A favorite pastime of UConn fans is complaining about other UConn fans. They don't wear the right color, they don't show up on time, they aren't loud enough. This complaint is often valid, but for the most part it is pretty standard fan behavior and nothing to be all that surprised about. What is not standard behavior though is complaining that your fans are too loud and distracting to the other team. That's something I had never seen until today.
You see, The Daily Campus has done the most Daily-Campusy thing of all time: the student newspaper of The University of Connecticut printed an editorial calling for the student section to be quieter and more respectful.
Now, we don't talk much about The Daily Campus around here. I think it's a fine student paper, and if it didn't exist, this site almost certainly would not (the three of us all met there). Plus, we don't want to look like this guy. But dear lord, this editorial is just so impossibly stupid that I can't look away. Let's go piece by piece.
There is an unfortunate and growing trend at UConn sports games, notably those of the men's basketball team, in which fans in the student section are displaying poor sportsmanship and little respect. This behavior should be diminished - or ideally, stopped - right away.
For the uninitiated, an editorial in The Daily Campus is the official position of the paper and is written by its editorial board, which is the editor-in-chief plus the senior members of the commentary section. There are two places here where you can see their handiwork. First is the complete lack of any and all institutional knowledge. I can guarantee you that a lack of sportsmanship and respect is not a "growing trend," because it's been happening forever. For instance, in 2006 the UConn student section got the Big East to temporarily change its policy and remove microphones from each and every pep-band. Why? Well, UConn students changed "F!@# You Krauser" at Pitt's Carl Krauser, it got picked up by the mics and broadcast through Gampel. That was 2006, and I'm fully confident the similar behavior went on in 1996, 1956 and probably 1896 as well (though admittedly without the mics for that last one).
The second hint that this was written by the DC editorial board? The fact that they start equivocating by the end of the first paragraph: What the student section doing is bad, so it should be toned down, or completely stopped, or changed, or something. Perhaps. Maybe. And be quick about it.
Since the beginning of the season back in November, when the starting lineup and coach for the opposing team are announced at the start of the game, the entire student section will turn their backs to the court, yelling "Sucks!" after each player's name is announced. This creates the effect of the sentence being, for example, "Marshon Brooks sucks!" - which is not only rude, but completely false.
Ah, I see, the "sucks" thing has been a problem since the beginning of the season back in November. Good to know it wasn't a problem since the beginning of the season back in July. Or you know, since the beginning of last season, or any of the dozen or so seasons before this one where the student section greeted opposing players by adding "sucks" to their names. Quick question: has the DC alerted the editorial boards of the other 300 schools that do this same thing? They might want to know that it is rude, and, even worse, might be targeted at players who do not in fact suck but are quite good at basketball.
But student section behavior has taken a turn for the worse in the last few games, with the recently-developed practice of yelling as loudly as possible during timeouts. The goal is to drown out the sound of the opposing coach's speech to his players during the timeout, since the opposing team is always seated on the half of the court closest to the student section.
Oh. My. God. They're making noise? Even during timeouts? Savages. At least they're not standing and yelling while the other team shoots free throws. What? They're doing that too? Fuck.
Also, someone might want to muzzle that fat guy with the red beard. He seems to be some sort of ring-leader for timeout-related noise.
This undercuts the very essence of what a sporting competition is supposed to be. Any athletic event is meant to be two teams pitted head-to-head with an equal opportunity to win. Obviously, the two teams cannot be exactly equal, since some players will be better than others (especially in the case of Kemba Walker). But no unfair advantage, talent aside, is given to the home team, and likewise, no unfair disadvantage is placed on the visiting team.
At this point I'd like to thank the Daily Campus for pointing out that danger posed by the decades-old media-perpetuated fallacy known as "home-court advantage." I've been alive for 24 long years and throughout that time all I have ever seen is home fans cheer on their team and occasionally even jeer their opponents. I've long fought back against this nightmare (which part of me suspects might have begun long before I was born), but what can one voice in 10,000 do? Nothing, that's what. Now, thanks to the Daily Campus, we can finally enjoy basketball as it was meant to be played: in a simulated Cistercian monastery.
Attempting to overpower the volume of the opposing coach during a timeout is an example of one such unfair disadvantage. If coach Jim Calhoun is able to speak to his players in a volume they can hear, the opposing coach should be able to do the same, without any disruption from the student section. With the men's basketball team ranked as the 14th-best team in the country in this week's Associated Press rankings, we should be able to beat most teams purely on the basis of our skill. No other factor should play a role when it comes to deciding which team triumphs at the end of the day.
Seriously guys, they might be on to something here. I know they alluded to this before, but being loud is totes unfair. Especially since the soft-spoken and genteel Calhoun is able to spend most of his time delivering delicate soliloquies in the huddle, acting as if they players aren't there at all. As a bonus, if we can convince other schools to enact this policy, we'll be able to play in perfectly serene environments if we happen to travel to any of the schools ranked Nos. 1-13. Of course, we're screwed if we play anyone ranked lower than 14, but we can hang with that.
Legendary football coach Knute Rockne was once quoted as saying, "One man practicing sportsmanship is better than a hundred teaching it." Now is the time for the student section at the men's basketball games to take that advice.
Wow, that's actually a nice little quote to end on. Of course, it'd be nicer if it wasn't the capstone of an editorial designed to teach sportsmanship, but who am I to quibble.
Student journalism is a fine thing, and I hope the folks over at the DC have a great rest of the year, but for the love of God, stop taking yourself so seriously. Justin told me that this was the best unintentional satire he has ever read, and he was right. It's a basketball game guys, it's supposed to be fun and loud, and you're supposed to scream your guts out to support your team. So calm down, take a deep breath, enjoy yourselves a bit and go tell the entire Marquette roster that they suck.
This post was sponsored by Bud Light as part of their "Here We Go" campaign. Tonight's game against Marquette would be a good time for the student section to get going and show how loud they can really be.
PLAY THE MARCH TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AND YOU COULD WIN A TRIP FOR TWO TO LAS VEGAS! LOOK FOR THE CODE INSIDE SPECIALLY-MARKED PACKAGES 12-PACKS OF BUD LIGHT ENTER CODE AT FACEBOOOK.COM/BUDLIGHT ----- No Purchase Necessary. Open to U.S. residents (except CA & TX) 21+. For a chance to win a Grand or First Prize, Game Period 1 begins 3PM CST on 2/14 & ends 3PM CDT on 3/18. For a chance to win a First Prize only, Game Period 2 begins 3:00:01PM CDT on 3/18 & ends 3PM CDT on 4/30. To participate, obtain a Code from inside specially-marked packages of Bud Light beer or to request a Code without purchase, visit budlight.com/freecode during a Game Period. Limit one (1) free Code request/day/person or email address. To play, text HOOPS to BEERS (23377) & follow prompts or visit budlight.com/freecode & follow instructions. See Official Rules inside package or at budlight.com/freecode for complete details. Void in CA, TX & where prohibited. Enjoy Responsibly – ©2011 Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Bud Light® Beer, St. Louis, MO