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.”