Too much spirit

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

By Christi Covington

Athletic events with a healthy dose of team spirit create some of the most vibrant memories for college students. They draw us together as a community, and boost a university’s reputation — except when they don’t.

When my dad attended Southwestern University around 30 years ago, he played baseball, giving him the chance to interact with other teams and their fans. One school particularly impressed him with what they did not do. No one heckled, no one cussed, no one made rude or foul gestures as they played.

That impression was so strong, so unique even to a college-age guy that two decades later, he encouraged his oldest daughter to visit this university versus the one a little farther south where her parents had met.

That university was the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and I was that daughter. If it was not for Dad’s brief interlude with this school, I would never have paid attention to small UMHB.

I thought I wanted to go to a large, state college and that was where I planned to apply. However, after getting on campus and talking to the admissions staff, I was a Crusader for life.

Since then, two sisters and a cousin have also joined these proud ranks. We laugh that UMHB is our family’s college of choice. I always spread the good news of this beautiful university hidden in the small town of Belton, especially among the youth at my church.

Unfortunately, I learned not everyone is so impressed after visiting our campus.

Recently, three of the youth staff from my church attended UMHB’s basketball game against Wheaton College. They knew one of the star players for the opposing team, and wanted to see him play.

These are three people who exercise a great deal of influence over many high school students’ lives, including what college to attend post-graduation. Will they recommend UMHB?

Instead of the welcome that my dad experienced decades earlier, what they saw were a vocal, obnoxious group of Crusader fans who were rude with their words, dress and body language. You know who you are. Keep on your pants, guys.

My three friends graduated from public universities. They are not overly sensitive about expressive school spirit, but certain UMHB fans gave them a particularly bad display of it.

I was a student at UMHB only four years ago; I was proud of the Couch Cru and its team spirit leadership, but cheering for your school is not the same as acting like an immature goober, for lack of a better or more printable label.

Remember, what you do today is the heritage of Mary Hardin-Baylor tomorrow. You never know who is thinking about sending their kids in
that same tomorrow because of how you cheered at the ball game.

Covington is a 2006 UMHB graduate

Author: The Bells Staff

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