On Saturday afternoon, 100 students left the College of William and Mary decked out in green and gold apparel, headed for the season opener against the University of Virginia at their home stadium in Charlottesville. The trip was organized by one of the newest student groups on campus, The Tribal Fever, and it’s President Chase Hathaway ’10. The organization, barely a month old at the time of the trip, was founded with the goal of promoting greater team spirit among the sports at the College.
Once the group arrived at Scott Stadium the students filed into the visiting team section. The sea of orange and blue was broken up by the Tribe contingent, as students, alumni and fans sang the Alma Mater along with some of the other cheers written down for the students by the Tribal Fever on a piece of paper they received with their ticket. The bottom half of the sheet was devoted to the records of the UVA team, including the dissatisfaction of UVA fans with Coach Al Groh and the arrests of UVA players during the previous season.
Before the game even started the whole Tribal Fever contingent was on its feet, yelling out any and all cheers they could think of to support the team. With any first down the group would let out a cheer discernable far away from the visiting section. There to cheer on the tribe no matter what, the excitement turned to shock and pure joy among the students when the Tribe gained the lead. From that point forward section was explosive, with the leaders of Tribal Fever launching from one cheer to another. After the final play, the section lingered in the stadium to savor the victory, ultimately having to be encouraged out by security.
“It was a charismatic atmosphere,” said Brittney Calloway ’11. “I’m used to people not really caring about the game and leaving during the middle. (The Tribal Fever) did a great job organizing the trip.”
Hathaway was motivated to take action after he attended a basketball game with a rather small turnout. Last March he spoke with Senior Associate Athletic Director Bobby Dwyer about the possibilities of forming a student fan club. The organization held focus group sessions in May to test the feasibility of the project. After working this summer with Webmaster and Vice President for Marketing and Treasury Alex Ball ’10 entirely over the internet to build up the groups website, Twitter and Facebook page, the group officially launched on Aug. 1.
Although the group does receive support from the College and the Athletics Office, it is entirely student lead.
“When I went to the administration about my idea, they told me that I would have their support, but it would have to be student led,” Hathaway said.
To supplant what they have received from the College, the fan group has acquired sponsorships from local businesses. The Tribal Fever kept the costs to the students relatively low, only charging a $10 membership fee and $5 fee for the game itself. The trip itself cost around $6,000, but only $500 of it came from the 100 students who rode the bus up to Charlottesville.
With an upperclassmen heavy leadership team, Tribal Fever is looking for people willing to step up into leadership positions.
“I’d like to see freshmen and sophomores join the club and work the make it something the whole campus is involved in,” Hathaway said.
Among the students who rode the bus to the game, there was a lot of interest in the organization. Many did not know of the Tribal Fever until coming to campus this fall, and we’re surprised at the success of trip and the club as a whole.
“It was definitely something I’d look to get involved in,” said Pete Garrambone ’13.
As one of the newest clubs on campus, the Tribal Fever made its first impression in a large way far from the campus that it represents.
“I just wanted to give back to the student athletes,” Hathaway said, “and to the school that has given us so much.”