I've been going to Penn State football games my whole life. My family finally got season tickets for the 2006 season, and I've been to just about every game since then. Our seats are in the upper deck of the north endzone, and I love it up there, not only for the view but the atmosphere as well. Narry is there a jerk to annoy you,and rarely do you see much confrontation.
Well, now I'm a freshman up here. I came into the season real excited to sit in the student section. However, in two games, I've been very disappointed. If this is the best student section in the country, it begs the question "What in God's name is happening in the rest of the country?"
Yesterday, Syracuse fan after Syracuse fan got pelted with food, and had "A**hole, A**hole" chanted in their faced untl they got embarassed and left.
Look, if you come into our student section and start acting like a jerk or...a***hole to put it in yesterday's terms, then you deserve whatever you get. But if you're just coming in to watch a football game with your friend and you're being respectful like most SU fans were yesterday, there is no reason that you shouldn't be able to watch it in peace.
I think back to 2005 when Ohio St.'s great marching band got pelted with urine bombs, and had the student section turn it's back on the dotting of the "i". Look, I hate the Buckeyes as much as anyone, but I love tradition, and that's about as good as it gets. By acting how we acted, we ensured the only way I'm going to see that great tradition is if I go to the 'Shoe for a game, and we all know how difficult that is to pull off.
There's no reason for acting like this. None.
And while some of you may say "It's just a couple of jerks", or, "they're college kids that don't know any better" I say this. I'm a college student. I know better. There isn't any reason the same standard can't be applied to every single person that walks into those stands.
For those of you that don't know, I'm a big baseball fan, and specifically a big Pirate fan. I've followed the Bucs to a lot of cities, including New York which has a reputation for having horrible fans, and never have I come close to being treated the way our student section treats opposing fans. In fact it's been quite the opposite. I've actually had a lot of good conversations with the home fans, talking about the teams and the games and just generally enjoying the best parts of being in a new city. When I'm at PNC I try to be welcoming, even when there are 10,000 Phillies fans in a crowd of 14,000.
We should be enjoying opposing fans, not humiliating them.
Every stadium has rules against foul language and abusive behavior (which includes throwing objects). I'm sure we do, too. It's time to enforce the rules. Granted, you can't catch everyone, especially with all the jerks we have in our student section. But maybe if we start kicking large swaths of kids out of the stadium for acting like jerks, they'll start to get the message.
Dear student section. It's time to grow up.