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I’ve been a Quaker for eight years. And no, I’m not a super senior.

A graduate of a high school that also goes by the Fighting Quakers, I’ve called myself one for nearly a decade.

With my graduation from Penn now rapidly approaching, you can imagine the identity crisis I’m facing.

Over the years I’ve never been much of an athlete, but what I’ve lacked in ability I think I’ve made up for in spirit.

Simply put, I love being a fan.

With several of my close friends being members of Penn’s athletic teams, I’ve had a natural interest in the happenings of Penn athletics over the past four years.

This, coupled with my love of writing, is what led me to seek out a position as a sports reporter.

Writing for sports hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had to juggle team schedules with my own, balance my friendships with accurate reporting, and I’ve also received a fair share of criticism. But in spite of these challenges, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve been on the water with the men’s heavyweight rowing team, live-blogged events at the Penn Relays, brushed elbows with a few Olympians and even had a story picked up by The Huffington Post.

But most importantly, I’ve been able to gain a new admiration for the time and effort my friends and fellow classmates have put in as student-athletes.

Many of them could have chosen to go to schools where they would have received scholarships for playing their respective sport, but instead they came to Penn.

I’m sorry to say they haven’t always gotten the appreciation I believe they deserve.

It’s easy for those of us who don’t play a sport to sit back and criticize our school’s athletes when they don’t perform well. But put yourself in their shoes and try to juggle Ivy League academics with a demanding practice and game schedule.

I admit my friends’ past displeasure with their media coverage was an added impetus for me to join the DP staff.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think our teams should go completely without judgment. But during my time covering rowing, swimming, and track and field, I’ve tried to report as accurately and fairly as possible, while also taking into consideration the nature of the respective team.

Based off the responses I’ve gotten from readers, athletes, and coaches alike, I’ve think I’ve done a pretty good job.

Now we all know attendance at athletic events and overall school spirit has been dwindling in the past few years, especially when it comes to men’s hoops. Much has been discussed about what can be done to bring back the level of excitement last seen during my freshman year.

While I’ve got plenty of ideas, I’ll be an alumnus come May 17. But that doesn’t mean my support for athletics will end there.

While the future of the fan base lies mainly in future generations of the Red and Blue, I believe its success will also rely on the continued interest of alumni like me who will return to campus to cheer for their alma mater and inspire current students to do the same.

Because really, we will always be Quakers.

KATIE SIEGMANN is a 2010 College graduate. She can be contacted at

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