Every year I buy season’s tickets to the men’s basketball games, and reside in the nosebleed section, the faculty and staff seats where none of the rich fans would ever consider sitting. Tonight a better connected friend gave me his tickets, though, so I was within 12 rows of the court itself, at a much lower altitude. It was mostly nice to sit closer to the action, even though, sadly, my USC got beaten by that other USC. I could see aspects of the game I usually miss.
What was far less enjoyable was sitting next to the USC pep band. I’ve always thought the band did a lot better job of energizing the crowd than the pom pom shakers (a.k.a. the “Cockettes”), but whilst up in the nosebleeds I never heard, in an intelligible way, the specific nature of their chants and jeers. Tonight I learned that while the opposing team is introduced, the band turns its collective back and asks “Who’s she?” when every (male) player’s name is announced. And some members shout putative instructions like “punch her in the ovaries” after a foul, and accuse opposing players of having herpes and aids, and of being “dirty tampons” and “faggots” and of having female relatives who copulate with animals. When that other USC’s star player took foul shots some of the band members asked, “What prison did you get that tattoo in?” and when he sank balls in the basket, which he did with star player regularity, they shouted, “That still won’t bring daddy home.” To say it was completely sickening is quite the understatement. This is my eighth season of rabid Carolina basketball fandom and the disgusting behavior of the band isn’t the team’s fault, but sheesh, it made attending the game a lot less fun than it should have been. Up in the nosebleeds we heckle opposing players with pejoratives like “airball” and “butterfingers.” That’s where I’m spending the rest of the season.