As long as there have been sports, there have been fans. And as long as there have been fans, those fans have chanted.
From the Romans in the Coliseum, who may have chanted things like “CAR-PE DI-EM,” to the Elizabethan English chants of “THOU ART LANCE-LESS” at joust competitions, to our more contemporary chants like “AU-TO-MA-TIC” for a consistent free throw shooter at basketball games, the art of chanting has defined generations of fans.
I have always enjoyed chants, especially the spontaneous and clever ones that shut the mouths of opposing fans.
However, there are some chants that don’t quite make sense to me, and leave me scratching my head when I hear them. With that in mind, I want to stop and think about one of the chants at this past Saturday’s basketball game against Kansas.
Don’t get me wrong, the ‘Cats’ victory over the Jayhawks this past weekend was nothing short of spectacular. Not only beating, but outright dominating, the undefeated and second-ranked team in the nation is a great boost after some recent close losses.
I was at the game, and our fans were awesome from tip-off to the storming of the court at the end.
I especially enjoyed the spontaneous composition of the “Free Lowry” sign, and I tip my hat to whoever put it together. Our chanting was also strong and on par with what I’ve come to expect from ‘Novans. However, there was one chant that I found a little troubling and that, quite frankly, I believe is overrated.
I’m not sure where the origins of the “O-VER-RA-TED” chant lie, but I’ve always wondered about how, and why, it got started. It’s an interesting one, and it’s also a little confusing because, if you think about it, it actually hurts both sides at once.
On one hand, it reminds the losing team that they aren’t as good as what the polls say, and that it’s time for an ego check.
However, in pointing out that reality, it reduces the quality of the winners’ upset because, if the losing team is overrated, then it really isn’t quite so impressive for another team to beat them, is it?
As former Wake Forest head coach David Odom once told the Demon Deacons fans behind his bench after they unleashed the chant in an upset victory a few years ago, “Let’s hope they aren’t overrated, otherwise we really aren’t this good.”
To put all of this into the context of this past Saturday’s game, if Kansas is overrated, and not as good as what public opinion claims, then our dismantling of them isn’t quite so impressive.
That’s why our concluding chant of “O-VER-RA-TED” left me a little puzzled. It’s awesome that we blew out one of the best teams in the country, but there’s no need to downplay the significance of such a win by suggesting that the Jayhawks aren’t as good as advertised.
Let people say that they are that good. Let them say Kansas truly is one of the best, because, as we proved on Saturday, we’re better. And there’s nothing better than being better than the best.
As for now, I can’t offer a replacement chant. Chanting “UN-DER-RA-TED” at the next big ‘Cats win wouldn’t be a very good idea, as that could result in mass confusion (I’m not going to bother exploring the dichotomy of that chant, though).
Furthermore, it would just be lame. But we’re a clever bunch, so I’m sure the crafty ‘Cats fans will think up something witty and effective. In the mean time, perhaps we should save the “O-VER-RA-TED” chant for when St. Joe’s wins. Congratulations on a great season so far, Wildcats, keep up the good work .