December 13, 2007

Something Remarkable Happened at the Terps Game Last Night...

No, not the fact that we lost by 6 to MAC-middle-feeder Ohio after being down by as much as 17 in the second half. I booed at a Maryland sporting event. I booed the team wearing the Maryland uniform. I booed once following a Terp turnover that led to Ohio scoring off their third offensive rebound of the possession, but I still booed. To pirate my own comments on the subject posted at

Seriously, I will admit that I booed. It was the first time I have ever booed a Maryland team at a sporting event. It was almost subconscious. I didn't even think of the significance when I was doing it. But I was just so dumbfounded by the absolute atrocity of an effort I was seeing out on the floor, it was reflexive. It's one thing when a team just gets beaten because they played a better team. It's a whole other matter when a team gets beaten because they come out flat and play like they couldn't give a damn. That's what we saw tonight.

I also mentioned earlier in my response that I hope the team heard the boos and responds the way that the 2000-2001 team responded after getting booed at home following a loss to F$U in what we commonly refer to as the "Valentine's Day Massacre." It was following that game that Juan Dixon shot alone in the dark at Cole Field House until 3am and the team made the Final Four. They banded together to show up the fans. Unfortunately this team doesn't have leadership and in my mind doesn't have players with the heart that Dixon and Blake brought to the 2000-2001 squad.

I've already been warned by co-posters that I'm going to catch hell for posting this and that in their minds it was pretty shitty of me to boo a bunch of 18 and 19 year-old college kids. However, I think that unless you were actually watching the display on the court last night in person, and placed in a situation watching guys wearing your school's uniform lay a total egg against a team that they should beat on any given night by 30, and experience the low point in your program's existence since the Bob Wade era, you can't really talk. And besides, after I got the one boo out of me, all I could really do was laugh. And think that for the fans who were actually sporting authentic Ohio Bobcat basketball uniforms in my section, they were able to lay claim to witnessing the greatest win in the history of Ohio Bobcat basketball.

26 Responses:

J-Red said...

College athletes should only be booed for unsportsmanlike conduct. That's my stance. Booing for poor performance is completely unacceptable. Pay them if you want to subject them 12,000 boos.

"ben" said...

Boooooooooooooooooooo! Your co-posters are right. I'm glad you can admit that you did it, but you are not properly ashamed.

I was not at the Appalachian State game, but I feel fairly confident that I would not have booed.

I was at the Oregon game. I did not boo. My friend next to me booed. I did not boo.

I did not chant "We want Mallett!" when everyone else did.

I did cheer Mallett when he came on the field. But it was not to jeer Henne (despite what the papers reported).

Boooo, Jeremy. Boooo.

Russell said...

I'm going to support Jeremy a little bit here. I agree you should never boo a college team for poor performance, but you can and should boo for poor effort. The Terps have no good excuse for not showing up. I didn't see the game, but if they played sloppy, half-assed playground ball, they deserved the boos. You can't boo 1-20 from 3 point land, but you can boo giving up uncontested layups to Ohio. I'd rather watch 5 walk-ons play their butts off than 5 scholarship guys coast. Why do you think I like Navy football?

J-Red said...

Then just don't go or watch. I definitely am not seeing a lack of effort. I'm seeing five guys on the floor who don't know how to interact with each other to score points. The uncontested layups are arising out of players not grasping where they are supposed to be on the floor and who they are supposed to cover.

Blame coaching if you want, they make cash. But booing is indiscriminate, and it indicates displeasure at the players.

"ben" said...

I think it's a little too hard to make the determination between bad effort and bad play when it comes to booing. Groaning, oh noing, come on nows and all such things for poor effort, okay. But loud sustained booing? That's not an instinct. That's a deliberate message to say you stink.

J-Red said...

I agree with Ben. That's not a distinction you cannot make in real time while at the event.

J-Red said...

Excuse the double negative. I meant you cannot make that distinction in real time.

Some of us are nearly a decade older than the kids playing the game on regional/national television. We shouldn't be humiliating them for making a bad pass or losing a dribble.

Russell said...

