Editor's Note: Jeremy is now a full-fledged VUHoops author. So basically, feel free to treat him like the rest of us. He can take it, I promise.
This article is bound to turn heads, so let me clarify: I think we have a great student section. In fact, the Pavilion is considered one of the harder places to play in the NCAA. The combination of our dedicated fans and old building make for an intimidating, hostile environment. I burst into laughter every game from something a Novan says (a subtle "Poop Jardine" chant is my reigning favorite). There isn’t another student section in the world I’d rather be a part of. But like all things I love, I want to make it better (my girlfriend hates that). Here’s a couple ways I think we could improve it:
First of all, organized cheers are crucial to every good student section, and we barely have any. The stuff like "Whoosh, Go" is great, but we need more. I can only chant "Let’s-Go-No-va" so many times in a game. Section-wide cheers would make the game more interactive, and in a generation of socially awkward kids, not every student knows what to do during the game. The reason we love drinking so much is because the directions are obvious. But seriously, cheers would give the student section more unity and build a little tradition. And if there’s one thing Catholic universities love, it’s tradition.
Move or Expand the Student Section
These cheers would be a lot more effective if half the student section wasn’t up in the rafters. The student section should be moved or expanded to the side of the court. It would be great marketing for the school as a whole – our energetic students would be on camera for our 17 national television appearances rather than the old folks who look like they’re watching paint dry (exceptions include Bill ’62). Plus, why should I have to wait until I graduate to get the good seats? If we truly want to be a top basketball program, we should examine what the top programs are doing. Imagine Duke's student section placement in the Pavilion; we would simply bring the house down. That being said, we might actually be on the right track: the new student section in the football stadium is right behind the other team’s bench. We get a good view of the game, we’re on camera, and we get to tear apart the visiting team. (At the Richmond football game, we got players to start trash talking us – shout-out to Chase Boyer and his long-snapping "talent.")
Make it Students Only
My next act as Pipedream Commissioner would be restricting the student section to students only. I’ve had way too many St. Joe’s moms tell me I’m being too loud or crude in my own student section. I don’t have much else to say about this because we shouldn’t even have to ask for it. Changing the bleachers to students only would make it feel like we’re getting something special rather than the last of the seats.
Free Stuff & Dress Ups
Speaking of making things ours, we love free stuff! Prop giveaways stir up the crowd and give us yet another thing to do (plus they make great dorm wall decorations). Free t-shirts would make coordinating themes like whiteouts so much easier. I'd even be willing to pay a mandatory $10 if there was a t-shirt waiting for me at the game. We could do blackouts during finals, maybe a nice baby blue for a big game, call it the Nova Ocean or something. I don’t know I’m not an idea guy, I’m just a whiner with a platform.
Show Us Some Love
It would be cool if the players had more involvement with the student section. It’s unfortunate, but honestly the basketball players don’t seem too connected to us – at least from my point of view. Mo gives us a fist-pump every now and then, but excluding the pregame jaunt through the bleachers and the post-game alma mater, we don’t get too much attention from the players. Maybe it’s Jay Wright’s mentality that they’re not supposed to acknowledge us, and maybe it's selfish of me to ask, but a little love during the game wouldn't hurt. Really any acknowledgement of the student section from the players would send us into a riot.
Notice that most of the things I suggest are infrastructure issues - location of the student section, largely organizing cheers, etc. – those are out of reach for the common student. We do have a great student section, but the higher-ups and the people with more influence than me could help to put us over the top. I truly believe that if we made a couple tweaks, we could have the best student section in America. Hopefully the rumblings from guys like us will cause the avalanche needed to get there. See you on the 9th.