This weekend (starting today) is the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (more commonly known as ArtsFest) here in State College. It's a pretty big event for the town and the region--people come from all over to attend, and they set up booths all over campus and the downtown area--even blocking off streets and having water sculptures, performance art, and more. It's pretty cool, and I'll probably do a longer post about it later this week, after Amelia and I have actually gone.
For now, though, let me just say this. I'm not what you would call a real "School Spirit" kind of guy. I don't worry about wearing blue on the blue and white days, and I don't buy season tickets or wish I were in a frat or anything like this. In fact, I'd go so far as to say school spirit gets on my nerves pretty quick. It's one thing when you're at a football game--as I mentioned in this post, I had a great time at the Penn State game last year and look forward to going again.
But what's cool in a big stadium is just plain annoying when you're just walking down the street. Walking to my office today, this guy--he looked like maybe a freshman, but all underclassmen are starting to look the same to me, so he could have been older--kept shouting "We are!" and people around him (mostly this group of girls who were walking with him) would shout back "Penn State." Mostly my reaction was just to ignore it, but there was a distinct feeling that I just wanted to jump up and tackle the guy. I don't know what I would do after that--I'm a lover, not a fighter--but I just thought it would be fun. Here's this guy, cocky as anything, not caring who he's bothering or what anyone around him thinks. Then BOOM! He's flat on his back. That would have been oh-so-satisfying.
I'm all for school spirit and team pride while the game's going on. At home, at the stadium, at dining establishments--that's cool. Get into it, shout, pound the table, wear paint, whatever. When there's a game going on, or in the middle of a season and a big game is coming up, or whatever, no problem. That's exciting and I'm all for it. But when I'm just minding my business walking down the street? No thanks. No "awesome" chants, no shouting in my face, no big foam fingers stuck up my nose. In fact, now that I think about it, it's not even school spirit that gets on my nerves. It's just jack-assery, a word I may have made up, but I think we all know what I mean.
Perhaps that's my message today. If you have a desire to scream in a stranger's face, don't do it. If you feel a burning need to pump your fist and shout "Whoo-whoo-whoo" in a room full of strangers, stop and take a deep breath. If you feel compelled to ram a stranger's shopping cart or lock someone in a port-a-potty, sit down and take a valium. In the end, it doens't have anything to do with school spirit or sports teams. It has to do with being a moron.
Don't be a moron.