The lights come on in Gill Gym and suddenly, the court comes to life. Shoes squeak on the floor, tall men in green and gold pass by in a flash, and fans shout out in celebration or dismay.
This past season, many students, parents and faculty witnessed the cry of Green Terror fans at the men’s basketball games each week. Fans of McDaniel College have been known to stand up in the crowd not to cheer for their team, but to make rude comments to the opposing players. The question must be raised: what exactly is considered team spirit? What kinds of support go too far?
Paul Moyer, Head of McDaniel Athletics, has his own opinion of the situation. “If you are out there on the court, and there are people yelling, ‘Hey number thirteen, you suck!’ what are you going to do? You’re going to work harder to prove them wrong.”
The words said by the fans towards the other teams may not be meant as personal or supposed to be emotionally harmful in any way, but are used, rather, as a mechanism the fans believe could potentially make the other team blunder.
Moyer explains the detrimental effect of negative comments and yelling, saying, “I believe that it actually does a disservice to our athletes.”
The bleachers aren’t filled solely by students and faculty. Some of the most vocal fans at the games are the cheerleaders. The cheerleaders, covered in green and gold, cheer for the defense while men and women behind them yell at the opposing team.
Junior cheerleader Elizabeth Petty says, “You kind of have to ignore it because you have to be sportsmanlike as a cheerleader and cheer for both teams even though you want to bash on the other team.”
After hearing fans’ language during the game, Petty agrees with Moyer, saying, “Anytime you bash someone, it just makes them want to do better to beat the other team.”
“Fans will always get out of hand,” says Moyer, “but all we can do it stop it once we see it.”
Campus Safety is now being called in along with a few Westminster P.D. officers to monitor the games and to keep the fans “in check.”
Campo won’t scare away the fans, but some of the more vocal fans might eventually not be allowed to attend the games at all. Is bashing the other team really worth losing that privilege? Maybe, in the future, we should focus on cheering for the Green Terror’s successes — not just at basketball games but at all athletic events.