I made my first trip back to Mackey as an alum for the MSU game. I could talk about the game and our team, but something else stuck with me from that night. I sat in the Paint Crew and I must say it was not as pleasant as it was even last year with our unsuccessful squad. Here are some observations from my return home.
It started with the booing of the opposing team during introductions. Where did the classy "2-clap" go? It was a great tradition that showed how the Paint Crew is different than other student sections. Also... do we have to have a special cheer for EVERY player? Having a couple individualized cheers is really fun, but it should be something that players earn. It felt... contrived and forced. Also, many started booing Terone after missed FT's. Unacceptable, an athlete should have the students' support at ALL times. Finally... the cursing and insults thrown at refs and opposing players. It was mostly just a couple bad fans, but I feel like they would have been told to shut the hell up if they had exhibited such behavior a couple years ago. That's not what we are about.
I'm not sure if the Paint Crew leadership has taken a downturn or this is just the result of students who are disillusioned with our team, but I was surprised. The Paint Crew had a very "negative" feeling and it was kind of sad for me. In addition, I also thought that the "IU Sucks" chants that frequently and spontaneously erupted during the IU game were silly, they made us look surprised to be winning.
Maybe I'm just jaded, but it didn't feel as special. We might not always have a great team, but we can always have gracious, fanatical, loud, respectful fans.
Note: I think we are going to upset Michigan on Wednesday. BOILER UP.