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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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Despite Lack of Football Team, School Spirit is Still a Touchdown

By MOIRA McAVOY

As many of you surely know, college football season is officially in full-swing. On campuses all over the country, Thursday through Saturday is now irrevocably consumed by beer guzzling, fight song screaming and victory partying or, in some cases, bitter rioting.

Take, for instance, Virginia Tech’s season opener against Georgia Tech on Monday Sept. 3rd. Virginia Tech won, the players rushed the field, fireworks cascaded over Lane Stadium and my twitter-feed dissolved into a mess of #HokieNationPride.

I saw all of this unfold from the comfort of my living room in Eagle Landing. My friends and I watched the game and became emotionally invested while doing so.

Our commentary and joking throughout the game was constantly punctuated by remarks about how much we hated how our school does not have a football team. There would be no celebratory ragers this Monday night and no class-wide discourse on the game-saving field goal the next morning. We didn’t have that sort of fanatic brotherhood Tech fans have, and we didn’t seem to love our school with every fiber of our being.

I know that this is one of the main reasons I wasn’t crazy about Mary Washington last year. It didn’t feel like that authentic college experience I had come to expect from movies and tales told by friends at bigger universities, like Virginia Tech, James Madison University and the University of Virginia.

I never wanted to go to Tech, or even a school like it, but for over a year, I’ve felt cheated, like I was missing out on this huge, almost ceremonial, chunk of my life by being here.

But then, I remembered that I’m friendly with the chair of my department. I remembered that there is a Pulitzer Prize winner on our staff, and that she teaches a class I’ll actually be able to take. I remembered that I was cast in a mainstage production as a freshman.

I remembered that we’ve been able to have intimate shows with bands like Fun. I remembered that, as I read for my anthropology class, with a whopping 98 people and a professor determined to learn everyone’s name, it is the largest class I will ever take. I remembered that I am able to sit and read in a secluded, dilapidated amphitheater and feel at peace with this place.

So what if we don’t have a Hokie bird? We have an eagle, and our mascot is loved well enough.

The point is that we have neither football nor official Greek Life, but we also don’t have 3000 person lectures, TA’s or classes at a Math Emporium. And, while I still feel like I’m missing out on some of the more stereotypical collegiate aspects of a school like that, I’m starting to realize that there is so much more to love about the University of Mary Washington than I’ve been willing to admit.

So, here’s to you, UMW.