On The Abuse of Athletes

Sam Ryan ’25
Guest Writer

I look at them and say, “But I’m just an instrument.”

“Don’t be silly,” they respond. “You’re the conductor.”

But at the end of the day, they play you just the same.

And so I come to you and I say, “Look how they played me. See how my strings are broken, see how I am scratched, see how I no longer sound the same.”

And you, bless your soul, say it hurts to see how I was played. You say you could only do so much. That your hands were tied.

But here’s the thing:

When you leave us instruments alone in the dark, we cannot see who is playing us. We cannot see their claws, ready to scratch our paint. We cannot see their massive hands, ready to break us in half. We can only hear their voices, those words so sweetly promising us a chance to play in the orchestra. We needed you to turn on the light, and you left us in the dark.

And when we come to you with all our scars, you weep for what was. But still you neglect to turn on the light. Because apparently there are rules, rules that keep you from illuminating our plight.

Rules are such a funny thing. They’re meant to protect, aren’t they? And now we must ask; who are you trying to protect? Us instruments, who lie scratched and broken in the dark? Or those monsters with the honeyed voices and gleeful smiles? Your words favor us instruments; but your actions support the monsters, and for that you are no better.

We may have broken, but we are still so very capable of producing sound. And we are no longer the finely tuned instruments we once were. No more will we please the outside world with our music. No more will we play in the dark. We will simply make our discordant noise until you do your job and turn on the light.

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