I’m The New Guy

To all the Zoo readers:

I’m Max and I am the newest writer for the Zoo blog. We get a lot of pre-game and post-game analysis on this site, which is good, but I will not be writing in that same vein. The most analysis I will do about the game itself is, “We won, awesome” or, “We lost, huge bummer.” Instead, I will be writing solely about the Zoo – the way we act, the way we cheer, if we cheer, and things we can change to make the Zoo better. We have been called one of the best student sections in the country and Big East players voted The Pete as the toughest place to play in the league. However, recently, student participation has been down for the most part and many feel, me included, that the Zoo has lost some of its ferocity. I know that a blog can only do so much, but hopefully my posts will be a starting point for change and improvement. I hope the things I say will influence people enough so that they will respond, either in agreement with me or because what I’ve said has made them angry. The only way the Zoo can become better is if people are allowed to voice their opinions and be openly critical of the organization in its current state. So, before I write anything of value, let me say this – yell at me, get mad at me, bash what I’ve said, and respond accordingly – I’m a big boy, I can take it. Now that that’s done, let’s get to the real reason why I’m here -the Zoo.

Tonight is probably a bad night for me to start writing about the Zoo because I have no clue where it was. Yes, Providence is a bad team and yes, it was snowing. These are both good reasons for a father of two who lives in Monroeville not to come to the game, but they are awful reasons for a Pitt student who lives at most a 15-minute walk from the Pete. The Zoo is packed for prime-time games against Georgetown and WVU, but when a game is on regional TV against a cellar dweller, the place is basically vacant. I check my email pretty regularly and it was saddening when I got a message from the Athletics department at 3 PM (4 and a half hours before tip-off) saying that there were still tickets available. There weren’t even enough people to fill the main three sections (6D-F) and the tickets under the hoop by our bench were sold to other fans. It’s pathetic. And for those of you who did come and didn’t stay until the end, please explain to me your rationale. It’s clear that loyalty points don’t matter this season, as proven by the emails. So my question is, why would you come and then leave early? Do you have to beat the traffic on the sidewalks that lead to Towers and lower campus or the steps that lead to upper campus?

I could write a whole lot more about how we cheer for, at the longest, 10 seconds when Pitt has the ball and how we can’t keep the cheer at a consistent pace, but I’ll save that rant for when we do that at the Louisville game.

In my ideal world, the Zoo would be packed for every game and if you missed a game without an excuse, you wouldn’t be entitled to tickets for the next season. But that will not happen while I’m a student at Pitt, so back to reality. I would much rather be a part of a Zoo that has 500 truly passionate members at every game (not just big ones) who stay for the whole game than a Zoo that swells to 1200 or 1300 only when national TV crews come to town.

To all the people I called out and to all the people who have something to say, please respond. I want to hear your opinions.

Other than that, we won – AWESOME.

Thanks to my boys J-France, G-Butt, and Merlin for their input.


13 Responses to “I’m The New Guy”

  1. Keith McBride Says:

    I don’t want to argue that the Zoo was good tonight, it was by far the fewest students I have ever seen at a conference game in four years. However, Jamie Dixon said in his post-game interview:”I thought our crowd was great too. I don’t know why anyone would drive in the conditions throughout the night tonight, but I thought the crowd was unbelievable given the weather and the situation and everything. You never want to take that for granted, and we are very appreciative for our fans coming out tonight like this.”Of course, that doesn’t excuse 1000 students from not showing up. I think anyone that was at the WVU game and wasn’t there tonight should be ashamed. It is important to note though, Jamie still felt like we contributed.Perhaps the few of us that actually went to the game did an above-average job cheering?Welcome to the site, Max.

  2. Merlin Says:

    I do think those of us that were there were loud- but I agree with Max that loud isn’t enough. It’s great that there’s a few hundred of us that are great fans, but it’s really a shame to see how many kids really only care about getting on TV- if you’re gonna paint your body for the ESPN game, paint it for every game.

  3. Brian Ising Says:

    Max, A couple comments on your first post.I disagree with some of your criticism of the Zoo. You said that “student participation has been down” and the “Zoo has lost some of its ferocity.” I think student attendance has been very impressive this year, higher than previous years. And we have been very loud for several games. But its unreasonable to expect that type of performance every game. We are still one of the toughest places to play in the Big East, if not the toughest. At the same time, there is always room for improvement. And I’m glad that you’re starting conversations about how we can get better.I agree with everything you said about tonight. The poor attendance from the rest of the crowd was understandable due to the weather. But the poor student attendance was embarrassing. And it wasn’t just because of the weather since people would have requested and claimed tickets before they knew about the weather. But, I did think we were very loud considering how few of us were there. And Jamie agrees, as he mentioned in an interview on the news tonight.Having said all of that, your last point is the most important one. We won, and that’s the most important thing.

