Last year, athletic director Lee DeLeon taught incoming students that when someone says “Go Wildcats!” the appropriate response is “Go Wildcats!” – a simple phrase used to rally the student body and show support for ACU athletics.
Some students don’t understand that supporting athletics impacts the school more than just attendance at sporting events. We need to support our athletics by taking pride in our school.
First, we need to take part in traditions. On Friday, there were a lot of purple t-shirts in Moody – but our guess is that most students donning school colors were either freshmen or sophomores, those who were taught the tradition during their orientations. In 2015, Wildcat Week put heavier emphasis on teaching new students our traditions, from the lyrics to “Oh Dear Christian College” to Purple Fridays.
Why is wearing purple important? Prospective students visit campus every Friday to check out ACU. When we show school spirit, we are showing these potential Wildcats that we care about our university both in academics and athletics.
Second, ACU is worth cheering for. We compete with top universities in Texas, so we should be just as enthusiastic as they are. At schools like Baylor, Texas A&M, Univeristy of Texas and Texas Tech University, school pride is a given. Support for sports puts these schools at the top of the social ladder and can result in huge alumni donations for the school and other scholarship funds. Win or lose, these universities support their teams.
Perhaps many of you may have almost attended those schools because you wanted to be a part of that kind of school spirit. You were drawn to traditions like the Baylor Line, A&M’s Midnight Yell and Tech’s Raider Gate. In the end, you chose ACU, a school with rich traditions and community just as worthy of cheering for as those other schools.
Finally, the football stadium will be finished in one year and we need to be ready. In the words from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” But will they?
Alumni want to come to a stadium full of students who take pride in the school. When we are alumni, we want a reason to come back and have a good time. As Abilene grows, local people want a new place to hang out and enjoy football games.
Will we come? The athletic department is counting on us as the student body. We need to get ready now by going to games, by yelling “Go Wildcats” when someone yells it at you, and by throwing on that one sort of wrinkled purple shirt in your closet on Fridays.
We need to support athletics for our future students, for a competitive place in the ranks of Texas universities, and for ourselves as future alumni. “Go Wildcats” is more than a phrase. It’s an attitude of pride that claims, win or lose, this university is worth cheering for.