I am an imposter.
At least that’s what Student Government senior comptroller Thomas King seems to think.
SG purchases an advertisement in the Oracle every week called “Branding Every Bull,” in which a member of SG discusses an issue he or she has with something on campus. On Monday, King authored the discussion, in which he said that wearing a non-USF shirt makes USF students imposters and traitors.King also said these imposters are disrespecting USF’s student-athletes because they work hard and sacrifice a lot, and those who wear other schools’ shirts aren’t honoring their work.
Here’s the thing: My dad attended pharmacy school at the University of Florida. As an alumnus of that school, he cheers for the Gators, and I grew up watching UF sports. My wearing of a Gators shirt in support of UF’s football team after it won the national championship in January, or in support of its basketball team – for which I will be cheering Saturday night during its Final Four game – doesn’t make me an imposter of a USF student.
I attend USF football games when I can. I’ve made it to a few of the basketball games in my time here, but I’m usually working when the Bulls are playing at the Sun Dome. And I do wear USF shirts from time to time, usually during a big sporting event.
But I will continue to root for the Gators, too. As of right now, Florida is not in major competition with USF in football or basketball, so what does it matter if I wear a Gators shirt during football season? It doesn’t.
And when the day comes that the Bulls face off against the Gators in a football game (at the time, I believe it is set for 2010) – if I’m not working – I’ll proudly be there in my Bulls shirt, because it’s the school I attended.
I support USF and its sports teams, and wearing a shirt from another school does not make me a traitor.
Toward the end of the discussion, King wrote that the University is going through a time of positive change and growth, and the students who wear shirts from other schools are rude and counterproductive to this change. King finished by writing, “This can and will be the atmosphere of our campus if we all show our support for USF and shun the ‘imposters.’ Take pride and be a leader because it starts with YOU!”Wearing a Gators shirt from time to time is not holding this University back.
Students wearing college shirts that aren’t affiliated with their universities aren’t holding their schools back, either. Kayleigh Hudson, a student at the University of South Carolina, supports the Gamecocks. But she also grew up as a Virginia Tech fan, and supports the Hokies as well. USC is not struggling because Hudson may wear a VT shirt every now and then.
Chase Michelotti is a student at VT – but as he is from Tampa, he also supports the Bulls from Virginia. His sister is on the track team at Dartmouth, so he roots for Dartmouth, too. His support for those two schools doesn’t leave Virginia Tech struggling.
Nate Cook, a student at the University of Miami, grew up as an Ohio State fan. While he cheers for the Hurricanes, he keeps up with the Buckeyes and is knowledgeable about their teams. And Miami is managing just fine.
It’s just a ridiculous notion to think my Gators shirt keeps USF from growing. People come from all kinds of different backgrounds, and it’s illogical to ask them to erase parts of their childhoods just because someone thinks it is rude to wear another school’s shirt.
People do plenty of things that are rude: letting a door close in someone’s face, cutting someone off in traffic, talking during a movie in the theaters. But shunning them won’t do anything. Most people don’t really care what others think, so shutting them out won’t make a difference.
Like me – I don’t care what King has to say about the Gators shirt I will be wearing Saturday. Shun me if you like, but it won’t change my mind.
Allison Tiberia is a senior majoring in mass communications.