Tag Archives | sports

Image by Ed Uthman, Flickr

Image by Ed Uthman, Flickr

Vivid displays of team spirit help many young athletes accomplish great feats during competitive sporting events. When teams appear evenly matched, the ability of one side to foster a high morale among players and supporters sometimes makes a critical difference in the outcome of a game. Consider applying one or more of these ideas to help boost your school spirit on game day.

Teach Everyone Your Team Anthem
One excellent way to encourage a strong school spirit involves sharing a song. By teaching all your team members and fans the words of an anthem, you’ll possess a powerful technique for encouraging players during the game. The sound of spontaneously singing supporters may inspire an athlete on the field to make an exceptional effort.

Competitive sports teams have relied upon this strategy for decades as an effective way to motivate players. Choosing a team or school anthem everyone can sing easily offers a big advantage. Since members of the audience may find themselves breaking into song without any music in the background, lyrics that are easily memorized and sung remain a wise choice.

Demand Polite Conduct at Sporting Events
Another important way to promote a strong school spirit involves maintaining high standards of conduct during games. By encouraging your students and coaches to display polite, respectful conduct towards others, you’ll help unify your team.

Parents, teachers and other visiting guests genuinely appreciate athletic teams displaying sportsmanlike conduct. Few things contribute as much to a successful season as upholding a lofty standard of polite interactions among teammates and rival players.

Use a School Mascot in Costume
Another important way to boost school spirit involves selecting and supporting a colorful school or team mascot like the ones found at Best Mascots. Today, students enjoy many opportunities to select professionally tailored costumes to distinguish these characters.

As players approach a pivotal point in the game, they may take heart seeing a cheering mascot standing on the sidelines waving at the audience. The mascot’s distinctive attire encapsulates the goals and aspirations of the school for its students.

Ask Everyone to Wear Team Colors on Game Day
By encouraging everyone rooting for your team to wear your school’s colors, you’ll provide another visible sign of support for your players. This tactic won’t prove as effective as traveling with a school mascot during away games, but may offer vital morale-building during home matches.

For example, a booster club might consider selling T-shirts in distinctive colors as a way to encourage school spirit. By offering t-shirts and paraphernalia with the logo of your team, you can help unify the crowd. People wearing this attire might even want to sit in the same part of the stadium.

Encourage Friendly Game Social Events
Finally, encouraging friendly game social events, such as ice-cream mixers, provides a great way for team members to become better known to their peers. Periodic pep rallies followed by school social gatherings infuse a sense of camaraderie into athletic meets.

It’s vitally important to maintain a cordial, welcoming attitude on these occasions. By encouraging participation, schools may assist their students in developing better social skills while also boosting the team’s performance.

Regardless of your preferred methods for demonstrating school spirit, it is important to celebrate the benefits of team sports. By ensuring that everyone enjoys the game and displays superb sportsmanship, you’ll help maintain a high morale. Competitive events often inspire exceptional athletic performances. Foster a strong school spirit to help young players excel in sports and in life.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Sturgis.

Image by Jessica Velasco

Image by Jessica Velasco

Every college and university has a unique culture, so student initiation into college life varies depending on where you go. From holding vigil over the graffiti rocks at Northwestern University to learning how to do the Gator chomp at the University of Florida to having a conditioned response to say “war eagle” at the mere mention of Auburn University, every school is different.
However, there is one rite of passage that is present in any college community. I’m not talking about matriculation, keg stands, or even graduation. No, the real rite of passage for any self-respecting college student is to go tailgating at least once during his or her college career.

What Is Tailgating

If you are already a college student, I pray that you would not really be asking this question. But if you’re not sure, here’s a quick low-down on this crucial, collegiate activity. Tailgating is the party that happens in the parking lot before (and sometimes after) major events. Tailgating is most common at sports competitions, but many folks also like to tailgate at concerts and other types of festivals.

