Thursday, February 9, 2012

Without a Boor

The north side of the Field House is obnoxious. Generally speaking, that's something we tend to wear as a badge of honor, since most of the obnoxiousness gets focused on the other team. There's loud chanting, there's loud cheering, and mostly the student and alumni sections do what they can to get under the skin of the other team and their fans. It's what sets us apart from a lot of other schools in the league, save for Cornell and Clarkson who are rather good at it as well, a by-product of the passion for the sport at all three schools.

But there's a line somewhere - there always is. Sure, this is aimed at a crowd that regularly allows opposing players (especially ones who are overly aggressive) know that they are comparable to a certain dark portion of the human body which serves as the last stop of the human digestive system, but nonetheless a line exists. Flirting with the line is what makes for that abrasive, annoying, obnoxiousness. Crossing it just makes you the, erm, anus.

For one thing, know when and where it's OK to jeer something. Bad call? Hey, fire away. Opponent playing like a female hygiene product? Let 'er rip.

Booing during the playing of another school's alma mater? Back up a second, slick. Would you want someone booing yours?

We're rather proud of our alma mater here at WaP - heck, the site's name derives from it (now you know). There's something special about the second intermission, when students and alums go shoulder to shoulder, with the band in the middle, and sway back and forth to what is, essentially, the school's anthem. It's enough to give you a chill up your spine from time to time.

Now imagine doing that with jerks from the other school shouting at you during it. Not quite as fun anymore, is it?

Now, look, I hate Cornell as much as the next guy, but there's a time and a place for it. I didn't experience this myself since I was outside during much of the second intermission last Friday (getting some fresh air with my girlfriend, who despite feeling nauseous was determined to stay for the whole game - what a trooper, eh?), but from what I can understand, a large number of RPI stalwarts on the north side booed Cornell's alma mater.

Why? What did you get out of it? All you really proved was that you don't know when to quit. Sure, we harass players and fans during the game, but once the game's over I'm willing to bet you'd probably like most of those people. So if it doesn't have to do with the game itself, why continue to be obnoxious?

A school's alma mater is a proud, introspective composition. It's a source of pride for anyone associated with the school, the same way a national anthem is a source of pride for a nation and its citizens. Leave it alone.

And while we're on the topic of unnecessary disrespect of anthems - can we kill the unnecessary "sucks" shout during the national anthem when other schools emphasize a different part of the words than we do? Feel free to debate among yourselves on the appropriateness of shouting during the anthem in the first place (I don't), but surely we can all agree that shouting "sucks" at Union or Clarkson fans is also over the line.

Bottom line - there's a time and place for everything. But let's not cross the line from feverish support to flat out boorishness.

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