By Susan Bonicillo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 10, 2004
Baseball may be the national pastime, but it's in football for which Americans display a level of fervor and spectacle that no other sport can claim - not even rhythmic gymnastics.
Like in the time of the caesars, modern day citizens of this American empire have a hunger to cram themselves into a massive concrete stadium to witness displays of organized brutality. Though we can't legally or ethically indulge in the blood sports of imperial Rome (the practice of feeding Christians to lions may not appeal to everyone), the obvious alternative is football.
Football players are our modern-day gladiators, sacrificing life and limb while we consume overpriced popcorn and sodas from the safety of the stands.
As far as sheer pageantry and fanfare go, one cannot match everything that football has to offer, especially that of collegiate football. What other sport heralds its presence on the playing field with the help of an entire marching band dressed in more sequins than a washed-up drag queen?
Part military strategy, part machismo and all athleticism, this game represents the more epic elements of sport.
To the casual observer, football may seem like a poorly veiled attempt to justify heavily-muscled men running into one another at high speeds. However, to a true fan it is so much more.
It's a time in which we can marvel at the perfect execution of a button-hook pass, yet scratch our heads over the pseudo-sexual practices of grown men in spandex slapping each other's asses - but that's another column topic altogether.
You'd think that this display of physical prowess, legions of tuba players and vague hints at homoeroticism would be enough to rouse the more primal elements in UA fans.
However, last Saturday's football game proved that isn't the case. Even head coach Mike Stoops, though appreciative of fans showing up despite the unfavorable weather, expressed his desire that the crowd "make a little more noise."
I've been to my share of football games at the UA, and I have to say I've had splinters that were more fun.
Now, it's not the fault of the players out on the field, but a major part of the experience is getting rowdy with all the other students in the stands. Being the only person cheering in an otherwise- silent crowd isn't exactly an encouraging atmosphere.
I thought that this sort of lackadaisical, too-cool-for-school attitude was something that we left behind in high school. Thats just not the case. Let's face it; we have the sort of prim- and-proper crowd that would make an extremely anal British schoolteacher search for rowdier environs.
Granted, it's been a while since we've had a season in which we've been excited about anything. Or perhaps we've put so much energy into basketball season that we're all tapped out for cheers.
Looks like we all need a refresher on what a fan is supposed to do. So, here's a rundown: Show up. Make a lot of noise. Go home.
That's all you have to do. This is one of the few times that rowdy behavior is actually encouraged.
However, when you actually attend a UA football game, do you know just who is making all the noise? That's right, - it's that one old guy who graduated in 1917 decked out in all the Arizona athletic regalia that can hang from his small, wrinkled, geriatric body.
It really is true that youth is wasted on the young.
What can we do to resolve this lack of fan support? I say, rig up a sort of cheer track using the sound system of the stadium. A good portion of getting people excited is to gain the necessary momentum. It'll be like in television sitcoms, - the equivalent of a laugh track that tells us the appropriate moments to laugh at an episode of "Friends."
Or another simple solution: Come drunk. First pick a D.D., and then let the fun times roll. It worked for me when I had to attend my cousin's daughter's first Communion; it can work for you.
Tomorrow, the Cats face off against Utah, and we all have a chance to redeem ourselves from Saturday's fiasco.
Now, I know you all have it in you. Any given night spent at a student apartment complex is proof enough that UA students are capable of raising hell.
All I ask is that we channel that stupid, horrendously obnoxious behavior into something productive, i.e. toward supporting our gridiron heroes. See you all there. And remember your pom-poms.
Susan Bonicillo is a junior majoring in English. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.