On defense of 'Smart Fan' logic
Since the printing of yesterday's 'Prince' article "Student group criticizes fan behavior at basketball games," I have received an exorbitant amount of criticism for my participation in the 'Smart Fans' fight against excessive heckling at basketball games.
Let me begin by saying that when Jon Garfunkel first approached me about my feelings on the matter and before the article was even printed, I would not have considered myself a devout 'Smart Fan.' However, after justifying myself and my position on the topic to my friends and acquaintances this afternoon, I have found even more of a reason to be a part of Jon's impromptu organization of like-minded students.
Jon Garfunkel, in all of his efforts, is not attempting to hamper fan participation and spirit at games. Nor are the 'Smart Fans' attempting to limit the amount of heckling which occurs. I am being accused, however, of both these things by my fellow students.
I openly admit that I am amongst the ranks who likes to support our team in whatever way possible. Such activities would include wearing orange, painting our faces, perhaps dressing up in women's clothing, and, of course, heckling the other team during their most vulnerable moments. Perhaps, up until the Harvard game, we weren't the friendliest team on the block – but at least we were not disruptive.
At the Harvard game, the frenzied Tiger-spirit crossed the line of old fashioned heckling into a general nuisance. By shaking the floors and thereby incurring a technical foul onto our own team, the fans not only hindered Harvard's ability to play, but also our own. I highly doubt that the basketball team was thrilled with that.
In fact, two publications recently wrote about the team's disfavor with the foul. It's a shame that in finally receiving national recognition for our team efforts, the most notable part of the game (according to ESPN) was the fans' disruption and our self-induced technical foul.
I cannot defend the art of heckling as a positive one. Today, a friend of mine attempted to justify the foul by saying that all of the other schools do it; it's a part of our spirit and support; we shouldn't be the only one not to do it. Fine. If you feel better by justifying it in such a sense, then do so. But when it begins to actually hurt our team, then what is the point?
The 'Smart Fans' efforts, while appearing overenthusiastic to some, were merely a last-minute attempt to prevent the mega-heckling (i.e., technical foul-inducing foot stomping) from happening again. Anyone who mistook the group's extreme tiger-pride for anything but that which it is (i.e., logical team support) and criticized the group for its efforts, needs to reevaluate whether he or she actually supports the Tigers or not. Love Slipock '98