Commentary: School spirit is a choice

Eastern Michigan football fans at the Michigan game on Saturday.

When I was in high school, I hated pep rallies and always skipped them. I never understood why schools made it mandatory to sit on a hard bench and hear about football, a sport I could never follow.

If anything, it seems we would be required to have rallies for baseball teams since it’s supposedly America’s favorite pastime, not that I like the sport any better. Don’t get me wrong, I understood this was my school’s team, but I believe if you didn’t have school spirit naturally, you shouldn’t be forced into it.

When I went to my first football game at Eastern Michigan University, fans were cheering and decked out in green and white. It was kind of overwhelming to see so many people, but it wasn’t that much fun since I didn’t know too many of them.

Fast forwarding through my college career, I have managed to go to at least one game a year. Although, it seems like I could be more supportive. However, with tuition and books constantly increasing, classes getting more difficult and ever constant living and social expenses, who can’t help but be a little cynical about having school spirit?

Jacory Stone, a senior receiver on EMU’s football team, said he was pretty content with the amount of support he’s received from friends, family and students.

“At the end of the day, coming out to support the university is their own personal decision, and everybody is different,” Stone said.

When it comes to supporting other EMU sports, he said he likes to go to women’s basketball and soccer games. This surprised me, because I always thought college athletes wanted nothing to do with other sports teams.

“It feels good to look to home and the fans, and have everybody behind you, just like with everything in life, it feels good to have support,” Stone said. “When you have support you feel the momentum change, and that’s very important when it comes to games.”

Kim Williams, a senior, said EMU’s teams could use more support for away games and some self-promotion.

“I think athletes should publicize their games more,” she said. “It would help to bring more people out, even if it was the night of the game.”

Both are excellent points: a football player who thinks school spirit was a simple choice, and a non-sports fanatic who believes school spirit could be promoted by athletes according to how much attention is on their team.

As I thought about the different views, I thought about the things I had to do growing up: singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” saying what I was most thankful for at Thanksgiving and going to pep rallies. I realize they can all be considered a form of patriotism.

And performing patriotism is not always something you do because you find it interesting, it’s because it’s a way of representing who you are and the pride you have in your journey. While I’m in no way attached to football, if football is attached to EMU, then it won’t hurt to sit on a hard bench or two.

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