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The Torch: Freshman Guide to Being a SuperFan

Many of your greatest memories will be formed and then forgotten at BC Athletics events.  Decades from now, when we’ve all graduated and people have stopped painting “YOLO” on the windows of the dorms, we will still return to our gorgeous Boston College campus on game days and celebrate everything our fair alma mater stands for.  By which I mean drink lots of Bud Light and heckle Notre Dame fans.

But that’s something to worry about way down the road.  Right now?  Study this SuperFan 101 cheat sheet to hit the ground running.  Unless you have absolutely no interest in things like “friends,” “a social life,” and “victory.”

SUPERFAN SLOGANS

On September 1st, September 8th, September 29th, October 27th, November 10th and November 17th, every undergrad at BC will be decked out in the bright yellow SuperFan tee, because “For Here All Are One” (and it makes the student section look wicked badass).  Every class has its own slogan on the back of its SuperFan tee:

Seniors: Honoring the Legacy.  Pursuing Greatness.  The Sesquicentennial Class of 2013. (Editor’s Note: This is the only class to ever have its year of graduation printed on the t-shirt, and the last class to have its SuperFan tees printed without the Under Armour logo.)

Juniors: Ignite the Heights with Spirit and Truth.

Sophomores: Building Character.  Becoming Champions.

Freshmen: Many Hearts, One Tradition.

For those of you looking to use football games to network with the upperclassmen, plan accordingly. Now, onto how to be all the SuperFan you can be at the three most popular sporting events on campus:

FOOTBALL

History: BC football dates back almost as far as the university itself, but BC football didn’t become “BC Football” until the year 1984, when a little quarterback named Doug Flutie threw the greatest pass in the history of all sports, won the Heisman Trophy, and spawned something called “The Flutie Effect” (which basically says that if Doug Flutie hadn’t made the Eagles so good, you probably never would have applied to BC).

In the mid-90’s, the program was involved in a humiliating gambling scandal, but over the course of the 2000’s, restored its credibility.  The peak was the 2007 season, when current Atlanta Falcons starting QB Matt Ryan had BC ranked #2 in the nation eight games into the season.

Current outlook: Everything you need to know about the team’s past three seasons can be found in this article.

Biggest rival: Informed college football fans will know the different implications of the Miami game as opposed to the Maine game, but the only time the stadium atmosphere is tangibly different is when BC plays Notre Dame.  The rivalry stems from the Eagles and the Fighting Irish being the only teams from Catholic universities competing at the highest level of college football.  The game is known as “the Holy War,” and chances are you will leave campus in four years with at least one student-designed t-shirt commemorating the rivalry.  This year, Notre Dame comes to Chestnut Hill on November 10th.  Even if you absolutely hate football, DO NOT MISS IT.

Cheers

They probably taught you some of these at orientation, but believe us, they taught you far less than you need to know.  There are several “We are… BC!”’s per game, but nobody ever does “Eagles on the Warpath.” Don’t ever try it unless you want everyone around you knowing you’re an ignorant freshman.

Kickoffs: When either team gets ready to kick off, raise your hands and wiggle your fingers at the kicker while yelling “WHOA!”  As the kicker approaches the ball, increase the volume and pitch of your screaming until the moment of contact.  Then, yell “Fiesta!”

First downs: Whenever BC secures a fresh set of downs, the band will play a few bars from “For Boston,” and the crowd will respond with “Eagles. First down!” and point towards the direction that BC is headed.   A few years ago, some people started yelling “bitch” at the end, and it started a huge thing on campus.  Before you consider doing it, just remember: don’t be that guy.

Thunderclap: Your first thunderclap will be the moment you fall head over heels in love with BC football.  When the Eagles are on defense, on third and fourth downs, the band will play Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana.  On the cymbal crashes, raise your right hand vertically while clapping it with your left on the way up.  Hold it there, then repeat on the next cymbal crash.  After the last one, start screaming like hell.

Touchdowns: When the Eagles score (whether a touchdown, field goal or safety, but we’ll be optimistic and assume touchdown in this explanation), the band plays “For Boston.”  If you don’t know the lyrics, learn them ASAP!  The crowd then starts slowly counting up the score, then repeats it as quickly as possible (“1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7. 1234567!”).  As this counting is going on, a few groups of your more adventurous peers will toss one of their smaller friends in the air along with the counting.  PLEASE do not try this at your first game, as there is nothing that makes a worst first impression than dropping that cutie from down the hall, causing her to hit her head on a metal bench.  Remember, you came to college to learn!

End game: Win or lose, at the end of every game, the band will play “For Boston” one last time, and then the team members will approach the student section, remove their helmets, and sing the lesser-known “Alma Mater,” the words of which nobody knows but everyone pretends to.  This also happens at hockey games, but for some reason, not basketball.

BASKETBALL

History: The BC basketball team lacks the storied past of the football and hockey programs.  Like football, however, the program enjoyed a mid-2000’s surge, behind the leadership of coach Al Skinner.  In the ’04-05 season, the team started 20-0 and eventually climbed to #3 in the polls.  The following year, the team reached the Sweet Sixteen for the last time.  However, after a disappointing ’09-’10 season, Skinner was fired.

