Dalhousie fans inspirational with school spirit

Does Western community need to spend more time supporting our teams?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A Dalhousie fan, dressed in a crown and body paint,  waves her hands in the air

Shaun Ding

TEAM SPIRIT, CHECK. BODY PAINT, CHECK, SHAVED ARMPITS? OOPS. The fans of the Dalhousie Tigers were certainly the most rambunctious at this year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport basketball championships, setting the bar high for school spirit.

Despite a match-up that saw the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds dominate the Dalhousie Tigers for the majority of the contest, the entourage of fans from Dal and their relentless and contagious energy consumed Scotiabank Place.

Arriving in Ottawa at 8 a.m. Friday morning after a 15-hour trek on the Tigers’ athletics bus, the eagre fans sporting school colours and Dalhousie gear commenced their own tournament of drinking, partying and of course, cheering.

The overwhelming fan presence was a true testament to Dal’s remarkable school spirit. The spectacle begs the question, should Western take a page out of the Dalhousie handbook?

This is by no means a dig at those devoted individuals who made the trip from London " many of whom play for the Mustangs women’s basketball team. Western fans were tastefully energetic and provided a fine testament to our institution.

It isn’t even a criticism of our student body’s lack of athletic support, because who am I to tell people what to value and where to spend their time?

As evidenced by the support for the Tigers, it is clear Atlantic University Sport schools provide their varsity teams with greater support than fans from other conferences.

Although the Tigers don’t always attract such immense crowd support, according to one freshman student, varsity athletics are a sure source of Dalhousie pride.

“Home games aren’t always this crazy, but there’s normally a pretty good turnout.”

Of course alcohol plays a prominent role in promoting school spirit, as demonstrated by the many rowdy fans with beverage in hand.

“Dal is the best school ... we have the best team spirit and we’re Tigers,” one fan slurred.

And nothing excites a crowd more than a man in uniform, as evidenced by the Dalhousie mascot " the extent of whose bouncing and bopping was as physically taxing as the actual basketball being played.

Discussing his seemingly endless supply of energy, the mascot was frank.

“Vodka RedBulls help. Pretty much everyone on the bus is riding on max four hours of sleep,” he said.

When asked what sets Dal apart from other universities, the mascot replied: “We’re from Nova Scotia and that’s the best province in the country so Dal is pretty awesome. We kick ass at basketball and we kick ass at every sport we do.”

Although his bold statement lacks truth, the spirit behind the man in the ‘tiger mask’ is both honest and admirable.

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