School spirit? Not here : Niner Times

School spirit? Not here

| March 21, 2013

McColl-Richardson Field/Photo by Chris Crews

Take a walk around UNC Charlotte’s campus on any given day and it won’t take you long to spot students sporting collegiate apparel of another university.

We, as UNC Charlotte 49ers, have become too comfortable with the lack of school spirit on campus and around the city of Charlotte. The Niner Nation has settled with what little tradition we have, and too many students have it fixed in their heads that we will never be like UNC Chapel Hill or Duke University in terms of recognition.

With the mindset that UNC Charlotte will never be as respected in terms of tradition and school spirit, how will we ever break away from settling?

“I’m a Chapel Hill fan, but I came here because of money and location. I think it’s more like, it’s kind of the same with N.C. State,” said UNC Charlotte junior Keith McCarthy.

McCarthy continues by saying, “They’re huge schools and we’re easier to get into, so the school spirit isn’t there. So, you’re not really working as hard to get into the school. It’s not everyone’s first choice either.”

Although UNC Charlotte might not be the college of choice for some students, that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to justify the lack of school spirit present on and around campus.

As a transfer student coming from East Carolina University, a university known for their undying commitment and dedication to their beloved purple and gold, it would be an understatement to say that coming to UNC Charlotte has been quite an adjustment.

Just how “Roll Tide” has become an everyday greeting to those at the University of Alabama, ECU students commonly chant “PURPLE” and wait for those around to respond by shouting “GOLD.”

Whether it is 8 a.m. on the way to class or in one of the dining halls when students are eating dinner, not responding “GOLD” when someone shouts “PURPLE” is seen as extremely disrespectful.

If I went and stood at the Belk Tower in the middle of UNC Charlotte’s campus when students were walking to class and shouted “FORTY,” crickets would be heard chirping.

Nathan Butler, sports editor for the Niner Times, recently published a story pointing out the struggles UNC Charlotte faces when students choose not to embrace the university’s traditions.

“Enough with the excuse that we’re not old enough to have tradition,” Butler said.

“I’m sick of hearing it. This school has been in existence long enough to not have any of these problems.”

Some students are convinced that when football season debuts at UNC Charlotte in the fall, the university’s school spirit problems will disappear. Likely? Probably not.

It will take time for Charlotte’s football team to build up their program and be taken seriously by others, both in and out of our conference. Take a look at any team in any sport at any university.

When a college team ends up with a losing season, or doesn’t perform as well as expected, many fans are quick to stop attending the games and have no problem voicing their frustrations regarding the team’s success.

Anyone who truly believes that Charlotte’s football team is capable of having a winning season this fall, the first football season ever for the Charlotte 49ers, is in for a rude wakeup call.

When overly-optimistic 49er fans get upset in the fall when their hopes of a winning season get shattered, everyone will quickly see that football is not what is going to solve UNC Charlotte’s problems surrounding school spirit, or lack thereof.

Although football is not the golden key needed to unlock UNC Charlotte’s school spirit, it is beyond encouraging hearing my fellow 49ers get so excited about not only the future of our football team, but the future of our university that I’m so proud to be a part of.

When I come back as an alumnus of this institution, I look forward to joining in with the current students in cheering on our Charlotte football team and chanting the fight song in hopes of a big win.

I also look forward to sharing the stories about my experience at the university, and share with them all of the many positive changes that have been made since my time.

Lastly, I hope that I will be able to stand at the Belk Tower and shout “FORTY” knowing those who can hear me will quickly respond with “NINERS.”

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Libby Weihsmann Libby Weihsmann is the 2013-2014 Sports Editor for the Niner Times. She is pursuing a Communications Studies degree with a concentration in Mass Media and a minor in Journalism at UNC Charlotte.

Comments (8)

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  1. Jennifer Mullis says:

    As an alumni, we had the same problem 20 years ago. No school spirit. When I attended, the basketball team actually went to the NCAA tournament and still no school spirit. Besides, as a member of the ZTA fraternity, I had an excellent collection of letter apparel.

    This Fall my son, will join the student body (as his 1st Choice of schools) and we have made sure that he has plenty of “spirit wear” to walk about campus. Well that is if he doesn’t wear them out before he gets there.

  2. Bill Dye says:

    You really should have to get a clue, if you’re going to write “published” article on any subject. While Charlotte may not have the “school spirit” of UNC Chapel Hill or Duke, we sure as hell have a lot more than what your “story” implies. Do you know that our average basketball attendance has been ranked inside the top 100 for nearly 20 straight seasons? Do you know we sent more fans to the NCAA Soccer Finals in 2011 than any school in history? Do you know we average more students at our men’s basketball games than ~95% of the D1 schools in the country?

    Do us all a favor, try only writing about things you know something about—whatever that is!

    • Kathy says:

      Wow Bill you don’t have to be rude.That’s what the opinion section is all about.Opinions and you know what they say about opinions.:)

  3. Brad Dowless says:

    I think Libby has a point with her article, and I agree with the school spirit as a whole. We do have a group of niner fans that are very loyal to the school. The kid that said Charlotte is not everyone’s first choice may have a point also, but there are only a few schools that are someone’s first choice. You should still be proud of your University because it is preparing you for your next step in life. I will put my Charlotte engineering degree against any other University in the country as I have worked with NCSU, Va. Tech, Penn State, and Iowa State engineering graduates who are no more prepared than I in the work place. Football will help the University build school spirit as well because it is a big sport like basketball that a casual fan will follow. Winning records help, but having a team helps even more. We need more television exposure in the state as well to get the casual fan. I live in Iowa and I watched every basketball game this season with the help of online broadcasts. The casual fan wouldn’t go through the effort. We need more than alumni. We need the casual fan to get on board. Dropping the UNC name would also help because outside of NC people think every UNC school is a sub-school of Chapel Hill. That sucks for an alumni.

  4. Jeff Storm says:

    I bet we will have a winning football season Libby. Want to make a wager?

  5. Brian Cherry says:

    Spot on, Libby! The lack of passion for our school is embarrassing.

  6. Stanton Adams says:

    Since we’re “so easy to get into” that people like Mr. McCarthy can get into UNC Charlotte, perhaps the school should consider raising the academic standards to keep the riff-raff who don’t care about the school they actually attend OUT?

    Libby, You’ll find that a good portion of the teams we have scheduled to play football against are non-scholarship or lower end FCS level programs. Our first two years we’ll probably have winning records. It’s 2015, when we move to FBS and CUSA, that we’ll struggle a bit.

  7. Rick Foster says:

    Mr. McCarthy’s fairy blue @$$ should leave the school if it is not where he wants to be. I’ll gladly pay for the bus ticket if it gets him away from our campus.

    If you aren’t proud of the education you are receiving, why are you here?

    – Proud alum ’07

Libby Weihsmann Libby Weihsmann is the 2013-2014 Sports Editor for the Niner Times. She is pursuing a Communications Studies degree with a concentration in Mass Media and a minor in Journalism at UNC Charlotte.