Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tone it down a little

I'm afraid I'm turning in to the old man who yells at neighborhood kids for getting on his lawn, but Mr. Grumpypants here has a bit of a gripe.

I went to the WT-Grand Valley State game Saturday and it was a great atmosphere for a Division II game. More than 15,000 fans. Great weather. Defending national champs vs. an established Lone Star Conferenc elite team.

But, and this has been bothering me for two to three years now, it was marred by the the WWE-style public address philosophy of trying to fire up the crowd. It's nothing against PA announcer Chris Albracht, who I've known for a number of years, but probably against the WT game management philosophy.

The constant "I Can't Hear You!" and "Let's Make Some Noise!" and "Get On Your Feet, Buff Fans!" ought to be the responsibility of the cheerleaders, not the PA. As it is, it's just bush league. I'm sorry, but it is. It's unprofessional. It's cheesy. It's something that I think WT should be above.

On the one hand, you would hope that fans would be into the game enough to make noise on their own at the right time, when the on-field action would warrant it. If that's every third down, great. I would hope the local fans would be knowledgeable enough to make Kimbrough an intimidating and tough place to play on their own accord.

This is like the video scoreboards that say "Make Noise" and so you get a well-I-guess-we-better-clap-and-make-noise artificial kind of response. Like fans are too stupid or distracted not to make noise without being told to.

But beyond that, the whole thing reeks of amateurism and better left to the minor league baseball entertainment-for-the-sake-of-entertainment world.

Can you imagine a Division I public address announcer doing this? No way. The PA at Texas Tech doesn't have time since he has to get in about 150 commericals during the game. It's all he can do to get the down and distance in.

Wait, I slightly take that back. When Tech gets a first down, the PA will say, "That's a Red Raider..." and the crowd responds, ...first down." Pretty tame, actually. I've been to at least at half dozen Division I venues in the last decade or so and there's nothing approaching what WT allows.

NFL stadiums? Please. Even high schools, I don't think so. I've tried to think of any high school places that scream for the fans to make noise, and I haven't been to any.

Maybe it's just a Division II thing. I'm sure proponents of this will tell me, hey, you ought to go to ACU or Tarleton or wherever and they do the same thing. I don't know. I've not been at those places. But if they do, that doesn't mean WT should stoop to that level.

I just know that through voice reflection, a home team can get a sense of home field advantage by the PA without reverting to over-the-top cheerleading.

There were 15,063 fans at the game Saturday, and maybe 15,062 thought it was great. But I doubt it. I've heard enough complaints over the last couple of years to know I'm not alone.

Chris is a fine announcer, but things need to be toned down a bit. WT should be above this.

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