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Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff

I’M CANADIAN, AND proud of it. I follow Canadian politics and read Canadian literature. I have a Canada Day poster on my wall and I’ll tell people to shut up when our national anthem is played. I also get decked out in red and white to cheer on my favourite teams during the Olympics. And when it comes to local teams, I cheer just as loudly.

But nowadays, I feel like I’m the only one.

With the start of March Madness, I wonder what has happened to university pride in Canada. A Gee-Gees game usually brings anywhere between 100—300 people (football games 500—1500), which is absolutely miniscule compared to university sports in the United States. The hype around a single college football game in Texas outweighs the hype over the entire Canadian Football League.

Why is this?

It has been brought to my attention that the United States carries a different mentality when it comes to university and college life. A lot of their money and time goes into developing sports programs and it has become ingrained in community culture to support a team by attending games, dressing in their colours, and donating money to the schools.

In Canada, our sports culture involves family supporting their kids, or students who use it as an opportunity to drink a ton of beer—whether they make it to the game afterwards is questionable.

I’m not saying we should change our mentality toward university life in Canada. I happen to like the fact that our schools pride themselves on their research and academia above athletics, but that shouldn’t mean we ignore the latter altogether.

I happen to think athletics is a very important aspect of not only university life, but community in general. Communities are united under a sports banner—the excitement when your local team is victorious over a rival, watching your friends lose their voices by screaming and cheering, bonding over a bag of chips or a warm pretzel.

The sporting community is much more than just a group of hefty guys and toned girls running around a field or skating with sticks. It involves talent, training, and a lot of commitment. The least we can do is prove that Canadians have some sort of sport culture, and group together under an activity that encompasses true Canadian values—co-operation, passion, determination, and unity.

And a warm pretzel is an added perk, too.