True Blue – the search for school spirit

For the time that I have been a student at U of T, I’m sad to say that my blood has never bled blue for U of T’s Varsity Blues. School spirit is few and far between on our campus and I always find myself asking what exactly is a “Blue” anyway? I was determined to demystify the unknown and put myself on a mission to find our school spirit.

I entered the Varsity Centre for my first time on Saturday with high hopes for my first homecoming football game. I nearly stayed in on a count of rain but decided to put down the books and pens to cheer on our blues instead. The Varsity Blues played the Ottawa Gee-Gees who have been undefeated in their season. That is, until this weekend when the Blues took home the victory, winning 40-35. On top of that, our team is seeing its first two game winning streak after triumphing over York University last game. Talk about a total turnaround this season.

Despite the Blues picking up their game this season, the stands were still far from packed. This could be because of the weather, but it’s known that several games fail to ring in much of a crowd. U of T students get in to all varsity games for free with a swipe of their Tcard, although the stands bring in crowds of all ages. I was surprised to note that several crowd goers were actually paying spectators.

The seats were wet, rain was drizzling on my head, and so far upon my arrival I wasn’t banking on staying past half-time. Now, I’m not much of a football fan myself but I quickly picked up when to cheer and when to gripe over misplays. Along with picking up the feel of the crowd, I noted the ways that U of T attempts to garner school spirit.

The Centre consists of layers of school spirit, each with its own level and intensity of action. First and foremost, on the field you have your football players – the center of the action. The game falls on their every move. Next to the football players are the “spirit squads”, for lack of a better unifying term. U of T is home to its own cheerleading team, pom team, and dance team. These girls put on their smiles and keep the spirit up from the sidelines rain or shine. If their blood doesn’t bleed blue even from just persevering the rain and cold, then I don’t know where else to find school spirit! On top of that, I finally discovered what a “Blue” was and caught a glimpse of our mascot named “Trevor True Blue”, a blue beaver-looking animal of sorts prancing around by the cheerleaders.

The next layer of school spirit lies in the stands where you are bound to find clappers, signs, jerseys, and blue faces. In fact, there was a guy who painted his entire face blue and went around the stands offering to paint stripes on the faces of any spectator lacking any blue and white on their person.

So my face was blue and white, I was learning about all the different plays and football terms and I was really getting into the game at this point. After half time, the stands were clearing although we were in the lead. Despite the rain and the fact that ten minutes in football could easily triple due to drops and technicalities, I decided to stay. If the Blues were gonna lead us to victory and this was my first homecoming, I definitely did not want to miss it. We held the winning lead for the entirety of the game, sometimes by over ten points and by the end of it, by a nail biting five points, taking the final score at 40-35. All in all, it was a good time and with a two game winning streak, who says we shouldn’t go for three? I know I’m excited for what the Varsity Blues have in store for us this season. Can I get a “Go Blues Go”?

- Danielle

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