Going to my first Varsity Blues game was quite an experience. Though I’m a self-diagnosed soccer fanatic, I’d never watched anything bigger than a high-school soccer game live. The Blues didn’t disappoint, thrashing the Nipissing Lakers 6–0.
The support at the game, though, fell well short of what I’d expected. There were maybe 150 people there — nowhere near enough to fill Varsity Stadium with noise and bodies. That’s not unusual, as students and athletes point out in this week’s section.
Craig Maniscalco takes a comprehensive look at what school spirit is and why it matters. He spoke to staff at the Varsity Blues organization and at alumni relations to find out what they think about the sense of pride and belonging at U of T.
Zoë Bedard talked to the people who make or break school spirit: the students. Her conversations with U of T-goers
uncovered the big role that apathy plays in driving down attendances at sporting events on campus.
Finally, I had the opportunity to speak to athletes and hear their perspectives on support for athletics, both in the stands and off the pitch. The insights they had into the causes of low spectatorship and the ways to improve them show that our Varsity Blues care about having to play in front of empty seats.
This week’s issue isn’t meant to be an indictment of U of T students for their lack of school spirit. It’s intended, rather, as an appeal — an appeal to get out and support our fellow students as they represent our university. U of T’s student-athletes put a lot of time and effort into their teams and events; they deserve our recognition.
I hope to see you in the stands!
— Murad Hemmadi, Sports Editor