Last week, we celebrated what is probably the biggest event on campus all year – except perhaps that thrilling moment when you finish your last final at the end of the year. Yes, I am talking about Homecoming. It was during these celebrations that a thought occurred to me – one that eventually turned into the inspiration for this piece.
As I was reminiscing about Homecoming weekend and the surrounding traditions, I noticed it was lacking something: school spirit. This phrase is practically one of the themes of Homecoming. However, it seems that many people on campus seem to be overlooking this requirement.
I noticed last week just how many of my peers were unsupportive of the institution they attend. Some claimed there was no reason to go to the game since we will likely continue our not-so-hot losing streak, while others griped about the bombardment of Homecoming Court advertisements that could give political ads a run for their money. Through all this, I realized just what school spirit is – and what it isn’t.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am far from innocent. I have managed to watch a whopping total of half a football game this year. At the same time, I do not think I am all that delinquent either. I have worn gold every single Friday since the second or third week of school, and I made it a point to vote in the Homecoming elections. The thing that makes school spirit so hard to flaunt is nothing more than the lack of co-flaunters.
Think about it. Who wants to go to a football game, only to stand next to people making fun of our slippery defense or chiding the players for the numerous interceptions? Not this guy. I try to sit there at the games and cheer our team on through the sighs and moans, but I feel like a freak doing it. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Furthermore, I shudder every Friday when I walk into class and I am the sole bearer of gold clothing. It is almost depressing. This brings up my main question: Where is your spirit, Tigers?
In a meeting last week, we were discussing the theme of this year’s Homecoming, “A Celebration of Tiger Nation.” Upon hearing this for the first time, one student quipped, “What are we celebrating? No offense, but we’re terrible!”
That was stupefying to hear. The fact that someone wrote off school spirit because of poor athletic performances is unnerving to me. I went to a high school where sports were not quite our strong suit. Yet every game night, the student body decked out in green and gold and cheered our team on through the bitter cold and equally bitter disappointment. So coming to Fort Hays, I thought I had nothing to lose. Apparently, there was something to be lost.
Maybe it is the lacking sense of unity within our students. Maybe it is the devotion to other universities. The Tiger Bonfire last Thursday seemed to approach both these issues by trading new Fort Hays State University shirts for other schools’ shirts, which was later burned in the bonfire. Some people complained that this was disrespectful, dirty and even desperate.
I, for one, think it was an incredible idea. It astounds me to see how many students and even teachers walk around this university every day with a University of Kansas or Kansas State University shirt on. I could not even think about wearing a shirt from a different school. Perhaps the disrespect is not burning other school’s clothing, but wearing that clothing in the first place.
I have started to see that maybe even I have more spirit than most. I encourage you to try putting a little more school spirit in your daily diet. Participate in the Tiger Gold on Fridays campaign. I have a dozen Fort Hays State University shirts, so I know you have at least one laying around.
Get out to at least one sports game this month – I mean any sport, not just football. All I am asking is to have a little pride. You’re a Tiger, for goodness’ sake.