The majority of our fellow students at Brown are Non-Athletic Regular People (NARPs). Going into college, most people are told that being a NARP—especially if you’re a guy—will impede your social life. So, we decided to interview some athletes and non-athletes to get to the root of these rumors.
What’s it like to be a freshman guy not affiliated with a team? The biggest takeaway from our interview with the NARPS is that they are thankful that they have a lot of time on their hands. When asked if they would rather be on a sports team most of them scoffed and sarcastically said something along the lines of, “Yeah I’m just dying to wake up for 5 a.m. lifts. It’s all I’ve ever wanted in life.” However, when pressed a little further, they acknowledged that some of their athletic peers have it easier when it comes to the social scene here at Brown. For example, many of them said that they feel pretty welcome at frat parties, but not at the parties at sports houses. Every NARP we interviewed said that if they are going to go to a sports party, they have to know someone to name-drop to the kids working the door, and if they don’t show up with girls they know they’ll automatically get turned away. When we asked them if they thought girls had it easier getting into parties, they unanimously said yes. Still, they did say that they wouldn’t want to be in a girl’s position, as they think girls get into parties for “sleezy reasons.”
When it comes to friends, they told us that being on a team would limit their ability to make genuine “bros” and expand their circles. When we asked them if they thought being on a team would force them to form a closer bond with each other, they told us no. They said they spend time together differently, and in their opinion, they have time to bond in more “real” ways.
On the other end, the male athletes told us that they would never opt to be a NARP, but not really for social reasons. First, they told us about the downsides to playing a sport at Brown. For one, they have to work really hard, on and off the field. The restraints on their schoolwork is definitely stressful at times, and they can’t go out whenever they want to. ut to them, it’s worth it.
They unanimously told us that they love being on a team. They are doing what they love, and they have made friends to whom, in their opinion, they would not be as close if they didn’t go through practices and games together. When we asked them if being on a team has limited their ability to make a wider group of friends, they said of course, but they never really thought about it before, so it isn’t a really a negative to being affiliated with a team. Some of them said they did wish they were able to have more friends outside of the team, but “you can’t miss what you don’t have.” Socially, being on a team is definitely fun, but they told us they have never turned away a “NARP” guy at a party (this may not be the case for every team however), not even a freshman, so they don’t think being an athlete makes or breaks your ability to go out.Although the social life at many colleges, especially for freshmen who aren’t on a sports team, may depend on whether or not you are a NARP, most people at Brown will tell you that this is not really the case.