BELLOTTI: We can’t hear us: a fan failure

Christopher Bellotti

The men’s basketball team’s loss this past Saturday cannot be blamed on the referees who didn’t know how to make a traveling call or on the fact that we couldn’t capitalize when Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert was out for much of the first half – it was our student section’s fault for its lack of spirit and resulting inability to lift up our Wildcats when they needed it. Although they had smaller numbers in the stands, the visiting Hoya fans beat ours by a much bigger margin than their team beat ours on the court. In reality, the student section has been disgraceful all year, and it is to blame for losses such as Pitt and Georgetown.

Sophomore Rob Dormish, the winner of last year’s Hoops Mania Fan Contest, is fed up with this year’s lack of enthusiasm.

“I don’t understand the quizzical looks I receive when I tell people to cheer,” he said. “It’s as though cheering is a foreign concept until the Dance Cam comes on or there are two minutes left in the game.”

Fans such as Dormish, who try their hardest to start cheers and get more people into the game, have been blocked out by the drones who don’t prepare to cheer by avoiding a hangover or by the ones who parade around with over-priced beers trying to look cool.

The crazy thing is that we actually root against ourselves. Countless times during the course of a game, one can hear fans making fun of the cheerleaders and their “stupid” chants. Nearly 95 percent of these “fans” can’t even muster a chant other than “Defense,” yet they want to criticize a group that is actually trying. It’s one thing to lack creativity. It’s another to be hypocritical. Before you say what a unified and spirited community we live in at Villanova, why don’t you show some support for a group that works the entire game to add to our experience?!

Not only do we not support the cheerleaders; we don’t support the band either. It’s simple: when the band starts playing a minute prior to the beginning of each half – get off your rear, and make some noise. Still, the north side of Wachovia at the Georgetown game couldn’t even stand up until 30 seconds into the half.

When the band plays songs like “Hey Baby!” sing the song! When it plays “Pirates” you simply chop and point your finger at the other team. And please, let’s lose this “classy” crap. We are so hell-bent on being “classy” at a sporting event that we forget how to enjoy it. You know what’s classy at a basketball game? Showing your support and jumping up and down like a nutcase. This “classy” stuff is a bunch of absolute nonsense, both on and off the court.

“The lack of support is appalling – when did we become fair-weather fans?” Dormish questioned. “And when did we stop showing support for our team after a hard-fought game? The players and coaches deserve our support, win or lose. Few fans stick around for our fight song.”

That’s not to mention the fact that most don’t even know the lyrics.

That said, senior J.J. Brown still feels the cheering section has vastly improved from years passed.

“Nobody showed up [my] freshman year,” Brown said. “This year and last year have gone well – both sides of the Wachovia Center are full. My sophomore year, we only had the south side [full].”

Maybe looking back at the past 10 years, our section has made major improvements. Still, the evidence is clear that our so-called ‘Nova Nation cares about our ranking.

Whether we are ranked fourth or 44th, it shouldn’t make a difference. Until we prove that it doesn’t, we are all responsible for the inability to finish out what would have been season-defining wins.

An essential part of the glue that holds our community together is created by standing next to a group of fans who you may or may not know, yelling chants in unison, whether we win or lose. Learn the words of the fight song, and don’t look at the rabid fan next to you trying to start a chant other than “Let’s go ‘Nova!” like he or she is nuts. Join in.

As a whole, we as fans have been lamentable this year. Prove me wrong against Rutgers. Do it for seniors like Will Sheridan on the court and J.J. Brown off the court who have given it their all for four straight years. Do it for our community.

And as always, speak up, Villanova.

Better yet, scream at the top of your lungs and get laryngitis for a week.

So … get loud, Villanova.


Christopher Bellotti is a sophomore accounting major from Long Island, N.Y. He can be reached at [email protected].