The definition of “athlete” on dictionary.com (used because no one we know actually owns a real dictionary) says, “Any one trained to contend in exercises requiring great physical agility and strength; one who has great activity and strength; a champion.” While most people’s first instinct when the word athlete is mentioned is to think of football players, basketball studs, and soccer stars, the real athletes can be found in the most elite group on campus… Varsity Med-Ex. Although most students and faculty members didn’t even know there was a Varsity Med-Ex, there is, and the participants must meet the requirements of all other varsity athletes plus a few more: 1. Show up to all practices and meets on time otherwise risk the punishments. (Anything from towel duty to being forced to stay in the training area while the track team, stench and all, enters and leaves.) 2. Losing is not accepted (hence the undefeated season this year). 3. No wasting, eating, or playing with the ice due to the fact that ice is an important part of the success of the team. 4. Never allow yourself to be made fun of by someone who considers himself a “true” athlete, when he or she has really just been sipping on some Hatorade. 5. Show no pain. As anyone can see, these rules are the basis for a very strong and competitive team. Referring back to the online definition of an athlete, all participants of Varsity Med-Ex (we are unaware of any of the standards for JV) are trained to endure some of the hardest workouts any individual in the school has pushed themselves to attempt. How many times have you been asked to stretch a strained and tender muscle without being allowed to show any pain? To fully understand Varsity Med-Ex, it has to be looked at as not just a team, but a way of life. (Such proof is found in the amount of time each member spends in the training room and gym facilities on any given day) This year’s varsity team held over 10 members led by co-captains Kara Hollis and Aba Temeng (why yes, those do happen to be the two ladies writing this article). To name a few of the key players who were strong parts of the team and will be up for the MVM (Most Valuable Med-Exer) Award, there was Pat Houlihan ’04, formally a varsity basketball player until he saw the light due to a sprained ankle; Christiana Hollis ’05, who has degenerated disks in her back (awful, we know); Natalie Lehmann ’07, the newest member with osteochondritis (it’s in her knee); Jeannette Francis ’06, who has a stress fracture in her right tibia; Kara Hollis, plagued with a gruesome strain in her right hamstring; and Aba Temeng, who suffers from cartilage folds in her knee. The coaches that piloted this team to such an amazing season included Brian Cox and Kathryn Birecki. Other adult facilitators consist of Mike Kuta, Dr. Ergin, the orthopedic doctor that visits Isham once a week, and the moral support offered by parents of the student participants. Mrs. Birecki, or Coach B-Rek as Varsity Med-Exers so fondly call her, sums up the season by saying, “We were worried in the beginning of the season that we didn’t have quite enough players, but by mid season we had quite a full roster, and they came together nicely as a team.” While no one can predict anything for the upcoming seasons of Med-Ex, it is an agreement that Phillips Academy Andover will never again have such a tough, well-built Varsity Med-Ex team. [Editor’s Note: Although the team never actually competed in any games, it collected its undefeated record by travelling to other schools and calling out their Med-Ex students. When the other students refused to come out and fight us, our team would count that as a ‘forfeit’ and put another tally in the win column. A girl from Brooks, who broke her back earlier this year, had only this to say: “I am in extreme pain.” …Sorry words from a sorry loser.]
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