STATE COLLEGE, PA. - As a senior who's been attending football games at Penn State since high school, I've never witnessed such a rude and immature section of underclassmen.
This past weekend I ended up "sitting down a section" to keep my best friend and her younger sister company. I had no issues with sitting in the underclassmen section, I thought I'd be perfectly content no matter where I sat. As long as I was able to watch the game, I'd be happy.
Before the end of the first quarter I knew it was going to be a long and frustrating game. Not because the team was playing poorly, they were on top of everything, but because of who was sitting around us and how they were behaving.
I tried to excuse the fact that they weren't in sync with any of the cheers and chants because it was only their second game, but after standing and doing the same cheers and chants for an entire game, you'd think they'd catch on.
Not only were they off beat with the Blue Band and the upperclassmen, they spent so much time talking you could barely hear anything that was going on.
At half-time, during the Blue Band performance, we couldn't hear any of the songs being played because of all the shouting throughout the section. And the shouting didn't include cheering for the band, because absolutely no one was paying attention to them; it was shouts at cute girls, or shouts at friends, and even worse, using some minor profanity during the presentation of some '59 football players who were there to watch the game.
During this presentation, students in the underclassmen section began chanting at a few Syracuse fans who were sitting with them. While this chanting ensued for most of the '59 player presentation, a few of the seasoned players actually turned up from their spot on the field thinking that the students were chanting the profanity AT THEM!
All I could do was put my head in my hands to contain myself from yelling at the large group. I was thoroughly embarrassed, as were most of the upperclassmen. When looking over at where we should have been sitting, all students were sitting quietly, watching the band and then cheering for the players being presented. Some even shook their heads as the freshman became louder and louder with the obscene chants.
After leaving the game and talking to a few friends, we came to the conclusion that while they were freshman, they needed to understand when, and when not, to use certain chants against the opposing team. Obviously not during a half-time presentation when the whole stadium is being quiet and attentive to what's happening on the field, and probably not when we're playing a team like Syracuse!
It's one thing when we're playing Iowa, Ohio, or Michigan, and their fans are in our student section. But for a team like Syracuse, we really didn't need to be as enthusiastic. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have spirit, but we need to choose our battles.
Hopefully this weekend against Temple the underclassmen will be smarter when it comes to heckling the opposing fans. Better yet, I hope they can start clapping in time with the band. Maybe they'll figure out that if they pay attention to the game and not their buddies 50 seats over, they can actually hear the band to hold the correct beat.
We were rated the No. 1 student section in the nation, we should be upholding that title with Penn State pride!