The fans in the Seattle Seahawks’ stadium have been labeled the “12th man” because of their decibel level and apparent ability to scream loud enough to change the outcome of a game. Hockey fans, in Oswego especially, are the loudest, raunchiest, rowdiest, most passionate fans on the planet (except maybe Brazilian soccer-those guys killed a ref for a bad call and I’m not kidding).
As such passionate and powerful fans, it is our job to acclimate the newest of our Oswego brethren into the crowd, and that is exactly what I’m here for.
Let’s begin with the pregame. You’re gonna get out of the shower blasting “Eye of the Tiger,” while slipping your Oswego hoodie/ jersey over your head. Putting on a little face paint never hurt either, and by a little, I mean I want you to give “Braveheart” a run for his money. Next, gather a group of friends, the more the merrier, and by merrier I mean a louder and more opposing force. If you are of legal drinking age, a few shots never hurt anyone before a game. So after you have killed the bottle of Jack, or a few Capri Suns for you freshmen, it’s time to head to the arena. Just make sure you have a designated driver. I’m all for fun, but not at the cost of breaking the law.
So you’re at the game and you can just taste it in the air. The hum of the compressors, the cool breeze from the refs as they take their warm-up lap, and the warm smell of soft pretzels with cheese-but I digress. Once you are in your seat, you must immediately stand up. Sitting is for the weak and we’re not about that here. You’ll hear the announcer roar, “Welcome to the ice your Oswego State Lakers,” and at this point it is up to you to break the sound barrier.
We are fans; it is our primary job to support our team, to let them know that we are there for them and we want a win as much as they do. After both teams take their warm-up laps, we must then pay respects to our neighbors to the north and the source of many of our student-athletes through the singing of the Canadian national anthem. I don’t care if you’re not Canadian. You shut up and sit there respectfully. After “Oh Canada” ends, we go into my second favorite part of the game: the unison singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” I swear to god if I see you in the stands and your hand isn’t over your heart belting this tune out, I will cast you away myself. I’m sorry I got a little carried away there, the song just really jazzes me up, you know?
Remember how I said our primary objective as fans was to support our team? Well, our second objective is to harass the other team until they are so demoralized about themselves that they question their own pathetic existence. The fun part is that here at Oswego State, we have a few of our own special chants to help with that. Let’s start with when the other team takes a penalty, which is bound to happen because let’s face it—we’re just quicker and stronger and the only way our opposition remotely thinks they can win is by being poor sports. When a penalty is assessed and the other player is skating to the box, the crowd must begin a unison scream as a precursor to what we are about to say. Once Johnny Highstick over there is comfortably in his cell, we then, in unison of course, belt out “See ya, sit down [expletive]!” This is to emasculate him because he is an unsportsman-like duster who still needs his dad to tie his skates.
After the verbal assault, we are right back to cheering our Lakers on for the power play. All the while, we are ready to get the house rocking when we put the biscuit in the basket (we score a goal).
When that puck does cross the goal line, it is then on to one of my favorite chants. Well, two actually. First, we all let the opposing goalie know that our opponents just got scored on due to his incompetence. As a crowd, we do this by simply chanting, “It’s all your fault, it’s all your fault.” This simple message can really get into the weak-minded goalie’s head and keep him off his game, not that he was ever really on it. In your game guide that you will receive upon entering the front door, you will find the names and numbers of all the players. You must figure out which goalie is starting that night and memorize his name, both first and last. The right side of the student section will primarily be yelling his first name while the left half will primarily be yelling his last. Got that? Right first, left last. When the puck goes in after we let him know that it’s all his fault, the crowd then chants the goalie’s first name three times followed by “you suck” and then again his last name three times followed by “you suck.”
With all that being said, I must reiterate that not only are we hockey fans, but we represent the proud educational establishment of Oswego State. This means that we are to behave as ladies and gentlemen with the courtesy and chivalry of a knight of the round table. We are to make our school proud with respectful school spirit loud enough to wake Sheldon himself. So remember, as Coach Ed Gosek says in all those commercials, “Be kind, be courteous, be respectful,” or something like that. Now go, my hockey fans, both new and old, and I shall see you in the stands.