Staff Editorial: Does Lawrence have Spirit?

“We got spirit, yes we do! We got spirit, how ‘bout you?!” said no one at a Lawrence sporting event ever. The student presence at sporting events at Lawrence, if there is one, or even Conservatory events (though a different kind of presence), is not so exciting. Where are the signs? Where’s the unison clapping? The chants? Nothing. Of course, we can’t compare to large state or public schools whose sports dominate the scene, but even some cheers or a unified student section would be a nice change. Lawrence University Dance Team provided us a boost in this direction, bringing a new enthusiasm and attendance (pun intended) to games. We’re now in the winter sporting season, though, and things are looking as dreary as ever.

This, however, is to be expected. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) hits Lawrence hard every year. It’s hard to be excited about anything, let alone to muster up the verve to get a basketball game going. Ironically, the best way to combat seasonal affective disorder is by exercising, as well as getting outside or taking a break from homework—two things that can be done by attending a game or concert. Imagine that!

Winter sports get the short end of the stick when most people don’t feel like going outside, especially considering there are so few home games or meets. Because of the trimester system, basketball and hockey have almost half of their games before Winter Term even officially starts. On top of that, for hockey, students have to find a way to get over to the Appleton Family Ice Center if they want to watch a game—a long way for a mere college student with no car and little ambition.

SAD, and general apathy, affects the Conservatory in similar ways. There’s low concert attendance and a lack of genuine interest in student recitals, concerts and performances. LUCC’s Athletic and Conservatory Engagement Committee makes efforts to get athletes to concerts and musicians to games with the “Flip-Flop Weekend” which happens once a term. Even a themed weekend, however, can’t quite get Lawrentians excited about either.

What do we find students getting hype for? Mostly, it’s the weirder, quirkier things. We have a certain enthusiasm for the Great Midwest Trivia Contest, for student bands, LU-Aroo  and for other niche things––bubble soccer anyone? We saw this just last weekend with Trivia. There were many students chanting “Dickid!” at 1 a.m. You don’t often see that at a sports game. Lawrentians’ priorities are elsewhere, not often in Alexander Gym, unfortunately for the athletes. So why do Lawrentians reserve their enthusiasm for some events, but not others? Our theory is that—in typical small, liberal arts college fashion—we tend to prioritize things we see as “unique” or “intellectual.” This isn’t a surprise. School spirit is for huge state schools with D1 sports, for places where players are celebrities on campus and for teams with slightly better records than ours. Essentially, we think we’re too cool for sports.

We don’t think this should be the case, though. We’re not too cool for sports. As a student body, we should support our sports teams (and music ensembles). School spirit might help lift your own spirit this winter. It’s fun to yell at a basketball game with your friends—have some enthusiasm!