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January 11, 2012

After the craziness of Fraud Graham and yet another coaching search, I just didn’t have time to put drafts out there for the last couple challenges. Even this is a bit late, but it is a little better. This is once more, an open solicitation for suggestions before the final answer. I will keep mentioning and begging for your help as the Pitt rep for Volvo‘s Biggest Fan in the Big East contest. The contest is a mix of popularity  — so remember to go and vote for me in Volvo’s Biggest Fan in the Big East — and by winning challenges.

This challenge is a rather simple question, yet also a little vexing.

What are the best traditions for your alma mater and why?

This doesn’t simply apply to the school traditions. It is open to the little personal traditions, superstitions or neurosis that have developed over time.

Pitt is in its 225th year of existence. So much history. Yet, when it comes to “traditions.” I’m having a hard time coming up with some of things that really stick out for me.

And before any of you suggest it — even as a joke — singing Sweet Caroline before the start of the 4th quarter will not be on this list.

Those of you who frequent the basketball games at the Pete, especially associated with the Oakland Zoo might have a better sense of the best things done at the games. The Oakland Zoo, generally, is a great new tradition at Pitt. An organized active student section is one of the great things about attending Pitt basketball.

The Victory Lights on the Cathedral is probably one of my favorite Pitt traditions. Illuminating the top of the Cathedral in those golden lights after a win. The beacon in the Pittsburgh night.

The Stadium Bitch has been a classic tradition for Pitt fans. Sure it has evolved over the years. From complaints about the condition of Pitt Stadium, the lack of parking, traffic, no place to tailgate and having to walk up Cardiac Hill. Then to complaints about eliminating the on-campus stadium. To the present complaints of playing in the sterile, NFL stadium that is Heinz Field. The parking pass chaos. The one constant is that Pitt fans will complain about the football stadium situation.

Complaining, in general, is a great Pitt tradition. Noon games — complain. Weeknight games — complain. Students away on winter break — complain that the students are not showing up any longer for December games.  If there’s a problem — real or perceived — Pitt fans will let you know.

Among my friends, a tradition is that before at least one home game every year, we meet in Oakland. Not at our friend’s place in the Southside where we usually gather beforehand. Not right at Heinz Field or outside the Pete. Just meet at a spot in Oakland to walk. To wander the campus. Take in the memories. It can be so easy to just go in and back out. Even for the basketball games at the Pete. You fight through the traffic. Find your parking spot. Get into the Pete, then leave afterwards. Maybe at best stop somewhere before or after for a beer or a bite. But taking that extra time to actually walk around the campus. Especially with friends. That’s something else.

So what are your favorite traditions? Pitt or personal?

Changing gears. Courtesy of Volvo, I get to go to a Pitt home game on their dime. The choice before the season began was so obvious. The Louisville-Pitt game on Saturday, January 21. ESPN College GameDay on hand. 9pm game. Big game. Perfect choice. Sure, at the moment it has lost a little luster, but it should still be a great atmosphere and a close game.

Before the game, you can find me at Hemingway’s. Please come over and have a beer with me. I have had chances to meet some of you in football related events, but since it is a lot harder for me to make the b-ball games I rarely get to do anything on campus and with the basketball side.  I’ll also be giving away some Volvo stuff.

And it won’t just be me. The guy(s) from Pitt Script will be there. Most likely, so will Anson from Cardiac Hill.  And if you are a Pitt or Pittsburgh blogger who wants to join us, drop me an e-mail. Be great to have more of the bloggers and readers in the area gathering for a few drinks.

you forgot the bitch about the elimination of script Pitt .. even though that only goes back to the 70s.

My particular bitch is about the lack of stability in the FB program. I’m not saying we need a Paterno … but a Nehlen (20 years) would be pretty good.

Comment by wbb 01.11.12 @ 2:32 pm

Pitt’s most famous tradition is UNDERACHIEVING

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.11.12 @ 2:37 pm

Coach D, Since there has been so much underchievement, did you ever think that the problem may be that maybe the annual expectations / projections are too lofty and unreasonable?

Comment by wbb 01.11.12 @ 2:44 pm

How about the now defunct tradition of P E N N Penn State Sucks in The Victory Song! SHail to Pitt is a great saying/tradition by it self, along the lines of War Eagle/Roll Tide

Comment by 429Meyran 01.11.12 @ 2:48 pm

It’s because we’re so damn good at complaining. Other schools wish they could bitch and moan as well as we can.

Comment by Greg 01.11.12 @ 2:48 pm

seriously wbb, we have one national title since the 1930’s…lofty expectations??? I dont think so.

