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Elizabeth Breitmeyer / Gavel Media

In Search of BC Spirit

“Oh, you’re going to BC? You’re going to have so much fun. That place has crazy school spirit.” This is the spiel I got from teachers, friends, and family when I committed to BC four years ago. And when I arrived, the school lived up to those expectations. Football games drew packed crowds despite mediocre performance, CAB events were well-attended by students across all grades, and clubs frequently hosted pre-games for students of all ages. Campus often featured clubs tabling and groups of students playing Spikeball. I was shocked to visit friends at other schools and find that it was considered cringy to wear school merch on campus or to sporting events, as the Heights were constantly littered with maroon and gold. When COVID-19 hit towards the end of my freshman year, heartbreak struck the entire campus. Freshmen flooded Mac in tears, juniors vowed to stay at their off-campus houses as long as possible, and the Class of 2020 came close to burning down the Mods in their spirited goodbye to BC.

Upon returning for my sophomore year, the general mood felt, understandably, deflated. Without the ability to attend sports games in person, host club meetings off of Zoom, or gather with friends, there was little to draw people together in support of the school. Incoming students had it especially hard, with few socialization opportunities that wouldn’t result in disciplinary probation. I don’t blame the university for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Many difficult decisions had to be made in order to keep students safe and on-campus, and I can’t imagine being an administrator in that position, making those choices. However, as COVID protocol faded with the arrival of the vaccine and a better understanding of how the disease spread, I was surprised to see that school spirit did not return to its former glory. At football games, popular cheers as well as the BC fight song, For Boston, seemed quieter. After inquiring with non-seniors, I was shocked to find that the Class of 2023 are the only group solid in their knowledge of the lyrics. Maybe it’s just because we don’t score often enough for younger students to learn the words, but even during the 2019 season, when the Eagles went 6-7, I was able to learn the lyrics. 

This may seem like a small, personal gripe, and maybe it is. But I feel as if it represents a larger loss of school spirit and tradition, one that I fear will be solidified in May, when the Class of 2023 leaves BC behind. There seems to be a decline in attendance across sports games and matches, with the Beanpot and the UVA match as notable recent exceptions. Sports, of course, aren’t the only way to show school spirit. Other traditions, like CAB’s Stokes Set, while attended, have been consistently critiqued by the student body due to dislike of the performing artists. This could signal a possible turn away from events like these after the Class of 2023 graduates. To be fair, the onus of keeping these traditions alive falls heavily on my own grade. As the sole class to attend BC pre-COVID, we are the ones who have had these experiences and can encourage underclassmen to partake in them. A recent example is the falling through of Strip Mod, a silly dance show meant to be put on by the residents of Mod 27. Students on Herrd took notice of the show’s absence this February, but plans for the show seem shaky at best. 

Of course, some of this is a natural cycle of universities. Students graduate and take their experience with them, while new ones filter in and create new traditions. Perhaps a new football game cheer will take hold with younger students, and alumni will be the ones struggling to keep up in the stands. Events like the Marathon Monday concert have sprung up in the past year and are already hits among students, signaling a shift in attitudes. Some traditions also seem to have stuck regardless of change; a peculiar one that always makes me laugh is when I hear a freshman refer to the gym as the Plex. Little moments like these give me hope for the future of Boston College spirit and tradition. However, it will always leave a pang in my chest hearing a mostly silent student body when For Boston plays. I might be an old senior curmudgeon, but I think everyone should know the fight song, so I’ve inserted the lyrics below. It would warm my old Class of 2023 heart if you would learn them.

For Boston, for Boston, 

We sing our proud refrain! 

For Boston, for Boston, 

'Tis Wisdom's earthly fane. 

For here all are one 

And their hearts are true, 

And the towers on the Heights 

Reach to Heav'ns own blue. 

For Boston, for Boston, 

Till the echoes ring again!


For Boston, for Boston, 

Thy glory is our own! 

For Boston, for Boston, 

'Tis here that Truth is known. 

And ever with the Right 

Shall thy heirs be found, 

Till time shall be no more 

And thy work is crown'd. 

For Boston, for Boston, 

For Thee and Thine alone.

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