November 16, 2010

How to Be a Good Citizen of Newman Nation

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Let’s face it: if you’re an undergrad, a stellar men’s basketball team is all you’ve ever known, and why should this year be any different? While the coaches may have changed and there are some new players in the mix, Newman Nation can be more powerful than ever. Last year said it all, Cornell is a basketball school, and as such, it has to have a crazy and devoted crowd.

Today, Cornell hosts Delaware for the season home-opener, and the team will also be raising the Sweet 16 banner earned last year. It’s an historic event and you don’t want to miss it, so here’s my guide to being a good citizen of Newman Nation developed over my three years of fandom before I graduated last year (in the interest of full disclosure, I have to note that I’m dating a former player, but I was a fan for two years before we ever met):

1. Jump/stay on the bandwagon. At big sports schools, alumni can visit year after year and expect to hear the same songs and chants at games. While this has never been true of Cornell basketball, I’d like to hope that if I come to a game later in the year or next year, I can find the same atmosphere that makes home games at Cornell so special.

2. Get loud. Newman Arena may be small, but with 4,473 screaming fans it can also be loud and intimidating to the other team. (Not to mention that you’re pretty much guaranteed a great seat). Learn the chants and traditions that turn a few thousand random Cornellians into one. It may be corny, but yelling “We’re gonna beat the heck outta you! Rough ‘em up, rough ‘em, go C.U.!” (or a slightly more vulgar version) gave me a sense of Cornell spirit that is hard to come by during prelim season when campus is overrun with snow.

3. Learn the players. After four years of growling “Louuuuuu” or yelling “Foote! Foote! Foote!” it is time to come up with some new chants. Junior guard and tri-captain Chris Wroblewski’s nickname Ski is fun to shout, as is “Take it to the Max!” when senior guard Max Groebe drills a 3. At a game last year at Harvard, students passed out a sheet with the players’ info on it. While that may be a little dorky (especially when accompanied by blown-up head shots of Jeremy Lin), the fact that the crowd was all on the same page made for a very rowdy game.

4. Learn the competition. Depending on which poll you look at, Harvard, Penn and Princeton are supposed to be top Ivy teams this year. At Cornell, this should translate into extra loud and peppy games. Cornellians are traditionally proud of not going to Harvard. Prove it.

5. Travel. Never found a reason to visit your friend at Dartmouth? How about heading up to New Hampshire in time to see your school kick your friend’s school’s butt? Cornell has games at Binghamton and Syracuse in the next few weeks, as well as one at Columbia to kick-off Ivy play during Winter Break. If hundreds of Kentucky fans could make the schlep up to the Carrier Dome last March, you can drive an hour to support Cornell. Just leave out the “Safety School” chant — the numbers are not in your favor out there.

6. Duck Fuke. That’s right, when it comes to the ACC, you’re a Boston College fan now. Coaches Steve Donahue, Nat Graham and Woody Kampmann did great things for Cornell, and even though they are in Boston now, they are still part of Cornell. Same goes for Coaches Zach Spiker and Kevin App at Army.

7. Be proud. Wrestling and women’s hockey were ranked No. 1 in preseason polls. Men’s hockey and lacrosse are national powerhouses. While the men’s basketball team may not have gotten the same preseason buzz, they’re still going to have a great season. You already know you go to a sports school, so now it’s time to act like it. Go Big Red!

Original Author: Jasmine Marcus