Feeling the spirit

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By Lauren Strapagiel

Confession: until last weekend, I had never watched a Ryerson sports game simply for fun.

Sure I’d photographed games for The Eyeopener and certainly didn’t dislike watching them, but my general feeling on the school’s varsity athletics program is mostly a “meh.” Sporting events and the banner-waving variety of school spirit just aren’t my thing. I’m one of those people who goes to Blue Jays games just to drink overpriced beer and heckle the players from the nosebleed seats.

However, as the men’s basketball team duked it out at the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) finals in Halifax, I was transfixed.

You don’t need to understand the finer details of basketball (and I certainly don’t) to appreciate the nail-biting tension and excitement of last weekend.

I cheered, threw my arms in the air when we got the ball through the net and felt the crushing disappointment after a loss in overtime on Sunday.

I figure if even I could get into the game, there must have been many other Rams fans born over those three days.

It’s the first time I can remember that the general Ryerson community actually felt some athletics-related school spirit. My Twitter feed lit up with excitement from students, faculty and administration alike.

Even in Halifax, the livestream commentators couldn’t ignore the small sea of yellow shirts shouting, waving and cheering behind the baseline. Even after a 20-hour overnight bus ride, our cheering section was always livelier than those of our opponents.

At Ryerson we often lament our apathetic sense of school spirit and community, but I think last weekend we saw a glimmer of something else.

Not to discredit the campus groups who work tirelessly to bring that sense of community (The Eyeopener included) but there’s nothing quite like cheering on your school’s team. As cliché as it is, getting all riled up as you cheer for victory and jeer at your rivals is a tried, tested and true way to feel a connection with your classmates and loyalty to your chosen place of higher learning.

The season is over, but with the opening of our new sports facility at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens just around the corner, now is a better time than ever to don a gold shirt and cheer on our men and women in blue.

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