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November 20, 2009
Vol. 51 No. 10

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Susquehanna needs boost in school spirit

The Crusaders will be going to the NCAA Division III championships tomorrow for the first time since 1991. With the Crusaders set to face off against Delaware Valley tomorrow afternoon, it is interesting to note the evolution of football here.

In the past, there was a much greater fan base for the Susquehanna 11 (we actually had 11 players on the entire team), and we had pep rallies and intense bonfires. Long-tenured professor, Fred Grosse, professor of physics, said that President Lemons had the idea for a pep rally and a bonfire a couple years ago, "but it was nothing like the '60s." Grosse said, "this tradition included the football coach giving his 'big long pep talk' and then the guys on the team would each get up and say a little something. Mind you there were 11 players on the team, so it would not last too long."

There is an article titled, "Frosh Has Spirit Needed by Students," written by Anthony J. Dellaira in the Oct. 8, 1959 issue of The Crusader. Dellaira talked about a freshman who was full of school spirit and how he, "didn't realize the difficulty in arousing others with the same interest that he felt." He also mentioned the difficulty the school had in filling a bus. His reasoning was that tickets cost too much, but were actually three dollars per person. There was a lack of publicity; however, there was an announcement made and posters put up around campus. The remaining reason was a fundamental lack of school spirit.

There is another article from the same issue titled "Pep Rally and Parade Incite School Spirit." The article talks about "our peppy cheerleaders," and being led by the brothers of Lambda Chi, the mighty school marching band, the twirlers and color guard through the streets of Selinsgrove. Three of the four things mentioned do not exist here anymore. We do have a stadium band, which is close to a marching band, but who is Lambda Chi and what happened to the Susquehanna twirlers and color guard? In the following week's issue, Oct. 15, 1959, there was a survey conducted with the question: "What Do You Think Can Be Done to Increase School Spirit at SU?" Professor Pirie answered, "School spirit will never be had at SU unless the upper classmen set a good example for the freshmen." Head coach of today's football team Steve Briggs responded to Pirie's quote by explaining the time commitment with which the athletes at Susquehanna must conflict. "Upperclassmen need to be afforded the opportunity to lead the underclassmen," he said. They are busy and have less and less down time. The fan base is progressively getting better and players do feel the presence of the fans, but it doesn't seem to affect their focus," Briggs commented. So where does school spirit lay? Does it come with marching bands, twirlers and those "peppy cheerleaders?" Or is it something that is inside each person; something that each individual needs to be shown, like Pirie explained. Or do school spirit and pride need an amazing season to bring back its fans?

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