In 1963 the Dean of Students issued the first jerseys to the athletes of Trinity Junior College and with that the Spartans were born. Just as the Spartans of ancient history were revered for their military prowess, relentless pursuit of intellectual growth and dynamic development of political culture, so too have the TWU Spartans set themselves apart through their commitment to a holistic approach to athletics - one that develops a Complete Champion.
Today just as in the days of old the Spartans are only as strong as those who stand behind them. For the past 44 years the Spartans have amassed a following of dedicated supporters. It is an eclectic group bringing people together of all ages and backgrounds, full of spirit and gumption, clad in blue and gold - this group is affectionately known as the Spartan Faithful.
To know the Faithful is to understand a critical component of Spartan success. From the impact on players, to the support of the coaches, to the experience of the fans, the legacy of the Spartan Faithful is one as colourful and dynamic as the histories of the team itself for wherever the Spartans go in their pursuit of victory, the Faithful have been sure to follow.
On Friday February 16, 2001 the Spartans faced off against the Simon Fraser University Clan on top of Burnaby Mountain in the SFU Chancellor gymnasium. Game reports show that, "over 200 of the Spartan faithful traveled to the top of Burnaby Mountain and made the Clan's home court seem like the home of the Spartans. At one point the noise from the Spartan fans was so loud that SFU never heard the countdown and dribbled out the clock to end the first half."
The Spartan Faithful came out in force again on Friday, October 17, 2003 when the Men's Basketball Team faced off against the University of New Mexico Lobos. "Over 1800 raucous Spartan Faithful crammed into the confines of the David E. Enarson Gymnasium on Friday night to witness the Spartan men's basketball team host their second NCAA Div I competition, the University of New Mexico Lobos," reads that evening's game report. "The painted, toga-ed and drum-toting Faithful should give the Lobos something to talk about back in their own well-known gym, nicknamed The Pit."
While these are only two highlights from the annals of Spartan Faithful history, the yellow-t-shirt-donning, drum-banging, horn-blowing, face-paint-wearing, sign-waving Spartan Faithful are a constant presence at games and the impact they have is not lost on the players today. "Fans are extremely valuable to us as players," remarks fifth year Basketball guard Brian Banman. "We love playing at home because we can honestly say, without exaggeration, that we have the best fan support in the Canada West. We don't take that fact for granted and we are proud in knowing that other teams don't like to come play at TWU because of how loud our fans are."
The commitment demonstrated by the Spartan Faithful has resonated with teams across the country that now strongly dislike playing in the David E. Enarson gymnasium because of the Faithful's overwhelming presence. "The fans at TWU are awesome and there is no question that they give us a home advantage," says Women's Volleyball Head Coach Ryan Hofer. "Every coach I talk to hates playing in our gym because of how loud it can get... and that is the fans! Our volleyball team loves everyone who comes out. The fans give us energy that we can feed off of for the whole game and nothing can take the place of that."
It is that energy that leads fifth year student and prolific Spartan Faithful Aaron Worrall to believe that fan support can be a defining factor in any game. "I'm always out there in the corner with my drum. When things are intense and the games are close cheering, yelling and banging on my drum makes me feel like I am involved in the game as opposed to just being a spectator," says Aaron. "You feel like you actually make a difference in the game and that you have a part to play in how the teams do."
Responses from athletes only serve to affirm Aaron's feelings. As Women's Basketball forward Lauren Doubroff says, "Our fans are great because they keep you going when you are tired. The louder the fans get the more pumped up the team gets. There is nothing like playing in front of people that love you, support you, and who are screaming so loud they need to sit down and take a breather."
And while the Faithful may sometimes need to sit down for a moment of rest during a game, their support is unceasing. For it goes beyond the effects it has on teams as it brings TWU and the greater Langley community together in pursuit of a common goal - victory. "You're all in there cheering for the same team and it brings people together," says Aaron. "The Spartan Faithful are integral to school life. I am Spartan Faithful. You are Spartan Faithful...We are the Spartan Faithful."
Last Updated: 2008-10-26
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