Typically, tailgaters get to the stadium or arena about four hours before the start of the game or concert. Beverages, finger food, and anything grilled are common fare among most tailgating circles. While tailgating, people show their support for the band or team that they are there to see. They also play yard games like the ever-popular cornhole and socialize with other passionate fans.

When To Tailgate

Anytime your school has a sporting event is a good time to tailgate. College football games are perhaps the most common tailgating events but other sports like basketball, baseball, soccer, and hockey are also known for their pre-game party atmosphere. Even if the weather is not that great, chances are there will still be diehard fans tailgating before the game. So throw on a poncho and boots or gloves and a scarf and get out and join them!

Tailgating Tips

Now that you know the basics of tailgating, here are 14 tips to turn you into a college tailgating pro!

  1. Arrive early. Tailgaters are intense. No matter what time you arrive, there will already be people there in full party mode. Arrive as early as you can to ensure you have plenty of space. You’ll want all your friends to park close by, so check to see if there are enough spots. Plus, you’ll need time to set up your gear (tables, chairs, canopies, food, etc.) and you’ll need time to tear down before heading into the game.
  2. Bring something to identify your tailgate. When your friends call, wondering where you are, you can say something like, “We’re in lot D2. Look for the red and yellow balloons.”
  3. Get your food ready the night before. This will help cut down on the game day stress. Marinate and skewer your kebabs, shape burger patties and frost cupcakes.
  4. Remember the golden rule of food service: KEEP HOT FOODS HOT AND COLD FOODS COLD! Has that egg salad been sitting out in the sun for more than an hour? Was your meat stored properly? Is everything fully cooked? If you aren’t sure, don’t eat it no matter how hungry you are. It won’t be worth the consequences.
  5. You can never have enough ice, so bring more bags than you think you’ll need. Everyone wants their drinks to be cold. If you have extra you can make someone else’s day by sharing.
  6. If you are grilling, bring a metal bucket for still-glowing coals. The bucket can also be full of water while you’re grilling for emergencies.
  7. If the weather is cold, bring plenty of thermoses of soup, hot cocoa and cider. Dress for the weather and bring extra cold weather gear for friends who are less prepared.
  8. Have a first aid kit handy. Band-aids, Advil, gauze wraps, alcohol wipes, and the like are all good for small emergencies. Remember that most stadiums have official first aid tents as well.
  9. Bring plenty of water! Not everyone drinks alcohol at a tailgate, so bring alternatives. And water is great to stay hydrated, so drink plenty of it even during cooler months.
  10. Don’t forget the parking lot games. Cornhole is, perhaps, the most popular tailgating game. Nearly every group you pass will be tossing bags. If your tailgating party is large, consider drawing up a cornhole tournament. You can bring brackets to help keep things organized. Without a little structure, the “kids” could be fighting over the bags! Other games could be fun too—beer pong, washers, ladder golf. And don’t forget the basics; tossing a football around or playing catch with a baseball might be all the entertainment your group needs.
  11. Make new friends. Tailgaters are some of the friendliest people out there, so don’t be shy; introduce yourself to fellow fans. Inviting your new friends to play a round of cornhole or beer pong (see number 10) is a great way to bond.
  12. Bring your phone charger with a car adapter. Your phone is indispensable at a tailgate because friends will be calling you to find out where to park and you’ll want to be able to take pictures of the actual game too!
  13. Know the stadium’s rules about tailgating. Most arenas are pretty laid-back with tailgaters, but some do have restrictions against glass bottles, open fires, and other considerations. Find out what the rules are before you go or you can ask other tailgaters once you get there.
  14. Have fun and cheer on your team! Tailgating should be fun, first and foremost, so enjoy the party atmosphere and cheer your team on to victory!

You can’t graduate college without attending at least one tailgating party. Bonus points if you host the gig. Get out there, socialize, meet new people and be part of a universal college experience.

Do you have any other tailgating tips or stories? Share with us on Facebook!


