I have one complaint about my time in school (high school too, Nashua North is just as much to blame here) and that is  I never had much for school spirit. I had visions, mostly given to me by movies and television, of how college sports were supposed to be, even at the Division III level.

I had visions of me and my friends venturing to soccer games, or field hockey games in the fall, basketball would dominate during the winter season, and of course baseball and softball in the spring.

I wanted to yell and cheer, wear my school swag, and have a good time. I thought that perhaps attending sporting events and supporting the home team might actually be the “cool” thing to do. I had the expectation that my peers might be interested in cheering on the teams right alongside me.

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I could not really have been more wrong. Perhaps it was just the kind of people I hung around with, or the activities I involved myself in, but there is not much for athletic school spirit around this place.

Even as a member of an athletic team, there wasn’t much interest in cheering for our own teammates, never mind athletes who played for other teams. In the handful of times I have been able to get somebody out there to watch the games with me, the crowd has always been disappointing. A smattering of parents, some students, and sometimes even the opposing side’s cheering section is bigger than our own. Of course it’s even worse if the weather isn’t beautiful. I guess I just expected more athletic school spirit out of a school like Keene State.

No one really cares when our teams are winning or losing; usually people don’t even know if our teams are any good, never mind their season records. Year after year we’ve had pretty successful track and field teams, our baseball and basketball teams are usually pretty good, in fact most of our teams are usually decent season by season. Yet there is still little interest in our athletics programs. Perhaps I’m in the wrong here and games in all seasons continually sell out or are standing room only, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t the case.

Midnight Madness was really the only time for students to get excited about our sports teams and the upcoming winter season. However, even the root cause of the cancelation of Midnight Madness, students getting drunk and rowdy at the event, speaks volumes about the lack of spirit.

Instead of taking the opportunity to cheer on their peers involved in athletics, students took the opportunity as the perfect time to once again get drunk with their friends. With interest in athletics-driven campus events like Midnight Madness waning to public drunkenness, it’s not hard to see the lack of school spirit at Keene State is seemingly unending.

I can’t personally think of a way to try and increase interest in athletics on campus. There is plenty of involvement in rec and club sports, sometimes even more so than their NCAA sanctioned counterparts.

It’s not like there isn’t adequate advertising or marketable teams. There are schedules on the tables in the D.C., in the Student Center, in the gym, and there is even a whole website devoted to teams and their schedules.

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that keeps students away from their home teams. Maybe I just came into this place with high expectations of what the college athletics scene is supposed to be like and I’m just disappointed about what I’ve seen in the student body. But maybe I’ll find myself attending grad school at a college that prides itself on its sporting teams and I’ll feel more at home.


Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at cmellin@keene-equinox.com

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