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What Went Wrong in 2006/2007 - Poor Fan Support

Part I - Injuries
Part II - Ineffective Big Men

Moving on let's look at Part Three what else went wrong in the men's basketball season. Today we will focus on poor fan support. Again, these are in no particular order.

I only saw a few games on television this year, but I managed to watch one game in person at the Jordan Center. I think it's safe to say that fan support for Penn State basketball is, um, not so great. Watching a game at the Jordan Center is only slightly more exciting than watching a pickup game at the YMCA.

It's an interesting conundrum the Penn State basketball program finds itself in. Fans don't come out to the games because the team doesn't win. The team is at a disadvantage because their home court is not at all intimidating. It's the chicken and the egg. Ultimately, it's on the team to start winning games, but at some points the fans have to show some interest and come out to the game.

I attended the Purdue game in person and I was less than impressed by the student section. The game was a 12 PM start on a Saturday, so I imagine they were still hung over from the night before. They were somewhat enthusiastic at the beginning of the game, but once the game started they mostly became quiet spectators. They would cheer when PSU made a dunk or a three point shot. They might keep cheering through the next opponent possession. But usually they went right back to being quiet as soon as the opponent made a shot or we missed one.

cheer - verb
1.    to salute with shouts of approval, congratulation, triumph, etc.
2.    to encourage or incite

We've got number one down. Not so good at number two, Nittwits. How about you try cheering after the opponent makes a big shot. Or maybe cheer on the defense even though we missed a shot on our end. Maybe your team could use a little encouragement when things aren't going so well.

I must also say it's completely embarrassing how we let students from other schools come into our arena and flip the tables in favor of the visiting team. What Illinois did was inexcusable. Michigan State did something similar although it didn't get as much press since they weren't as sneaky about it. We can't allow other schools to keep filling our arena for our home games.

We must protect this house

And really, Nittwits, you need to get a little creative. If you're going to allow opposing fans to buy tickets to our games at the ticket window a half hour before tip off, you better be prepared for what you're going to see. Other fans continually put you down with chants like "What's your record?" and "Why so quiet?" When Geary Claxton had a shot blocked against Illinois their fans chanted "Not in your house." The best you could come up with against Illini was "Where's your mascot?" Are you serious? Of course, this is the same student body that chanted "F**K OHIO" when the Akron football team took the field last year.

I guess this is supposed to be funny

Here is my advice to you. You can't talk trash with people when all they have to do is point to the scoreboard. Try some self-deprecating humor for a change. Remember that scene in 8 Mile where Eminem is doing the battle of the mics. Every time he goes up there the other guy destroys him to the point he chokes. Then in the end he learns to make fun of himself and takes away their ammo. So tell the other fans you're a skinny white rapper, your friend shot his dick off, your girlfriend is a slut, and the bully beat the crap out of you. Then stand up there and say "F**k the Free World!"

Look to the Rabbit!

Seriously though, the worst thing you can do is let on to a bully that he's bothering you. Laugh at yourself a bit to take the sting out of their chants. Now, it's a fine line there. You don't want to start chanting "We Suck" lest the basketball team think you are talking about them, so you have to be creative. All cheers need to be clearly directed at the Nittwits themselves. Try something like this.

When they ask you what's your record go...
We Beat Hartford! (clap clap clapclapclap) Though just barely!

When they ask you why so quiet go...
We're just thinking! (clap clap clapclapclap) Wait till football!
(Note: May not be the best idea against Michigan, but chant away against Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and any other Big Ten bottom feeder.)

Anyway, you get the idea. Show a little creativity. The Nittwits have their own webpage so I would think they could get organized with some cheers. The big thing is have some fun. You've got to hook that freshmen who wanders over from East Halls for the first time. If he comes to a game and says "this is lame" he'll never step foot in the Jordan Center again until the next Jay Zee concert or graduation. We need him to say, "Yeah the team sucks, but I had fun here." Hopefully with some support the team can get better and we can drop the first part of that statement.