My Response To An Editorial

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.

Oakland Zoo Unoriginal

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5 Responses to “My Response To An Editorial”

  1. Keith McBride Says:

    I must disagree with the approval of this article. Particularly the quote, “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.” I believe the writer would agree with that statement. He said, “this is a case where we took something good and made it better.”The truth is, it wasn’t. He didn’t do anything.The Zoo has years of tradition behind it now and it is completely ridiculous for a freshman to attend one game and act like he is entitled to say what stays and what goes.The truth is, and Jason would naturally agree, there are people who work very hard to make the Zoo what it is. It is unfair to them, and those who have now graduated, to let someone dictate what is acceptable and original.I would liken this article to a publication like the CP critiquing Saving Private Ryan as just another “unoriginal” WWII film.He states himself, “I was just expecting more from the vaunted student section that’s been ranked so many times as having one of the best home-court advantages in college basketball.”Don’t you think maybe those people, regional and national writers, might have a better perspective on student groups than a freshman attending his first game ever?

  2. DP Says:

    Well said Keith, well said.

  3. headband jones Says:

    What confused me/pissed me off about the article was that the author didn’t stick by his guns. He concluded by saying that no matter what the Zoo is still great. If you’re going to criticize something go all the way to the end with it, don’t flake out just so people don’t get mad at you.And what was the deal with taking the things Yankee fans do? I’m pretty sure that’s as unoriginal as it could possibly get. The idea of a roll call is nice, but it still doesn’t solve the problem the author brought up in his column. It doesn’t address the other team.The author had an opportunity to make a real impact because everyone read it and he basically backed down and weaseled out. It’s a shame because he could have been really helpful. He could have inspired us to make changes, but instead he just made some of us confused and the rest of us angry

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Completely agree with the article and then some. Last night 10 girls from St. Louis were out performing the entire zoo for much of the game.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    I also agree with the author on a lot. I do not think we should abolish things like the “sucks” chant, because it’s become tradition whether it’s unoriginal and no longer funny or not. It may be unoriginal to us, but imagine being a no-name mid major basketball player and hearing SUCKS after your name when the eyes of 10,000 people are on you. The most feared student sections in the country (Duke, for example) do their research. They dig up dirt on players and coaches and rub it in their face during game time…they try to get in other players’ heads. Granted some things like the Gray is gay chants at WVU last year are both unfounded and make the students look dumb, so a happy medium has to be found. Chanting “swampass” at the Boston U player, chanting “NIT” after we eliminated WVU from any shot at the big dance, chanting “Where’s my laptop” vs. UConn last year…those things are original because someone in the Zoo decides to start a chant based on a current event and something that will get in the other players’ heads. Bouncing up and down may not affect the psyche of another team, but chanting NIT at WVU after they worked all season to come up short of their ultimate goal? That’s the kind of stuff we need more of. That’s originality, and if we want to be mentioned in the same breath as the Duke, UNC, Kansas and Wisconsin fans..we need more of that originality.


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