The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday January 29th

A Formula for Basketball Victory

I am not a sportswriter. And only at parties do I claim to be one.

Furthermore, I know that we have a great sports department at The Daily Tar Heel - so I try not to write about sports.

However, in light of all things sport going on around UNC lately, I guess I can mention a few things that I have had on my mind.

"These are the times that try men's souls." Thomas Paine said that during the Revolutionary War.

But if he were alive today, he would have probably said that about UNC athletics right now.

To add insult to injury, the DTH reported Tuesday that someone stole Antawn Jamison's jersey from the Smith Center (like it will fit you, Herb Sendek!) - not to mention did something unthinkable in the center of our court.

So with basketball season starting up and the new risers coming in, perhaps we can start thinking about revamping out support for the men's basketball team.

I sat down with Carolina Athletic Association President Tee Pruitt, and we talked about some of these ideas and some ways to modernize our support for basketball in the Smith Center.

UNC has some great traditions and some really great songs.

But when basketball season comes around, our spirit and tradition sort of devolves into half of the Dean Dome saying "Tar" and the other half saying "Heels."

That's true; we are the Tar Heels. But I just wonder where that gets us during a game.

With the new risers in place, Tee thinks that now, for the first time, "We can get everyone on the same page."

That is, we can have some cohesive chants and cheers that we can tailor to whoever we are playing that day, not to mention tailored to our own players.

In addition, Tee also says that now signs are allowed into the Dean Dome. (Nothing huge - no billboards, but a sign.)

Michael Songer, CAA Cabinet member, put it well when he said, "More than anything, teams fear the great players we have every year. But now we can make the Dean Dome into a great home court advantage. Students can really give our team a big lift by being loud the entire game."

In no way am I saying we become a cheesy version of the already cheesy Duke.

When they cheer at games, you can feel the arrogance pumping through the air. (It is like listening to Metallica.)

So here is the plan: Get into the other team's head.

Remember Virginia?

They beat us at home last year.

Worse than that, remember the intentional hanging on the rim they did right as time ran out?

Not classy.

And that is the thing we need to combat. Just so happens that Virginia lost to the exhibition team the London Leopards.

That's right, the London Leopards: Britain's middle-of-the-pack semi-pro team.

I think that is grounds for dismissal from the ACC - and it is certainly something we can remind them of.

Our next home game is against Kentucky.

That's where we need to get this plan started. Everyone needs to be on board, from the cymbal section in the band, to the guy who wears the clown wig in Carolina Fever, to the Ceiling Fans. Everyone needs to give this a shot.

Get online and go to www.unc.edu/caa, the Carolina Athletic Association's Web site, sign up to be on their listserv (yeah listserv, use it - don't abuse it) and they will distribute the cheers.

We need a couple of cheers that will really get to Kentucky.

For example, this is the first year that Kentucky has not been in the Top 25.

Do you think they like to be reminded of this? Probably not. So why don't we say, "Top 28! Top 28!"

C'mon, they lost to Penn St.

Penn St.!

So why don't we chant, "Nittany Lions, Nittany Lions?"

Or who is Kentucky's chief rival?

Louisville.

Does someone know one of their cheers?

Surely, someone from that coal depot of a state called Kentucky knows a Louisville cheer.

Or when Saul Smith (whose father is their head coach) gets the ball, we can chant, "Thanks Dad (clap, clap), Thanks Dad."

Send your cheers in, let's hear them.

What we need is to aggregate these cheers, compile them in a list, and we will redistribute the "greatest hits" before the game.

This is as a good way to throw them off their game as any. And it will give us a true home court advantage.

In the middle of this excitement, let's not get carried away, though.

The "wine and cheese" set is not necessarily an insult. I think it is possible to be classy and still get into their heads like the Beastie Boys.

There is an old labor song that says, "Early to bed, early to rise, fight like hell and organize."

Now is the first time since the days of Carmichael that there is a chance to reclaim that loud feeling.

Let's try to do something with it.

E-mail your cheers for now and for later (especially for Duke and our archrival Marquette) to William McKinney (wmckinne@email.unc.edu), a sophomore history and political science major from Greenville, S.C., whose roommate, incidentally, thinks Joe Monaco is the best columnist "by far."


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