Is love in the air? Or is it just in the heat of team spirit? Many relationships are built on individuals sharing a common activity, but sometimes they develop into something more. On a co-ed sports team however, this phenomenon is defined by many as a distinct situation-ship. The close and shared experience through physical activity compared to other types of couplings is considered a whole different type of relationship. It is considered taboo, playfully compared to incest. Hence, the term “team-cest.” The phrase’s negative connotation is problematic, however, and invalidates the real connections and experiences student athletes have with their fellow peers.
Even though “team-cest” has definitely existed before our time here at the College, the use of the word in many cases is now used to point to co-ed teams as being a weird bunch of people. If you pay attention to the College’s Yik Yak, then you may have heard some rumors circulating, claiming co-ed teams like swimming and cross country are up to no good again. One might even refer to these sports teams as a “cult” the same way Indigenous people’s groups have been misinterpreted or Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex ring was rightly-labled. But “team-cest” does not need to be questioned or elevated to this level.
As a member of a team where it is common, it seems every two weeks at this point someone is getting together with you know who and becoming the next big thing; it’s like sampling down College gossip at our liberal arts college, you just swim, run or play ball with them. It’s comical for it to be the team discourse for about a week or two before it becomes normal and mundane in comparison to everything else that occurs. For this reason, I see “team-cest” more as a symbol of a team’s closeness and the fraternity amongst its athletes.
With closer contact comes the same nuances, complications and drama any relationship may have. Sometimes this drama is more intense given the proximity one has with another. Having a significant other can boost your morale as well as deplete it, just like how that cute guy you may have met in your intro class has the potential to do. But the bond you create when training and participating together can be strong. Maybe even stronger than the one you have with your best platonic friend. “Team-cest” scenarios are in no way superior to more traditional, non-athletic based hookups and couplings, but they do offer their unique experiences.
I write this as a statistic, as someone who is not only a part of a team which has this kind of ‘relationship-cest’ but is seeing one of my teammates, so it feels ironic for me to write on this topic. But I feel that it is another phenomenon of the various subcultures Wooster has. It is an experience to be a part of it. All in all, the love found with my athletic siblings helps me love the sport as I do. They are both passions by choice after all.