A Different Stadium Environment
This past Saturday, I felt fortunate to be present for a truly historic event in Penn State history – an unprecedented 35 point rally to mark Coach Joe Paterno’s 400th victory. During the second half of the game, the energy in the stadium could only be described as electric – students, alumni, and all other Penn State fans realizing the history that was being witnessed.
However, throughout this season, and particularly in this most recent game, I’ve noticed a disappointing trend. Far too often, the stadium atmosphere, the cheers of the crowd, and the rallying sounds of the Penn State Marching Blue Band are being crushed beneath an overpowering wave of awful piped-in music and videos. During this most recent Penn State-Northwestern game, I counted no less than three separate offensive drives where stadium staff felt it necessary to play Usher’s “OMG” above the Blue Band, who were already laying down “Talkin’ Out the Side Of Ya Neck”.
I don’t pretend to know how stadium media works, and I’m sure it’s an immensely complex operation. Nevertheless, what could be more powerful than nearly 110,000 voices united in an impromptu “We Are” chant? The effect that this had towards the end of the Michigan game was positively chilling, the cheers punctuated only by perfect silence. I’m certain I’m not alone in feeling that a more organic stadium environment could go a long way for both the team and the experience as a whole, rather than the current deluge of repulsive electronic “Seven Nation Army” bits and overuse of “Zombie Nation”.
All this, however, is certainly not to detract from the efforts of the students and the team. I’m proud of the students who show up early, stay late, and are loud throughout. Congratulations, Coach Paterno, and team, on an excellent victory. You’ve certainly made my senior year a memorable one.