If you watched the Miami Hurricanes' historic thrashing of Duke on the basketball courts last week, you might have spotted a few lonely dots of blue among the sea of orange in the student section. To no one's surprise, it turns out those Duke fans did not have a very good night.
Michelle Picon, a current grad student at Miami and former Duke undergrad, found the experience of sitting in the student section of the opposing team so upsetting that she up and penned a condescending column for the Duke Chronicle.
Picon and her five grad-student friends lined up early in their Duke blue with plans to sit in the front of the student section and were shocked to find that school administration didn't take too kindly to the idea:
[The Dean of Students] told us condescendingly that he would allow us to remain in the student line, but he assured us that on behalf of President Donna Shalala, they were not going to let us easily into this game to cheer for Duke in the front of the Miami student section. I assumed he was just giving us a hard time. After all, we are tuition-paying Miami students who were waiting near the front of the student line in accordance with all the correct university policies.
First of all, trying to score primo seats in the student section while wearing the other team's jersey is just a giant dick move. It might be the biggest dick move in all of college sports fandom. You do not mess with the sanctity of the student section.
Ladies and gentlemen, I f--ing kid you not, the Dean of Students and the Vice President of Student Affairs stood between us and the stadium, allowing dozens of people to pass us in line as they lectured us on our apparently deplorable and wildly unacceptable desire to show support for our home team. Four-plus years as Cameron Crazies, hard-earned Duke degrees and constitutionally protected freedom of speech notwithstanding, senior administrators of the undergraduate campus dared scold us for wearing Duke blue to a basketball game. The catty, disparaging and immature attitude they displayed during this exchange was astounding. The fact that not one, but two top university officials felt the need to bully six graduate students and attempt to punish us for a lack of "school spirit" suggests an unfathomable depth of insecurity.
Or it shows a fathomable level of media savvy that it wouldn't look good for a bunch of Blue Devils fans to be sitting in the front of the student section during a high-profile, nationally televised game.
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Then Picon crosses a line that should never be crossed. She berates Sebastian the Ibis.
Regardless, he showed only mild surprise when we told him that the fluffy pathetic Hurricane mascot had already picked a piece of pizza up off the ground and thrown it at us, followed shortly by the empty box.
At least our Blue Devil has class.
Oh, no one attacks Sebastian the Ibis like that. He has had a hard life. He was raised in the slums of the Everglades and has made a good life for himself. It's also not his fault that the horrible, nearly fatal car crash he was involved in at the hands of a drunk driver and the resulting emergency facial reconstruction surgery he received left him looking more like a duck than an ibis. His feathers had to be replaced with fur after that. It's not his fault! Have you no class? (Note: That tidbit of info might or might not be part of Sebastian's official biography.)
But what followed was even harder to imagine: During the game, the majority of the students standing near us would physically turn their backs on their own team in order to comment on the size of our penises. Meanwhile, Miami played the game of their lives unobserved. I leave it up to you to infer what these students are really passionate about.
Oh my God, fans were mean to you while you sat in their student section? And you're shocked about it? Do you even know the first rule of sports fandom? You are always mean to the other fans who sit in your student section.
I've had my own experiences sitting in another teams' student sections. A couple of years ago, I joined my brother at a USF-Miami football game in Tampa. I wasn't shocked that I got yelled at by Bulls fans; I was shocked that I wasn't. At first I thought the green hoodie I was wearing was a bit too close to Bulls green than Hurricanes green, but even people who saw the orange T-shirt and big "U" underneath didn't even bother to yell at me. I mean, I almost felt disrespected. Like I wasn't even good enough to be yelled at.
Then I remembered they were just USF fans and let it go, but the point is: No one should be surprised when they take abuse in another team's student section. Ever.