It was a quiet day. Desolate. Abandoned. Strangely silent. The few people looked stoic. Oh, and there was a football game being played right in front of them.
Leopards of the University of La Verne, where are you?
Sitting in the bleachers, watching the last football game, I examined my surroundings and realized just how unspirited this University is. During football games, it is prime season to cheer on your alma mater and to at least come to a football game to show some support.
Rather, the visitors’ side of the field looks to be more crowded than the home side.
I feel sorry for the football players. Maybe they are not having as good a season as last year, but there are athletes out on the field, regardless. Sometimes they make mistakes, but they have got to be trying. I see them practicing during the week and I see them on warm Saturday afternoons trying to win football games, but they have not been given so much as a scream, a cheer or a word of support from spectators.
The football bleachers look like a thinly scattered group of people. Many of them are faculty, senior citizens and other residents of the La Verne community. I guess that less than half of the spectators are students of the ULV.
The cheerleaders screamed, jumped, sang, clapped and hollered their hearts out the entire game, but the only response they got was an occasional hum from the Leopards crowd.
Part of the college experience is fall football games, the school spirit and the collective cheering, regardless of the outcome of the game. Somehow, ULV students do not seem to bleed orange and green. They do not take pride in their mascot, colors, traditions or team.
Leo spirit should not be established by how many wins we have under our belts. True spirit is standing by the team and cheering them on during wins and losses and doing it simply because we all are united as Leopards.
Perhaps there are a few things that could be done to get some more spirit at football games.
Maybe the University of La Verne needs a spirit club. At some schools, a special section is established for a spirit club that purposely keeps the crowd excited and sets the example. Sometimes, individuals want to scream out, “Go, fight, win!” but are too embarrassed to do it alone. With a spirit club, everyone is, screaming and carrying on together.
The spirit club usually helps raise money for the football team selling pom-pons and noise-making devices. They also provide music at the game and play tunes during half-time and in between the quarters to keep the crowd alive.
Usually, as people watch the crazy group having so much fun in their designated square, more people want to join. The square keeps growing with more people and in the end, it amounts to more participation, more noise and more spirit.
Another suggestion is the almighty sling shot. At my old high school, the big thrill of half-time is shooting t-shirts and spirit towels at the crowd with a giant sling shot. Usually the cheer squad mans the device and sporadically bribes the crowd with the merchandise. It is really amazing to watch grown people scream and holler for a bright orange towel or a cheesy t-shirt, but people go for it. They love the sling shot and they love the spirit stuff shot from it.
Spirit, both at the football games and elsewhere at the University, is important, both for the team and for campus morale. Regardless of their record, they are on that field giving up their blood, sweat and tears for the sake of the game and for our entertainment.
We owe them support, not only for their interceptions, their touchdowns and their wins, but because they are our team and they wear our colors.
Imagine the sight of our side of the bleachers filled to capacity with screaming fans waving pom pons. Imagine the sound that a group that size could make. The Leopard football players would love to hear that sound coming from behind them. Bring your big mouth to the next game. I’ll see you there tomorrow.
Andrea Gardner, a senior broadcast journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.