In defense of our school spirit

I feel I must respond to Kevin A. Seaman’s comment on our post about match-ups and the football team.

First of all, don’t knock the blog. We led our first post with a possibly ill-considered joke, and suddenly we show “a lack of appreciation for the commitment of Brown’s student-athletes”? No one is more aware than us how good our sports teams often are. You’re going to be in trouble if you can’t handle a little sarcasm, because snarkiness is pretty much my only rhetorical tool.

More importantly, Mr. Seaman raises the age-old argument that “what is needed is more support from the student body at its athetic [sic] events; school spirit needs to be elevated.”

His first point is correct; Brown’s student athletes can never have enough support. I wish every game here was packed, but I don’t expect it. So I assume he is arguing that student support and our “school spirit” is deficient.

I also assume he was referring especially to football; I was at both field hockey games over the weekend and the stands were packed with loudly cheering students. Still, I know from experience how thin student attendance can be. The empty seats are most obvious at Brown Stadium, but I don’t recall it getting much worse over the decade-plus I’ve been attending Brown football games. Rather, it seems Mr. Seaman is comparing the current group of students to those of three or four decades ago, when football games were a big deal.

But is that fair? I don’t like it when people call out our school spirit. We Brown students are a happy bunch (in fact, the happiest bunch) and I believe we are all proud to say we are Brown students. That is the very essence of school spirit.

So that makes the real issue how we express that school spirit. Mr. Seaman equates school spirit directly with showing up for games, and indeed that is a part. But there is so much more happening on campus that is also intrinsic to the collegiate experience.  Pick any event that appears in the Herald’s Arts and Culture section and find out if they have perfect attendance. It is just wrong to infer a lack of school spirit from not packing a couple thousand students into Brown Stadium on Saturdays, and I won’t hear my classmates called out for it.

That said, I urge students to attend the games. Not because we need to defend our “school spirit,” and not because empty seats look bad, but simply because it is fun to see a good game and cheer on our classmates.

— Andrew Braca, Sports Editor

1 Comment

  1. Jason Becker '09

    Amen. As a former tour guide I constantly heard what parents and prospective/incoming students had to say about Brown. Something that often came up was that students chose Brown because of the obvious love the students have for their school and how invested we are in Brown and our education.

    To say that Brown lacks spirit is to be oblivious to the vibrant community around you or narrow-minded in your definition of spirit.

    Bravo, Herald Blog. More students should come out to enjoy the football games, I myself only go once a season but always have a good time, but lets not allow anyone, Brown affiliated or not, mistake empty stands for empty hearts.

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