Is tribal fever contagious?

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September 13, 2010

11:16 PM

You may have noticed, maybe just out the corner of your eye, the word “Tribe” stenciled, intermittently, along Richmond and Jamestown Roads, paint drying just in time for the first home football game Saturday. It’s a small but important sign, and one we hope might be representative of a larger trend. Be it due to our increasingly competitive sports programs, or to our slowly improving town-gown relations, there’s the sense of a larger community, a more substantive Tribe, starting to coalesce.

There are very few cases in which improved street signage really signifies much of anything, but this may, in fact, be one of them. In many ways, we hope, the Tribe is spreading. These newly painted logos merely provide a convenient visual cue, a literal link between the dilapidated walls of Old Campus and the greater town beyond them. But, given the strained relationship of years past between the student and resident communities, any small step helps. Having residents feel the College is a vital part of their community, and they ours, is an essential component of a mutually-beneficial town-gown relationship. Hopefully, it signals the beginnings of the city becoming more involved with the College, be it with our sports teams or otherwise.

But residents aren’t the only ones to be applauded for supporting the Tribe. Students arrived en masse for the first home game against Virginia Military Institute, packing the stadium beyond capacity with more students lining up outside to wait for space to open up. With a new mascot to rally around and high expectations set by last year’s admirable run, it seems that student excitement couldn’t be better. It was a great turnout — not to mention a resounding, shut-out victory — and we look forward to seeing such enthusiasm continue for the rest of the year, and for the entire spectrum of College sports.

So, what can we do to keep up the trend? For one, the College should certainly make every effort to encourage Williamsburg residents to keep attending games. This is already the case in many areas, with free tickets promotionally offered to the patrons of various Williamsburg businesses, but a renewed effort here would certainly be justified. The more interest and awareness we can generate for Tribe sports, the better.

As for students, try to keep up the momentum. It’s a natural law that attendance always goes down following the first few games, when the real pressures of the semester start to kick in. Be that as it may, stay involved. There are only four remaining home games in the regular season, but the next certainly needs no additional hype; we face off against Villanova at Zable Stadium in less than three weeks. Get ready.

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