March 19, 2007

Choosing Sides

Filed under: Basketball,Fans,NCAA Tourney,Opponent(s) — Chas @ 2:25 pm

When I have some time — hopefully tomorrow — I’ll have my definitive Ben Howland-Pitt post up. It will be the usual mix of history and my own views on things. And yes, lots of links. The UCLA fans who are stopping by, will hopefully gain some context for the feelings towards Howland.

On the West Coast a UCLA student from Pittsburgh finally resolves his identity crisis.

Many would call it a futile attempt. How can I abandon a decade of Pitt fandom? Could I possibly lock myself in my room, here at UCLA, and root against the Bruins? Won’t I see some silver lining regardless of the outcome?

The doubters are wrong. After a moment of deliberation I came to an easy decision.

It’s UCLA: I am 100 percent behind the Bruins.

My memories of Pitt basketball are just that, memories. The love I have for the Bruins today easily overwhelms my history as a Panther supporter.

Now that I’ve committed, I’m desperate for a UCLA victory.

Good. UCLA is your school. They are your team. There should be no doubt. A little overwrought and angsty about it, but getting the angst out of the system is part of college.
I grew up in a Penn State house. Both parents. I was dressed in PSU gear as a child (any photographic evidence believed to be accidentally destroyed a couple years ago). Went to some games. Probably cheered for them, though I don’t recall. Doesn’t matter. The minute I chose to attend Pitt, I had my team and my school.

Was surfing around looking for some “expert” breakdowns of Thursday’s match-up – check out the TEAM STATS section on this link. Talk about two evenly matched teams.

link to

Comment by RyanSilverSpring 03.19.07 @ 2:43 pm

the key to a potential pitt victory lies with the big men…..they will all be bigger than their opponents and gray, kendall and sam have to play big…….graves has to man up afflalo with the intensity he’s been showing throughout the last 2 weeks and fields/ramon/benjamin have to be able to step in on collison and help out if graves gets some fouls…….this can be done……

Comment by Schoe 03.19.07 @ 2:51 pm

After reading that Pittsburgh native/UCLA student’s story about college sports fandom I decided to share my own with you guys.

I grew up initially a Pitt fan, then in 3rd grade I had a much older sister that went off to Penn State.

After a few years of confusion about who to root for (and after getting yelled at by my sister for sending a picture to her at State College of me dressed as a Pitt football player for 4th grade Halloween), I decided to go with Pitt 100% as a preteen.

It didn’t hurt that I spent a lot of my high school years kickin it in Oakland trying in vain to pick up college chicks haha.

In the end, my Dad and I wound up Pitt fans, and my sister and Mom wound up Penn State fans.

BUT, to complicate matters, I moved away and went to college at UNC. Now one might think “Hmmm… Tahheels B-ball or Pitt B-ball? Easy choice there!” But for whatever reason, even though I loved the school and the town, I could never bring myself to root for the teams at UNC.

Finally, I dropped out at Carolina and moved to Tampa to finish my degree at South Florida. This happened right after they entered the Big East… which incidentally is Pitt’s conference.

So even though I love the school (not so much the city of Tampa, which I really don’t care for that much) I still found myself using my student ID in November to get in free to the Pitt v. USF game dressed in Pitt gear. And I sat there and watched my boys get blasted by the USF Bulls.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that UCLA kid can suck nuts. Home (in this case Pittsburgh) ALWAYS comes first. Whatever town you find yourself getting educated in for four years comes second.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 03.19.07 @ 4:27 pm

One thing i could never stand was all those effing kids around campus wearing PSU stuff, especially at UPJ, if you like PSUck, GO THERE!

Comment by Kyle 03.19.07 @ 5:29 pm

Huh, see, for me it’s always been geographic location. I lived my entire life, pre-college, in Pittsburgh and completely on my own initiative (my parents never cared for college sports), I began following Pitt football and basketball.

Granted, the school I go to now (Northeastern University) is never really a threat to Pitt in much of anything, and so I do root for them to do well. But having grown up in a city whose sports teams I support until the day I die, there’s no changing teams based purely on four-year committment to a school.

I realize that college is a huge part of most people’s lives, but in my opinion it’s quite frankly a cop-out to change allegiances like that, especially if the school you attend just so happens to have a superior program.

I know I sound anal, but loyalty is a pretty big thing with me, particularly when it comes to sports.

Comment by Will 03.19.07 @ 5:53 pm

I agree Will.

I mean, if I didn’t turn my back on Pitt when I had a chance to root for the effing TARHEELS, that kid didn’t have to kick them to the curb for UCLA.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 03.19.07 @ 6:02 pm

Ok, I’m bored and procrastinating from doing actual school work, so I just found that kid’s email address who wrote that and emailed him my story about being a Pitt fan despite attending other colleges.

