Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Miss Manners: You cheer for and attend BC, not West Virginia

Dear Miss Manners:

I was wondering what your thoughts were about this “First Down...Bitch” chant that has apparently been going around Alumni? As a grad in the class of ’08, we didn’t have stuff like this. It’s not even the profanity, it’s just stupid. The chant is not imaginative. It’s not creative. And it’s dumb. You know at some point BC is going to be losing a game, they’re going to get a first down, and the chant is going to come out. At that point, who cares? Look, I applaud the underclassmen and new Eagles for taking initiative and trying to start some new traditions. And it’s not that I’m offended by the language. I’m offended by stupidity and a lack of creativity, both of which this dumb cheer reeks of.

-- Matt '08


You captured the problem with this cheer succinctly. It is neither clever nor creative. What ever points the BC students get for originality is negated by the stupidity of the chant. While you may not be offended by the language, there are sure to be plenty of fans who are. Anyone attending a college football game can expect to hear a few offcolor remarks, but a coordinated and consistent chant -- after every first down no less -- is too much. Boston College has an image and an environment that it protects and projects fiercely. Six thousand Superfans yelling "bitch" is not consistent with that image.

The SuperFan movement was organic and came from passionate students. BC grabbed a hold of it and helped turn a few yellow shirts into a tradition. The "First Down...bitch" is as organic. I expect BC to mute it with the same efficiency they helped the original SuperFans.

I am sure some of the "bitch" yellers will view BC and older fans as humorless or grumpy. What they don't realize is that the thousands of people annoyed by their cheer were once sitting in those same student seats. With time, perspective and a little class, they will realize that the "bitch" cheer doesn't belong at Alumni.


Danny Boy said...

There is a simple solution here. Just bring back the eagle screech (or at least up the volume). Some careful timing by the SFX guy in the booth will drown out the lame cheer and discourage the participants.

Joe Gravellese said...

I propose replacing it with a Howard Dean-inspired, FIRST DOWN... BYAGH!!!

sujit said...

I was at the Kent State game and my girlfriend and friend kept telling me they were chanting "first down, bitch" and I told them, "no way...that's just stupid." After I listened carefully after one of the few first downs we gained that day, I was appalled to see/hear what a mess the students have become since I graduated a mere five years ago. I mean, are you kidding me? That's definitely something students at West Virginia, Rutgers or UConn would do. Besides the fact that we're not good enough to get away with a chant like that, it makes you look like a huge tool. They also do this weird hand motion thing now for one of the pep songs that makes me think we're trying to be like Cameron Crazies or something. The worst part is that it looked like only three people were doing the post-touchdown lifting of girls (the one ritual I thought was decent).

Stuff like this makes the days when students came halfway through the second quarter hungover and apathetic seem better.

blist said...

I remember a hockey game - the '90 NCAA playoff against Alaska which our ridiculously talented, favored to win it all team lost - where the students yelled 'bullshit' in response to bad refereeing and all the whalepants crew in the box seats were livid. I'd never been lectured by complete strangers leaving a hockey game before and even though the referring was godawful, it made its points to me and my buddies. I think if it continues, GDF will get a lot of pressure to eliminate it one way or the other from the alum and the priests.

downtown_resident said...

Agree 100%, ATL. Boston College is about class, whether on the road or at home. This "cheer," if you can even call it that, is for mindless idiots.

eagle1331 said...

I may be a hypocrite, but the BS chant after a terrible call isn't on the same level as the B*&ch chant. The latter is much more often and meant to be a slap in the face. As Bill pointed out, many times its not even something fought for. The BS chant only occurs once or twice a game in football, normally isn't in sync enough for the stadium to here, and is at least some what earned by what the officials screwed up..

Matt said...

The same rules should apply for taunting with "Safety School!" It's classless and stupid...especially since BC is a safety school for a lot of its own students...

Jim said...

"I am sure some of the "bitch" yellers will view BC and older fans as humorless or grumpy..."

I think putting the matronly and disapproving glare of Miss Manners at the top of this page might reinforce the attitude of the "yellers" that anyone that disapproves of the new chant is old, stodgy, and dull.

I'm a young alum ('05) and I don't like the chant either.

I might be making too much of this, but making a good first impression counts. Some of those young impressionable "yellers" may stumble across this blog entry (the links are already starting to fly)and promptly disregard it as the grumblings of an old person simply because of the image at the top.

You've earned a lot of well-deserved respect in the alum community and have a good chance of setting the youngsters straight (as you do in the content of your post).

Timmy said...

I think everyone should be clear (because it hasn't been clear in other commentary I've seen about this issue) that the fact that this chant is misogynistic garbage shouldn't take a back seat because you think "it's lame" or "it's just not clever" or "it's classless" seem to be easier arguments to make. BC students have been saying lame and unclever things for a long time, and they'll continue to. This is a problem because it reinforces casual misogyny. That's the only argument worth making, because it's the strongest, and the most consequential.

