by Eric Oberman
Fans at the boys soccer game on Sept. 13 saw a WHS that had been dormant for years. Hundreds of students filled the stands in black clothing for the game against SPF, which was then the top team in the state.
This was the largest display of school spirit in recent memory -- mandatory-attendance pep rallies discounted— and it sparked the creation of the group “Blue Devil Pride” on Facebook. But the origins of this surge in interest were not ideal.
In the days leading up to the soccer game, a Facebook event page was created, and its comments became increasingly heated. Students from Westfield and Scotch Plains-Fanwood exchanged obscenities and threats, and the number of people who were planning on attending the event grew steadily. It’s certainly possible that many of the students who attended the game only did so because they wanted to witness the tension between the two fanbases. That is not the way it should be.
We all want to be proud of our school, and spirit is a big part of that. But the fact that most students can only be bothered to go to games under these circumstances is a sad commentary on the true level of commitment that we have.
That’s the bad news. What’s better is that the student body has seemingly learned its lesson. The boys soccer game against Cranford on the 24th had hundreds of attendees, and similar numbers have been showing up to the games of other teams.
If this trend continues, it could have a real effect. Athletes will be energized by the fans at games, and strong spirit could benefit the school in other ways. Said Student Government President Alex Jeffery: “The main job of the student government is to improve the school. With that said, we’d like to keep up this school spirit, as it vastly improves morale at WHS. We also plan to publicize school events more highly than ever before.”
An increase in school spirit is undoubtedly a good thing, especially if it increases turnout for events that raise money for charity or benefit the community. But if the spirit is only inspired by conflict, it won’t last for long.