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The Rise of Otto's Army

The first time I was ever "published" was in the Daily Orange. It was senior year and I was annoyed with the lack of excitement my fellow students were putting out there for the football team. We were coming off at least a share of the Big East title for the last three years but it was year one of A.D. (After Donovan) and things weren't looking good. Still, I argued that this was the time our guys needed us more than ever and if you're not going to come to the games and cheer, don't bother. If you're not going to stay until the outcome is without doubt, don't come. If you're going to get seats in row A and then spend the whole game looking around or talking to your friend (as there was always a group of girls who did this), do everyone a favor and flush those tickets down the toilet instead of coming.

I was an impassioned little tyke. What the hell happened?

Anyone who says that SU students aren't fickle and fairweather...well...I hate to break it to anyone on campus from 1996 to 2000 but we were. Sure there was a solid core of fans who lived and died with Etan, Tebucky, Casey, Donovan and the rest of the squads. But to deny that a large part of the student population wasn't apathetic, especially once the good times stopped rolling, would be ignorant. There were quite a few times I got myself in trouble at basketball games yelling at my fellow students to get excited or start screaming.

I probably should have been wearing pants at the time but that's neither here nor there.

As such, it warms the cockles of my heart to read about Otto's Army in the Daily Orange today. Created as a way to organize student and fan interest in Gerry McNamara's last home basketball game, the Army has become the de facto campus organization for school spirit and gametime organization.

"Otto's Army needed to be created just because there needed to be some more focused way that students could get there requests across," Megan Dilks, Otto's Army lacrosse chair, said. "We needed a little bit more organized means of expressing our opinions expressing what we wanted to happened at the Dome."

I love that there is a lacrosse chair. I wonder who got stuck with the baseball chair. Poor guy.

The Army is on the prowl, working with the athletic department for motivational ways to get the crowd going during games and keep them excited in the off-season. One such idea was handing out T-shirts during the Georgetown game, which went much smoother than the last time I remember the Carrier Dome handing out T-shirts for fans. We all showed up at a football game and were handed white t-shirts (a promotional tie-in, of course) and asked to wear them to show support. For the Orange. White T-shirts. To support a team dressed in orange. Ooookay.

So what's the most pressing item on the agenda for Otto's Army? How bout getting students to attend lacrosse game? It's a noble cause and it sounds like they're moving in the right direction. Their efforts are being derailed though by the worst lacrosse season since 1982, so we can't hold it against them if student attendance isn't high this year. Alas, I don't foresee it being a viable accomplishment though.

You may have read my little experience that sums up how most students feel about lacrosse ("Is that the one with net on the stick? I saw that on the TV once.") If you didn't play it and you're not passionate about it, lacrosse just doesn't translate. We've been raised on meat and potatoes when it comes to our sports. Give us football, basketball, baseball and a little hockey but everything else is just something rich kids do. That's our subconscious motto as a nation of sports fans unfortunately.

Don't get me wrong, SU will support its lacrosse team (when its not beating us up at house parties). I salute Otto's Army for getting a student section together (desperately needed) but I hope expectations can be tempered. At least until we're #1 again. Alright...keep expectations tempered then as well...