...And Sometimes Not.
On Wednesday night, March 4th, the University at Albany Great Danes played the University of Maine Black Bears. The Danes won the men’s basketball game 83 to 66. The fans were ecstatic, in the final minutes chanting “I believe that we have won!” while waving giant cutouts of the players’ heads (and for some reason, Marvel’s Thor?). Most of the seats were packed with purple and gold, behind purple and gold cheerleaders, purple and gold mascots, and purple and gold cheers (“UA…You Know!”)
But there were a few rows where the fans petered out, spreading out into small, less loud, less purple, less gold onlookers. Most of these were less enthusiastic fans. But a few, directly behind the away team, were the visiting fans (Also me, I was there too. I kind of had to be to write this).
The fans were not only few, but many also seemed to be there as family members. RPI student Tim DeClark was attending because his brother was one of the University of Maine coaches, Rob Toste. He explained that it was only the second game he had attended.
Julie and Elaine Knight, mother and grandmother (respectively) to Maine player Troy Reid-Knight, traveled six hours from Toronto, Canada. They’re used to these kind of trips by now, according to Julie. Earlier in the season, they travelled an equal distance to Central Michigan State University’s game. The number of away fans, she agrees, is generally few.
The band filled whatever silence wasn’t taken up by screaming fans with renditions of Bastille’s “Pompeii,” and Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train.” The fans paid tribute to their own ‘Aussie’ by chanting “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” whenever Australian Peter Hooley scored, as well as chanting “Let’s Go Danes!” and sending out an onslaught of purple and gold cheerleaders, mascots and flying t-shirts. What the Maine players had in response were their long-sleeved shirts bearing the slogan “Entitled to Nothing.”
Elaine Knight admitted that she herself wasn’t sure of the slogan’s meaning. She believed it meant they had to work hard for what they do.
“They have to earn it,” she said.
When the Black Bears attempted to make a basket, they were affronted not by the Danes themselves, but the fans. Onlookers booed, waved around their purple and gold, and one group attempted to spell out “Dongs” and “Nads” in white cutouts of the letters.
Julie Knight, however, felt no offense by this.
“It’s a game,” she said, smiling, “It’s school spirit.”
Photo Highlights From a Basketball Newb with a Camera: