Penn State may be a rousing example of school spirit, especially when you go to a football game. The University of Kentucky at a basketball game would give similar experiences. I have played some of the Penn State fight songs for friends and colleagues here in Manitoba. One of them heard words something like: "We pledge our love and loyalty to thee, alma mater". He said, "Could you imagine Canadian students singing that? They would say, 'I'm here for an education, what are you talking about?'"
He's right. We don't do such school spirit north of the border, just as we don't do patriotism. I wonder how unique we Canadians are in this respect. The English understand the concept of school spirit well enough, or they used to. "The old school tie" (I would wear them from Hillside Junior and Hamilton High School in old Rhodesia) meant something in England of old, and in the colonies. As for patriotism: listen to the people singing along at the last night of the proms! "Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves! And Britons never never never shall be slaves!"
I'm American and Canadian, with roots in Zimbabwe under English colonial rule. My spirit answers the enthusiasm of the prommers when they sing Blake's Jerusalem: "And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England's mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England's pleasant pastures seen?" "Land of Hope and Glory" has a similar effect.
Canadians? I really can't imagine Canadians cheering in response to a chorus of "Rule Canada, Canada rules the snow, and Canadians never never shall lose hockey!" Hockey: there's the one thing that does get Canadian blood stirring. Along with curling. And beating the USA in anything.
So there's another question for me: not just the question of why I respond to fight songs and patriotic fervour, but the further question of why Canadians in general don't. I'll try to pick that up in the next post. If I don't forget, and if the Jets don't suddenly turn up in Winnipeg. (Could Penguins acquire jet boosters and fly north?)
I think I'll let my American side (with British roots) flow out some more. "We are .... Penn State!" (We are .... Canadian eh?)