Step Up School Spirit, Lakesiders Say


Ever noticed fifty or so teenage boys clad in tank tops and pajama pants taking pictures in Red Square? What about a team of Adam Sandlers roaming the halls? Reflecting on the fall season as winter sports begin, individual sports teams such as the football, volleyball, and girls’ soccer teams took charge of their spirit. 

This fall, themes including dress like Silas B. ’23, Adam Sandler, ski wear, and Coach Derrek stole the show around Lakeside.

Themes including dress like Silas B. ’23, Adam Sandler, ski wear, and Coach Derrek stole the show around Lakeside. Not to mention, the football and girls’ soccer teams held a blockbuster jersey swap that energized campus and boosted attendance manyfold for their games that day, showcasing the importance of spirit wear. On October 27th, Stud Gov organized a day of “strictly business” attire that put all eyes on that night’s volleyball game. Confusingly, the Student Spirit Committee has not coordinated spirit wear this year, despite its name. An interview with Upper School Athletics Director Chris Hartley explains how the Student Spirit Committee fits into the picture.

To put it simply, spirit wear and spirit are different things. As Mr. Hartley clarifies: “Whereas spirit wear is what you wear for school spirit, more broadly, spirit is the atmosphere that members of the community cheering for one another creates.” Therefore, the Student Spirit Committee’s role is not to organize spirit wear. Rather, it operates on a small budget with the purpose of generating spirit in the community, including work from organizing rides for underclassmen to get to their games to, in past years, offering face painting at tailgates. One reason for the Spirit Committee’s recent silence is that Mr. Hartley canceled the fall tailgate, since “it felt wrong to exclude unvaccinated 5th and 6th graders.” Moreover, “I scratched the possibility of a winter tailgate because a basketball tailgate would violate COVID protocols,” Mr. Hartley said. The Student Spirit Committee declined to comment.

Demonstration of Lakeside spirit is not just confined to tailgates or official sports games though. At the November House Assembly, House Holcenberg silenced its red, black, and blue-clad counterparts as trash bag gala judge Nse Ekpo carried the green-garbed house to a comeback win, creating a vintage moment for Lakeside history in the process. The popularity of the House Assembly and the success of sports teams’ organized spirit-wearing begs the question for many Lakesiders: why not more?

To answer this question, many turn to the Spirit Committee, despite their not being involved in spirit wear. Indeed, when asked their thoughts on the committee in last month’s Tatler poll, 11 of 30 respondents wanted the committee to do more to organize spirit, while 15 didn’t know the committee existed. One student elaborated, “I didn’t even realize there was a spirit committee. In my opinion, they should try to make the amount of fans at games increase. More people should know about what games or meets are happening when and where.” Another student went as far as to write, “Stud gov could easily absorb its responsibilities,” which was echoed by “Stud gov’s takeover will be swift and entertaining.” While these replies may be humorous, they have a point: Lakesiders are desperate for the Student Spirit Committee, Stud Gov, or someone else to step up and lead the spirit wear department.