Observations: From Happy Valley to Death Valley
As I mentioned last week, I traveled down to Baton Rouge, La. this past weekend, where I was lucky enough to sit in the LSU student section for their game against Kentucky. Here’s what I took away from my Saturday in Death Valley:
- In my opinion, Tiger Stadium has the perfect balance between music from the band and music from the speakers. Once the game began, the band dictated the vast majority of the music, with music rarely playing over the PA (and never between plays). The LSU band’s version of “All of the Lights“ had the entire student section dancing during a timeout, and they really drove the tempo and energy throughout the game. The Penn State Blue Band needs to be put (back) in that type of position. Period.
- Penn State and LSU have a few shared traditions, which include passing the mascot, singing along to “Hey Baby” (though LSU has accompanying hand movements), and doing The Wave. It was really funny to see how excited the student section got when they successfully started The Wave, though. Apparently it rarely catches on with the rest of the stadium.
- You may be familiar with the song “Neck”, which was adopted by the Penn State Blue Band last season. Well, LSU’s Golden Band from Tigerland plays it too. However, a big difference exists when the LSU student section sings something much more…graphic…than the “Heyooo, let’s go State!” than we sing. Needless to say I couldn’t help myself from laughing whenever that was played.
- It was a breath of fresh air not being bombarded by graphics encouraging fans to make noise. LSU showed them at times, but the video board usually just showed the action on the field.
- The video they play right before kickoff is nothing short of badass. I couldn’t help but laugh when the narrator said “The chance is rain is…” and the entire stadium responded with “never!” Safe to say you will “never!” hear that in Happy Valley.
- It was really cool to hear the entire crowd clapping their hands during the “Callin’ Baton Rouge” video. PA country artists, if you’re out there, write a song about Happy Valley!
- In case you didn’t know, LSU has a real, live tiger mascot named Mike (and I went to visit him!). They put him in a cage before the game, wheel him around the sidelines, then place him directly next to the visiting team’s tunnel. If LSU can have a real big cat as a mascot, why can’t we?
- I loved the songs/chants and accompanying dances that occur between each and every down for the entire duration of the game. They are all led by the band, and every student appeared to know them and participate, even when the game got out of hand. Here’s what they do after first downs and after third downs, for example. I’d love to see Penn State do more of this.
- The LSU Tiger Girls Dance Team was nowhere to be found. Score one for the Lionettes. They did, however, have the Golden Girls.
- What I noticed most about the crowd at Tiger Stadium is how every fan seems to know and participate in most of the cheers. Often times at Beaver Stadium, it feels like the student section is the only active part of the stadium.
- LSU fans are damn proud of the fact that Death Valley is one of the most intimidating places to place in the country, and they’re a big reason why it is. I wish I saw that type of intensity coming from the Penn State fan base. Then again, when you consider the results on the field, I see why it doesn’t.
My Beaver Stadium observations return next week after Penn State’s Big Ten opener against Iowa this Saturday. If you want to see the pictures from my LSU trip, which include photos from Tiger Stadium (student section and suites) as well as LSU’s campus, baseball stadium, and basketball arena, you can find them right here!