By: Solomon K.
When you find yourself thinking about ‘school spirit,’ what do you think of? For most, the image of a raucous crowd, half-crazed with adrenaline will probably come to mind. They’re likely at a football game in the dead of winter, with snow gusting about, while the home team is in the midst of a game-winning drive. Or, if you go to school farther north, perhaps the crowd is attending a hockey game, with the home team on a power play in overtime. Regardless of the image you conjure of ‘school spirit,’ the sad reality is that here at LCDS there are very few opportunities to experience it at the deafening levels of which some might dream. That does not mean, however, that this school is a barren wasteland when it comes to spirit. We simply have to accept that a multitude of factors combine to create less-than-favorable conditions for that raucous crowd to appear.
First and foremost, Country Day’s student body hails from all over southeastern Pennsylvania. There are many kids who have more than an hour’s commute to school. Hershey, York, and Reading, all places where Country Day students live, are well over a half-hour from school. This makes it incredibly difficult for those students, especially if they cannot drive yet, to get to and from sporting events in Lancaster. Furthermore, it’s simply unfair to continually ask our parents to drive us all the way to Lancaster to support a team we don’t play on. Speaking of travel times, another harsh reality of Country Day sports is the fact that we play in a league where almost every team is an hour or more west of here. Unlike public schools, where the districts are right next to each other and the students are able to build up an active rivalry, our opponents are far away. They’re obscure, too. Who had ever even heard of Greenwood or Newport or East Juniata before we joined this league? And how are we supposed to build up a rivalry with them when we don’t know anyone who goes to the school? Without good rivalries, sports games are not nearly as interesting.
Most public schools (and even some private schools) have a football team. It’s no secret that football is the most popular sport in America, and especially popular at the high school level. Football is a great sport for socializing, as the games are always on Friday nights, and have long-standing traditions that add an element of fun for the fans. Sadly, Country Day does not have this regularity in our sports. We have no ‘Friday night game,’ no definitive event that everyone knows everyone else is going to. In part, I think this is due to our lack of sports identity. Do we have a sport that we can call ‘ours’? It seems like every year we have a different team that’s really successful, and then next season they go nowhere. I’m not saying that our players aren’t dedicated enough, or that our coaches don’t do an effective job, it’s merely a reality of going to a small school. This lack of consistency, in addition to the realities of travel, combines to create our lack of traditional spirit.
That said, even without great rivalries, and no sport to call our own, we still find waysto exude school spirit. Our strength here at Country Day has always been to improvise, to find new and interesting ways to do old things, and school spirit is no exception. Whether it’s Color Wars or the Ice Festival, morning meeting games, or the Halloween festival, our quirkiness and sense of community have always radiated a spirit of their own. It may not be the traditional sense of spirit, but it’s spirit nonetheless, and it’s something of which we should be proud.
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