Aug 282006
 
Authors: By JON PILSNER GUEST COLUMN

In a place so devoid of athletic tradition, the combined powers of the administration and athletic department have decided to wash their hands of any possible problems with sportsmanship or upset fans.

Fum’s Song won’t be encouraged anymore. The one-year tradition (isn’t that an oxymoron?) is finished, kaput, as extinct as its namesake.

A quote in the Collegian’s Monday story read: “You don’t change traditions, you build upon them.” It would seem most CSU traditions are straw houses built on top of a volcano. The volcano just burped.

Funerals have more tradition than CSU football games.

Fum’s Song = too negative. Excessive drinking in the parking lot = OK because students need some reason to come to football games. In fact, it seems the only thing guaranteed to happen at a CSU football game is students will be overly intoxicated before, during and after the game.

But why stop at just Fum’s Song? The witch-hunt for sportsmanship’s sake is far from over.

The CSU Fight Song encourages the Rams to “tear the opponent’s line asunder.” Perhaps we should change the lyrics to “knock the opponent over, then politely help pull him up after the play is done and give him a pat on the back for effort.”

And maybe a hug, too.

For good measure, let’s leave one end zone unpainted so opponents can paint their own logos in. When you come in to Hughes you just paint a little corner, like etching your name into the wood table at a favorite restaurant. It will make it feel like home for everybody.

The decision to ax Fum’s ditty from football games helps strike CSU athletics of tradition. Other than green, gold and booze, there isn’t much else the CSU football atmosphere – something separate from the performance of the team – is known for.

Why is tradition important? It gives an athletic program an identity beyond the strangely poetic quotes from its head football coach. It gives fans, students and alumni a way to connect back to CSU and the athletic department, which needs more alumni dollars to connect back.

Other colleges include traditions that surround their football program. Some are derogatory (Wisconsin students encourage freshmen to “Eat S***.”) and some are just good-natured in general (such as the entire Army-Navy game.) Regardless, traditions are almost as important as the football game itself.

That, not the opportunity to degrade our opponents, is what Fum’s Song really brought to CSU football.

But, that’s all moot. We can’t offend our opponents, we can only try to beat them (nicely).

Will Fum’s Song live on? Will students sing without the prompt of the scoreboard and athletic department? If you judge on how well students sing at the end of the CSU Fight Song, there isn’t much hope. (Ironically enough, a plaque with Fum’s Song on it sits in the entry of the Fum McGraw Center outside Moby Arena.)

Regardless, it won’t easily die, not yet at least. With efforts similar to Kyle Bell’s Facebook group, there probably will always be a minority who tries to associate CSU with some tradition.

So football fans, raise your beer, flask or whatever you’re drinkin’ from and sing along.

Jon Pilsner, a former Collegian writer and editor, is a senior technical journalism major.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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