Photo by Carmen Rodriguez NSP, Flickr

Photo by Carmen Rodriguez NSP, Flickr

This weekend marked the end of the Sochi Olympics. Athletes around the world will return to their training regiments in anticipation of the next competition. Many of these competitive athletes are young students. Athletes must start young, as it takes years of training to reach their peak level of skilled fitness. How does the average young athlete balance schoolwork with their athletics? In honour of the Canadian gold medal hockey wins, I interviewed several Varsity athletes from the University of Toronto to investigate the balance between professional athletics and schoolwork.

Two things were mentioned by all athletes interviewed: time management. If you want to invest the time to be a professional anything while remaining a full-time student, organization and planning are key. This especially applies to student athletes, as their bodies are an entirely different syllabus to manage. Training, nutrition, and rest are equal to studying for a midterm. This means micromanaging study sessions, social life, and everything in between.


Elizabeth Benn is on the Varsity Blues fastpitch team (a version of softball with a windmill pitching style), studying philosophy, English, and French. During fastpitch season she practices for 20 hours a week – not including travel time, administrative work, fundraising, and meetings. Benn has missed class for her sport, but says different practice time slots allow for leeway. She plans her weekly schedule in advance every Sunday, although,

It’s common to fall behind and have to miss out on things that ‘normal’ students get to do.

As a student athlete, she recommends taking a lighter course load and courses with reduced workloads.


David Urness, a Varsity Blues rower and Nordic skiier studying engineering, also time manages by planning his semesters far in advance. He says,

This gives me the chance to plan strategies to survive the stressful times.

In times of high pressure, Urness micromanages.

If I’m really pressed for time, I’ll schedule my days hour by hour.

Heather and Sophie

If a normal student finds themselves overwhelmed by schoolwork, they can stay up late to cram. A Varsity athlete cannot afford to lose sleep and experience drowsiness at their next practice or competition. Varsity Blues figure skater Heather McHugh, who studies political science, says,

It’s hard getting up for 6:00am on Friday mornings if you’ve been out late the night before.

Negotiating with professors is also a necessary nuisance. Sometimes a championship can coincide with a midterm, and a professor’s understanding is imperative for the student athlete to participate and achieve the necessary grades. Although most professors are accommodating – McHugh has never conflicted with a professor – some can be difficult. She says,

Last year a girl almost missed the [figure skating] championship because a professor was resisting letting her reschedule a midterm.

Sophie Ryder, a Varsity figure skater studying social sciences, says,

I have personally been lucky that all my professors have been super understanding, but I have heard stories of the Dean being involved.

Tips for Athletes, from Athletes

Sometimes students must appeal to the next level of authority to accommodate their athletics. To avoid this, Benn recommends showing professors your commitment to the class and that you are capable of maintaining your workload.

I try to do little things to show that I am still doing my work for their classes, like handing in sheets with notes from the past week’s readings; that way they’ll know that I’m still doing my work and do care about the class.

Along with other U of T athletes, Urness cites attitude as key. Overbooked student athletes must find play in their work. The support and attitude of fellow teammates is vital. As Urness says,

Attitudes are contagious: sure, Debbie Downer can ruin practice if you’re not careful, but a smile can also make it.

A team’s temperament can affect an athlete’s ability to cope on and off-field. Team spirit is essential, since, as McHugh says,

Unless you’re in residence, I find that the team is your social life.

Ryder says that despite the stress,

I personally do it because I love the sport. At the end of the day as long as you’re happy with your decisions and life, that’s all that matters.

Urness says,

I’m proud to represent the University of Toronto as a rower and a Nordic Skiier, and being a student athlete is the best decision I made after choosing to attend U of T.

The U of T Varsity Blues experiences tell us that being a student athlete takes more than one kind of discipline. Not only physical and academic, but logistical: the ability to formulate a schedule and follow through. Of course, students make mistakes. Life cannot be fully planned for. Schoolwork and sports are a balance that only passion can steady and Olympic resolve can maintain.