Sam B. ’23 on “Slayful” Spirit at Lakeside


Tony N. '23

Sam B.-23 dripped out in Lakeside merch

“Why are you interviewing me?” Sam B. ’23 questions. “The last spirit you did was wearing a Lakeside sweatshirt, and that was by accident!” These words sting, but they are deserved; after all, to Sam, I’m the least spirited thing since cinnamon pizza. Yet there we were, lying on the field during Activity Period—a quintessentially Lakeside experience—and talking about spirit. 

I ask Sam to think back on his prior experiences with spirit. Did he learn to don such garish clothes at a previous institution? “In terms of spirit, my middle school sucked;” he says. “Like, we had no spirit. Actually, we had one spirit, and it was ‘free dress.’ Because normally, we had to wear uniforms.” 

Clearly not. So what about “spirit,” not to be confused with the eponymous airline, is so appealing to Sam? He explains to me that it’s about “community,” again not to be confused with the eponymous TV show. To him, spirit is a sign of a community’s closeness. It happens when the students agree to do something together, no matter how trivial, simply because they know others will as well. Dressing up, going to games, wearing Kai Bynum™ merch: these are all manifestations of Lakeside spirit. Sam loves it, and he isn’t alone: of 142 respondents to the Tatler poll (fill out the surveys!), the overwhelming majority enjoy the spirit. People say it’s “fun,” “dope,” and even “slayful.” 

With this nigh-unanimous approval, where does this persistent rumor that nobody does spirit come from? While 12 respondents said that not enough people did spirit, only one poor soul (perhaps from Sam’s middle school) says a lot of people participate. 

What does the data say? 

So, of almost a quarter of the student body (the cool ones who responded to the Tatler Poll), almost 90% said they did spirit. Discounting those who skipped this question, the number rises to over 93%. Then what gives?

Sam gives a few explanations. He thinks that more people do spirit than they’re given credit for and that people’s perceptions of what counts as “spirit” are too rigid. He cites dressing up before sports games as a universally recognized form of spirit. Yet he sees spirit everywhere: “The amount of work that goes in from both Student Government and the student body to host Clubs Fair and Bite of Lakeside is insane—yet I don’t see it being counted as an example of Lakeside’s spirit. There are passionate people at Lakeside who truly want to share their experiences with others; is that not a form of Lakeside spirit?” 

Now comes the kicker. I ask Sam how he’d get more people involved in spirit. He looks up, as if expecting the question. “We can obviously make spirit more accessible by thinking of creative alternatives that don’t require specific clothing—I, for one, don’t own anything neon purple. Or we can hand out little things, like maybe giving each person something in their House’s color to wear at House Assembly. I think as more people do spirit, others will see that it’s okay and normal to do spirit as well. That’ll be really good.”

That makes sense. Despite my track record with spirit, if someone wearing a visor handed me a blue glow stick bracelet, screaming “SEA OF BLUE!”, I’d at the very least put it on. 

We’ve been talking for a while now. Both seniors, we know what to expect: I ask him about college. “Are you looking for spirit when you go to college?”

“Now that I’ve seen it at Lakeside and know the good parts that it can bring, I’m definitely looking for a spirited school,” he says. “After all, a spirited school is a school willing to support you.”