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Corey's Corner: Biola's spirit supports athletes

My family attended our first Midnight Madness a few months after we arrived at Biola in 2007. That one Biola moment sealed in my mind that you, as a student body, are absolutely, unequivocally Eagle fanatics. You love your team sports. It’s contagious. I do too. I caught it from you.

One of my favorite moments at Biola was during a men’s basketball game against APU on our court, when we fought back from a significant deficit and beat our cross-county rivals. With the momentum turning our way and minutes left in the game, I walked across the gym floor and into the crowd of the “Red Sea,” caught up in the frenzy of Biola spirit and the nail-biting intensity of those final seconds. My throat was raw by the time the game ended. Winning that night was sweet.

I’ve felt that same intensity in other Biola sports as well. Deep down, I love it when we win, and I want to do my small part in the bleachers to help. I yell and stand, high five and fist pump, call out to the players and occasionally moan at the referee because of a questionable call.

Though tempted, I try my best to draw the line by erring on the side of yelling for our team and not yelling about the other team, nor joining in refrains that do. I’m all into distracting the other team’s foul-shooter from making the shots. If that means waving or yelling or blowing vuvuzelas, bring it on. I smile when I hear the drawn out, bi-syllabic “aaaaaaiiirr-ball” chant when an opponent’s shot misses net, rim and backboard altogether. But it was the shot that was the air ball, not the player. Focusing our cheers at the plays and not at the players is a good rule of thumb.

Let’s be fanatics in the stands as we cheer on our Biola teams and as we root them toward victory. They need this from us. It’s a perk of having home court advantage.

At the same time, I’d hate to see our enthusiasm spill over from craze for our teams to belittling players on other teams, or the schools themselves. In the heat of competition, it’s easy to let our fervor for the Eagles over-ripen into scorning the opponents, teasing them with relentless chants or unseemly comments. Might I suggest that we consider the spirit of our cheering? If your motive is to root, give it all you’ve got! If your motive is to taunt, give it a second thought.

If it helps, think about the others in the gym who are there also enjoying the game. Alumni and friends, parents and neighbors are sharing the bleachers with us, as are the fans from other teams. What makes me proud about Biola students is your love for your university. As the season of winter sports kicks off this weekend with Midnight Madness, let’s commit to cheering until we’re hoarse. And as zealous followers of Christ, let’s commit to considering how our actions and words come across to those who may not share our allegiance to the depths that we do.

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