Yes, you have read that correctly. It’s something you may have said aloud, but never read in text –nevertheless it is a part of campus culture. Or maybe this is your introduction to the topic. NARP, non-athletic-regular-person. A term often applied to those who do not participate on a varsity or club team at Acadia, a concept which I am sure is prevalent on other campuses. Full disclosure: I am considered to be a NARP.
This is a term that I would like to take back! Turn it into one of those, “I-can-call-me-that-but-you-can’t-call-me-that” situations. Sort of in the same vein of, I can make fun of my family, but don’t even think about talking bad about my mama. This term holds a negative connotation, of course, because who wants to be called a “regular person” (unless you are very odd like myself, and “normal” would in fact be a promotion in society)? But, I would like to argue that there is a silver lining for those who feel they are on the fringes of adoration due to the lack of their hand-eye coordination.
To all of you non-athletic angsty almost-adults – take this as an opportunity for indulging your ironic side. If that isn’t hipster bait, I don’t know what is. Stick it to the man, man. Imagine all the buttons you could wear on your retro jacket: “I peaked in high school”, “Badminton MVP 2014”, “Ur Fav NARP”, “Benchwarmer”, “Intermural CHAMP” or “Not a Scrub, But Got Scratched” and “I’ll come to all of your games”. By acknowledging the difference, instead of wallowing in it, I think there is a great opportunity for some counterculture and self-deprecation in the healthiest sense. Instead of succumbing and contributing to the dichotomy between the two groups, remember that both groups are made up of strong individuals. Therefore, I believe there may be a small need for people to get over themselves, and add just a dose of reflection perhaps.
No, you may not have the abs of a god, but are you healthy? Do you exercise regularly? I’m sure you enjoy sports in some regard. Then, who says you are not athletic or deserve self-worth? So, you don’t have an institution that recognizes your athletic ability, but you should be thankful for any good health that you may possess. Yes, you may be intimidated by the awesome swag that athletes possess (jackets, shirts, etc.), but haven’t they earned it? I don’t have to balance an insane schedule, which is upheld only so that I can physically exert myself. Ew, no thank you, blah. So, don’t fall completely to the folly of material possessions (such as varsity swag) and their status.
But, if you desire to play the status game why not make your own NARP uniform? Glasses that fall apart, your slept in department sweater, and… YOUR NEW BUTTONS! It is all just a question of confidence in your self-identity. So why not express yourself in an organization which already exists, or create your own? Or, you just do you. Whatever that means, and don’t worry so about your perceived value. Don’t sweat it, leave the sweating to the athletes.
At Acadia, we have the first overall rate per capita of Academic All-Canadian Athletes in the country. WOAH! The accomplishment of student athletes is the accomplishment of all Acadia students, one for all Axemen and Axewomen. It’s all about school pride, right? So, find an outlet which you can take pride in, ya NARP. Don’t let the athlete and NARP relationship become a rigid binary, and remember that both groups are made up of great people. Complex people that are multidimensional. Combat this and become a part of a team of your own, whatever that may be: photography, social change, clubs, or write for the paper (please)! Forge your own identity.
P.S. I do somewhat foster a theory deep down that the Kinesiology Department could possibly be the secret police of Acadia. Kinesiology… Kine…K.I.N.E = Knowledge In NARP Extinction. I don’t know, I am just putting it out there, in case you never hear from me again.