This basketball season, we've teamed up with the fine folks over at Volvo to help promote their new Volvo S60. A few weeks back they were kind enough to send me to Big East media day, and next week, they'll be sending me back to Connecticut for UConn's matchup with Tennessee.
As part of the campaign, Volvo has tapped 16 writers -- one from each Big East school -- to talk about why they are the biggest fan of the Big East. In March, they'll select the Big East's biggest fan. That person's school will get a $10,000 scholarship donation, and the biggest fan will receive a new Volvo S60, which is nice.
There are a couple of ways you can help me out here. First, join the discussion, these posts are designed to talk about the experience surrounding UConn basketball, so we want to hear from you, so comment -- commenting is key. Second, like this on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter (not on Twitter yet? What are you waiting for? Get on it, and retweet this ASAP). The more exposure this gets, the better UConn, and I, do.
Third, and finally, go to MyBigEastVolvo.com and vote for me. Since we last talked I've slipped from first into third (third!) behind Louisville and St. John's. Get on it folks.
This week I've been tasked with coming up with the ultimate UConn pregame playlist by picking the five songs that pump me up the most for UConn basketball. I couldn't quite narrow the list to five, so we've got one honorable mention, along with one detested dishonorable mention. Read on.
No. 5 - UConn Husky by The UConn Pep Band
Thinking about it now, it occurs to me that over the course of my life, I've probably listened to "UConn Husky" more than any other single song. It was one of, if not the first song I knew all the lyrics to and it never fails to instill some school pride. I mean, it's the fight song. Sure, the lyrics are deeply stupid (Connecticut UConn Husky? Really?), but if you're making a list of songs that get me excited for UConn games, "UConn Husky" has to be there.
No. 4 - Get Ready for This by 2 Unlimited
Let's get this straight up front: "Get Ready for This" is a terrible, terrible song. Everything about it, especially the "2" in "2 Unlimited" screams 1996, but, as luck would have it, most of UConn's athletic department still thinks it is 1996, so the song is a perfect fit for UConn. The Huskies have used it as the lead-in to tip off for as long as I can remember, mostly because the bridge has a nice bit that it is really easy to chant "U! C! O! NN!" over (starts around the :45 second mark). That bit has the nice side effect of creating a secondary game you can play at UConn games called "Will the sound guy start the song early enough that the part the crowd chants to comes on before the tip?" At any other school the answer would be "Of course, how can you screw that up?" At UConn, the answer is "There's a 50-50 shot." I love you athletic department. Oh, and if for some reason you want to punish yourself today, listen to the version of "Get Ready for This" with the lyrics.
Dishonorable Mention - This is Why I'm Hot by M.I.M.S.
I haven't listened to this song since 2006. I like it that way. You see, in 2006, I may have driven down to Washington D.C. to see a couple of basketball games. The first one was very exciting. I have no desire to ever discuss the second one, despite the fact that it follows me like a curse. Immediately following the game I jumped into a car with a certain bald, blue-and-white person and began the most miserable drive of my life back to Storrs (true story: he refused to wash the paint off until we were back at UConn). This stupid song must have come on the radio two dozen times on that drive. I never listened to it again. This song sucks.
No. 3 - Sweet Caroline Techno Remix by Angelo Venuto
If you weren't a regular at UConn games in the middle part of the last decade, this is probably a head scratcher, but since I was a student then, it's always stuck with me. This got regular play in the second-half of UConn games and the crowd (or at least the students) always got really into it. Part of me realizes that this was just UConn cribbing off the Red Sox, but the dominant Yankee fan part of my personality rationalizes that all away by pointing out the techno aspect. The school stopped using it around 2007 or 2008, which I never understood, and is a real shame.
Honorable Mention - Brass Bonanza by the UConn Pep Band
We make a lot of Whalers jokes around here, but Connecticut's former hockey franchise does deserve credit for one thing: "Brass Bonanza." Because it's awesome. I imagine that the Hartford Whale have probably reclaimed the song by this point, but the pep band has done an admirable job of keeping the old girl alive and bringing a little excitement back to the XL Center, if only in 30 second increments.
No. 2 - Pickup Truck by Ed "Big Ed" Nelson
Dropped in early 2006 to near universal scorn and derision, the Marty Gagne-produced "Pickup Truck" was an instant classic. The track, which was recorded as a joke and leaked onto UConn's DC++ file-sharing network, somehow became a musical cornerstone of my time at UConn. Yes, the lyrics are terrible (and Nelson's choice of words to rhyme with deer is deplorable), but the beat isn't half-bad and if you play it around UConn people you'll at least get a laugh. It's a bad song, but it's our bad song, and that's what matters.
No. 1 - Just One by Hoobastank
There was no doubt about what was going to be at the top of this list. The song's nice, but goddamn what a video. You can't top it. "I see you, I just need one of these free throws.... I just need one... I just need one...."