Oxford English Dictionary defines tradition as, the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.
The Indiana Athletic Department has decided to add new game day traditions. While I applaud their effort to try and beef up the college football experience in Bloomington, the fact of the matter is that you cannot simply create traditions.
Which is essentially what Fred Glass and company are trying to do. This is like marketing a sandwich with words such as tasty or delicious in front of it. If that sandwich were truly either adjective the vendor would likely not have to mention it.
True traditions in college sports come organically; they are marching formations from the early 20th century like at Ohio State, or mascot entrances such as at Auburn. Signs put up in locker rooms long ago like the one in South Bend or new songs that are adopted by the student section as a means to celebrate the moment like at Camp Randall.
If one is going out of their way to “create tradition”, the likelihood of it being adopted as a custom that will be passed down as students graduate is rather minimal.
That does not mean that Indiana should sit on their hands and do nothing to improve the game day experience. The decision makers in the athletic department decided to let the fans in on what was going to be brand spankin’ new for the 2013 football season at and around Memorial Stadium.
Instead of having you delve into the 49 point “Football Gameday Experience Highlight Summary”, including when and what to cheer, I figured we could highlight some of the best and worst of the Gameday Manifesto.
Good: Technology Upgrades
Thankfully those old tube televisions with the casing around them that you could find on craigslist in the “free stuff” section are out and new flat screen TVs are in. Sure getting excited about flat screens makes me sound like I am on a 2002 episode of MTV Cribs, but it was a total eyesore without them. In addition cell service will be improved as a new antenna system is being installed.
Bad: Flash Mobs
Sure flash mobs were lovable when they first arrived a few years back, but lets be honest they have been played out. In addition the fact that there are “Thursday Flash Mob Rallies” basically ruins the entire idea as the whole point of a flash mob is spontaneity.
Good: Big Jake is Back
For those of you who don’t know what Big Jake is, shame on you. Actually hold that thought, shame on the Athletic Department for taking it away in the first place. Big Jake was and now once again is a cannon that will shoot off after the Hoosiers score. It’s less generic than fireworks, kids love it and it fires up the entire crowd.
Bad: No Spoiler Alerts
I don’t know about you guys, but when I enter a stadium for the first time for a given season I like to look around and see what new stuff is going on, most specifically on the video boards. Please don’t tell me what the video is going to be when the Hoosiers take the field or what type of pyrotechnics will be involved. I will not share such things with you as we here at Hoosier Huddle care about your experience and would never ruin that!
Good: More T-Shirt Guns
With the Hoosiers having just one t-shirt gun last year, they decided to up the ante in 2013. They didn’t just get a second one for the other side of Memorial Stadium; they quadrupled their arsenal and now have four weapons shooting out 100-percent cotton goodness. All right, this might sounds silly, but we have all been there. Sitting in the stands, acting all casual, but inside hoping the t-shirt gun comes over towards your section and you end up with that free souvenir. Sure it is likely to have a sponsor’s logo emblazoned and you will never wear it outside of yard work or going to bed, but let’s be honest there are very few things that get everyone excited. From those in the student section to the boosters shelling out thousands to be at the games. One such item happens to be a free t-shirt.
Bad: Performance Fan Giveaways
In theory these are great. I generally love them. However, IU dropped the ball again. Many schools partner with companies such as McDonalds to offer free fires when a team scores over a certain amount of points. Fans, most especially of the student variety, love FREE. Unfortunately, that memo has not reached the desk of the powers that be in Bloomington. Sure some discounts are theoretically better than none, however when the marks needed to make them happen are so over the top, you might as well just skip them. For discounts from Kilroy’s and Papa John’s the Hoosiers have to score 50 points. Last year with a rather dynamic offense Indiana averaged just 30.8 points per game and never reached the 50-point plateau. The Hoosier defense, far from being an elite unit, needs to achieve 8 defensive stops on the day for similar promotions. Don’t worry though! If both of those happen in the same game this year, you receive a free hot dog, at the next game! Sure that assumes that you as a fan are going to back-to-back games but at least it’s free, right?!