We have no pride, now what do we do?

For the past five years at a small University in Ontario, I was a pot banger. I united with large groups of students, dressed in school colours, and banged pots at the varsity games to be as loud as possible in support of our team. I’ve been at Capilano for three months now, and I’ve realized that I don’t even know what our school mascot is. Where is our school spirit? We are a University with varsity teams, but we are lacking everything that usually goes with that – such as pep-rallies, cheerleaders, a mascot, and most importantly, fans. 

I spoke with fifteen Cap students and none had ever attended a varsity game. Some said that they would love to, but their class schedules do not permit it. Most of the students I talked with said that they would like to attend the games, but they aren’t well advertised, so they don’t hear about them. When asked about a Capilano Blues mascot, these students had very different ideas of what should represent our school and varsity teams: Alyssa Forzley proposed a giant blueberry, while Dana Stanbrook wanted a suit wearing blue monster who plays a saxophone. The majority agreed that having cheerleaders and a mascot would encourage more people to come out and support our varsity teams.

So why don’t we have cheerleaders or a mascot? When it comes to having a cheerleading team, Milton Williams, the Sports Information Director at Cap, addresses a couple of issues. A cheerleading team is more of a club and if the dedication is there, then resources need to be put into it. There is also an issue with available time in the facility as it would be hard to find practice time for a squad. For large events in the past, a cheerleading team from New Westminster, which is also conveniently called the Blues, has been rented by the school.

As it turns out, we actually do have a mascot.  Milton informed me that it is “a big bluebird with big running shoes, and is used at special events. It's old and it needs to be updated, and the resources need to be thrown into it - as in, if you have someone to wear that mascot, you need a full gym.”

Milton states that “we’ve raised the bar to becoming a University. Now we have to raise the services to becoming a University. We need to develop some pride in the athletics program. We have a super successful program and a lot of people don’t know anything about it.”  A new position of Athletic Events Coordinator has just been implemented and it is that person’s responsibility to promote the home games to the school community, but that is going to take a couple years to get up and rolling. Milton mentions that currently, it is very difficult to advertise for the games on campus, which is why a lot of students are unaware: “The poster boards are inundated with stuff. Nobody reads them. The marketing people are starting to get involved now with flat screen monitors that they are putting up around the school.” This will make advertising for games much easier.

In the strategic direction of the University, there is a plan to have a central gathering area for students which would help develop more of a community within the student body, and would help increase school spirit. Nothing would make Milton happier than seeing a packed gym at games and “if the students can provide us with more ideas of what they would like to see, that is certainly going to help.” If there is enough student reaction and interest in athletic events, it could make a difference.

That difference could mean a lot to the athletes, in particular. Michael Zayonc, a second year forward on the Blues basketball team stated, “It's definitely a lot easier to get more pumped for the game when there's a bigger crowd . . . [and] It’s a lot easier to play hard when there are people cheering you on.”

// Jessica Nolan

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