I agree with pretty much everything you guys are saying, and keep in mind I didn't see any of this game. I agree you don't boo a bad dribble, pass, or really anything on offense. You can boo defense where they're just watching guys blow by them without even trying, though not defense where they're being out-schemed (coach's fault). I have never seen Gary's team look lazy on defense and hence I have never booed. Jeremy's description explicitly said a lack of effort.

Russell said...

I'm thinking Rex Chapman type, matador defense here, if you're wondering.

J-Red said...

Even when a guy lets a guy go by him, you can't assume he didn't think there was help there. The easiest thing in football/basketball to show is that someone didn't cover someone. It's REALLY hard to show that someone else shouldn't have covered that someone.

That's what I mean about real time decision-making when it comes to booing. You're in the seats. You don't know shit. You don't know anything about the play called or the guy who didn't get back. That's why it's horseshit.

In the pros, you can boo the collective result. You can't do that with college kids.

"ben" said...

Jeremy determined there was a lack of effort because they lost to a team that on paper they should beat.

Undoubtedly Maryland should beat Ohio (just as Michigan should beat Appalachian State). But sports has upsets, and it's not always due to lack of effort, or at least not soley due to lack of effort.

And I doubt that Maryland exhibited painfully obvious, hands on hips, I'm not playing defense because I don't feel like it effort.

But I'm guessing my threshold is different than yours and Jeremy's.

J-Red said...

Sadly, this was not an upset. We lost to VCU at a neutral site two Sundays ago. Now we lost to an upper-level MAC team. That's just the level that we operate right now.

J-Red said...

Then again, Jeremy's efforts would have been better-served chanting "under-rated!" than booing.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break. Why does everyone feel the need to baby these atheletes because they are not getting paid. You can boo an 18-22 year old "kid" if you feel like they are giving a lack of effort. This isn't high school or Pop Warner. Coaches ride their ass and yell at them in practice, but we can't boo them if they are playing like shit? Why don't they just hand out ribbons to all the players who participated so they can all feel a sense of accomplishment and worth.

If you are in college and can't take a little booing, then you need to grow up. Teachers didn't give me passing grades in college because they felt sorry for how stupid I was. They failed me and went on with their day.

J-Red said...

Dude, you actually failed a class in college? Short of nailing the prof's wife, that's impossible.

My complaint is that you cannot tell the different between lack of effort and lack of skill when YOU ARE ACTUALLY THERE. I know Jeremy can't afford the seats where he could really absorb the whole game.

I get the argument that these kids should be able to handle it. That makes sense at Duke or UNC where all the players are All-Americans, but that's not Maryland right now.

Brien said...

I honestly don't think you should ever boo your own team, college or pro. But I agree with J-Red that it's totally unacceptable to boo your own college team, for several reasons.

I actually find the "they're too young" reason for not booing the least persuasive. You boo the opposing team, right? Aren't their players just as young?

I think the reason you don't boo a college team is because there's a different bond between a college team and their fans. These aren't mercenary free agents who happen to be wearing the right colors at this particular moment, they're kids who go to the same school you went to. Even though my college experience was very different (I'm sure) than Braxton Dupree's, at some level I see myself in the players. Even at a huge school like Maryland, the community feels like a large family. Would you ever boo your family?

There's no way you can effectively evaluate lack of effort from the stands. Even if you could, what you're booing is not really lack of effort, it's that you perceive the players don't care enough about the outcome of the game to try hard. How much a player cares is even tougher to gauge when you're watching the game live.

That said, I didn't see any lack of effort from the Terps on Wednesday. I saw a team that came out flat and didn't respond as quickly as I would have liked to the fact that they were letting the game slip away.

I can't disagree strongly enough that this team doesn't have heart. Did you leave with 5 minutes to go? The team kept fighting until the final buzzer.

I remember the Valentine's Day Massacre, and I remember the booing. I think I did boo the team. After I got home from the game, I remember feeling ashamed of how the fans treated the players. Anyone who booed on Wednesday should be embarrassed.

"ben" said...

Full disclosure: I failed Espanol. I had to retake it at Maryland. I got an "A" at my Maryland course.

