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A Fanbase, United: The Syracuse Cheering Conundrum

We have the potential to be a great fanbase. First and foremost, we need to become more unified. Here's where my thought process has been...

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I've been thinking about this awhile, ever since I finished my first year in the SUMB as a sophomore in the fall of 2012: there seems to be a huge disconnect between regular Syracuse Orange fans, the student section and the spirit squads during football season. I think it has to do with location. With basketball season, everyone is seated much closer together, so it's easier to sync up with certain cheers and such. But, during football season, the student section is spread out across the home sideline from sections 102 to 104 and bleeds into the corner sections of the endzone, but the corner sections never truly fill up. The cheerleaders are along the sideline sections, and for one half, the dance team cheering toward the corner sections. The marching band is dead-center behind the goalposts in section 108. That's issue number one

The second issue is that there is never a real pep rally that everyone can attend -- right before a game or any other time, really -- to re-teach any of the cheers to the student section and other fans. The closest thing to it that we have is "Home to the Dome" which is for freshmen and their RAs. That's only one-fifth of the student body, and not many freshmen go to every single football game. This means that if cheers have been changed at all, the only fans who will know them are the freshmen who go to the games, with only the cheerleaders and dance team to help.

For example, two years ago, when Scott Shafer became the head football coach, the team shortened the length that of the first down and touchdown cheers. Instead of dragging out the spelling of "Syracuse," they wanted it to have no spaces in-between the letters. For those that have no idea what I'm talking about, the cheer used to be like this: the band would play a snippet of the fight song, followed by

"S!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"Y!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"R!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"A!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"C!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"U!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"S!" *clap* *clap* *clap*

"Eeeeeeeee!" with the appropriate arm/hand motions (likened to spelling out "YMCA" -- no sanctions-related pun intended)

Now, it's "S-Y-R-A-C-U-S-E, GO!" still with the same arm/hand motions. With the touchdown cheer, the band plays the "Ol' Syracuse, go fight and win!" part of the fight song followed by chanting "We want more!" The problem was that the rest of the student section seemed super confused during the first game that season. It took a while for more people to catch on, and some just were not having any of the whole "change" thing.

How are we going to try and compete with schools like Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, where everyone knows what's going on, if more than half of the student section (let alone the other fans) don't know the cheers? Also, "LET'S GO OR-ANGE" can get a bit boring and annoying after awhile, as most can attest to.

The other thing that gets me is that the new cheers are pretty darn simple, and not that drastic of a change. I think the aforementioned pep rally idea could be used to set everything straight -- even the smaller things to do during the other stand-tunes, like "Dragnat" aka the song played after the defense makes a stop on third down, or the "Go SU" song. And, it needs to be an annual pep rally, made into something that people would want to attend, not groan at the thought of. Maybe we could try to promote the Quad Show, go over the cheers and such then, so that the band doesn't have ANOTHER thing that they have to do, and they could lead the student section and other fans to Gate E.

Having a more unified fanbase could create a much better gameday atmosphere and maybe make more people want to attend games. I know I'm pretty optimistic, but I really think we could someday get to that next level of fandom. One can dream, too, I guess.

What are your thoughts, TNIAAM readers? How can we get a majority of the fanbase to attend some sort of pep rally to go over the cheers? (and then maybe, later on, we start incorporating some new, better things too) Leave suggestions in the comments below.

And, for the love of all things good, G'Orange!