Sports do not always present black and white scenarios. There is not always a winner and a loser. Sometimes, athletes just want to be part of a team. Wins and losses become a concern only after they get the chance to compete. Senior Charlotte Rose and sophomore Aleksandra (Ola) Mackiewicz of Brown University were trying to be part of a team. Throughout the year, both switched back and forth between the third and fourth starter position on the fencing team. The end of the regular season came and Brown had a problem. Four women’s sabers had qualified for the NCAA regional tournament, but only three athletes per team are allowed to attend and compete in the event. Mackiewicz clinched the third starter spot in the final regular season competition. This left Rose on the outside looking in. Mackiewicz was excited, but didn’t feel quite right about the opportunity. Rose had been a dedicated member of the team during her time at Brown and had never had the chance to compete in an NCAA regional. Mackiewicz went to the coaching staff and proposed that Rose take the third starter position in her place. “This is the epitome of putting the team and teammates before oneself, which I believe to be the essence of a great athlete,” Rose said. According to her teammates, Mackiewicz always maintains a positive attitude no matter the situation. She is a calming influence on her team. Instead of allowing her teammates to get frustrated with a loss, Mackiewicz tells them how to fix their mistakes. Brown coach Atilio Tass said, “Just by asking to give her very precious spot to the regional championship to a senior teammate demonstrates an immense amount of respect and caring for the team over the individual. The depth of her honesty and integrity manifests itself infinitely.”
Aleksandra Mackiewicz is the recipient of the NCAA’s Sportsmanship Award.