Oh how I hate Ohio State
Ok folks, sorry for the long absence from the posting world. The last two home football games were just not worth writing about for much the same reason that they really weren’t worth UFR-ing—namely, basically everyone that was responsible for any student section maladies is now gone. Sure, yes, Brandon was gone, but not with enough time for anything really to change. At any event, I’ll eventually get around to some closing thoughts that might still be relevant come next year, but for this article we’re going to talk about a different student section, namely that of Yost.
I’ve had hockey season tickets for a number of years, and in that time, Yost has always been a wonderful, fantastic, electric atmosphere. There have, however, been some up and downs. The renovation was a mixed bag: brighter, cheerier motif, more room, I think the foot stomping is more effective; however, the top rows have bad visibility, and the student section is smaller. Some of the other “recent” changes:
- Moving the student section around the bend: New this year, the student section extends from about Section 19 (behind the home bench) to Section 14 (south wall next to the band). Generally speaking, this is bad. The student section used to extend along the entire east wall (minus the band). This means less raucous Yost-worthy fans near the other net, it also means that the student section is no longer contiguous (more on that later). The reasons are likely Brandonian: side seats can probably be sold for more than those behind the nets. The only benefit I’ve seen is that it makes it marginally easier to get the “GO” “BLUE” chant started by bouncing between 17 and 14 rather than across the ice.
- Too damn much music. Not much to add here, choir.
- Moving the opposing parents behind the visiting bench: This is the one I want to particularly deep dive into. This has been unequivocally the most detrimental to the fan experience at Yost since I’ve been there.
- Making the student section just plain smaller: If I had to guess, this is a money issue, but not the cost of hockey tickets. I believe this is a cost of football tickets issue. If football tickets are stretching the bank, other season tickets are the first thing to go. Hopefully we’ll see some rebound here next year.
Why the parents being there is so bad
Let’s revisit contiguity. The reason that Section 17 (the heart of the student section) is so great is because everyone is clumped together; they can feed off each other; they can exchange cheers, ideas, etc. Imagine trying to start the wave in the Big House if there were a section of OSU fans in between two parts of the student section. Yeah, that isn’t working. For the same reason that moving part of the student section to the other side of the band is bad, so is putting the opposing parents behind the visiting bench. Worse, the (albeit minimal) upside doesn’t exist because the split up sections face the same way. So now we essentially have a core student section that maxes out at a full Section 16 and 17, which is loud and proud, but fundamentally limited in size. Compare that to when I started going to hockey games, where for the big games you could expect to fill the whole east wall with people who were pretty into it.
Also there’s utilization. Even when we’re playing teams that are nearby like MSU or OSU the parent section is half empty and the students aren’t even allowed to sit in the periphery. That is a full-blown, fully mapped DMZ that you better keep stepping through and not stop. So now we have students that don’t fit in Section 17, stuck above row 10 in Section 18 and a bunch of needlessly empty seats below them. And for what? So these parents can have some elbow room to look at their sons’ backs? That’s the area they want to be filming—they want to show the crazy passion fans have in promo materials. And now they take a picture and it looks like the student section abruptly fades to empty silver bleachers. Great planning that is.
Finally, it is just a fundamentally bad idea that has actually led to altercations and fisticuffs in the stands. I would love to have been at the meeting where this was pitched.
“Alright team, what if we move the opposing parents into the student section?”
“Dave, that’s insane.”
“I regret to inform all of you that Phillip will no longer be working with us. Does anyone else have thoughts about the move?”
“Seeing none, meeting adjourned.”
But actually, what type of sane human being hears that and doesn’t immediate respond “that’s actually insane”? Since the move, I’ve seen mortified parents trying to shield their children from the “cya” cheer. I’ve seen a UMass-Lowell parent push a UM student down the stairs. And just this evening I watched an OSU parent come up and jab a student in the chest. Fortunately—I suppose—I was close enough to observe the whole incident. From what I could tell the “instigation”, if you want to call it that, was that the student observed (albeit quite loudly) that OSU’s goal to make it 5-2 UM with like 30 seconds left would have no bearing on the outcome of the game (I must admit, he did have a point). What baffled me though was that this parent was not immediately escorted from the building, nor even the section. Worse still, event staff got on this student’s case and threatened to kick him out of future games if there were any complaints (despite nearby students asserting that he hadn’t done anything wrong). To be fair, most of my experiences with event staff folks have been positive, but I’ve also had a number like this, where one event staffer can sour the whole experience for the fans, which is a real shame.
Now, were there other things said that may have irritated the opposing parents? Probably. It is the Yost student section after all. But, really, that’s the point. Yost is a great place because the fans, especially the students, are insane and make it a loud and intimidating place to play. Putting the opposing parents in the middle of the students is asking for trouble, and that request has been answered too many times. It’s time to undo this tragedy of basic judgment and move the parents somewhere else.
Last week's ESPN:
or the upcoming SI:
It had been discussed that the Fiesta Bowl might lose it's BCS status after a scandal that "included apparently illegal campaign contributions from staff and lavish spending by the former CEO on parties and a night at a strip club"
The Bowl has to pay $1 million in fines to a charity for Arizona youth and they fired the CEO and president John Junker. Great name.
It's never too early to start teaching kids right from wrong. My daughter, Aurora, already knows how she feels about Ohio State, at 4 1/2 months old...
I don't think that this is really that big of a deal anymore. Hopefully our players are worried about winning the game and executing and not about Justin Boren. This article makes it sound like the buckeyes are planning to protect Boren from cheap shots.