Here We Aren't Now, Entertain Us

    The role of athletics, as associated with school spirit, should be one of importance. That is not to say sports should be of more importance than academics or quality of life at the school attended, but it should be of some importance.

    Sky Frostenson/

    UCSD boasts a top-notch athletic program, full of national champions and All-Americans, and with its move to Division II, the Tritons are showing that they have no problem adjusting to the new level of competition and that they will continue to produce A-list athletic teams.

    If both these assertions are to be believed, then the question must be posed, where do athletics stand in relation to school spirit at UCSD? The answer to this question is simple: There’s no relation.

    Triton Assistant Athletic Director Ken Grosse said “”Athletics do not play as much of a role in school spirit as we, meaning the athletic department, wish it would.””

    David Pilz/

    Athletics, outside of the athletic community at UCSD, plays no role in the UCSD student body’s conception of itself as Tritons.

    “”As an athlete on the volleyball team, the other guys on the team and I make an effort to go out and support the other teams,”” said Marshall sophomore Bill O’Connor. “”For instance, we went to the State game last week. I just don’t see that effort from most students here at UCSD.””

    If athletics play little or no role in school spirit, then what forms the core of a Triton?

    It seems as if the focus of the administration at UCSD is on the academic aspect of student life. This creates an atmosphere in which it is very hard for students to come together outside of the stressful arena of the quarter system.

    There seems to be an invasive malaise that has seeped into the very pores of this La Jolla campus that makes it impossible to have fun while attending school here.

    Is it really impossible, are classes that hard, or is the student body just apathetic?

    Now, going to a basketball game or a water polo game is not a cure-all for this elusive malaise, but at the same time, it does give students something to do and it brings students together in a community that fosters unity.

    There is a purpose to being at that game and the purpose is to cheer on UCSD, to support YOUR school.

    “”Athletic events create a critical mass, a place where students can be brought together,”” said men’s basketball coach Greg Lanthier. “”Bringing students together is what creates school spirit. The chance to become a part of this campus is there and is provided for students. All they have to do is get up and take advantage of it.””

    Why sit around and complain about how boring life is as a Triton, as many UCSD students have been known to do, when there are usually between one and four home games a week featuring one or more of UCSD’s 23 NCAA teams?

    One group that certainly does care about Triton athletics is the pep band.

    The pep band is made up completely of volunteers, as opposed to most schools of comparable size and athletic stature, where the band is fully funded by the music department and is offered as an actual class.

    Even though they are volunteers, the band still manages to make it to at least one game a week where they play anything from jazz to rock to pep band classics like “”Louie Louie.””

    The pep band makes a deliberate decision to go to the games, and the student body could do the same thing, so why don’t they?

    For some, the choice to go or not to go is hamstrung by their schoolwork.

    “”I would love to check out a basketball game or go to a soccer match,”” said Muir freshman Kirk Miller. “”But half the time I’m either too tired or too busy with a job and schoolwork to go.””

    However, this is not the only reason students don’t go to the games. For many, sports are obscured in anonymity.

    “”Most of the time I just don’t hear about the games. If the advertising for the games was better, and I knew when and where they were, I would definitely show more often,”” said Roosevelt junior Adam Taylor.

    The move to Division II could alleviate this problem.

    “”In the CCAA, we play doubleheaders and it makes it much easier to advertise and much more spectator-friendly since in Division III, many of our games were played during the break,”” Grosse said.

    Athletics can offer an outlet for the student body, and it can help form UCSD’s vision of itself. Events present times and places for students to come together and, if even just for the hour it takes to play a water polo match, feel like they are part of something more than a study group for their Chem 6A class.

    How to make this happen is a hard question to answer, but the tools are there. We have a great athletic program and students who want to get out and be a part of something, but do students want athletics to be that something?

    UCSD cyclist Pete Knudsen said “”One of the reasons I came to UCSD was because we didn’t have the rah-rah attitude of other schools, and I like the balance we strike here between athletics and academics.””

    Students need to realize that UCSD is lacking in school spirit.

    In order to make this campus a better place to go to school and in order to foster a sense of school spirit and unity, both the students and the administration need to let athletics or another aspect of campus life rise up and become equals with that masterful slave-driver, academia.

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