The state of our Hoops is strong. We have crushed the Boilermakers. We have upset two ranked teams. We don’t have to play Michigan or Indiana again. If you ignore the Nebraska game (like me!) then the men’s basketball team is one more big upset away from serious national relevance. Reggie, Sobo, Olah, and Swopshire are all tons of fun to watch right now and there’s the real sense that this team is getting better.
Which is why I’m sorry to say I am petitioning to transfer to a new school, like, as a basketball fan, I mean. I can’t leave the university here for real until I finish this senior history thesis.
It’s not the team. I’m sick of the students here. The apathy, the negativity, and just today, the Putterman column and its commenters have all gotten to me and bad.
Apathy – God blessed us with two college spectator sports. College Football is the pastime of my homeland south, the only sport anyone would ever argue about when I was growing up, the only sport where local rivalries really mattered, and the only sport in which my team could beat some yankees every postseason. But then it ends in the new year, and it’s too cold to stand outside and watch this stuff anyway. Well good news! There’s another sport! But for some reason, this year, our students forgot about it. We just about filled up the student sections for the Indiana game, and that’s it. Students refuse to come to basketball games this season, even when Wildside is bribing them with shirts and donuts.
Lemme sell you on it: We’re way up north and it’s cold out, but this sport is indoors, so you’ll love it!
We’re all sensitive, humane people, too liberal to really enjoy the violence of sports, but this is barely a contact sport and nobody really gets concussions and ruins their lives unlike that other sport, so you’ll love it!
“STAAAATE SCHOOOOL… STAAAATE SCHOOOOL…” is our traditional football battle cry, because we’re too smart and upper-class for the rest of the Big Ten. Well don’t worry, we’re not winning basketball games by being more athletic than the other guys. In fact we’ve even got this egghead strategy that’s even named after an Ivy League school and this strategy, the Princeton Offense, is basically all about being too smart for the other team, so we win even though we’re short and don’t really like making body contact. You’ll love it!
You know how awful our student section is in football? I don’t mean the students (this time), I mean the location. We’re tucked all the way into a corner, giving us a spectacular view of six yards into one end zone and basically no ability to see anything else in the stadium, including the video scoreboard. Well at basketball games, students get the best seats in the house, even right next to the goal if you want! And if you’re one of the 95% of Northwestern students who complains about having to stand up for a whole game then 1. you’re the reason I’m writing this column and 2. there’s usually a bunch of losers sitting down in the student sections too, so you can sit with them! You’ll love it!
Negativity – So in trying to recruit people to go to the coolest, best sporting events that you can go to, I noticed a lot of negativity. I was trying to get one of my friends to go to a game (and if you’re reading this, you’re great and I’m sorry I had to make you an example in an angry hate column) and her reply was “Do we have any chance of getting to the tournament?”
First of all, it doesn’t matter, basketball games are great anyway. If we were 0-9 in conference a la Penn State, then sure, you don’t have to go. But second, yes, we have a chance, we’re doing surprisingly well really (nobody say Nebraska, please). In both football and basketball, our senior class has seen more sports success than any other in Northwestern history, but we’ve still got the culture of losing dyed so far into this school that if you’re not following the sport, you just assume that we’re miserable losers. I’m sick of that.
That Column Today – Today the Daily Northwestern published a column called “When is cheering no longer harmless?” which failed to actually give an opinion or really say anything but still gained gobs of student outrage. The column aimed to tackle the minor controversy that happened three freaking months ago when Maryland came to Welsh-Ryan and some of the student section decided to harp on Dez Wells’ sexual assault allegations that got him kicked out of Xavier, chanting “No Means No” while he was shooting free throws. I was at the game, in the student section, taking notes, but I didn’t remember whatever the students said until I read about it in the Baltimore Sun postgame just now, so clearly it was earthshaking stuff.
Daily writer Alex Putterman mentions having participated in yelling at Wells, expresses some confusion as to why it was controversial but agrees that it was maybe not super-classy, then moves on to discuss students yelling at Purdue’s AJ Hammons this week for missing the bus as basically an equivalent and harmless moment of playful ribbing. His argument scans about this clearly: Some stuff could be bad I guess but never mind, it’s not, I think.
The responses in the comments: “It’s never okay to make a joke about sexual assault. So figuratively, you missed the bus.”, “THE DAILY NORTHWESTERN: NORTHWESTERN AND EVANSTON’S ONLY DAILY SOURCE OF IGNORANCE SINCE 1881”, “you’re making light of sexual assault, and it comes off as ‘rape, haha!'”, and “This is the exact same attitude of hooligans at say, Scottish soccer games: what’s wrong with a little sectarian hatred? Why not call protestants Huns? Nothing wrong with some monkey chants for non-white players, right?”
I’m a pretty freaking liberal guy writing for a conservative site and this is a stupid basketball column so I’m not going to talk about politics, but can we settle down a little? The Daily column was horribly written but the writer was not trying to trivialize rape by sort of kind of apologizing for a chant a bunch of students directed at an alleged rapist on the other team.
I can understand thinking the chant was a bad idea because the player was acquitted by the Grand Jury and therefore we officially have no reason to think he did anything but get thrown under the bus, you might say, by Xavier, but that’s not what the comments were about. They were pissed that someone was making a rape joke, using the most expansive definition of “rape joke” there is. It’s kind of an odd position for commenters to take (if you think there’s any chance that Wells sexually assaulted someone), saying that shaming an alleged rapist is “trivializing rape,” but regardless we need to lay off the column writer who didn’t even really say he approved of the “joke.”
Anyway, this is the kind of school where a whole column (oh crap, now two columns!) would be written about something thirty people said in the student section at a basketball game, and I’m tired of it. But, Daily commenters, if you want to make the basketball atmosphere holier and cleaner, I hereby invite you and all right-minded, sensitive, good people to come on down to our next home basketball game, February 17th at 6:30, hosting Illinois. You can yell whatever cool stuff you want and basically it’s a ton of fun.
I’ll be at home watching Butler.