I'm sure all of you loyal readers out there know my opinion that the majority of Pitt fans are bad fans. I think most of you who read this site are in the minority of what I consider to be "good" fans. We have fans who will drive over 250 miles to each game just to see the Panthers play. We also have fans who live less than 30 minutes away but refuse to come to the game if it is on TV. I'm sure there are other schools out there with this same problem, but it is an issue that I have many problems with because I am so passionate about Pitt. I can't justify not going to a game unless there is something significantly important going on. My sister got married on Sept 1, 2007, the same day we played Eastern Michigan. The wedding was at 3 but I found the time to be in the wedding, be in all of the family photos, and be in my seat for the game 45 minutes before kickoff. The game wasn't in Pittsburgh, it was an hour north in Butler County. Some people might think that it is ridiculous that I would place such importance on a college football team, but that's just who I am, and that is what other passionate college football fans are.
The main point of this rant stems from the bus ride I had from outside the union down to Heinz Field on wednesday for the game. I have always been one of the first people at the gates for all of the games in the last 6 years with the exception being EMU. I had a meeting with some of higher ups in the academic side of things at Pitt. The meeting was scheduled for 4-4:30, but ran over till 5. I thought I would be in good shape to catch a bus down to the stadium and with the two previous games being awful, there shouldn't be too many students waiting. So as a 71A drove by me at the corner of 5th and Bigelow without stopping (F the Pat bus system), I decided to take one of the school buses that Pitt provides to the game. I got on the bus and luckily found an open seat. This is where my problems began.
There were some kids sitting in the front of the bus who are the type of people I wish represented all fans. They know about the program and stay updated like all good fans should. Now I was stuck in the middle of the bus surrounded by freshmen. I wasn't the biggest Pitt fan when I was a freshman, but I at least wasn't completely in the dark when it came to the team. These people around me were so proud that they were finally going to a game before halftime. These kids were painting their faces to match the blue and gold E-S-P-N they had written on their chest. The others in the group were talking about how great their signs were and how they were definitely going to get on ESPN. The kid sitting next to me mentioned to a girl that she should write "19" on her cheeks. Her response was quite naturally "Who is number 19?". The conversation then moved to how the day's edition of the Pitt News reported that Matt Cavanaugh said we were going to open up the offense. They all seemed like the coaching staff came up with that idea on tuesday night around 11:30 pm and that no one else had any idea this game plan change was coming.
As I'm sitting in this crowd of idiots, I have a bag with some Cat Basket shirts for my friends as well as a folder containing our SuperShady sign (which made it on ESPN even though we didn't care if it did or not, HA!) as well as tape in the folder since the A-Hole security guards won't let you bring in tape to the game. I also had a few study guides and notes that I had made because I had 2 exams and a presentation the following day. The guy next to me asked if I was bringing homework to the game. I told him it was a Shady sign as well as some study materials for my exams the next day. He told me that "It was gay that I brought work to the game with me". I had to explain to him how I have been doing this since 2001 and that I was going to this game regardless of when it was, who was airing it, and didn't care if it was Navy, Notre Dame, or IUP that we were playing. He seemed puzzled by the fact that I wasn't going to the game because it was an ESPN game. Luckily, he understood that I thought that him and all his friends were a joke and I hope he knows I think that it is people like him that are the reason our fan base sucks.
Our students love to party. Pitt can drink with the best of them and our students love getting blackout drunk thursday-saturday. We also love football tailgates because it is an acceptable reason to drink on a saturday afternoon. The one thing that can change it all though has been ruining football and basketball games at Pitt for as long as I can remember. ESPN brings out the worst in our fans. The damn fair weather fans love being on TV and really don't give a shit about the team or the game, all they care about is getting on tv.
I hate writing things like this because I know we have a good base of fans and students. It is just a shame that outside of the passionate fans, everyone else falls into one of two groups, the group that doesn't care and will never go to Pitt athletic events. The second group is the group that only wants to get on TV and will someday be the people refusing to go to the game because it is on TV. I really get frustrated with the fact that all these idiots have to do is let go of the fact that we are on TV. Just come to the game and support your school. If you don't know much about the team, don't pretend that you do. Show up before kickoff. You can still tailgate for 5 hours before kickoff so there is no excuse for saying, I can't go in before kickoff, I need to get my drink on.
I hope our new AD schedules opponents who are the least attractive for TV games. Not because I want to screw over those who can't come to the game. I want to screw over those who can come to the game, but would rather watch it on TV instead of being a good fan and showing up.
We currently have bad fans and the students now are only keeping that tradition alive. Hopefully winning can change that, but at this point I really doubt that it will.
To all of you "good" fans and supportive students, keep coming to the game, keep showing your enthusiasm. You are the foundation of what should be a great fan base, but is not right now. When someone tells you to be quiet or to sit down at the game, just ignore them and tell them if it bothers them so much to go home. Stand strong, while we aren't the minority, we are more powerful than they are.
~ The One and Only ~