ABOUT THE QUICK TAKE
There is little debate that AU has little school spirit in the traditional sense of the term. AU does not have a football team, and the sports that we excel at draw small crowds. This week, the Quick Take takes a look at the role that school spirit plays at AU.
By Ethan McLeod
It is no secret that universities across the country take great pride in their sports teams. From sold-out stadiums to hectic tailgates and campus pandemonium on game day, the feeling of being fired up to cheer on one’s university’s teams is unique.
I have experienced the intensity and joy when visiting friends at other schools with big-time football programs and competitive basketball teams. Even as a visitor, one feels welcomed into the college vibe on game day.
AU is not a place that makes students feel this intensity, nor does it inspire students to take part in supporting athletic events on campus. Our University rests comfortably in its seat of professionalism and political activity without much of a desire to have more in terms of athletic participation. There are no football games or tailgates, and the basketball games that should draw large crowds in Bender Arena often fail to do so.
While there is a clear downside to this tendency on campus, there is a more subtle comfort for those niche groups who attend the games. Dedicated groups of friends can be seen at the same teams’ games each week, from field hockey to soccer to volleyball. As fans come together, they create a sense that community support for AU athletics is not entirely absent.
Many have experienced this feeling of camaraderie at least once during their early semesters at AU during dorm floor-wide outings to support the Eagles. Be it for free food or the die-hard commitment to AU’s buried school spirit, going out and supporting one’s school sports teams brings people together. I was excited as an incoming freshman that the AU basketball team had made it into the NCAA Tournament two seasons in a row. While the last couple of years have not been as generous for tournament appearances, there remains a hope each season that the Eagles can return to that level of Patriot League glory.
This is a call for continued and additional support from the AU community. We have a strong majority of people who simply do not care to engage in the experience of being a fan. But we also have dedicated groups of underclassmen and supportive alumni who can be counted on to be there each week, chanting, “Let’s go Eagles!” win or lose.
It is unlikely that we will have a football team within the next decade, and probably more. Until then, we have the basketball team to take pride in, along with the successes of the soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams. With more additional support, AU does not have to persist with its student body’s lackluster school spirit. Through a little bit of organizing and perhaps even a tailgate or two outside of Bender Arena, sports at AU could resurface as a popular unifying force for the student body.
Ethan McLeod is a junior in the School of Communication.
By Glenn Holmes
AU, like any other college or university, has plenty of school spirit. Just ask the thousands of members in the Blue Crew, the hundreds of Division I student-athletes or members of club and intramural sports. Further evidence includes the “Bender Arena World Tour,” our famous mascot Clawed or even the many AU students who wear AU apparel every single day. The evidence of AU’s school spirit is overwhelming, and any jury would find AU students guilty of spirit for the endeavors of our University’s athletes.
The notion that AU’s lack of a football team translates into a lack of school spirit is unfair. We have no shortage of athletes here at AU, from the Division I athletes to the frequenters of Jacob Fitness Center.
AU also has a healthy passion for things outside the arena of sports. Members of the CAUS may not exemplify traditional school spirit, but they certainly have plenty of spirit for a tuition freeze. Hunger strikers and students tabling outside MGC may not be painting their faces red, white and blue, but showing up to a game is not the only way to demonstrate school spirit.
The efforts of our Green Eagles are just as imbued with school spirit as the students involved in Blue-Outs, and why shouldn’t they? The efforts of the Green Eagles to make this campus more environmentally friendly are exemplary and have no shortage of passion. In fact, the work of any student trying to make this University a better place is a great example of school spirit.
A phone bank held by the AU College Democrats for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is an example of school spirit. Political activism and engagement is hard to miss on this campus and is a part of what defines this University. Why should time spent calling the voters of Massachusetts mean anything less than time spent cheering for AU’s sports teams?
Yes, even a fraternity brother driving students to his fraternity’s party is an example of school spirit. Here is a person dedicated to seeing that the students of AU enjoy themselves on weekends, a man who selflessly gives up his Friday or Saturday night to make someone else’s a little better.
Let us look past the traditional definition of school spirit and examine school spirit in the light of those who truly have a passion for the collective values we share and define our university.
Glenn Holmes is a freshman in the School of Public Affairs.