The impetus for this post comes from the situation surrounding Marcus Smart and the incident at Texas Tech last weekend. But that's really just a starting point. And before I go too much further I want to make it clear that this isn't a hit piece on Texas Tech. Because really, every fan base has that guy. We'd like to think we don't. But we do. Having said that, is "a piece of crap" really the best we can do? As fans, couldn't we strive for something better?
As someone who works almost exclusively in the funny side of sports, I can tell you it's not easy. You have your hits and misses, and as you go along you see what works and what doesn't. I'm far from having perfected it. But I think I'm closer. The real trick is to know when not to say anything. That's the thing that is really at the heart of this path I'm going down today. Because it's okay to say or do nothing when the alternative is a bad joke or bad fan behavior.
The video above gets to the point in the first minute or so. But the idea of a school for hecklers and heckling needs to happen. It would solve a lot of the problems surrounding college sports and over-the-top hecklers. The possibilities of a national championship of heckling are too good to pass up. The really good ones can make you laugh at your own demise. It's not fair, but it's a beautiful art.
What's been going on with Smart this year is sad, and I have to imagine something more than basketball is getting to him. What I do know is that he could have gone pro last year if he wanted. This year can't do anything but hurt his draft status. What his situation has done, besides bring focus on his downside, is to shine a light on bad fan behavior. Cowboys Ride For Free has a great take on this situation that you should read. I'm going to stick with the fans side of things, however.
At WVU, we've made an effort to change the perception of our fans since joining the Big 12. For the most part, we've done a commendable job. Nothing is absolute, though, just like it isn't on every other campus in the country. Our pals at WRNL pointed out the Mountaineer Musings published in the DA for the Iowa State game. I have to agree with them that it is terribly unfunny. There's a part of me that gets mad that we go to all the trouble to put our best foot forward and would follow it up with something like this. If it's Pitt or Virginia Tech, then okay. They're jerks to us and deserve every bad thing that we say about them. But Iowa State, of all teams, doesn't deserve that. It's far more fun and funny to go with the Riot Ball theme and a rivalry void of hate. For that reason, I think it would be wise of the Maniacs and the DA to hold off on the Musings except for teams we have a real hate for. Our student section doesn't need it to be loud and intimidating. Seriously students, pat yourself on the back. For all the crap you get for not filling up your section in football, you are the crowd at basketball games. Chant air ball when appropriate. Give someone that just fouled out the left, right, left treatment. Boo Deandre Kane every time he touches the ball because of his association with Pittsburg and Marshall. But the rest of the Musings was just white noise.
Bad fan behavior shouldn't be tolerated and neither should bad hecklers and heckles. I realize that this is a pipe dream of epic proportions. That guy is still going to be that guy. But maybe some young Mountaineer in a creative writing class gets inspired to pen some chants that are clever and funny without digging into a players ancestry. Until then, maybe we could all use a timeout before saying something stupid. Remember, it's better to be quiet and be though of as a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it.