Featured / Sports / The Prairie Fire / April 9, 2014

Prairie Fire Profile: Maxwell Gatyas


Ht.: 5’10”

Wt: 160 lb.

Hometown: Plymouth, Wisc.

Class: Senior

Major: Philosophy

Fast facts:

  • Scored 27 goals, including three game-winners, and 27 assists over the course of his soccer career
  • His 13 assists in his senior year are a Knox record
  • Captained the record-setting 2013 Prairie Fire soccer team that broke school records with 13 victories, 11 consecutive wins, nine shutouts, 56 goals scored, 42 assists, 154 points and 13 game-winning goals
  • Currently holds a record of 7-4 in singles play for the men’s tennis team, also going 7-4 in doubles with partner junior Jonathan Ng

Let’s start with academics. What are you doing in terms of your senior research for philosophy?

I had been working on a paper these past two terms concerning Ralph Waldo Emerson and a philosopher named Stanley Cavell.  Emerson is a really fascinating figure in many respects, especially as he relates to academic philosophy — considering he has been largely dismissed by most within the profession in recent years.  My paper attempted to revive one of his philosophical concepts through the use of Cavell’s writings and film.  I presented that paper at a conference at Pacific University, which was a really fun and educational experience.  Other than that, I’m working on an independent study with Dr. Bill Young.  I’m reading about modern conceptions of Buddhist ethics and how they approach vegetarianism. It’s an exciting project because it blends two of my favorite academic subjects — ethics and religion.

What are you doing once you graduate?

I have been fortunate enough to be accepted to a few doctoral programs around the country.  So I will be pursuing a PhD in philosophy.  It has been my goal to pursue a PhD in the field since I was in high school, so to be accepted is a dream come true.  From what I understand, I have my work cut out for me, both in terms of earning the doctorate as well as finding a job once the program is completed.  Nevertheless, I love studying philosophy and I’m excited to continue to work hard and hopefully one day become a professor.

Senior Maxwell Gatyas was a captain and four-year starter on the soccer team and is also a key player for the men’s tennis team. (Michelle Orr/TKS)

Senior Maxwell Gatyas was a captain and four-year starter on the soccer team and is also a key player for the men’s tennis team. (Michelle Orr/TKS)

How (if at all) have your athletics and academics melded at Knox?

Philosophy, as much as I try to not let it affect me too much, finds its way into everything I do, including sports.  I was not nearly as dedicated to athletics before I started reading philosophy at Knox, and, now, philosophy has helped me appreciate the many incredible things that sports present to the people who partake in them — the most important things, I think, being friendship and a better knowledge of how to deal with those around you.

Favorite memories (both sports and non-sports):

My favorite non-athletic memory might be performing in a Terpsichore Dance show.  It was something that put me out of my comfort zone and taught me a lot, while being incredibly enjoyable.  I was able to perform, when it was a bit more inclusive, with a number of my very good friends and learn about a field of study that I was, for the most part, completely unaware of.  Dance is a fantastic way to learn about one’s self, and I really cherished that opportunity.

I’ll split my favorite sports memories in two, because I’ve been lucky enough to play two sports.  As far as soccer goes, beating Lake Forest College during homecoming this year was such a wonderful experience.  We were very fortunate to get a lot of support at the game, and many of my friends and family were there to watch what ended up being a really fun game to participate in.  I couldn’t think of a better way to end my time on Jorge Pratts field than walking off with the game-winner.  I enjoyed every second playing with my teammates, who are a great group of guys, and for Coach Edwards. So, I was really grateful to play a part in such an influential win for the program.

With tennis, I won a grueling match against Wartburg College at the number four singles spot, which ended up winning the match for the team. My whole team and my brother were watching and supporting me, which was incredible. My opponent was a great competitor and the match went on for what seemed like days. I never even made the varsity tennis team at Plymouth High School, so to be helping Knox win matches at the college level is always a great experience and something that I never would have expected to happen.

How do you feel that Knox as a whole prepared you for the ‘real world’ after graduation?

Part of the reason I love Knox is because it’s here that I learned that school is the real world.  I’ve approached my studies just as I would a job. Professor Dan Wack did away with that categorization in a lecture one day and I’m inclined to agree with him.  I think if I say that my experience here wasn’t one of the ‘real world’, then it would be too easy to forget the things I’ve learned and see them as inconsequential.  I’m confident that the experiences I’ve had here are very much applicable to life outside of college and although I’m sad to go, I’m very eager to take the next step in my life.  I remember when I first decided to go to Knox, I told myself that no matter what happens that I’ll be proud to graduate.  Now that I’m a couple months away, that is certainly the case.  I think if a college has done its job, the student should be excited to leave at the end of their tenure, and in a place (both physically and emotionally) where they will be happy once out of school.  As far as I can tell, I will be very happy out in the ‘real world’.

Tags:  bill young dan whack jonathan ng knox men's soccer knox men's tennis Max Gatyas terpsichore

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Gavin Crowell
Gavin Crowell is a junior with interests in neuroscience and psychology. He has been playing baseball ever since he could walk, playing throughout his childhood and winning two IHSA regional titles in his three years of varsity baseball at Walter Payton College Prep. He currently plays on the Knox College Ultimate team. Gavin is an Illinois State Scholar and has been involved with writing throughout high school. This is his third year working with TKS. Over the summer after his sophomore year, he had a sports internship at the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago's second largest paper.

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