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my dad 03.19.07 @ 6:06 pm

Kyle, I had a good friend that went to upj and he was a huge psu fan – I never understood it, except for the fact that his whole family were psu fans. But when you choose to have the University of Pittsburgh printed on your degree I would think that says it all. I dont get it.

Anyway, I really hope Pitt sticks it to ucla and Howland

Comment by Rex 03.19.07 @ 6:15 pm

I went to Pitt.

I root for Pitt.

These UCLA morons are just Bandwagon fans. Ignore them. If they lived closer to Florida, or OSU, or UNC, they’d be on that wagon. No matter where they’re from or where they went to college. It’s pathetic.

Comment by Stuart 03.19.07 @ 6:53 pm

That article about the kid turning his back on Pitt is BS. I grew up a Pitt fan. When I was born my dad ran out and bought me Pitt baby clothes, and ive been dressing in Pitt ever since, even now that i live in SEC country. And i took a bunch of crap growing up for it, since Pitt was kind of crappy in the early 90s. I got my BS from Pitt, and even though i dont like the administration there, or even the entire city of pittsburgh, i will never, ever, root against the panthers. ill be getting my MS from UCF, and will cheer for the golden knights, but Pitt will always be #1. psu hats and shirts at pitt also pissed me off.

Comment by matt 03.19.07 @ 7:11 pm

See, this is what I’m saying. As much as I loathe all things Penn State, if someone was born and raised a Penn State fan, they should remain so for life, even if they for some reason choose to attend Pitt.

Choosing what college to attend is a very complicated and life-altering decision. It’s not one that should be taken lightly, so a lot of times people aren’t able to/choose not to attend the school with the sports teams they grew up cheering for, for many different reasons. I can’t fault people for still showing their colors just because they’re on a different campus. In fact, it should be lauded. I still proudly flaunt my Pitt gear even though I go to a D1 school in Boston, and I don’t own a single piece of Northeastern apparel that I didn’t get for free, and I sort of feel it should be the same for anyone who grew up on a certain team.

On the other hand, many people don’t follow college sports at all until they get to college, mainly because they didn’t really have a local D1 team growing up. They then become lifelong supporters of the school they end up attending, which is also fine in my book.

What is annoying to me, however, is when people go to a school, and all of a sudden decide they like that school’s sports teams solely because they’re good, like it appears Mr. UCLA here has done. Or else it’s solely because they’re following the herd. Either way, I think it’s weak, and I see it all the time living in Boston. People from all over the country who became “Red Sox fans” only because they’re better than the team where they came from.

Just one of my pet peeves, I’ll try to keep the ranting to a minimum from now on…we’re all on the same side here 🙂

Comment by Will 03.19.07 @ 8:01 pm

Holy crap, it just occurred to me that I went to high school with the kid who wrote that article. His older brother is one of my good friends, and a loyal Pitt devotee trapped in State College. I’ll have some words for him the next time I see him…

Comment by Will 03.19.07 @ 8:07 pm

My biggest gripe, I think, is with this line:

“I hope I made the right choice.”

It’s not a choice, and it’s certainly not a choice that should be predicated on whether the teams win or not. That’s NOT what being a sports fan is all about.

You don’t choose where you were born. Hell, you don’t choose where the people three generations ago in your family emigrated from, and people take absurd amounts of pride in their “nationality.” Sports are such community-tied things, I feel like if you like sports at all, where you were born automatically ties you to those teams.

Comment by Will 03.19.07 @ 8:12 pm

Obviously I disagree on the primacy of geography. I wasn’t just raised in a PSU household, but in the Eastern-middle of the state. Big PSU area. If the geography was so important, then this blog would be focused on something quite different.

I’m also capable of choosing my team and my school. I don’t see why geography has to matter. It can help — obviously. But when you commit to a school, just like what we expect from the players who sign a LOI and take the scholarship, there should be some expectation of loyalty to the school.

That’s why I had no problem with the kid going with UCLA. It’s his school.

Comment by Chas 03.19.07 @ 11:51 pm

That’s understandable, everyone has their own viewpoint about this, and it’s something people are never going to agree on, which is why I don’t want to make it into a big deal…just people expressing opinions, which is great.

I (and, I’m assuming, pretty much everyone who reads this site) am extremely glad you went with your college ties rather than the ones you had growing up.

But I personally would never ditch the teams I spent the greater portion of 18 years supporting for the teams in a city or school where I spend only a few short years.

Comment by Will 03.20.07 @ 12:11 am

I think that no matter what, the quality of one’s experience at X, Y, Z University has a profound impact on their post-grad support of the school and its programs.

I grew up in Philly. So aside from transitory interest in my parents’ alma maters — Temple ball specifically, Penn as an afterthought — NCAA sports didn’t touch pro football, basketball, baseball etc.

Last, I loathe everything Villanova despite practically growing up on the campus. So the path one follows to fandom is highly variable and IMO hardly worth the effort (or emotion) vested in argument.

Comment by Neil 03.20.07 @ 1:05 am

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