Monday, December 04, 2006

I've never played war games. I think the only "war" movie I've ever seen in its entirety is Glory. I didn't even play Battleship as a kid. So it is safe to say that I am pretty much clueless about wars and battles. However, I can safely say that when troops go into battle, morale and support needs to be high. The attitude of victory needs to be apparent before the battle begins. This is the way I felt entering The Garden on Saturday. I attended the First Annual Big Apple Basketball Classic, a tournament of HBCUs showcasing their talent and school pride in the famed Madison Square Garden. The first game was Virginia Union versus Bowie State. The energy was high even though the stands were empty. The bands played; the cheerleaders shook their asses as only we do at black colleges. To say that Bowie state was slaughtered in the end would be a gross understatement. They lost by 41 points. Looking around the stands, each school's cheering section was pumped up almost without regard for what was happening on the court. The whole time I was thinking, "Oh mann! I can't wait for the second game!!" I was psyched. Hampton versus Howard. The Better HU versus The First HU. Rivals among rivals. I wasn't so excited about the game itself. Let's face it - when I was a student at Hampton, our basketball team wasn't known for their skills on the court; more for their antics off the court. However, I was ready to yell my school pride into the rafters of Madison Square Garden. I was teaching my non-Hampton, non-HBCU attending friends all of the cheers. I was ready. About ten minutes after the first game cleared the court, The Marching Pirates filed into the arena. They tuned up, ran their scales. We were ready for battle. Five minutes later, Howard's band filed in, horns announcing their entrance. Okay, we see you coming. About 2 minutes into the game, Howard's cheerleaders were up and cheering. After they were done, I looked over to Hampton's side to hear our cheerleaders respond. Ummmmmmmm, where are the cheerleaders???? No! You've got to be kidding me! No cheerleaders! No "pump it up, go 'head go 'head! Pump it up go 'head!"? No "shake it, shake it, SHAKE DEESE!"??? "Rock the blue and white!"????? Wait a minute! You've come into one of the largest regions of alumni, and large percentage of current students' home states and you leave the cheerleaders home??? Okay, okay, but that's alright because the band is gonna have me dancing in my seat, waving my blue and white pom poms, shaking my Hampton alum bootay! No such luck. I was almost embarrassed to claim my Home by the Sea. Not only were the cheerleaders absent, the band might as well not have been there. They played one song in the first half. Yesssss, ONE FREAKING SONG. It was so pathetic because Howard's band had just played the same damn song. Then at half-time, the announcer announces a halftime show. Howard's drum section comes out in the middle of the court comes out and gives an impressive but dry presentation. "And that ladies and gentlemen, concludes the half-time performance." WHATTT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!!!!! The band basically didn't play at all during the first half and then they had no half-time performance? I was disgusted to say the least. So now I had nothing to believe in but the team, who actually did very well in the first half. The score was tied at 41 with Hampton taking a slim lead throughout most of the game; Howard tied with a 3 point shot close to the end of the 1st half. So here is where my point of morale and support comes into play. Since it was non-existent, thanks to the absent cheerleaders and the should have been absent band, the players clearly didn't have the same drive they had during the first half. And the band did nothing to improve their spirits. They sat there holding their instruments, blending into the chairs. I was so tempted to get up from my seat, go over to the band section and slap some sense into somebody. Maybe that would have awaken them. But since I'm too pretty for jail, and I certainly would have been arrested in Madison Square Garden, I just simmered in my seat. My friends wondered where was all this school spirit I talked about throughout the first game. Which, by the way, just pissed me off even more. Needless to say, Hampton lost that night. Yeah they lost the game by 10. I also feel like they lost a lot of alum that night. We were all starved for that nostalgia - dancing with the band, cheering with the cheerleaders, yelling our school pride into the rafters - even if the team sucked (which I have to say, this was one of the best Hampton basketball teams I've seen). Reliving those days before family, bills, careers (not jobs) and responsibility. The team needed you as much as we did. Without your rhythmic guidance, the spirit died when you sat on your asses and no one waved a pom pom in a short skirt on the sideline. We got punked in the biggest, most famous arena you will ever play in. Thanks a lot Marching Pirates!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can only surmise that the band is suffering from a football season hangover, and they weren't on their game. but damn that was MSG, they should represented..the cheerleaders too. I should have gone to this