  4. Robert Hogan Says:

    I was more than impressed by the Zoo’s performance for the Georgetown and WVU game. Those games show our true potiental. Whether most of the students came out just to be on TV or no is debatable but I think we all know the real answer. Tonights attendance was subpar but the people there made the most out of it. Go Pitt and I’m upset I didn’t get any lovin’.

  5. The Prowler Says:

    I can’t speak about the ZOO tonight because I wasn’t at the game, and because this year they put the ZOO on the same side as the camera so we can’t see them on tv (not sure whose idea that one was). But I can say this, if I could go to every game every season, I absolutely would. I am not knocking the ZOO at all, because you guys are awesome. But I live in Kansas now, and it kills me that I haven’t been able to attend any Pitt sporting event in 4 years. My advice is this: be there as much as possible. Cheer your hardest. And never take it for granted. Because soon it will be over, and you will be sitting at your computer writing about the games and wishing you could be there.Keep up the good work, both at the games, and on this site.

  6. Keith McBride Says:

    It’s not rational to argue that we should be as intense against Providence as we are against Georgetown. Last night is proof of that. There simply aren’t 1400 students who want to be at every game cheering the whole time.There are two things that make the Zoo one of the best student sections:1) The highs of playing a big team2) The lows of playing a crappy teamIf we raise up above our normal level when we play a team like GU, and can actually make a difference, as Ronald admitted, then we have done our part.If, even with less than 50% capacity, we make a difference against a team like Providence, which Jamie admitted, then we have done some good.If your only barometer for success is that we have to match Georgetown, you are in for a lot of disappointment. I just wish people would stop comparing those two games and label one a success and one a failure. It is like asking why nobody stands in line for 8 hours to see MVSU at the beginning of the year. It just isn’t the same situation.The fact of the matter is that most of the cheering is done by a select group of people, and whether there are 500 or 1400 students, most of the cheers come from the same people. Our biggest problem is getting those other 900 students to show up.

  7. vinnie Says:

    what motivates people to come to the game? -diehards will say that they support the team and they love watching college basketball. -others will say that they want to go to the games when pitt plays tough teams-then there is the tv kidsthe question that should be posed is: how can we motivate the latter 2 groups to come to more games? and to follow up, how are we going to get them to cheer most of the game?I think that “vets” are jumping and we can create an excited atmosphere before the tip, that will get the rest of the zoo into the game. As for bringin in more people, I think that one issue is camping out for seats and not wanting to sit in the nosebleed zoo. However, I dont think there is a remedy for that, and frankly until we get televised conference game nationally, *cough*Duke*cough*, then our attendance is not always going to be great.

  8. vinnie Says:

    *EDITI meant to say that “until we get every conference game televised nationally”. Similar to Duke.PS i know duke doesnt get every conf. game on tv…

  9. Pat Says:

    This was the first game I haven’t gone to all year. I had never even planned on going though, because I have a night class that I couldn’t skip 6-8:30.What im getting at is that there were numerous reasons that people couldn’t make it out, either the weather, midterms, or maybe people (who may or may not have skipped class last thursday for the WVU game) couldn’t afford to miss class 2 times in a row. I know people who haven’t gone to a single week day game all year because of class scheduling. Im surprised that I even had to time to not only make it to every game thus far, but to arrive several hours earlier to wait in line for seats. So ill chalk this one to midterms and weather and hope we have a better outing against Louisville.side note(anyone gonna be here for the Depaul game, thats the last home game on Mar. 9th, but im gonna be gone on spring break (like most people i assume), i feel bad for not seeing the seniors’ last game)

  10. Merlin Says:

    Pat- I won’t be here either, and I think it was really poor scheduling by someone to have our last home game, and therefore our senior day, to say goodbye to Ronny, Keith, and Mike, when most of the school is going to be home for winter break. I’d love to come but I’m gonna be in Colorado, and I’m rather upset that we won’t get to properly honor those three. Hopefully someone at Pitt will be smart and do something during the Cinci game, even though it’s a Wednesday night.

  11. Keith McBride Says:

    With the expanded conference schedule Pitt has to play 18 games starting in January. Senior night very often happens to be at the time it is now, even before the schedule changed.It isn’t like it was a mistake, every team faces the same problem. If you play your last game or two on the road, however, then you don’t have an issue.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I know this one is way down on the list here, but guys the Zoo has been around from a group of 12 in Jan of ’01 to now…as long as we continue to win it will improve. I have always watched college hoops and tried to listen to chants made my students and overall student involvement ours is definitely up there. We do have name recognition because we performed when the most famous announcers visited Pitt which we all know is when the zoo is filled. I do find it funny that these are the same problems I had 6 years ago…I do honestly think it will get better with more and more freshmen coming to games and wanting to scream and not care about how they look or act for 2-3 hours 15 times a year. It takes more than 7 years to become the best, don’t get too pissed off. Let’s go Pitt…74-69 tonight…mark it down

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Just for your info, go to the site below (don’t know how to make it a hyperlink in a blog comment).http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3100960The crux of the article is the poor attendance by students at Cameron for Duke games.The Zoo is fine.

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