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Figuring Out What The Lancers Mean To Me

By: Erin Tanner

I have never been a Lancers fan. 

I don’t go to games. I don’t follow the results. Nothing. 

As I’m starting my fifth year at Windsor – now as a graduate student – I’m going to games and meeting our teams. Not necessarily because I want to, but because I’m reporting for The Lance. Since I’ve been spending increasingly more time with Athletics, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences. 

My lack of interest with the Lancers has been easy to shirk off. Windsor isn’t known for its school spirit. So, what will happen to me come January, when I’m no longer on my beat? Will I keep going to the games? 

As part of my reporting, I’ve interviewed athletes from several different teams. Everyone I’ve met, new and returning, all share one goal: to represent our university well. Usually, this manifests as aspirations for provincial and national titles. The athletes all want to go out and prove they have what it takes, not just for them, but also to the Lancers community. 

While this may sound nostalgic – like what a collegiate football player would say at the climax of a movie – it is what nearly every single athlete I’ve reported on has told me. Although it’s cliché, it has given me a sense of pride in our campus. It makes me feel like we’re the underdog team in that tired, old movie. We may not win – but we’ll give it our best shot. 

The athletes I’ve covered have given me a taste of what it feels like to bleed blue and gold, and I appreciate it. 

Alongside the players, there are the coaches. If we follow my “nostalgic movie” analogy, they’re supposed to be the level-headed parental figures that guide their players through those turbulent university years. They’re supposed to be firm, yet warm. Strong, but understanding. Always there when you need them. 

While I’m obviously not receiving sage advice on my athletic performance, I have had to seek the assistance of some of the Lancers’ coaches. 

I’ve gotten some of that idealistic sense of wisdom and compassion from many of the coaches that you would expect from characters in those cheesy films. Generally speaking, the coaches have kindly given me their time and put thought into their responses to my questions.  

While the average Joe and Jane on campus would rarely, if ever, deal with the Lancers coaching staff, I think this is an important reflection of the Athletic Department’s image. They want to present themselves as open, accommodating, and helpful. As an outsider looking in, I didn’t feel discouraged – and that’s important. This has made me more open to continuing my involvement with Athletics. 

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, I’ve been reflecting on my experiences at different Lancers games. I came in with low expectations – I basically imagined tumbleweeds rolling through the stands. As stated previously, we’re not known for our school spirit. 

However, at certain events, like volleyball, I was genuinely surprised at the number of spectators. The stands definitely weren’t full, but there was an atmosphere in the crowd. People were cheering and were invested in the game. Something I never expected for Windsor.  

Upbeat music blasted on the sound system, and spectators waved around inflatable cheering sticks. Groups of students were scattered throughout the stands, as were groups of parents and other community members. People were smiling, laughing, and getting excited, which made me excited. 

If some more people came out to these home games, the University of Windsor could be very different. We could forge the bonds of being “Windsor Proud”, and when I’m an alumna I could reminisce about “the good ol’ days” at our alma mater. Of course, this is idealistic and a little nostalgic – but can’t a girl dream? 

Through taking some time to reflect on these experiences so far, I’ve come to some conclusions. 

Firstly, I’m not automatically a super-fan of the Lancers, and I’m not going to every single home game. That’s just unrealistic. 

Secondly, I will keep going to some games, and I see the value in staying involved. I want to be proud of my school and my campus, and to do that I need to find things to be proud of – Lancers teams are perfect for that. 

Windsor is an underdog. It needs someone to cheer for them, and I’m here. I’m cautiously optimistic, but I think I’m going to enjoy spending some more time with the Athletic Department, and I hope to see you all there, too.

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