Eddierock said...

Agree with all of the comments above. Totally classless and has to stop.

Ryan said...

Timmy: Come on dude, the majority of the people saying this are girls, which you can tell as soon as you hear it. Bitch is one of the most generally accepted swear terms out there, it's not even bleeped on basic cable anymore. The misogyny argument is very, very weak.

It's just stupid, plain and simple.

Timmy said...

Ryan: I don't want to get into a whole big back and forth, so if you want to have the last word after this, it'll be all yours. But it's precisely the problem that people think the misogyny argument is weak, and that "bitch" has become a widely accepted swear word. I think that acceptability should be resisted on the terms of what makes the word offensive; namely, that it's derogatory to women. I don't think "girls do it, so it can't be offensive to women" is a standard that holds up very well if you apply it elsewhere.

BCDoubleEagle said...


While we're at it, can we eighty-six "What's the matter with [opponent]? [Opponent] sucks!"

For kids with such high SAT scores and GPA's, current BC kids sure sound dumb.

Claver2010 said...

It's even better when another team marches down the field against us and we have a dynamic return to the 21.

First down...bitch.

It started my senior year and many tried to shut it down but I guess the 18 year olds who had for the first time were away from their parents, had their first sip of rubinoff, and thought it would be cool to curse on TV.

Ryan said...

I get your point, but please don't pretend to speak for all women, 99% of whom probably use the same term every day. Funny that I have not heard one woman make that argument yet, only men.

Anyway, that's far down on the list of things wrong with this chant.

ATL_eagle said...


I understand your point about Ms Manners, but my goal with using her (other than to create a bit of a unique post) was to disarm the grumpy old man post. If I had just posted a lecture on the chant I would've been called old anyway.

Scott said...

Why is this suddenly a hit chant, is it a signature moto of Kenny Powers or a WWF wrestler?

Regardless, I'm surprised to hear about this. Football (and Hockey) support has always been strong among BC STUDENTS, but I continue to hear the enthusiasm/passion for sports has moderated as the as the admission standards rise to near Ivy levels.

I agree it undermines the image we proudly project that BC is a special place that attracts and develops the rare student-athlete, who places integrity, academics, and professionalism above sports.

However, I have to put this blemish in perspective.
** It's not a personal attack on opposing players, their parents, or fans.
** It's not a vindictive, bigoted slight on a religion, culture, race, or way of life.
** It's not profanity laden or depraved.
** It's not hostile or intimidating, and it doesn't inspire mob violence or property destruction.

I've seen so much worse, and while I don't like it, I'll consider it a blessing if this is the lowest we stoop.

As for chants of "bullshit" ... that's standard fair in big-time sports, marginally humorous, and a rather safe proxy for fans to express far more intense frustrations.

Lastly, chants of "safety school" or "that alright, that's okay, you'll work for us some day" is the consummate example of good-natured ribbing (between schools competing on multiple levels for superiority) that proudly emphasizes academic achievement over sports. If it stops there, this is fair game in my book. I just don't by into the notion this reflects elitism, Schadenfreude, or insecurity run a muck.

Bob B. said...

Joe Gravellese said...

Like anything else... "Safety School" is funny the first couple of times.

The 9th time people start it in the first period of the game against BU, it's annoying.

Dustbowl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Texas Tech Running Back Publishes "Tips for Trash Talking":

Texas Tech running back Baron Batch produces a weekly column for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper.

This week he discussed hearing some of the worst trash talking he has heard in his playing career last week at New Mexico.

"I think I might have heard the worst trash talk ever from a fan with a wolf mask on in the stands, and when I use the word "worst" I don't mean it as in intelligent or skilled trash talk," Batch wrote. "It was a poorly executed attempt at pregame trash talk, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed because I look forward to hearing how creative fans can be."

After two anecdotes regarding fans from last week's game at New Mexico, Batch offers tips for Red Raider fans that want to partake in pregame smack talk.

"1. Respect the other team's players and coaches.

2. Respect your university .

3. Don't use a barrage of obscenities -- it shows lack of intelligence.

4. Trash talk is part of college football so have fun with it.

5. Be creative and witty in your attempts -- they are appreciated.

6. Be annoying but not an idiot.

7. Be classy but super crazy.

8. Don't throw things (unless it's hundred dollar bills -- OK, I'm joking).

9. Be loud all the time

10. Be confident when you talk trash or it makes you look sheepish and cowardly."

Dustbowl said...

Ms Manners, Blame Dave Chapelle, bitch

Coast said...

Really? That's the consummate example of good-natured ribbing? Then I don't want to see any tears or hear any whimpers the next time Harvard, Notre Dame, or anyone else calls Boston College Backup College.

