November 2, 2000

A Silent Lynah Sucks

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Saturday at 7:00 p.m. officially marks the beginning of hockey season. In other words, Saturday all other sports on campus can fade into oblivion.

There’s no need to pontificate on how or why hockey season overshadows all other athletic endeavors. It’s obvious — it’s the only sport that sells out. So as all the fall sports finish up their respective campaigns, we Cornellians won’t care. We will be bundling up so we can stand on Lynah’s benches.

The hysteria began in mid-August. In order to create a more rabid fan base, the hockey ticket office reinstated the ticket line. About six weekends ago, the Lynah Faithful waited for days in line and abided by a convoluted list of rules to obtain coveted season tickets.

Last Friday, the hockey team’ senior tri-captains — Danny Powell, Larry Pierce and Andrew McNiven — took out a full page ad in the Sun. In it they say to the Lynah Faithful, “The only thing we are asking is that there is no profanity in the cheers.”

It’s heartening to learn that the hockey players think that their fans speak like drunken sailors. I guess that means that the tri-captains along with the rest of the team will also be curbing their language on the ice. The same 7-year-olds who “have to ask their parents what the ‘F word’ means” after hearing our cheers will also ask the same question about the expletives emanating from the players’ bench.

Knowing that the Sun’s ad would probably be disregarded or forgotten, the athletic department littered the stands with flyers expressing the new policy. A half-dozen trees were sacrificed to express the message: “Cornell is on notice that cheers using the ‘f-word’ and calling someone an ‘a-hole’ could penalize the team on the ice.”

In addition, an increased number of serious, shifty-eyed ushers patrolled the stands during the scrimmage against Waterloo last Saturday. They waved their fingers at profane fans, who were timidly testing the enforcers. No one was escorted out of Lynah, nor was the team penalized, but the crowd was eerily hushed.

The hockey office that depends on the fans’ undying support, that dissolved the ticket lottery system so that the die-hard fans (and line-cutters) would have first choice of seats, is limiting the cheers. It tried to assemble the most zealous fans, but at the same time denies those fans the qualities that classified them as zealous.

Hockey enthusiast and a member of a hockey discussion forum, Adriano “Age” Manocchia, is one of the people who became irritated when he discovered the new sanctions.

“I’ve been going to games since ’93 and they’ve been getting quieter each year,” he said.

He continued to recount a situation between an usher and a band member. The band member was severely chastised after chanting that the Waterloo goalie sucked. Even the harshest skeptic can accept that some of the Lynah cheers are crude for virgin ears, but suck is a G-rated word. It appears in Saturday morning cartoons, but our college audience is censored from enunciating it.

Well, Manocchia has a plan to make the hockey games a whole lot quieter. He and the hockey discussion forum are planning a silent protest and sit-down for the first period of the season opener against Sacred Heart. He will be handing out fliers in the tradition of athletic director Andy Noel at the game.

It is unfortunate that the athletic department expressed such blatant disregard for the Lynah Faithful. Opponents dread visiting the East Hill because of our notoriously rabid fans. There is no idea of how many games were decided by the sheer decibel level in Lynah. There is no idea how rattled visiting goalies become when they’re repeatedly told that they suck.

Besides, if parents don’t want to expose their children to vulgar language, they should not bring them to hockey games, R-rated movies or Eminem concerts. Show me one venue in sports that only uses clean language, and I’ll show you an empty stadium.

The whole controversy is just a bunch of bullshit- I can still say that, can’t I.

Archived article by Amanda Angel