February 1, 2001

The Anaphorics Need a Lesson in Humility

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A house divided against itself, as Abraham Lincoln put it in 1858, cannot stand. Though he made that remark in reference to the dire consequences of an American Civil War, he could have just as well been describing the current predicament facing our very own Lynah Faithful.

Thanks to the pre-game antics of the so-called Cornell Anaphoric Society on Saturday night, the collective spirit of fans of the men’s hockey team — which has been one of Cornell’s trademarks — is now in jeopardy.

If you missed it, before the opening face-off of the St. Lawrence game, the Cornell Anaphoric Society dispersed flyers around Lynah, all of which chided the inappropriate behavior of portions of the crowd the previous night when Clarkson was in town.

The careless fans, according to the Society, were apparently guilty of becoming a little too cocky when the Red held a 2-0 lead against the Golden Knights with just a few minutes left in the game. They displayed their arrogance by prematurely whipping out their keys and calling for Clarkson to “warm up the bus.” What incensed the Society is that Clarkson abruptly struck a goal in the waning moments, just when some in the crowd were already christening Cornell “the winning team.”

Even if every word of the Society’s note has behind it a tinge of truth, the message is obscured by its unhealthy sense of elitism. What the society doesn’t seem to comprehend is that not everyone among the Faithful is a die-hard fan.

For better or worse, some attend games simply for the welcoming, rowdy atmosphere. Hell, some probably can’t even tell an offsides from an icing.

But in its clouded state of superiority, the Anaphoric Society has deluded itself into thinking it knows what’s best for the Faithful and it knows exactly how and when the Faithful should chant and cheer.

While the Society’s passion for hockey and love for the Red cannot be put in question, its misguided attempt to chastise the Faithful for an incorrect manner of supporting the team can only be construed as snobbish behavior that has no place among the Faithful.

Even if the society can recite hockey stats from 1957 without any trouble, even if it knows the birthdays and hometowns for every player who’s ever played for Mike Schafer ’86, and even if it has the means and desire to travel to depths of the Northeast for every away game, the Society has as much right to preach about how to be a good fan as does the athletic administration.

What the group apparently doesn’t realize is that there is no bible for Lynah cheers; there is no “Lynah Chants for Dummies” that a casual supporter can or should pick up in order to become a better fan.

What sets Lynah apart from any other atmosphere in college hockey isn’t the fact that cheers are strictly regimented and uniform. If anything, what brings Cornellians to the rink in droves on Friday and Saturday nights is its spontaneous, unruly, communal environment. People don’t go to Lynah, as Anaphoric Society member Jeffrey Anbinder ’94 would have you believe, to follow guidelines that specify when to start jangling your keys and when to request the other team to “Go start the bus.”

Lynah isn’t a class that has to follow a strict schedule. And the Anaphoric Society certainly isn’t the equivalent of professors, with enough wisdom and knowledge to be a able to teach the rest of us how to be “Faithful.”

Dammit, we all shell out $90 to get our paws on tickets. We all pay the same price. We all have the same affection and fondness for the hockey team. Why then should we not all be able to support the club in any which way we please. If that means people want to start jangling their car keys 10 minutes before the end of the game, then so be it. If that means people want to yell “safety school” every 10 seconds (even at Harvard or Princeton), then so be it. And if people want to go their own way, and cheer how they want to, more power to them.

Instead of criticizing other fans, the Anaphoric Society — especially since it touts itself as the upholder of Cornell tradition — has a responsibility to act as a bridge between the die-hard and the casual fans and to foster a more affable atmosphere in Lynah.

But if it can’t do accomplish that, if it persists in accentuating the negative, if it continues to espouse a holier-than-thou spirit, then I have only one thing to say to the Cornell Anaphoric Society:

On behalf of the Lynah Faithful who love the rink, the team, and the fans, I would like to dedicate every seat that is empty during the remainder of the home to games to you. Thank you Cornell Anaphoric Society for showing such little respect and regard for an institution that you profess to be an integral part of.

Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj