Imagine for a minute Shaquille O’ Neal at the free-throw line about to shoot the game-tying free throws in Game 7 of the NBA Championships against the Chicago Bulls in the United Center. But after O’ Neal misses one of the two shots, Lakers coach Del Harris walks over to Bulls coach Phil Jackson and says he will never play in Chicago again because of its loud and hostile crowd.
That scenario will never happen, but one on a much smaller scale occurred Tuesday, March 24, in a volleyball match between the University of La Verne and San Diego State University in the Supertents.
After the Leopards defeated the Aztecs in five games, SDSU head coach Jack Henn informed ULV head coach Jack Coberly that the Aztecs would “never play here again.” Why? Henn said the fans were “very rude.”
OK, coach Henn, it is one thing to say the opposing team cheated or played dirty but to blame it on the fans? What a poor loser.
I understand the six guys, known as the “Rowdy Rooters,” may have been a distraction to your team, coach Henn, but is that not a part of home court advantage? Our gym can only hold a few hundred people, much less than yours, so the crowd noise cannot be too much of a problem. But we should still be allowed to cheer our team to victory, right?
“I think that little group of rooters do exhibit the spirit of support,” Jim Paschal, athletic director, said in last week’s Campus Times.
Coach Coberly also was positive about the situation, saying he “wants to encourage more people and those guys [the Rowdy Rooters] to come to the games and be positive fans.”
I was not in attendance that evening to hear what was said, so the “Rowdy Rooters” may have said some things which could have upset the SDSU players and/or coach Henn. However, these remarks are shouted in bigger arenas and gyms in other college athletic events but go unnoticed because of the size of the crowd and level of noise. So because we are a small school with smaller crowds, we should have a different definition of home court advantage?
If we want to continue to play SDSU under the Supertents, I guess we better have a new set of “Rooter regulations.”
Rule No. 1: No yelling. How can the opposition concentrate on the contest when there is constant chatter in their ears?
Rule No. 2: No shouting a person’s name on the other team. We would not want a person to become involved in a conversation during a turning point in any given match. So please save your conversations until the final out, point or buzzer is recorded.
Rule No. 3: If a person or group is getting too distracting, the gym will be cleared, so the remainder of the game can be played in silence.
Rule No. 4: No reporter will be allowed to cover matches ending with a loser. Obviously a team reading about its loss would become unhappy and lose focus about its next match. So, reporters are off limits until the coach gives the OK. Oh yeah, the reporter cannot ask questions about any negative situations or plays.
Rule No. 5 (this one is important): If the opposing coach feels his team has been treated rudely, he may inform the other coach that his team is never playing in that situation again. Remind you of someone? I will give you a hint: SDSU.
So, coach Henn, unless we have a drastic change in our ULV Supertents policy, you will have to either suck it up or go play beach volleyball, where only the sound of the ocean waves can be heard. But that might be a problem for your team, too.
Greg MacDonald, a sophomore journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.