College Third-Year Tom Decker, Men’s Lacrosse Player


Photo Courtesy of OC Athletics

College third-year Tom Decker.

College third-year Tom Decker, the men’s lacrosse team’s leading scorer this season, is on a scorching tear. After burning the Thiel College Tomcats with a nine-point game in the Yeomen’s 21–10 season-opening win, Decker was awarded the North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week award. He followed up that incredible performance with a solid four-point day against the Albion College Britons, propelling the Yeomen to a 12–11 victory. The former All-NCAC honorable mention athlete is poised to have another big season for the team. When he’s not on the field, Decker studies Environmental Studies and is trying to make the most out of the remainder of his time in college.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What led you to Oberlin?

My father went here. Initially, I did not want to go to Oberlin. I wanted to forge my own path. My other top choices were Lewis & Clark [College] and American University, but American University was too close to home and Lewis & Clark did not have the sports I wanted. Based on what I told my college counselors and what they thought, it appeared that Oberlin was the best fit for me. I was thinking about doing environmental studies or environmental science. I liked the vibe on campus. What I would say to a prospective athlete is that no matter where you end up, I hope you’re as happy as I am here.

How did it feel to be an All-NCAC Honorable Mention last year?

Pretty similar to [winning NCAC] Player of the Week. It was cool, but it didn’t make me happy. Player of the Week and Honorable Mention are fun honors but, in the end, it doesn’t really mean anything. They’re just another sign that I needed to get better.

What are your personal goals for this year?

For lacrosse, I want to start having more fun. I still have a lot of fun. However, I complain quite a bit during practice, and it sometimes feels like a chore. But now, it’s really starting to sink in that I don’t have much time left [at Oberlin]. Therefore, I’m trying to enjoy every moment while it lasts. In terms of school, I want to really start figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my time here and what interests me academically as opposed to what classes are required.

What are your goals for your team this year?

I want us to have as much fun as we possibly can. I don’t really care if we lose every game. As long as we’re having fun I really don’t care what the outcome is. Winning and not having fun is just a waste of time for me.

How old were you when you started playing lacrosse?

I started playing in seventh grade because all my friends stopped playing baseball. I’ve been playing ever since.

What athletes have influenced your playing style?

I don’t really watch any sports. So, no pro athletes. [However,] my brother, my dad, and some of my high school and college teammates have all had an impact on me and my style.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

My favorite movie is the hit film Shaolin Soccer. It came out in 2001, and I watched it for the first time on a spring break trip with my family friends. My brother and I couldn’t stop laughing during the soccer scenes, and ever since then, it has been my favorite movie.

Why did you decide to be an Environmental Studies major?

In my junior year of high school, I had Environmental Humanities and Environmental Science classes in the same year. The teachers of those classes are my two favorite high school teachers, and they really gave me a perspective about how delicate and important the environment is.

What else do you do on campus?

I love hanging out with my friends. Hanging out in the dorms and listening to music are some of my favorite things to do outside of lacrosse. Dining out at local eateries is another favorite pastime. I especially love Kim’s and The Feve.

Anything else to add?

For any athletes, remember that your time is limited and one day you won’t be able to play the sport you love with the people you love. Appreciate every day.