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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Passionate Support

Inspired by this article from the Baltimore Sun: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/bal-sp.steele06mar06,0,4731434.column

For those of you who didnt' read, I'll summarize. Apparently, UMBC has put together a Code of Conduct of sorts for athletic support, some of the standard be loud and rowdy in support but refrain from profanity, personal attacks, etc. The author goes on to praise UMBC while spending equal (if not more) time lambasting the neanderthals down at College Park.

It's intriguing perhaps, but it shows you haven't been paying attention.

Admittedly, many only started paying attention since we've been winning lately. But take it from someone who was there in some of our darker days as well: We haven't always been the model citizens we apparently aspire to become. As a member of the pep band, we at times were as down and dirty as our name implies. There were giant posters of scantily clad men and women, streams of profanities hurled at refs and opposing players, the whole nine yards. We got technical fouls. We had to issue an apology to the athletic department at Sacred Heart University for some, um, less than sacred conduct during the conference tournament one year. And this, mind you, wasn't just students in the audience, this was the pep band, sanctioned and supported by UMBC Athletics. So before you go too far in the Dawg-praising, turtle-bashing, do a little research.

And I say all of this not to air the dirty laundry of my alma mater. On the contrary, while I may approach things a bit differently, I'm damn proud of those days. I think athletics in general and college athletics specifically toe a fine line between decency and passionate support. And given the choice of the two, I'm likely to air on the rowdier side. If, prior to this year, UMBC fans were a little more like Terps fans, I would have welcomed it, if it meant passionate support of our programs. And to be honest, I've never been one to shy away from an off-color fanbase. I remind you all that I do root for the Terps, and on top of that, I'm an Eagles fan. So yeah, a little fiery support of one's team is A-OK with me. Barring considerations of children within earshot, I say let 'er rip. They call it home court advantage for a reason.
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