I was what my friends might have generously called a “cool nerd” in high school. I loved class and reading, and some of my favorite prime time programming was on the History Channel. Basically, I seemed destined for a place like William and Mary, renown for its community of scholars, academic rigor, and historical significance. I had a good deal of fun, too. I played some sports and got involved in extracurricular activities that gave me social outlets and a group of friends who are still some of my closest contacts.
But if there was one place you would not find me in high school, it was a football stadium, basketball court, or field hockey field. You’d never see me planted in front of the TV for a game, and I only got into the Super Bowl and March Madness for the chips and salsa. I was NOT a sports fan, so I didn’t come to college looking for a big-time football program and a stadium roaring with student cheers. I knew nothing about W&M athletics, and that was OK by me.
Well, let me tell you about William and Mary. It will surprise you. It will push your limits, and it will encourage you to try things you never have before. William and Mary made me a sports fan.
This year we’ve gotten some great press — two football victories over fellow Virginia state school, UVA, and Central Connecticut State University. We are rocking this year, but even when we’re not on fire or the stands are only sparsely populated for a basketball game on a Tuesday night, get up and go….you’ll find some amazing Tribe Pride there! A few friends took me to some football and basketball games my sophomore year, and it was great. I felt a connection to my school that might have been sparked by the green and gold jerseys or the W&M logo on the scoreboard, but I’m pretty certain it came from somewhere else as well–I knew these kids! Student athletes at W&M are exactly that: Student. Athletes. I was in class with these football, basketball, field hockey players, and they were doing something awesome for our school. Unlike at larger schools, W&M varsity athletes live with us, eat with us, and go through the same academic experiences that we all go through. They are part of the community, and cheering at a W&M game means more than cheering for the team — it means cheering for our friends.
Like I said, I was never a sports fan. When I got to school here, I went looking for Tribe Pride in some new places, and I found it in the last place I would have expected to find myself: at the game. You just can’t beat that feeling when the Pep Band plays the fight song or the student section screams the Alma Mater. Yes, my academic institution converted me, and now I relish the opportunity to cheer the green and gold. Here it’s not about loving the game; it’s about being part of the Tribe.
Class of 2010