There's nothing lamer than when a sports team or school "fan-splains" how fans should cheer during games. Especially when those cheers are generic hokum that don't really accomplish anything or stand out from anything that other teams do. Thankfully, Syracuse University doesn't do stuff like that. For better or worse, we've got our traditions set and-
*reads e-mail from Syracuse titled "Syracuse Game Day: Spirit Updates"*
So, SU wants to encourage Syracuse Orange fans to do three specific things during Friday's game against the Louisville Cardinals. We might as well see what's what.
The First Down 44 Salute
The ’44 Salute’ starts with the band playing a few notes of the Fight Song followed by all fans chanting ‘Go’ and ‘Cuse’ while holding up four fingers twice to show the ‘44’.
I mean, all things considered, it's fine. If we could officially trade in the 3rd Down key jingle (which literally 50 other schools do) for this, I think it's a good trade.
Down The Field after Touchdowns
You’ll notice a heavy emphasis on the fight song this year. Fight songs and college football go hand-in-hand and nothing beats the Syracuse University Marching Band’s rendition of "Down the Field".
After every touchdown, our band will play a verse, the fans will sing a verse and the band will finish by playing a verse.
Asking fans to do anything immediately following touchdown is like asking a toddler an SAT question. You know you're not going to get a coherent response, right? Not to mention, if you want fans to commit to something, you gotta make it SIMPLE. Asking fans to learn the words to the fight song and then remember those words during a game in which they're drinking and focused on the touchdown their team just scored is never going to work. Especially when those words include "Rah Rah Rah." It's too much.
Even the video that's supposed to teach you the lyrics to the song doesn't even want to sing them.
The Sound Wave
The Sound Wave is a unique cheer that Syracuse is introducing to college football!
In the second quarter, the cheer team will lead the Sound Wave, which takes the fan favorite ‘the wave’ to a new level with fan support. We want the Loud House rocking in order to help the Orange to a strong finish in the first half.
"The fan favorite 'the wave'? My blood is boiling. Make sure Brent Axe doesn't see this.
The Sound Wave will begin in the student section and carry throughout the stadium twice.
Fans are encouraged to make as much noise as possible as the wave approaches – yelling "go" or just cheering – to make the Loud House LOUD!
After two times around, the Block S flag will be carried to midfield to carry the momentum into a "Let’s Go Orange" chant.
Okay. So. I don't want to get into the logistics but let's just say that the online feed that I was watching the Syracuse - Colgate game on didn't have commercials and showed me a live look at the Dome during that time. Don't ask, don't tell. Anyway, I was watching when they tried The Sound Wave during that game and the camera was focused on a section of grizzled, salt of the earth Syracuse fans looking on in bewilderment as the stadium tried to get this thing going. From what I could see, no one cared.
Chris Carlson, who was actually at the game, seemed to see the same thing I did.
Most of Syracuse's efforts to engage the fanbase were good. One was not. Syracuse attempted to create something called the "Syracuse Sound Wave." In it, a cheerleader would circle the field with a flag and fans would yell "Go" when he reached their section. It went worse than it sounds.
I think what's so frustrating about something like The Sound Wave is that there are millions of fun ideas you can do to engage the crowd and incentivize them to be active. Asking them to do a cheer they don't care about during a commercial break when nothing is happening doesn't really accomplish anything. I'd rather you try to pull this off while the game is happening, or right before a kickoff. At least then you're getting people when they actually want to cheer and there's actual value in it. This is just hokey filler.
If it were me, I'd consider coming up with unique cheers for fans to do during the actual game itself. Look to soccer for inspiration. Encourage the student section to bring more signs or do coordinated cheers that they organize themselves. I hate to be so cliche as to say think outside the box but, for once, think outside the box. Pom-poms and corny cheers are so basic. Let's do better. Let's be innovative, even for something as silly as this.