“What’s wrong with a little school spirit? We talk about how much we love our school so now let’s show it … choose to wear blue and participate in Blue-OUT Friday!”
Familiar lines, if you read the “Announcement_Undergrad” emails you receive. But also lines that give pause to many students. Something seems amiss. “Is this the way to begin a tradition?” they ask. “Is this how University of Dallas students show their ‘UD Pride’?”
Both are tough questions, and both depend on one’s view of highly debatable concepts: the mechanics of tradition in the first, the source of school spirit and unity in the second.
Tradition is a funny thing. Someone has to plant it – to begin it. But after that, the planter has to let go. He can certainly water the seed and ensure proper sunlight – but that’s it. If it grows, great; if not, too bad. It’s like any living thing. It has to take root – something that depends on that particular plot of soil, not the planter, after his initial job is done. Combine the wrong plant with the wrong soil, and you won’t produce anything lasting, if anything at all.
We students are like that soil. Many traditions have and continue to grow amongst us. Madonna Mondays, Tie Tuesdays, Waffle Wednesdays, Huevos Jueves, Flannel Fridays, just to name a few.
Their growth seems natural, effortless – and it was and is. They take root and last because we want them, because we thought they fit. But someone planted them. Spontaneous generation doesn’t exist. Each of these movements had a founder.
Take Groundhog for example. Timeless as it may seem, this tradition too had a beginning. Someone – and actually not a student – started it.
Blue-Out is no different. Someone has attempted to start it. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s necessary. True, the aspiring founders are Admissions Staff and not regular students, but what is the difference? If the seed is good, why does it matter who planted it? Tradition is primarily about the relationship between the soil and seed – not the planter. After all, do all good things have to be our own idea?
Others object to the Admissions Staff’s method of planting and watering – email. Again, what difference? The method of sowing is not important; only the seed and soil are. If the seed and soil fit together, why complain about how the seed was planted or watered?
That, however, is where Blue-Out falls short. The seed and soil do not fit together.
Though a “Sea of Blue” does show visible unity and “school spirit,” that unity and spirit do not have much content. Blue is our school color – but that’s it. The only thing peculiar to UD about blue is that we, like dozens of other schools, claim it as our color. Our unity and school spirit, however, are based on much more than a particular color. They’re based on our common education through the Core. They’re based on our belief in the value of the Western Tradition, the Christian Tradition. They’re based on our love of a rocking party – and a good book; of a cappuccino – and a Shiner or three.
With this deep, broad basis of unity and school spirit, color-coordinating becomes superfluous and silly. That spirit and unity that Admissions seeks to promote resides in something much deeper – and more meaningful – than a blue T-shirt or pair of blue jeans. So it’s no wonder Blue-Out hasn’t caught on: Wearing blue clothes just doesn’t have much to do with the source of UD’s unity and spirit as many, if not most of us understand it. Blue-Out is just not the proper seed for this particular patch of soil.