Shut up and sit down

By the

February 8, 2001

With all due respect to Gary Williams, it’s not just “crap.”

That’s what the University of Maryland Head Coach said about the cursing, battery-throwing, mom-assaulting crowd at Cole Field House. When allegations like these arose after last month’s Duke-Maryland game, Williams supported the Maryland students, saying they were “great fans.” But not since the latest Rangers-Celtic match in Glasgow have fans throwing glass-bottles been called “great.”

There’s something called class out there in the sports world, and fans need to get it through their heads that creativity goes a lot farther than vulgarity, originality farther than violence. That’s why Duke?love ‘em or hate ‘em?has the most intimidating arena in all of college sports. Granted, Cameron Indoor’s intimacy adds to its ferocity, but the students know how to help their team, and it comes more from making fun of Bobby Cremins’ hair (“Just for Men! Just for Men!”) than it does from crudely making fun of someone’s mom.

But in contrast, it seems that Georgetown students?for all their intelligence?can’t come up with decent cheers for any of the basketball games. We have a legitimate Top 25 program, a huge name and an often-sold out arena, but we also have a few guys in the front row of the student section of whose best chant is the oft-repeated “Hey Ref! LICK MY BALLS!” Not only does the cheer have nothing to do with basketball, but did any of the students notice the small children and elderly people sitting right next to them? I did, and the grimaces on their faces showed just what they think of Georgetown students.

Fans also yelled at Kaspars Kambala at the UNLV game, saying that they spent the previous night with Kambala’s wife, Jessica. Only it wasn’t as nice as that. The student section had seen Kambala’s tattoo, which says simply “Jessica,” and then called her a whore, a slut or whatever unfounded phrase popped into their heads. It didn’t occur to anybody that Jessica could have been Kaspars’ mother.

Or maybe it did cross someone’s mind, but I guess that probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Now, I don’t really have much affinity for Kaspars Kambala, and I don’t care what he thinks of our student section as long as he keeps missing lay-ups. I do care about other Georgetown fans?students and non-students?who pay to see good college basketball. “Lick my balls” being yelled in earshot of a six-year old doesn’t really add to their experience, and it certainly offends some people. So don’t do it. It’s Kantian, man.

Make fun of Kaspars’ gigantic chin. Play on the fact that he is probably the most overrated big man in all of college basketball. Ragging on a guy for air-balling a jumper sticks in someone’s head more so than a crack on one’s girlfriend.

This isn’t a phenomenon limited to the MCI Center or Cole Field House or even college basketball.

Allen Iverson was heckled a few weeks ago in Indiana, being called a “monkey” and a “nigger.” He wasn’t right in responding to the idiot fan by calling him a “faggot,” but the fan obviously crossed the line.

After the Oakland Raiders smashed the Miami Dolphins in the divisional playoffs, some of those famous Raider fans beat the snot out of some Dolphins fan after the game. Then they urinated on him and left him in a corner, unconscious. Nice, huh?

On the flip side, as in Duke’s case, there are fans who know how to make a statement without being utter morons.

In Amsterdam, Ajax fans sneaked into the stadium and let a bunch of cows loose on the pitch to protest the horrible condition of the field. I think the point was made.

Pittsburgh’s student section waved cupcakes at Georgetown on Monday, referring to the alleged weakness of our pre-conference schedule. Even if you don’t agree, it’s pretty amusing. I guess it didn’t work too well considering the Hoyas blew them out, but “Lick my balls” didn’t really work against Notre Dame did it?

Trying to get the opponent riled up is a fine method, if not for the fact that those same players are trained to ignore annoying fans. But heckling is a tradition, and I take part just as much as the next guy. At a sporting event, “You suck!” and “Bull-shit!” come as easy as buying on overpriced hot-dog, and that’s all fine. Again, though, being classy will take student sections across the country farther than being crude. That’s why Cameron Indoor, Allen Fieldhouse and the Pit are so revered; their students are clever, intimidating and they know basketball. At the same, they don’t throw bottles at anyone and they don’t resort to insipid and childish cheers. They win at home because they know how to be fans.

Ultimately, the game is decided on the court or on the field. Aside from making huge amounts of raucous noise, we fans don’t have as much influence over the game as we would like to think. However, when you do have the opportunity to yell directly at someone on the court, be aware. Tell him he sucks. Tell him his cornrows are ugly. Just don’t offend the other people in the stands while doing so.

In any case, cheering for your own team will take them farther than heckling the other. And don’t be too hard on the refs. They’re not going to like us more if we call them fat.

Just ask Jimmy Buffett.

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