Current outlook: Current coach Steve Donahue had a promising debut season in 2010-’11, but following the season, nearly every member of the team departed due to graduation, transfer, or in the case of Reggie Jackson, entry into the NBA Draft.  As a result, the ’11-’12 season was one of BC’s worst ever, as the Eagles finished dead last in the ACC with a 9-22 record.  While the young team is likely to improve with a year of experience under its belt, the outlook for this season is not very bright. Regardless, there is still the potential for moments like this, when Reggie Jackson dunked on a dude so hard that nobody even cared that he got called for charging:

Biggest rival: Again unlike football and hockey, basketball lacks one traditional rival.  However, barring a resurgence of the program sometime soon, there are only two games that are ever likely to sell out: Duke and North Carolina, in that order.  If we had to pick one, we would definitely go with Duke, because, well, Duke is just much more fun to hate.

Cheers

Starting lineups: After the name of each starter on the visiting team is announced, the student section yells “Sucks!”  It’s not very clever or classy, but it gets the point across and we’d be guilty of lying by omission if we didn’t warn you about it.

Eagles free throws: When a member of the Eagles is shooting a free throw, everyone in the student section makes an eagle with his or her hands (like the guy at 0:42 in this video), raises the eagle above his or her head, and slowly flaps the wings.  If the shot goes in, rip the eagle downwards and yell “Whoosh!”  If the shooter makes all of his shots, yell “All day long!”  Because that’s how we do.

Opponent free throws: When the other team is shooting a free throw, lean towards the center of the student section while waving your hands over your head and screaming as wildly as possible.  Right before the shot is released, quickly lunge towards the other end of the student section.  Congratulate yourself if it misses.

Foul out: When a member of the other team fouls out, as he walks towards his bench, yell “Left” and “Right” when the appropriate foot hits the ground.  When he gets to the bench, yell “Sit down!”  Simple yet devastating.

HOCKEY

History: Hockey is the crown jewel of BC Athletics.  The team has won five national titles, including four since 2001 (’01, ’08, ’10 and ’12).  This is the only one of the three big spectator sports at BC actually experiencing the glory days instead of reminiscing about them.

Current outlook: We are the defending national champs, baby.  The only complaints heard on campus about the hockey team are A) “Who cares about the regular season?  They’re going to the Frozen Four anyway,” and B) “Why can’t the football team be this good?”

Biggest rival: Without a doubt, Boston University.  The BC-BU hockey rivalry is better known as “The Battle of Comm. Ave” (you can literally walk down Comm. Ave and get to BU from BC) and “The Best Rivalry in College Sports.”  You’ll almost definitely leave campus with a “Sucks to BU” t-shirt.  If you don’t have season tickets for hockey, forget about trying to snag one to see BU.   And things get even more intense during the Beanpot, which deserves its own section:

The Beanpot: The Beanpot is a four-team hockey tournament held annually at the TD Garden in Boston, always featuring BC, BU, Harvard and Northeastern.   It is held on two Mondays during February, the first being the opening round games, and the second being the championship and consolation games.  BC and BU have split the last 19 Beanpots (yes, 19), and everyone hopes that this isn’t “the year when BC and BU play in the first round,” because it is a forgone conclusion that the winner of the BC-BU game will win the whole tournament.  On the way to the Garden, in a tradition known as the “T Storm,” SuperFans will don their yellow tees and pack B-line trains to capacity, so that BU students can only hopelessly watch as the train rolls by without them.

Cheers:

Goalie heckling (pre-game): Right before the puck is dropped, the student section will chant the opposing goalie’s last name in unison three times, followed by “YOU SUCK!”

Penalty kill: When BC is defending against a power play, the entire student section shouts “Whooaaah-ooh-whoa-whoa-whoa-ooohh-ooohh” to the tune of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” (like this) until the penalty is over.

BC Goal: From BC Athletics’ official site: “The Sieve Chant:  When BC scores a goal, students listen for the cue from the Marching Band and count out the number of goals the Eagles have twice similar to the football cheer.  After you count the score yell “Sieve! Sieve! Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!…” while pointing at the opposing goalie.  Once the drumline signals again, students yell “oooohhhh SIEVE!” and point at the opposing goalie four times.”

What this description excludes is the best part of the cheer.  After the last “SIEVE!” the students chant the goalie’s name three times, followed by the following, verbatim:

“YOU SUCK.  AT LIFE.  AND GOALTENDING.  IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.  IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.  IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.  IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.”

In the words of Montell Jordan, this is how we do it:

See you on September 1st in Alumni Stadium.  Go Eagles!

Check out the rest of our freshman guide to Boston College: Guide to Dorms, Guide to Dining, Guide to Boston and Calendar of BC Events.  For more updates on campus life, follow us @bcgavel and like us on Facebook.  

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About Robert Rossi, Managing Editor, Emeritus

Rob hails from Lexington, Massachusetts and is a member of the Carroll School of Management Class of 2013, concentrating in Finance and Marketing. He joined the Gavel Media editorial board as a freshman and was Culture Editor during his sophomore year before assuming the role of Managing Editor in January 2012. He loves hip-hop, Dos Equis commercials, and talking to people about Tom Brady. Follow him on Twitter @RVRossi. Contact: Website | More Posts