time-honored tradition, didn’t leave much of an impact on me.  

Truth be told, my first College Night experience was this year’s show. I’d been tasked with capturing footage for the Vallo Vision News broadcast, and on that Sweet Saturday evening in Palmer Auditorium, I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. 

I’ll preface my thoughts on the shows by saying that for my entire life, I have not liked musical theater. That’s putting it lightly. I can’t give you a solid, concrete reason as to why. It’s more of a visceral gut reaction of disinterest.  

That changed after College Night. From the opening song of Purple Side’s “Pleasant Vanished,” I was entranced. Gold Side’s “To Live and To Die” gripped me with its emotional poignancy, and ultimately left me a little stunned. In both shows, I was amazed by the choreography, music, lighting, acting, script and any other aspect made all the more impressive by the production’s amateur nature. 

I just kept thinking, “This is what my peers are capable of,” and it recontextualized everything. By everything, I mean going to school at Montevallo. I felt like a new side of it had been revealed to me, something that, as an athlete, I’d missed out on for far too long. 

My story is not unlike others, but why is that the case? Why does there seem to be such an unspoken divide between those of us who compete for the school and those who do not?  

A lot of it comes down to time. College athletics eats up a lot of it. Not only do I have the course load of a full-time student, but I also have to run something to the tune of 80 to 85 miles each week. Along with being the co-director of Catholic Campus Ministry, that doesn’t leave me with a lot of free time. I don’t know how I could have fit College Night into that schedule. That’s just with running, as well. Our quaint university is home to a whopping 25 sports, meaning a good chunk of the student body also have a hectic schedule.  

Many of these athletes also belong to teams whose coaches won’t allow them to compete in the athletic side of College Night. I can certainly see the reason for wanting to avoid injury, but it adds yet another caveat to the already dubious prospect of athletes participating in College Night. 

Really, I just worry that we’re fracturing ourselves into two different Montevallos. At the risk of painting with a broad brush, the theatrically-inclined and athletically-inclined populations don’t really mix. I walk into the Caf and see this quite clearly. By and large, athletes sit with their fellow teammates. There’s nothing wrong with this. It is the community that college promises, but still, you don’t see much overlap.  

College Night deserves to be experienced, participated in and celebrated. This may seem obvious to non-athletes reading this, but it’s still worth saying. There’s obviously no chance of College Night leaving anytime soon, but with the amount of sports we’ve added, I just hope we don’t dilute it, making it seem reserved for only part of the student body. 

If I’m to leave you with a final message, I’ll let it be this. To my fellow athletes, go to College Night. Participate if your schedule allows. Don’t let this one-of-a-kind tradition pass you by. To my non-athletes, support our sports. Come to our games, matches and meets with fervor and pride for your school. This idea of a united front may seem idealistic, but I’m graduating soon. I want to believe in my soon-to-be alma mater. 

At Montevallo, there’s a beauty and complementarity to our sports and our artistry. I don’t see why we can’t have both. 

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