I attended exactly two basketball games during my entire college life. Both times I went because my professors promised to give the class bonus points if we showed them the tickets. Both of those times, I didn’t cheer. Yup, not even a whoop or a “go team!”
By the second game, I’d gotten used to the weird stares from the people around me as I sat quietly while they practically jumped out of the bleachers after every shot. For someone who went to a school where everyone pretty much had the chant ingrained in their brains, I was definitely the minority.
Lots of my friends had practically grown up worshipping our school thanks to their parents and other family members. At first I thought that my lack of enthusiasm was because that wasn’t the case in my family. Sure, my dad was dedicated to his alma mater (which was actually the rival school of the university I went to), but he never really took me and my brother to the games. But as I grew older, I realized that it wasn’t that.
It’s not that I hated my school, or my school’s basketball team for that matter. I wasn’t an emo punk like the ones who loitered under the bleachers in those American high school movies. All this pseudo disdain is mostly due to my nature as a person.
Anyone who knows me will vouch for my mild-mannered tendencies. My voice is soft, I’m small, and I tend to easily to disappear in a crowd. I’m not used to taking up space or standing out. So naturally, I’ve always avoided sports events. All that screaming and cheering was never for me.
This also went for praise in the online realm. Yes, I loved my classes, and yes, I loved my campus, but never to the point that I’d dedicate an entire Facebook post or Twitter thread to announce it. So yeah, the concept of school spirit? Nonexistent in my book.
I have nothing against the people who do. In fact, I’d always hoped that their “rah-rah” attitudes would somehow rub off on me so that I’d feel like I was truly a part of the community, so I could finally go out to buy some university merch, or even so I’d have something to show whenever my relatives who went to rival schools would tease me about losing games.
Four years went by, and I still never felt as strongly about my school as most of my schoolmates. Why would I wanna spend time thinking about how I loved my school when I already spent so much time doing other things like, I don’t know, actual schoolwork. In those four years, I also learned that people won’t judge (or attack) you for not outrightly expressing your enthusiasm. Being a part of the community doesn’t necessarily have to involve all the screaming and fawning over all the fun things your university does.
A couple of months after graduation, and I still maintain the same (lack of) enthusiasm because that’s just how I am as a person. But occasionally, when I see another post about how great my alma mater is, I find myself considering heading out to get that university logo sweatshirt. Just for kicks, of course.