I do put some stock in the idea that these kids are kids. But even if you think an 18-22 year-old who has to balance school and athletics (and you should not ridicule this if you did not have to do it) because s/he chose to accept a scholarship (not that all of them are scholarship athletes) then I still fall back on Brien's sense of community. I think they expect and deserve some camaraderie from their classmates and alumni.

I think college players who care so little about the outcome of a game that it's worthy of booing are few and far between. And even if there are individuals, I highly doubt there is a collective group that exhibits this behavior that commands booing at the college level.

Jeremy said...

J-Red, I actually had seats last night from a big money TC donor right a center court about ten rows up. The kind of seats that have the person's nameplate installed in them. So I wasn't too far away. But it wasn't the Rex Chapman hands-on-hips defense, the sequence I just described was a total failure of the Terps, who had lots of height and body advantage over the Bobcats, to crash the boards, and let the Bobcats have three consecutive scoring opportunities because they continued to pull down offensive rebounds. Unless you're talking about a long rebound off the iron that goes right out into somebody's hands, I believe that rebounding is the biggest show of effort in basketball. And when guys are getting blitzkrieged by other guys inches shorter and many pounds lighter for those rebounds, something is really afoul.

Anonymous said...

J-red, please. Don't confuse me for a Maryland grad. I went to an academic institution like Virginia. It is not quite as easy to skate by.

I think brian's community point was very solid. I have actually only booed once. Maybe it was the fact that I had been out of school for a while and didn't feel that connection. To be honest, I never felt that connection while I was there. Maybe it was because my school "didn't allow" athletes to take hard classes. I never felt like the athletes were going through what I went through. Sure, athletes had to balance school and sports, but a lot of students had to balance school and work to get by and no tutors were provided for them.

Anyway, that is a little off topic. I agree that it is hard to judge a lack of effort from the stands. That's why I said "if you feel like they are giving a lack of effort." The one time I booed, I felt like they were giving a lack of effort. If it wasn't the players, it was the coaches who kept going with the same schemes that didn't work.

J-Red said...

Anonymous: "I went to an academic institution like Virginia." Technically, Montgomery College is an academic institution, like Virginia.

Poor offensive rebounding isn't always due to lack of effort. It can be due to having to constantly think about where you should be positioned and which guy you need to cover and a host of other things that prevent you from just reacting to the shot and grabbing the ball.

"ben" said...

Mr. Anonymous Virginia:

Congratulations on having made it through one of the Public Ivy schools. Having also graduated from one of the Public Ivy schools, I know how not very hard that is (Espanol aside).

And also having had to balance extra-curriculars of my choosing and academics without the benefit of tutors, I know that I did not have to devote the same countless hours with physically draining activities early in the morning and throughout the day as athletes do.

Again, I just don't think it's right for those who were not scholarship athletes to assume they know what it's like.

Dewey said...

I think booing high school kids is wrong. College is fine, especially for big-time athletics.

Generally, though, I only boo the other team. Not the team for which I am cheering.

However, if Villanova ever lost to Ohio, I would probably boo them. Or if they lost to the Terps. That would be terrible and embarrassing.

J-Red said...

There's definitely nothing wrong with booing the other team, but you don't have to go to class with those guys the next day. Unlike the pros, these guys have to go back to the classrooms, dining halls and dorms with the people who were publicly embarassing them the night before.

That being said, I definitely booed Mardesich on occasion. He deserved it.

KGoon1590 said...

you're right, you are catching hell for it. i think that even if no one booed, the players still would've felt shitty about that loss. i don't think it fair for "fans" to kick a team when they're down and then celebrate when they have big wins. be critical, but don't just boo them.

J-Red said...

I think somewhere in the comments it has been said that you can exclaim things at the spur-of-the-moment, like "Dammit Ekene you worthless piece of shit! Finish a f-ing three-point play for once in your awful goddamn career." So long as 12,000 people don't all do it at the same time.

Brien said...

Expressing frustration is totally OK. Hell, I'm sure Gary said exactly those words at one point or another. Booing is totally different.

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