Maybe if you’re the Steelers or Yankees you have lofty expectations. Pitt hasn’t even managed a less than 3 loss sesason in football for 30 years…and we have one Final Four appearance in the 1950’s I believe when there was only like a 32 team field.

get real

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.11.12 @ 3:10 pm

Wasn’t there a tradition wayyyy back in the day @ bball games where students would toss fish onto the court to protest a bad call?

I always thought that would be a fun one for the Oakland Zoo to bring back :-p

In fact, I vaguely remember a game I was at maybe like….5 years ago, I dunno even who they were playing, when a fish was thrown into the court-side donor seats…Anyone else remember that one??

Comment by Navy_Panther 01.11.12 @ 3:11 pm

When you were allowed to throw streamers or toilet rolls onto the basketball court after the first points were scored. I just vaguely recall that. Maybe some of you older timers can confirm.

Or the standing up from the student section until Pitt scored the first bucket and then for those students who kept standing, having to endure the bitching from the adults sitting behind you to sit your asses down.

The long drunken walk up from the dorms or bars to a game at Pitt Stadium or the Fieldhouse is what I remember. The buzz from the 40 ‘o’ would typically be gone by halftime of the B-ball game.

And yes, Penn State Sucks!

Comment by TX Panther 01.11.12 @ 3:14 pm

Ah I stand corrected, our lone final four appearance was in 1941…my mistake. Me and my lofty expectations

Comment by Coach Ditka 01.11.12 @ 3:15 pm

Team entering the field between 2 lines of frat boys

Comment by steve 01.11.12 @ 3:17 pm

Panther Paul revving up the crowd was definitely a great tradition. He is no longer at games and I am not sure if he is alive, or whatever happened to him.

Comment by OntarioLett'sGoPitt 01.11.12 @ 3:17 pm

I believe Panther Paul passed away back in the 90’s but he was such a great character and entertainer. A far better cheerleader than anything Pitt had at the time.

Comment by TX Panther 01.11.12 @ 3:25 pm

Chas, your comment about our 225th anniv. intrigued me to look up, where do we stand in “oldest” amongst the Div 1., FBS, whatever you want to call it teams.

I believe we’re 3rd oldest university.

Univ. of Georgia
Univ. of Pittsburgh
Univ. of Tennessee
Univ. N. Carolina

There is some minutiae for you!!

P.S. I said FBS!!! I know that 7 of the Ivy’s , Bill & Mary, Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson college were before us.

Come to think of it, even with those ones, we’re like the 13th oldest university/college in the U.S.

Wonder why the university doesn’t promote that a little more.

Anyhow, your minutiae for the day!!!

Comment by Dan 01.11.12 @ 4:31 pm

I miss “Hornman” — a dude in our section at Pitt Stadium from the 70s to 90s (probably earlier and maybe beyond, I don’t know). He followed every Pitt football score by leading the crowd in chanting a count of each point with blasts from 2 airguns while wearing a different mask for each score. Don’t know his name, unlike Panther Paul, but he was just “Hornman”. This was back in the day where you didn’t really see a lot of costumes at games beyond the mascots.

It was also one of the few bright spots in attending games during the 3 win 1984 season under Foge Fazio.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 01.11.12 @ 4:35 pm

Panther Paul or Tiger Paul?

Comment by wbb 01.11.12 @ 4:56 pm

Tiger Paul, who led cheers at the old Field House in the early ’80s by running up and down the sidelines during timeouts, died in the early ’90s. The University stopped allowing him to do his routine when Pitt joined the Big East.

Panther Paul picked up the routine in the late ’80s/early ’90s, but since I had moved out of the city by that point, I really don’t have much memory of him. I don’t know if he is still alive.

Tangentially related, in looking this stuff up to make sure my memories were correct, I noted that the Crazy Dancing Lady (if you’ve been to the Peterson Center over the past several years, you know who I mean) just passed away a few days ago. Her name was Joyce Langston.

Comment by Pantherman13 01.11.12 @ 4:58 pm

@Ghost of Hornman, I remember him, my Dad and I sat in Section 36, mid-level, he was down a bit from us, maybe a different section over.

Am I right???

Comment by Dan 01.11.12 @ 5:14 pm

That sounds vaguely familiar. We were a section over – 37 or 38 I think). He’d pull out Nixon, gorilla, or zombie masks. The best were blowouts where his horns would get depleted (that ended by Majors II)

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 01.11.12 @ 10:33 pm

[…] for the input last week. It’s a simple question, yet also a little vexing to me. It didn’t help that my mood […]

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