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By Dominique Blain


We have a pub, a cafe, 14 varsity teams, six sports clubs, at least 55 student groups, a handful of Oakham House societies, a radio station, an art gallery AND a theatre.

But we have no school spirit — or so Ryerson students lament. This semester, the Eyeopener will not have enough space to cover all the events, most of which are free to Ryerson students, that Ryerson students themselves are promoting.

From Islam Awareness Week (this week) to every hockey win (OK, there’s just been the one) to the latest Ryerson stage production (there are a few, actually): We just can’t cover it all. And yet many of these events, born of the enthusiasm, effort and spirit of your colleagues, will not see full houses. Or, alternatively, they will seat houses full of outsiders. This is shameful — especially considering the quality and spectrum offered.

The person sitting next to you right now just might be a brilliant artist or athlete; these are apparently not a rare breed at Ryerson. The excuse seems to be that we have only one residence and that most students are commuters. But that’s bull. If you’re willing to commute downtown on a Saturday night to spend $100 to watch a Leafs game or $30 to go to a show, there’s no reason not to go watch any of our varsity teams play (cost: free, calibre: better than the Leafs, as are most things in life) or check out the latest play offered by our School of Theatre (professional quality for a mere $12).

It is a mystery to me that people are willing to go see strangers perform for absurd sums of money rather than encouraging their peers’ efforts. And your peers are good — I promise. [Blatant Bias Alert!] For instance, we have some great varsity teams. We certainly have amazing dancers and actors and photographers and painters and mimes (they’re there; I saw them last Sunday), but lately I have been taken by our sports teams.

Sure, on paper they don’t always seem fantastic. For instance, the record for the women’s volleyball is 4-11 (for those of us less sports inclined: that means they have won four and lost 11). Now, not to wax melodramatic on you, but that is not a representative 4-11. I have never seen these women give up without a fight, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Even if you know nothing about volleyball, you will be impressed by their obvious talent and athleticism, and guess what: You’ll have fun.

For now, the only major lack of spirit at varsity games is in the stands: Where are the cheers, the heckles, the face paint, the banners? These things don’t just magically happen at other universities endowed with that nebulous thing called “school spirit”; they are cultivated and organized by students who want to have fun and want to make having fun better for all of us. If you really need an incentive, consider this: for the fist time in its… um… long history, Ryerson has a chance at winning a championship.

For more on the men’s volleyball team, just go see them tonight at 8 p.m. against U of T in Kerr Hall West’s Upper Gym. It’s more than worth the free admission.

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