Spirit of Waterloo: History Behind The Name

Spirit of Waterloo is an annual event hosted by Waterloo Collegiate and one of two guest schools: Bluevale or Sir John A. MacDonald. This year, it was held on the 15th of October and was against Sir John A. MacDonald, who we also competed against last year.

Spirit of Waterloo has not always been called Spirit of Waterloo, though. In fact, it used to be called Battle of Waterloo, and many still refer to it as Battle today.

“It changed about 20 years ago. I came to WCI 16 years ago, and it was before then,” said Mr. Nickel, WCI’s Student Activities Director, when asked about when the name was officially changed. “It didn’t make much of a difference. Kids still called it Battle anyway. It’s interesting how despite the official name change, kids still refer to it as Battle. It shows how tradition carries on.”

When asked what he thought the terms “Battle” and “Spirit” represent, he said, “I think that Battle goes back to when we had less teams, just boys basketball, boys football, a new girls basketball team, no rugby, no field hockey, and no soccer. Battle played on the football aspect of the name, but now all of our teams play, so it’s more inclusive, so it was changed to Spirit.”

When asked the same question, Mrs. Edwards, the Student Activities Secretary at WCI said, “Battle represented the competitiveness and putting schools against each other, whereas spirit includes everyone and is more about the school spirit. Essentially, Battle is the game and Spirit is the event.”

“I think they chose Spirit because it wasn’t about winners or losers, but it was about bumping up the school spirit,” said Edwards when asked why she thought Spirit was chosen over a different name.

Nickel responded similarly, saying, “I’m guessing that it’s because of how much spirit is in the game, it captures the most important part. The football game is an excuse to demonstrate spirit.”

In an anonymous poll asking WCI and SJAM Students what name they liked better, the answers were varied. Many students enjoyed calling it Battle, while many preferred Spirit. Most teachers who were asked preferred Battle.

Although it has been officially called both Battle of Waterloo and Spirit of Waterloo, according to Nickel the game has been rebranded to the K-W clash in years when WCI has not played either Bluevale or SJAM. It has been a while since that has happened, however.

University of Waterloo and Laurier also have a game aptly named Battle of Waterloo, but it is unclear which school used the name first. Both WCI and UW opened around relatively the same time, and both of their football competitions started around the same time as well.

Although Spirit of Waterloo is recognized as the official name of the game, it will continue to unofficially be called and referred to as Battle of Waterloo and Battle, due to the tradition of it all. Many seem to prefer calling it Battle due to the competitive ring of the name, and also because to them, perhaps it really is a battle.