Prison-Style Fight: Students vs. Alumni


We're alums. We're old. We're even cranky. But probably not quite cranky enough to boycott the games because of rowdy students. Molly O'Halloran's delicate sensibilities were "sickened" by the students of her beloved Purdue. She doesn't specify, but one can only imagine she's referring to the "First down.... BITCH" chant that has, unfortunately, become popular in Ross-Ade.

And this is one of those funny cases where we can honestly come down on both sides here. Let's start with dear Molly.

Molly, first off, take it easy. You were a student once. And I bet you said -- and did -- some things that, were we to tell you children about them, you might turn shades of Hoosier red. Maybe not, maybe you were an angel. But not everyone is and if college-age students want to use a semi-curse word in a football stadium, well, I'd have to say there are worse things that could be going on.

Second, I think we're about the same age. And I love this line from Molly's letter:

"I was a student at Purdue in the early ’90s. The team was not good. Student attendance was low but we went to every game regardless because of our support of the team."

Student attendance was low but the students went because they supported the team! Wait, what? I'm no physics major, but that doesn't seem to compute. I kid, of course, but I think Molly let her anger get in the way. I also take umbrage with this part:

"We sold our tickets to the other games because I will not subject my children to the students’ behavior. The football games are not about you the students. It is about tradition, alumni support, John Purdue club members and the players on the field. The team can play without you, the Purdue University student."

Well, Molly, that's just plain ridiculous. I understand that you're angry (and boy, is she angry, since she heard these foul-mouthed hooligans at the Toledo game back in early September and despite the intervening seven weeks, she's still frothing!) but to suggest the team doesn't need the students is, um, a bit short-sighted, to be polite.

Has it occurred to you, Miss Molly, that the team is made up of, um....students?

Also, as an alum, you're most likely seated absolutely nowhere near the students. I know that I can barely ever make out what's being chanted at games, so I doubt your kids can, either. And if they're not ready for the words they might learn at a football stadium, well, I guess they're not ready to go there yet. But let me tell you something else -- those words and phrases are not much different from what they're likely already hearing on the playground at recess. I know, shocking.

And lastly to Molly, Purdue athletics -- despite what the form letters from Morgan Burke, Danny Hope and Matt Painter may lead you to believe -- are most decidedly not about "John Purdue club members." If we had to rank things and who the athletic teams are "about," I would have to say the students are at the very top (you know, since they go there and all), while the significance of John Purdue club membership is somewhere near the same value as my dog wearing a Purdue bandanna. Yes, the financial support is nice, but when Danny Hope was gushing about the support the team receives and who "deserved" the upset the most, who did he repeatedly call out specifically?

Yes, the students.

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Okay, counterpoint time.


All that said, the students actually should class it up a little bit.

We love that you guys are there at the games. We love seeing you screaming, posing, crowd-surfing, hoisting the "P" that's been there for many years, etc. But let's be honest: the "BITCH" part of the first down chant is kind of lousy. And sad. And it reflects poorly on you. And us.

We're all Boilermakers and that's an awesome feeling, especially on days like two Saturdays ago. But when you turn a fairly original chant (that already irritated other teams and fans, which we all loved) into something that sounds kind of classless, well, you're not only cheapening the chant, you're cheapening yourselves.

Don't misunderstand -- we fully support antagonizing opposing teams and their fans. Especially OSU fans wearing mid-90s era Starter jackets, Notre Dame fans who have no affiliation whatsoever the to school and IU fans who respond to football blowouts by mentioning their dusty basketball championship banners. What we can't really get behind is including misogynistic undertones to the cheers you do.

We're not here to tell you what to do. And we won't stop coming to games unless you beat us up. But remember, as cliched as it is, you're a Purdue student and you're not only representing yourself when you're visible or audible -- you're representing the entire Purdue family. Do us proud.

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