In the Pitt News today an editorial was ran about the originality of the Oakland Zoo. I was pissed by the title but after reading it I thought the author addressed a couple of good points. So I thought I would give my opinions on the main points of the article:
“Yelling “sucks” after every opposing player and coach (“He sucks too!”) is introduced? It’s funny the first time through a lineup, but how about a little variety?”
I think everyone is in agreement about the fact that just chanting sucks at the opposing team has got to go. We have the most original and creative minds in the Zoo on this but it is going to take a while to get rid of this one. “Sucks” is extremely catchy and easy for everybody to get a grip on, to replace this we are going to need something as equally interesting. Very good point.
My question about that tradition is more pragmatic: Do you do that on every possession, even when Pitt is tripling the score of its opponent, as was the case in the Johnstown game? There’s the issue of when to start: when the ball is inbounded or when it crosses half court? Without a Ten Commandments of Panther Fandom, there’ll be some awkward situations, as was the case on Wednesday when someone a few rows back of me kept trying to start “the jump” in the second half, to no avail most of the time.
I’m basically putting this in here to talk to some of the freshman who have only been in the Zoo once or twice. The jumping up and down usually comes the second they inbound the ball once we are on defense. Last game we introduced a couple of new chants for when we go on defense. The idea of Ten Commandments is a good one but I think letting the fans create a more organic atmosphere where chants are created by every section of the crowd is better. Get the people around you chanting whenever there is a lull in the noise and the rest of the Zoo will follow suit. Starting at Houston Baptist everybody will be getting a Zoo News, basically a newspaper with the starting lineups and facts about the game, inside the Zoo News there is a list of chants which can form a rough guideline for what to expect. Just pay attention to what is going on around you and the chants will be easy to follow. As for the second half comment we were up an insane amount of points and everybody was doing their best to continue to pay attention. Once the games mean something second half enthusiasm will be there.
The last issue of the article I want to address is the overall detachment in the tone of the author that I picked up on. Whenever the author was speaking of a flaw in the Zoo he didn’t include himself as a part of the group. Everybody from the first time you step in the Zoo it as much yours as it is mine, this is a great Pitt tradition. Make your impact on the atmosphere at basketball games; make up chants, talk to the people around you, and think of great stuff to bring up to the leaders either through this website or in the opening meetings. If you are in the Zoo become a part of it don’t sit back and wait for everyone else to act. Losing yourself in a great game is the only way to enjoy your experience in the Zoo.
I’ll see everybody at the Houston Baptist game tomorrow.