The Vermont Cynic

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This past weekend my roommate, Goose, and I set out upon a daunting journey in search of a school that reeked with more school spirit than that of our very own University of Vermont. We set out in my car with open minds and “The Two Towers” book on CD in the changer.

An empty case of Yodels, a yearning for Gandalf to be a relative of ours, nine and a half hours and 500 miles later we found the Holy Grail of school spirit: Pennsylvania State University.

Penn State, sits just outside of nowhere and is located in central Pennsylvania where the word “deliverance” was set on repeat in my head as we traveled through it. The school is home to some 40,000 students who ooze with Penn State pride.

Friday afternoon brought Goose and I out to the streets of PSU where flocks of people were sleeping, eating, doing homework and practicing yoga while sitting on the sidewalk facing the main street that ran through the university. “What are you waiting for?” I asked one sorority girl as she inhaled half a bag of Doritos.

“The homecoming parade! I can’t wait, our float is so hot this year!” she said as chips spewed all over the sidewalk and my shoes.

“What time does the parade start?” I inquired.

“Like, 6 o’clock.”

I looked at my watch and it was 1:15.

Next, Goose and I thought that a better perspective of school spirit might be found in the school’s bookstore. We were slightly disturbed and amazed at what we found. There was more kinds of Penn State underwear than you could imagine, every kind of tee shirt with the three letters P,S and U on it.

We were lucky enough to have chosen a weekend on which the football team was playing a home game against Big-10 rival, Northwestern. The football team at PSU is the golden egg of the school as it is rich with tradition and is coached by the one and only Joe Paterno. Just to get two extra tickets to the long ago sold out game my friend, Ice Man, whom I was visiting had to sell one of his kidneys and promise his first born to his roommates who weren’t going to the game.

At the game we experienced 109,998 (110,000 less Goose and I) people all chant “WE ARE PENN STATE” in unison as the beloved Blue Band pep band kept everyone in tune.

Every student in attendance was wearing at least one piece of visible Penn State clothing, while others had painted nittany lion paw prints on their jeans, dyed their hair blue, painted their half naked bodies, and talked on their PSU cell phones.

Goose and I exchanged astonished glances throughout the weekend when we shared a culture shock from the amount of unconscious school spirit we were experiencing from everyone at PSU.

We don’t need a nationally ranked football team or a UVM cell phone to publicize the pride we all should have for our school. It doesn’t take an outside effort; the spirit is in our hands with the potential to broadcast spread it.

The homecoming effort on everyone’s behalf at UVM was mediocre at best. The spirit on any day that isn’t homecoming is pathetic.

I am not saying we need to show our pride by sporting a catamount thong on the weekends, but it wouldn’t hurt to be aware of what athletic teams are playing on any given day, or even know that it is homecoming weekend.

I realized that I am just as guilty as the next guy, but school spirit is a group effort. And with that group effort, you might look back on your weekend or even college experience and know that you showed everyone just how proud you were to be a

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We Are UVM!