Something was missing in Georgetown’s eight-point victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Thankfully, it wasn’t the Hoyas’ stellar play. Near the end of the game, right after junior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. took a crucial charge from Pittsburgh’s sophomore guard Levance Fields, action stopped as usual for the under-four-minute television timeout. Tension mounted as both teams retreated to their benches, and Verizon Center seemed ripe to explode. During the break, cheerleaders fumbled through a normally sharp routine, lifting signs at the wrong time, and it became painfully clear that the problem was a lack of synchronization with the Pep Band. Recognizing that the routine was sinking, the Pep Band’s boisterous director, Aaron Broadus, appeared desperate for someone to throw his musicians a life preserver. But as awkward as all this may have been for student performers, who were forced to throw together a mediocre routine, there was a bright side: At least we didn’t offend anybody. Ordinarily during that TV timeout, the Pep Band would perform “Rock & Roll Part II,” while the cheerleaders would offer a complementary routine with signs and stunts. In what had become a tradition in recent years, the student section sang along – demonstrating that they would be as amped as possible whenever the game’s most crucial moments surfaced. Within the timeout, another mini-tradition had emerged: During one of the lyrical breaks in the song, students point at the opposing team’s bench and yell, “Hey! You suck!” Perhaps this looks ridiculous in print, but one can certainly argue that in person the shout works well with the song. I’ve never been one for blatantly insulting another team’s players, but if Georgetown’s black eye is simply shouting that the opposing team sucks, I would argue that in the big picture it’s really not so bad. Apparently, however, Georgetown’s Athletic Department does not have the big picture in focus. The department recently decided the song incited unacceptable behavior that fosters a negative atmosphere at Verizon Center, and instructed the Pep Band to stop playing it. The main issue here is not about the song itself. Rather than pursuing alternative measures like attempting to get the students to shout a more positive message during the breaks in “Rock & Roll Part II,” the Athletic Department decided simply to cut the song. Shouting, “Hey! You suck!” during the song was never an officially sanctioned part of Hoya Blue’s cheer sheets or Georgetown’s authorized in-game entertainment, essentially. What is an attempt to quiet the drunk, rowdy fans who want to insult our opponents at all costs only hurts the cheerleaders and band members who relied on the number as one of their best joint routines. I’ve been a part of the student section for three years, and I am confident it won’t be long before enterprising Hoyas come up with new ways to let the opposing team know that it does, in fact, suck. But that’s not the point, either. The Hoyas got the message that the “bullshit” chant was not just overused, but also embarrassing – and they didn’t need to be lectured to realize it. Maybe one day soon we will also discover that basketball games are not simply an opportunity to get so drunk that you can’t stand up. For now, we definitely should not have to be told what Broadus wrote in his e-mail to the Pep Band explaining the decision – that “we are always for Georgetown and never against the opposing team.” I outgrew that type of reasoning after Little League. When Levance Fields smashes into Patrick Ewing at full speed, suddenly I’m no longer only for Georgetown; I am also against Pittsburgh. I am left wondering where all of this micromanagement stops. If Georgetown’s experience is so sanitized that even “You suck” is out of bounds, what’s going to happen next? Will students receive an e-mail instructing us that in the interest of sportsmanship it would be nice to applaud when the opposing team makes a basket? Maybe the best thing to do to ensure nobody’s feelings get hurt would be to limit attendance at games to the coaches and players on both teams. Students probably would not mind gathering a few hours after each game’s conclusion if the administration would be so kind as to offer a dramatic reading of the game, play by play. Georgetown’s reputation for success shows up not only on the basketball court, but also in producing men and women capable of making sound decisions. In this case, there is no question that the university’s choice of suppression rather than discussion leaves students feeling empty and without recourse. Forgive me, but I think that sucks.

Chris Seneca is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. He can be reached at SLOW MOTION appears every other Tuesday in HOYA SPORTS.

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