Monday, October 10, 2005

Smells Like School Spirit

Hey Gators, Hey Gators, Hey Gators,We just beat the hell out of you.
Rammer, jammer, yellowhammer,

give 'em hell Alabama

University of Alabama cheer used after victories

Before embarking on this piece, I should explain where I stand relative to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

I lived in Ohio for the first 33 years of my life. Therefore, I am a true-blue Ohio State Buckeyes fan. I moved to Alabama in 1984, and, to live in the state you must pass the entrance exam. First you must learn the proper use of “y'all” (not “you all”, you Northerners who learned all about the South from Bugs Bunny). If I am addressing one person, I say “you”; if addressing more than one person or describing a group, I say “y'all”. You don't say “y'all” to a single addressee.

Second, you must declare your allegiance to Alabama or Auburn. There is no middle ground here. Even graduates of in-state universities like Troy or Samford have to state their preference. It's like a blood ritual. At any rate, being a fan of the underdog, I chose Auburn.
I say all that so that you understand that I am an unbiased observer when I say that I'm disgusted that anyone would find offense with the cheer quoted at the top of the article. 

Honestly, is no one allowed to show a little spirit and joy after a big win?

I'm not against so-called “political correctness” when it comes to avoiding ethnic slurs or demeaning characterizations. After all, I am a weight-challenged Hungarian, who would prefer not to be called a fat bo-hunk, even in jest. Words like bo-hunk, polack, wop, yid, and spic belong in a linguistic trash can. They are used to be hurtful or insulting.
I am less in favor of the current trend (which is a return of a trend of a few years ago) to change team names that might maybe possibly have a faint chance of irritating some group. Years ago, Stanford changed their name from the Indians to the Cardinal. I'm not sure which Native Americans they were supposed to be hurting, but it was certainly a quiet group. Similarly, St. John's University decided that Red Men was demeaning. Frankly, it never occurred to me that it was a reference to Indians at all. After all, Syracuse is the Orangemen, so why couldn't St. John's be the Red Men?

Lately, though it's gotten ridiculous, with Marquette deciding that Warriors was offensive (to whom, the Golden State NBA team?). Then the NCAA decided to institutionalize this nonsense by declaring that offensive or aggressive team mascots had to be eliminated. 

Then they took on the Florida State Seminoles.

Unfortunately, the real Seminole Nation rather likes the FSU mascot. They were insulted that the NCAA would think that it was offensive. They made so much noise that the NCAA backed off. The administrators then decided to take on the Illinois Fighting IllIni. Unfortunately for the NCAA, there is no such tribe as the Illini, so there was no one to offend. Once again, they backed off.

Hey, NCAA, if it's aggressive mascots you want to get rid of, then how about the Fighting Irish? Sounds pretty pugnacious to me, and it stereotypes the Irish folks as violent folk. Or how about Brutus Buckeye? Aside from being a little creepy (a guy with a buckeye nut for a head), it represents a dangerous missile. Have you ever been hit with a buckeye nut? Let me tell you, it's no fun.

Now, though, there are folks, even within the University of Alabama, who think that the RammerJammer cheer is “unsportsmanlike”. Okay, I don't like showboating at the expense of another player; Terrell Owens and Deion Sanders give me hives. I agree with Tom Landry that a player scoring a touchdown should act like he'd been in the endzone before. But players demonstrating good sportsmanship is one thing. Fans letting out a good yell at the other team's expense is quite another.

We're not talking about throwing junk at the players or attacking the other side's fan buses. We're definitely not talking about soccer hooligans, who would rather trash the stadium than watch the game. We're not talking about people setting fire to police cars after a big win. We're talking about people belting out a cheer that says, “We whupped your butt!” And a good fan knows that if the tables are turned next time, the other team's fans have every right to give it right back to 'em.

(A small digression: RammerJammer is actually sung to the tune of Rock n' Roll part 2, the Gary Glitter song that's become a sports standard. How they cram all of that cheer into a song whose lyric consists of the word “Hey” shouted over and over is beyond me.)

Evidently, this cheer gets banned every few years, but fans are fans, and they love a great cheer. They love this one, even though part of it was swiped from the University of Mississippi (I don't know whether it's the rammer or the jammer).

Come on, Alabama bluenoses, let your cheerleaders and the real fans have some fun. And remember, in the cheer it's pronounced Alabamer. Hey, we can overlook some mangling to get a good rhyme.

No comments:

Post a Comment