Mordini: Another ‘desperate’ attempt at humor

Jessie Markovetz

NOTE TO READERS (especially the ones who write whiny letters about how this column is “a desperate attempt at sarcasm and humor”): Please skip this column and go read a sunshine-and-rainbows, soul-free feature to help you feel better about yourself. Today, we’re on the serious topic of fan behavior at basketball games, which was the subject of a recent ESPN telecast.

As you are likely not aware, because you were too hung over to watch it Sunday morning a few weeks ago, college basketball fans have mysteriously acquired a bad rap for their supposedly inappropriate conduct at basketball games. Among the offensive behaviors fans across the country engage in routinely are: swearing, toting profane banners, hurling beer bottles onto the court, abusing mascots, wearing socks with sandals and loudly singing the chorus to the 1982 Toni Basil hit, “Mickey.”

Naturally, as with any aspect of college life, Villanova was held up as a shining example of what not to do, not even if your team has continued to struggle and your athletic facility is named after a homicidal sharpshooter. The contest between Villanova and St. Joe’s last month was a focal point in pointing out Bad Fans, who all brought enormous signs and chanted offensive things like “herpes” and “Bush in 2004.”

What has caused this downward slide in fan behavior? Whatever happened to the so-called good old days, when students rooted for their team in a positive fashion without stooping to the lowest common denominator? Personally, I blame the new V-shirts. However, I’m sure there are plenty of other factors that have turned the ‘Nova Nation from polite and refined (which, apparently, it was at one point) to the zoo it supposedly is today.

It’s not exactly new thinking to suggest that fan behavior here could use some improvement. In fact, this very paper has run articles on the subject before. However, the tired approach of “your children will be at these games one day” is apparently as wasteful as jokingly attributing the first line of “Moby-Dick” to “The Old Man and the Sea” in a newspaper column. I think it’s time for a real reform in the way student behavior is policed at the games.

I believe the best way to improve fan behavior is to give students a list of pre-approved cheers that they could chant during the game. In addition, anyone wearing face paint or funny hats – especially ones resembling a cheesesteak – would be turned aside at the door, no questions asked, simply because basketball games are not about having fun. They’re about positively representing your school in a forum that acts as a showcase for Villanova, just like a newspaper or chalk scrawlings by the Oreo.

But no hats and no face paint are hardly strong enough measures to quell the problem. In addition, all the students would be required to wear gray jogging suits and sit for the duration of the games. No cheerleaders, no mascot – nothing that could ever inject life, color and enjoyment from the gray world of the student section would be allowed at the basketball games. Great idea, right?

Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps the whole plan is a bit ridiculous. Maybe, while there are some people who are a bit out of control at the games, for the most part students can appreciate a healthy balance between having a little fun and still representing the University in a positive light.

Maybe there really is a place in this serious world for a touch of humor and a dash of fun.

Too bad some of my hate-mail writers can’t see that.