Scott said:

Lastly, chants of "safety school" or "that alright, that's okay, you'll work for us some day" is the consummate example of good-natured ribbing (between schools competing on multiple levels for superiority) that proudly emphasizes academic achievement over sports. If it stops there, this is fair game in my book. I just don't by into the notion this reflects elitism, Schadenfreude, or insecurity run a muck.

Tricia said...

After reading several comments in support of both sides, I have to say: I believe I was there the FIRST time the "bitch" was added. A lot of 2010 seniors were confused as to WHY we added "first down" to our cheers. I remember one of my outgoing friends telling a bunch of people to add "bitch." Who blames a senior for wanting to make it her own? She added "bitch," or more accurately, "biiiiiiiiitch!" and it was not quick to stick. It struggled. I have to admit I sometimes joined in the chant because it was fun... but I don't think anyone wanted it to carry into this year's football season (Fall 2010).

The term was born to protest the "first down" addition, and it continued because the senior group wanted to see how many people they could persuade to say what they came up with... however stupid or unclassy it may be. There really wasn't thought involved, just raspberry rubinoff, natty light, and senior pride.

In the end, it was fun (or not) while it lasted. Unfortunately, the freshman class has to realize that "...bitch!" is acceptable at MOST one time per game (if that). It is NOT a big deal... who ACTUALLY cares? HOWEVER, we should be the Boston College SuperFans that our teams and fans deserve. Let's cut the "... biiiiiitch!" out and come up with something that doesn't make us look ridiculous and intellectually limited.

Erik said...

The chant is stupid. I'm no stranger to profanity, but its just stupid. Why would you want to yell something that will
- make 35,000 people in Alumni Stadium think less of you
- NOT do anything to pump up your team
- NOT do anything to aggravate your opponent?

It accomplishes nothing.

Check that, the only thing it may accomplish is turn everyone else into an awkward silence making the stadium quieter and less intimidating.

A33Jim said...

Here's a facebook event someone made to try to get people to stop saying it during the VTech game.

(Someone there already posted a link to this blog entry)

Scott said...

For Coast:

You said "Then I don't want to see any tears or hear any whimpers the next time Harvard, Notre Dame, or anyone else calls Boston College Backup College."

It's a failed analogy. The differences between Notre Dame and BC (and Georgetown for that matter) academics are marginal at best,j and student selectivity and graduate school placement are identical. I know bunches and bunches of kids who got into both schools. It's simply not credible to suggest one school is the safety school of the other. They are peers, that offer very different experiences.

No doubt, Harvard and Yale are academic giants, superior to just about every other school in the world. Their students can chant "safety school" all they want at BC whenever we next play them in football ... which is never. And that's the point, they aren't balanced like us.

In my view, only two BCS schools (with real athletics) that can legitimately claim a superior undergrad education that most BC students would jump at. Stanford and Northwestern.

cwm2005 said...

the "b*tch" chant must go.

someone in the AD's office should get the cheerleaders to do the "Move those Chains" chant. Maybe even play music to that beat after first downs to help brainwash the drunken, foul-mouthed masses

Jenna said...

As a BC '10 alum, I believe I was also around when the chant first started last year. The whole point was to stop the "Eagles, first down" chant, which freshmen and the Band seemed to insist on doing at the behest of the University or whoever decided it was a good idea because someone told them at Orientation or something along those lines. The "bitch" was added as a satire, in the hopes that people would realize, "hey, this really is idiotic" and stop the whole thing, or even get the administration to shut down the chant entirely. This may have even started earlier, as I remember iterations that we followed our freshman year- some seniors chanted "BC, what the f*** was that?" to which the response was, "First down!" I like to think that was more effective than the "b*tch" part as no one did the first down thing after that until it started resurfacing around junior year. I think we'd all just be happier if we stuck to the "Woo!" and nothing else.

AJG said...
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Deacon Drake said...

The first time I heard the "Hey... you suck!" was at a Maryland basketball game long before expansion. It was when they were at their peak and every MD fan had to run it in, but this was the best they could come up with...

It's sad to think that our student body has stooped to that level.

Now don't get me wrong, when I was a student, we lead some of the single most appalling, vicious chants ever... back in the early TOB years when he put the visitors' sideline in front of the students (the Kenny Kelly "Floyd does Shirley" seemed to work the best, though the time Jerry Porter entered the stands to fight was classic).

If it is something that is going to be thrown out twenty times per game, it should be short, simple, and annoying as hell to the opponents and visiting ("and that's another Cavalier First Down!"). "First down bitch" meets only one of those three, and most would agree that it is pretty pathetic.

Anonymous said...

It isn't even original - Purdue and Michigan State have been using this really stupid chant for years and years.