Swallow your pride


King Leo shoots the camera a wink during the Fox 2 Pep Rally.

From the moment I walked into school on Monday morning, it was easy to see the divide. The sharp contrast between dolled up Disney characters and people in sweat pants and shirts immediately caught my attention.

It’s Spirit Week, and that means half of the student body dressing up as stereotypical representations of nerds and frat boys, and the other half counting down the moments until it’s all over. It’s weird because Spirit Week is supposed to get us hyped and all excited for the game, parade, dance and what not. But, more importantly, it’s supposed to bring us together as a school. No matter what sports we play, classes we take, or clubs we’re in, we’re supposed to be able to put our differences aside and celebrate how proud we are to be Spartans, right? Well, if the whole idea behind Spirit Week is to unite our school, I think we’re doing a pretty lousy job of it.

Now before anyone comes at me with torches and pitchforks, let me say this: I love my school and I participate in spirit week every year. But when I scroll through my Twitter feed and see tweets saying “Don’t even bother showing up to school if you don’t do spirit week,” I don’t exactly get an overwhelming sense of unity, or pride in my school for that matter.

In fact, it makes me really sad to see something that’s supposed to bring our school together divide our student body so sharply. There’s an obvious line in the sand separating the people who don’t participate, and are called losers, and those who go all out and are labeled “tryhards.”

Fighting over participating in Spirit Week kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it? Like, WAY TO GO, GUYS! We’ve completely ruined homecoming week for some people because they get bullied for not having school spirit! (And we wonder why those people might not have strong attachments to our school). All that aside, criticizing a student who doesn’t participate doesn’t make him or her any more likely to join in. Just like judging those who do dress up doesn’t do anyone any good either. This “us versus them” mentality that goes hand in hand with school spirit does a better job of dividing us.

The other thing is, it doesn’t just happen during spirit week. I hear students complaining all the time that their teams, clubs, or bands aren’t given enough attention by the student body and that those “unspirited people” should get some school spirit.

I’m sure it wouldn’t have anything to do with some people ridiculing others for not dressing up for Spirit Days or showing up for pep assemblies. School spirit has to be inclusive and not forced.

If you make certain people feel bad for not being spirited, what makes you think they’re suddenly going to start? If we really want to create a better sense of pride and spirit for our school, maybe we should start with giving them something to be proud of.

No one wants to go to the student section and sit alone and not talk to anyone, or feel left out at pep assemblies. Plenty of students don’t sit in the student section, or attend games altogether, because it appears too exclusive; they wouldn’t “fit in” with the crowd. Pro-tip: Learn to be tolerant and welcoming of others, and watch your bleachers fill up and school spirit soar.