Last Friday I was walking around campus showing a close friend of mine this great place we call the University of Houston. What better day to give a friend a tour, what with it being Cougar Red Friday and the day after our 73-17 rout of Tulane. On that lazy Friday afternoon, however, I began to notice an annoying little trend that instantly made me ashamed, not for myself or my friend, but for my school.
Burnt orange. Maroon. Purple and gold. It became difficult for me to describe UH when right next to Cougar Village a group of students were playing football while half of them wore the wrong college’s colors. It was hard to show off that famous Cougar Pride when, in a stroke of absolutely terrible timing, there were more people on campus wearing the colors of other universities.
It reminded me of College Pride Day back during homecoming week in high school where you would wear the gear of whatever university you were so hopeful in getting into. The biggest difference between then and now, and to me the greatest problem, is that while you were not specifically associated with any college back in high school, by attending the University of Houston, you are in fact not a Longhorn, Aggie, Red Raider or Tiger.
You are a Cougar, and by wearing another university’s apparel you are not only saying that this school is not worth wearing the appropriate color for on the appropriate day, you are saying that UH itself isn’t nearly as important as these other schools.
Let’s get a few things straight first. As much as it pains me to say it, I will begrudgingly acknowledge that UT, A&M, Tech and LSU are all-in-all fine universities and I have several friends attending each. This is not to stake a case that UH is superior in any way to these universities; it is to establish that this blatant disregard for the University itself makes UH look inferior to anyone looking at our university.
What kind of Tier One institution is worth being proud of if we have to constantly remind and berate our peers to come to games, cheer on our teams, and yes, wear red on a Cougar Red Friday? I understand there are logistical issues: lack of time to attend games, lack of money to spend on red clothing (although coming to any number of the free student events throughout the year will have to net you at least one red T-shirt), and of course laundry.
There’s absolutely nothing I can say that could force anyone to wear red. That would be insane and defeat the purpose of pride. Pride empowers the student body to support their campus and theirs alone. As a Tier One institution, UH has plenty to be proud of. We’re just as good as A&M and UT now, so why is it that our students can’t be a bit more like those universities when it comes to showing school pride? I’ve never heard of any self-respecting Aggie wearing a UT shirt on campus and likewise never heard of any proud Longhorn throwing on an Aggie jacket before heading off to class.
By attending the University of Houston, you are voluntarily entering a campus that is not UT, A&M, Texas Tech, LSU, or anything other than UH. You acknowledge that you are in one way or another, and for better or worse, a part of the Houston Cougar community. Unless you had your heart absolutely set on some other college that you couldn’t get into and had stocked up solely on their gear before you got the bad news — to which I offer the go-to break-up consolation phrase, “You were too good for them anyway” — there shouldn’t be any reason that you absolutely need to wear your Texas Tech sweatpants to class on a Cougar Red Friday.
Remember, it’s not Cougar Burnt Orange Friday. It’s not Cougar Maroon Friday. It’s Cougar Red Friday, and if you decide not to wear red, don’t insult your campus by wearing the colors of another university. So on Friday’s, always remember that the preferred color will always be red.
James Wang is a history freshman and may be reached at email@example.com.