First off, I love the discussion that's been flowing following J's take on the 1-2-3-4, FIRST DOWN, uhhhhhh something debate...love the points being made. I'm positive that the 1-2-3-4 First Down chant dates back to well-before '04. In fact, the seeds of it go back to just a hand motion that was there when Brees was kicking arse for our Boilers. My older brother noticed it in '00- the entire student section, in unison, making the first down motion following the band's lead.
I don't think we heard the 1-2-3-4, at least in mass-numbers for a few seasons. But, I love this Purdue tradition, minus the newish ending...it's extremely impressive in a full stadium. Plus, it simply infuriates the opposing fans- always a good thing. I've heard poor attempts to mock it by nearly every group of fans who visit. They mock it because it's grating. And it's even more grating when the offense is humming along a la the Brees or Orton-led teams.
While I think the student tickets should be free and first-come, first-serve, we all know they're not right now. Some thought the tickets were free before Tiller- not the case. In fact, I just looked at my student ticket from '93- $54 for the season. It was a punch ticket w/ 6 games...every game we had to present an idea and the ticket and they'd punch it. Kinda archaic, especially when you compare it to the fancy-pants scanners being used by these whipper-snappers at the gates! (that was all for effect, by the way).
Do it for the kids
If enough students want the "bitch" stuff to stop, it will. Until then, it will keep going. The old people won't do anything about except "bitch". I guess I'm one of those, in this case. I've got a three year old who's already thoroughly-brainwashed as a Boiler fan. He can't understand much of what's going on around him- from people dressed like Santa Clause and barely able to stand to yelling "bitch" at the end of cheers, I'd rather not have him exposed to these things...But, I do want him to share my love for gameday...He already does like it.
I asked him last week if he was a Purdue fan...he said, "I'm a big Purdue football fan..." He continued, "and I like Chris Kramer too." He met Kramer earlier this season after a football game and it had an impact...but he hasn't yet been to Mackey for a Purdue game. The fact that it's so crowded and he can't run around in the stands makes it a bit less-ideal. Hopefully in a year or two, when his sister is up and at 'em, we'll have the same problem at Ross-Ade.
Not all bad
Let's all remember, not all alums are like the people that tell me to shut up at games or guarantee their boycott of the events via the Exponent...Most are good fans, but the "bitches" ruin it for everyone. If you sit near one, let 'em know that you're not going anywhere...don't taunt them, but firmly remind them that you paid for your ticket too and have the right to cheer just as they have the right to sit on their fat arses and do nothing.
But, make sure not to do anything that will get you kicked out of the stadium- a ton of cursing, personal attacks on other fans and throwing stuff will only be allowed in the student section...and even then, I've seen people kicked out for going too far with that.
One of my favorite new traditions, started by some alums in section 119 started a few seasons ago. Back when my family and I all sat in 119...a block of 8 tickets...everytime our Boilers scored, a couple of guys a few rows below us would throw various Little Debbie treats to those behind them. It was pretty enjoyable...problem was, in '07 and '08, they were throwing less-and-less snack cakes as the once-powerful Boiler offense had been reduced to a sputtering shell of its once-powerful self. This year, it looks like things might be moving back in the right direction...and those faithful fellows in 119 can toss some Twinkies and Oatmeal Creme Pies, yet again.
See, not all alums are lousy fans.
The Refs Deserve it (and get paid, no less)
Now, in my opinion, it's kind of our job to make the opponent's fans feel unwelcome by drowning out their cheers with sheer numbers. I'm not saying throw things at opposing fans...are cursing at them like the ladies of Wisconsin do. But I can't stand when our band plays their fight song...and I hate it when RA is converted into Columbus West. Much of that is the fault of people simply not buying tickets...but the other part is fans not being vociferous in their support of their Boilers. So be loud...make homefield advantage a true advantage. There's no reason opposing fans should ever leave RA feeling like it's their home- it's not.
But, I've never been a fan of booing anyone (except the refs), except maybe opposing player or coach who is dirty. If a guy goes all Zach Reckman on a Boiler, that might be a good place to boo a player...opposing player, mind you. Or if a coach is acting like King Charlie and demanding the officials stay on the field and respect his authority, that could be a good place to boo an opposing coach. But, booing Purdue players and coaches is not ever good. Even if you don't like the play-calling and you're booing a paid state employee like Hope or Tiller, you're killing the morale of the players...And speaking of killing morale, what good does it do to ever say a Purdue player "sucks". The kids that bleed for the program, later in their life, limp for the program while earning a scholarship shouldn't be crushed by the fans, in my opinion. There are bad guys on teams, even Purdue teams (I know, shocker), but unless they're demanding to be given their transfer papers, ruining the locker room or giving the Purdue students the finger (yes, these all happened), don't bail on them! They're still Boilers, yo.
Agree to Disagree
There are a ton of perspectives on the culture of sports...and not everyone can be as wise and erudite as J and I (sarcasm, by the way)...but we all know things can be better at Ross Ade and Mackey arena...it all starts with the students setting the tone. A mother of a student section can create an environment in a venue that makes it a hard place to play...and eventually, those students become alums. And hopefully, those alums don't loser their collective satchels as they become 5, 10, 20-year alums.
But, all college sporting events are absolutely about the students...from the players on the field, to the student section, to the band, to the cheerleaders...it's about the people who attend the university.