Team spirit builds community on sports teams and within the school



Spirit at the high school is shown through creative outfits and helps the team bond.

Frat Boys. Dress Shirts. Tie-dye. These are just some expressions of spirit that have become staples for many teams on game days. Team spirit has been a fun way for sports teams to unite together and build community for many years, and this year it is back stronger than ever.

With fall sports last year coinciding with online school, senior Tyler Mahoney, one of the captains of the boys varsity soccer team, says that he wanted to have more fun with spirit now that students are back for in-person school. Some spirits the boys varsity soccer team have done this year include beach day and pajama pants day.

“Me and the other captains want to make the most of our last year on the team, and part of that means continuing all of the little traditions that we weren’t able to do last year because of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” Mahoney said.

Meghan Cells, a science teacher and cheerleading coach, said there are positive benefits to spirit in the classroom.

“I think it’s fun and mixes up the classroom dynamic because students can see a kid dressed in a funny spirit and know that they have a big game coming up,” Cells said. “It also shows that we have these smaller pockets of community and people that care about each other and are supporting each other.”

In addition to this energy, Cells said that seeing students dressed in spirit allows her to get to know more about their interests.

“We do surveys and things like that to get to know the students at the beginning of the year, but sometimes you don’t really process those things,” Cells said. “But it gets reinforced when you see someone do a spirit later in the year and you’re like ‘Oh yeah, that kid plays that sport. That is something they’re passionate about.’”

While spirit has an effect on the school community as a whole, senior Leigh Mitchell, a captain of the girls swim and dive team, says that dressing in team spirit is a big part of building community within the team.

“Spirit unites us together even though sometimes we are separated by swimmers and divers or in different lanes. It makes me feel really proud of all the girls and that they really want to be there. It just makes me feel good about the team and my teammates,” Mitchell said.

On game days, Mitchell says that seeing each other dressed up in spirit gets the team fired up and brings a new energy to their meets. One of her favorite spirits, for meets against their rival the Newton North Tigers, is shirts that say “cats can’t swim.”

This light-heartedness and fun is something that Cells tries to foster on her own team by encouraging her captains to create spirits that the whole team can participate in. With fall sports coming to a close, Cells said that she is excited to see what future spirits teams wear.

“I hope that as the year goes on, teams are willing to put themselves out there and won’t be afraid to wear that flannel or superhero spirit,” Cells said. “It’s a nice way to have fun together, and when people have fun together they’re much more willing to do the hard work together. High School sports are supposed to be fun, so it’s just a way to celebrate each other and to keep building community within the school.”