Paris Bienert: Our spirit is beyond the court

This past weekend I felt like a typical college kid for the first time in my career at GW.

I rolled out of bed Saturday, threw on a pair of jeans and a Colonial Army T-shirt and headed to the men’s basketball game and alumni tailgate in Anniversary Park. I even dared to wear a GW baseball cap, just to perfect the look.

At the tailgate, I stood in line for free hamburgers and hotdogs, watched as cheerleaders put on a performance and listened to the triumphant tunes of a few marching band instruments. It almost felt like I was at a real pep rally.

The basketball game following the tailgate was my first Colonials game, and to be honest, I did not have high expectations. Yet contrary to what I had heard, GW sports games can be very exciting for those who attend. Everyone in the Smith Center cheered and booed as they fist-pumped the air with their free foam fingers. The stadium shook from the noise and the thundering renditions of the GW fight song.

I can tell you that I truly enjoyed myself, even though many of us know that acting like a typical college kid may seem like an out-of-body experience here at GW.

Even though it was exciting for those who were there, there admittedly is not a great deal of school spirit at GW. We know that. But I couldn’t help but wonder why sporting events are seemingly the only reflection of the minimal school spirit we have at GW.

GW students should feel proud to call themselves Colonials every day, and many do. But we should be doing so in aspects of campus life which do not necessarily require a scoreboard.

A student does not need to attend every basketball game in order to show his or her school spirit, because there are other ways to reveal one’s pride in being a GW student. For example, I’ve learned that joining a campus organization is a great way to show spirit for GW, but also to do something that is interesting and fun.

Similarly, supporting your friends who do theater or those who take part in big political events on campus are also ways to support our school. The fact that we all attend GW is the only thing that ties us all together, the single characteristic that we all have in common. If each individual showed pride in his or her community while showing pride in each other, then we as a whole would be a more spirited university.

If you think about it, incoming freshmen learn the GW fight song at CI under the impression that it is a commonly used school cheer. A few months into their freshman years, though, they realize they could easily make it to their graduation without once hearing the song. Maybe the GW fight song should be more prevalent at other campus events, because school spirit and unity do not manifest themselves solely in athletics.

By pointing out that spirit does not come entirely from athletics, I do not mean to dissuade you from attending sporting events. Colonials games are a great way to show your spirit for our GW community. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite since Saturday was my first game, but I definitely have learned how fun it can be to go to a few Colonials games. Or to skip that movie in Chinatown and see a show on campus. Or to take part in a unique student org event. I encourage all students, especially my fellow freshmen, to do the same, and see how spirited GW can be.

Paris Bienert, a freshman majoring in women’s studies, is a Hatchet columnist.

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