At some point over the course of the 2002 football season, the Syracuse University Marching Band effectively stopped playing SU’s rousing fight song during games.
Instead, it seemed, the band only played the fight song prior to the start of the game, as the football team spilled out from the locker room tunnel and onto the turf.
Surprisingly, few people cared.
After each touchdown, instead of playing ‘Down the Field,’ the band played another song: Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Part 2,’ a nationwide sports arena staple for years.
The student section clearly appreciated the change. Before long, the students had created lyrics for the otherwise wordless tune: ‘Fuck ’em up, fuck ’em up, go SU/We’re gonna kick the shit outta you.’
It wasn’t inherently clever, but the students took pride in it.
After a big play, they would scream for the band to ‘play the hey song.’ T-shirt makers used it in a slogan for the Notre Dame football game at the end of last football season, with merchandise reading, ‘We’re gonna kick the luck outta you.’ Students even developed an arm-swinging dance to accompany the lauded cheer.
The now-infamous chant was simple at best, but chock full of SU pride and added much-needed flavor to the Dome.
Two football seasons and a basketball championship later, though, it was gone.
On Nov. 20, 2003, just before the start of the SU men’s basketball team’s regular season, former Chancellor Kenneth ‘Buzz’ Shaw instituted a ban on what was perhaps the greatest cheer in SU sports history.
Apparently, during the men’s basketball team’s tournament triumphs, the NCAA complained to SU athletic director Jake Crouthamel about the vulgarity of the chant’s lyrics. So Crouthamel and the powers that be agreed to change it, pumping in a watered-down cheer over the Dome’s loudspeakers to drone out the student cheer: ‘Bust ’em up, rough ’em up, go SU/You can’t deny the orange and blue.’
When the new words induced more laughter than pride, Shaw and Crouthamel decided to ban the song in its entirety, forbidding the Pride of the Orange and the Sour Sitrus Society from performing it at games.
‘It’s disrespectful and has no place in sportsmanship,’ Crouthamel said at the time.
Disrespectful? Maybe. But out of place in sports? Certainly not.
Vulgar cheers shouted in collegiate arenas throughout the nation easily trump the Dome’s first steps toward becoming a hostile arena in which to play sports. At University of Michigan hockey games, students shout a succession of ‘chump, dick, wuss, douchebag, asshole, prick, cheater, bitch’ at opposing players sent to the penalty box. At University of Wisconsin football games, ‘Shoot him like a horse!’ chants chastise players from the opposing team who have fallen to injury.
Instead of being chastised for their candor, though, these students are praised for their passion and allegiance to their teams. Syracuse fans who still try to keep the chant alive sans musical accompaniment from the band should be treated with equal honor.
Yeah, they may look idiotic in their constant efforts to restart the chant in the student section, but these traditionalists have a point. If SU fans are to be proud of the supposedly storied atmosphere in the Dome, they have no choice but to keep trying, because the chant keeps the crowd excited.
With some persistence, though, the jumbled waving of arms in the student section might again move back and forth in unison. And then who knows? Maybe then they’ll kick the shit out of you.
Published on October 19, 2004 at 12:00 pm