Get some Tribe pride

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November 16, 2006

10:34 PM

I’m pissed off, and it doesn’t matter to me that there are probably more eloquent ways to express myself — nothing else conveys exactly how frustrated I am with sports, and to a greater degree, our attitudes toward them at this school. I’ve been here for two football seasons and I can honestly say our program is depressing both on the field and in the stands. Nobody likes to see one hopeless match-up after another, but that’s just the thing: nobody’s going to the games anyway. We all (read: all 250 of us) show up late to partially fill the student section and, by the time the fourth quarter rolls around, the homework we ought to be doing has drawn all but a stalwart few away. Of course, we engage in a lot of rationalization and hand-wringing because we know that if we can make time for 900 extra-curricular activities, we can probably schedule in three hours on a Saturday afternoon.

p. Maybe I’m romanticizing, but I find it saddening that I have rushed the field and court more times and felt more team pride in high school than I ever have here. This Thanksgiving break, I’ll be heading back home to St. Charles, Mo. to see my high school’s basketball squad take on its cross-town rival in one of the biggest games of the season. The line to get in will stretch outside the door, the fans will be screaming non-stop and we’ll be rooting for our respective teams like our lives depended on it. I’ll be in the company of several thousand individuals who, despite whatever differences they may have brought to the arena, will be wholeheartedly cheering their teams on to victory. If we can be so invigorated by intramural competition, as mentioned in last week’s Confusion Corner, why can’t we get excited about athletics at the collegiate level?

p. That said, sports are a rallying point for any school community. Take Kansas State University, for example.When I visited in September, all 50,000 seats were packed for the game against Louisville despite the near certainty of a loss. Granted, we’re probably a bit more scholarly than the Wildcats, but we have to start acting like human beings every once in a while, too. I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t take pride in our grades and accomplishments, but failing to appreciate success beyond a personal level leaves so much to be experienced. Right now, our enthusiasm for athletics is entirely conditional — we’ll support our teams as long as it doesn’t conflict with that meeting we have on Tuesday or that service project on Saturday afternoon. We seem to have “Tribe Pride” in name only, and let’s face it — you are not the Tribe, I am not the Tribe. We are the Tribe, and without the feather controversy to rile up the spiteful among us, I’m not sure we’d really be standing together for anything. Heck, we don’t even have a mascot (pizza slice notwithstanding).

p. Here’s the deal: as students, let’s start getting excited about sports on campus and show our support even if the teams aren’t doing so well. To those of you who have no interest in sports, I think you’ll find that a certain happiness results from the less cerebral pursuit of yelling your head off for an hour or two. And, on the flip side, let’s pressure the administration to start working harder to make our sports programs the best they can be. I realize we’re not a “sports school” per se, but I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say I’d feel a lot more pride if the number 95 were our winning percentage, rather than our athlete graduation rate. So, if nothing else, if we can fill William and Mary Hall with thousands of screaming fans confident of a victory, once, just once, I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing something right. Go Tribe — just so long as it’s not after seven on Monday or Tuesday, or during “Grey’s Anatomy,” or “Deal or No Deal” or …

p. __Andrew Peters is a sophomore at the College. His views do not necessarily represent those of The Flat Hat.__

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