Nov. 24, 2014

Feature: How to be a Tribe fan

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August 21, 2014

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Welcome to William and Mary sports, Class of 2018. You probably didn’t come here for the sports, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy cheering for the Tribe. If you want to fully appreciate the College’s sports scene, try to become a full-fledged Tribe fan as soon as possible. Consider this a primer on how to be a true fan.

There’s a decent chance that the first sporting event you’ll see at the College will be a football game. There’s really no downside to Tribe football — even if it’s not your scene, it’s still great to spend time outside with friends on a fall weekend. Football games take place at Zable Stadium, located next to the Sadler Center. It’s easily accessible from all of campus, so there’s no excuse to skip out on games.

There are some ground rules to going to a Tribe football game, or really any Tribe sporting event. For starters, there’s no point in going unless you’re wearing one, or both, of the College’s colors: green and gold. The colors are a campus institution, not unlike Thomas Jefferson or the Sunken Garden, so the least you can do is wear them proudly.

Once you’ve found Zable Stadium and are wearing the requisite amount of green and/or gold, you’re ready for the actual cheering. It doesn’t take much more than combining the words ‘Tribe’ and ‘pride’ in some coherent sentence. If the people surrounding you join, that’s a sure sign that you’re doing it right. If not, don’t stop. It’s never wrong to have Tribe pride.

Joining you at most Tribe games will be a few mainstays: the cheerleaders, the Tribal Dancers and the pep band. They perform at all football and basketball games. You’ll notice that they do similar things at each game — the pep band even plays the same songs, but they’re good at what they do, so you’ll barely notice.

Also joining the entertainment is the Griffin, the College’s mascot. Though the Griffin doesn’t have the longevity of other Tribe traditions, it’s an indispensable part of the fan experience. If you feel the urge to high-five the Griffin, that’s good. No matter how many times you do during your Tribe career, it will never get old. Show the Griffin plenty of love.

That covers the essentials of Tribe fandom; if you keep all of this in mind, you’ll be prepared to show Tribe pride. It’s easy to be a part of the College’s sports scene, because it’s a community where showing up and caring about the teams is the only prerequisite.

It’s true that William and Mary won’t be a true sports powerhouse in your four years. However, that doesn’t make Tribe fandom any less valuable. You’ll enjoy watching Tribe sports, both for athletes like dynamic senior point guard Marcus Thornton and moments like the College’s near upset at West Virginia a season ago. Those memories will endure.

Tribe sports are also about community. You won’t sit in a 100,000-seat stadium, but you will enjoy making connections with fellow fans in Zable’s cozy confines. The bond among the College’s fans is real, even if the venue is smaller.

Being a Tribe fan is all about passion. Wearing green and gold, screaming about Tribe pride and high-fiving the Griffin a thousand times is all an extension of that. The athletes you’ll watch have that level of passion, as do the fans. After spending some time at Tribe sports games, you’ll come to realize the passion is all that matters.

Enjoy the games.

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About Author

Mick Sloan

Mick Sloan

Flat Hat Sports Editor Mick Sloan '15 is a government major from Arlington, Va.

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