Columnists, Sports

HAYES: Disorganized Dog Pound needs leadership

As the esteemed glitter princess Kesha once said, “We r who we r.” Nowhere is this truer than Boston University, a school which cleverly markets itself with the slogan “Be You.”

Unfortunately, our student section at men’s hockey games seems to have taken these phrases to heart.

At the first round of the Beanpot on Monday night, nearly every member of the temporary Dog Pound at the TD Garden wanted to be their own student section. Some, especially the freshmen, didn’t know what to do or the basics of any of the chants. The upperclassmen, and the elder statesmen of the section, came across as disorganized, not prepared to stand behind the Terriers as they headed into battle with archrival BC.

Sure, a lot of people make the Beanpot their one hockey game of the season, and they don’t always know what to do and how to conduct themselves.

But part of the reason everything seemed to fall apart in the 306-308 sections of TD Garden balcony Monday night is probably the mediocre performance of the men’s hockey team this season. People haven’t been as energized to attend games before the Beanpot because, before the second period, it did not look like BU would ever have a chance to beat BC.

The Dog Pound is, in theory, like every other student section at every other athletically-inclined college and university in the country.

It is a group of fans who will, for a couple hours every week, figuratively die for their school. We don the scarlet and white, make our way over to Agganis Arena (or Nickerson Field, The Roof or Walter Brown Arena), and spend a little more than two hours acting like fools that have some sort of freaky need to scream at an athletic contest, with the idea that our screaming will actually have some impact on the game.

These are the basic tenets of fandom, and this is the basic structure of any student section.

In reality, the Dog Pound is a disorganized mess. There is no clear leader or leaders. There are a few upperclassmen who do the honorable dirty work of producing the Dirty Laundry List and leading the basic cheers. Beyond that, however, we find a sea of unorganized underclassmen, lost in even the most basic cheers and traditions, who barely seem to know for which team they should be rooting.

The Dog Pound needs to organize. Nearly every major student section has a handful of fanatic leaders who maintain a decent grasp on the impending actions of their domain. They approve and lead the cheers, maintain basic order and almost act as unofficial liaisons between the students and the administration. The Dog Pound needs a few people to take on those roles, becoming the kings of 108 and 118.

Another thing necessary to future Terrier Pride is the presence of some charismatic figures who obnoxiously display their love of BU – characters, really. People like Sasquatch, the hairy 40-something who occasionally rips off his shirt mid-game at Agganis. He needs to come more often, sporadically rally the troops and he needs more people to join him in being absolutely insane.

There are, however, a few things we shouldn’t do. While we should be a coherent group, we do not all need to wear shirts that are the color of human waste. And we do not need chants and cheers that are longer than a Lord of the Rings Director’s Cut. Basically, what I’m saying is we shouldn’t be like BC.

BC fans support a team that is a bottom feeder of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Literally, Wake Forest University has had more of an impact on that conference than BC has had, and the “Superfans” in Chestnut Hill are infuriated by this.

BC fans are motivated by their hate, trying to capitalize on it. That’s not how we should be. We should be motivated by our devotion to BU and Terrier Pride.

Hopefully, the Beanpot was a fluke. Hopefully, the new fans who showed up discovered what a joy can be found even in a 3-2 loss to the No. 1 team in the nation. Hopefully they learned a few more chants, and they want to come to more games and enjoy some real, not moral, victories. Hopefully.

When it comes to rooting for our sports teams, “being us” is important. The best fan bases have a unique identity that is nearly impossible to replicate.

The Dog Pound has potential to grow and expand. We just need true leadership to step in, teach the newbies the finer points and make sure the card-carrying residents don’t get out of hand.

2 Comments

  1. Hey Shep,

    I felt compelled to respond to this. I transferred from BU to BC as a sophomore in 2005, so I can speak knowledgeably about both programs, and I have to say I’m pretty offended by your comments toward the end, although I do wonder whether you appreciate the implicit irony in ranting about how another school is motivated only by hate – comments which are only tenuously related to your main point if at all, and are very transparently motivated by your own hatred for BC. But I digress. I actually went back to BC last weekend to attend both a basketball game and a hockey game with my old roommates, and I have to say your comments are way off base. The fanbase at the hockey game was both rabid and knowledgeable (sold out, too). The basketball fans were in a frenzy while BC was battling toward victory against Virginia Tech (more ACC bottom feeders!). The arena is still packed with pee-colored shirts for every big game. Our hockey team is totally dominant and the students appreciate it. This, I think, is an extension of the fact that BC students love our school. You can call us names and nitpick little flaws (school colors? seriously?) but BC kids love being Eagles. It’s a big part of the reason I left BU. Nobody cares about their school there.

    Also, in the midst of our bottom-feeding, we have reached the #3 ranking in basketball, #2 ranking in football, made the ACC Football Championship twice, the Sweet Sixteen once, produced a Pro-Bowl NFL quarterback, three NBA players, and a top ten defensive draft pick, all while capturing two of the last three national championships in hockey. But of course you knew that.

  2. Yes, BC fans are motivated primarily by our hate. That’s why we chant “f ’em up, BU sucks” regardless of who we’re playing.

    Oh wait.