The issues I’ve heard going on with the student section are disheartening and I’d like to comment on a few things. But before I do that, I want you to know that I never intended to be “that guy” who graduated but always seems to find a way into supposedly petty current student happenings at the university. Let me assure you that when you do see my name or face around an issue, it is because whatever is going on is of huge importance to me. I loved and cherished my time at SU and want you all to leave with the same positive feelings that I did.
When the bunch of us founders graduated in May and left the brainchild that is Otto’s Army behind, we thought we got the message across. I thought, at least, that its core values would be upheld.
If you attend SU sporting events, you are part of Otto's Army. It is not an elitist group and does not separate students from one another for seating purposes or otherwise. It is a group promoting spirit for SU athletics, a fair and fun student fan environment, and for the betterment of our relationship with the community. We do this through events and gatherings, representation of the student body to university and athletic administrative bodies, and service to our university and community.
The most active student fans have been doing great work for our athletic department and in supporting our teams. We hosted the Winter Carnival Pep Rally, we advertised and helped get more than 200 students sitting TOGETHER at the first men's lacrosse game last year (which typically has poor or scattered student attendance), and we raised thousands of dollars for Relay For Life.
However, there have been current students contacting me, distraught that the student section may be heading in the wrong direction. As I watched the Tulane game tonight, I noticed some of those complaints come to life. They became very real when I received phone calls and text messages after the game from upset student fans.
I love the Dynasty gesturing and posing and think it created a unifying element for the team.
It should have stayed at the pep rally. I don’t think it is necessary for me to go on about how bringing stuff like that over to games that count make the team look way to focused on their ESPN image. After a completely senseless loss to UMASS, it looks like our team got the picture from Jimmy B. I didn’t see any posturing or diamond-throwing against Tulane.
Do I like that students still use the hand sign during games? Not particularly, and I can’t totally fault people for using it to be more personal with the team. I do, however, have a problem with the athletics department running promotions for Manny’s version of the dynasty t-shirt. And I have an even bigger problem with our own bookstore trying to cash in on this arrogance.
Most of our players aren’t 10 games into their collegiate career and you have to go turn their heads into hot air balloons. Selling that shirt represents the opposite of what should exemplify a collegiate athletics program – respect, humility, and pride. How is anyone going to take us seriously when the institution itself anoints them as gods? Could they win the championship in their time here? I do hope so, but it is not necessary to endorse the kind of behavior that the team now (hopefully) has behind them.
I only read on blogs and message about the incident that occurred between Eric Devendorf and a student fan at the tail end of the UMASS loss.
I don’t support heckling your own college team. If you’re one of the culprits of this in our student section – and I know there are some – please stop. If you’re dissatisfied with their performance, just be quiet. They’ll get the message. These kids work hard to put on a good show for you and, although you’re probably ready to retort that they get free tuition – think about all of the money their talents bring to SU every year.
Alas, they sometimes make mistakes on the court. Dimwitted, ridiculous, “oh my god are you serious?” mistakes. You know what screaming and yelling at your peers on their home court accomplishes? Not a damn thing except making one of them snap at the end of a bitterly frustrating game. Eric should have kept his cool, yes, but what kind of messed up fan situation is it that we need to debate about an altercation between people on the same side?
Actually, heckling and fighting with your own team does appear to accomplish something. According to students who contacted me after tonight’s game, Eric looked angrily at the student section, and a number of reporters sought out “that kid” who fought with him. This is not the kind of attention our program needs.
The Hey Song
I watched the game tonight and noticed that people were singing it with about 10 minutes left and ‘Cuse clinging to a slim double digit lead.
Let’s go with bullet points for this one, because it’s getting late and I’m realizing how ridiculous it is that I actually need to write some of the stuff in this post out, most of which should be common sense. The Hey Song does have the words “suck” “shit” and “fuck” in it. This makes it incredibly fun to sing, which brings me to my first point:
- The Hey Song has the words “suck” “shit” and “fuck” in it. Some of the community dislikes it and the university officially dislikes it for that reason. We should not overuse it, lest we might (a) sever important relationships with the community and (b) face action from the university.
- In my 4 years at SU, if we sang the song before the game was in hand, 99% of the time someone on the opposing team would have the 5 minutes of their life, we’d lose, and make us wonder why we were so stupid to prematurely declare ourselves the victors. Ask Quincy Douby. And that brings me to…
- The Hey Song is a song of victory. It really should be brought out in moments of true elation, unexpected outcomes, and torrential beat-downs against hated rivals. Did that happen tonight? No. I saw people singing the song with 10 minutes to go with a minor lead against a school whose shirts we recently sold in our own bookstore to aid their hurricane ravaged campus. Yea, we ended up winning by 13, but they also lost to Buffalo by 14 a couple of nights before.
My red-eyed conclusion
It’s now 3:30 in the morning and I’m still here pouring my heart out about this stuff. I could’ve still been at the bar putting $20 in the Buck Hunter machine or, better yet, sleeping. Instead, I answered the calls and text messages of my fellow befuddled Orangemen and Women who are not quite sure why there were students fighting with each other during tonight’s game.
I really do care about every one of you.
So, I’ll leave you with this: being an SU student is an amazing experience. Being an active SU sports fan while being an SU student is a couple of steps from heaven. Being in the student section is something you’ll keep with you long after you graduate, so don’t degrade it all with politics, anger, and cockiness.
Support your team whether at their highest highs or lowest lows. Or, if you really need to, just be quiet.
Don’t take for granted your 4 year excuse to be completely wild and rowdy at sporting events – no one looks at you strange. In fact, they love your enthusiasm.
Most of all, treat your onlookers, your team, and your fellow students with respect, humility, and pride.
Founding Member, Otto's Army
Syracuse University Class of 2007