Chump Cheers

TO WIT

December 01, 1991|By DAVE BARRY

In case you've been in a deep coma or serving on the Noriega jury, let me inform you that there will be a very big football game this weekend in Tallahassee between our University of Miami Fighting Storm Systems and the Florida State University Native American Tribespersons. The winning team will be ranked No. 1 in college football, as well as two games ahead of the Dolphins in the AFC East Division.

We Miami fans are fired up about this game, because as a community we have a fierce lifelong loyalty to the Storm Systems, win or lose, as long as they're ranked in the top five. We want to support the Systems in whatever way we can, including shouting "Whoooo!," wearing bizarre garments and getting permanent disfiguring tattoos. But there is one area of fan support that we need to work on, and that is: stupid hand gestures.

Unfortunately FSU has an edge here. FSU fans pioneered the Tomahawk Chop, a now-famous cheer wherein fans move their right arms forward and back in a chopping motion and chant:

"Ooooooh, oh oh-oh-oh,

Ooooooh, oh oh-oh-oh."

hTC What these fans are attempting to simulate is fierce Native Americans who are preparing to do battle. What these fans actually appear to be simulating is people who ate tainted avocado dip at the tailgate party and are now moaning with profound intestinal discomfort as they pound desperately on the door of the restroom stall.

Nevertheless, the Tomahawk Chop has been growing in popularity, a fact that offends many Indians, who feel that the gesture is demeaning to them. I will not dispute this, except to note that sports cheers tend to be demeaning to everybody. I have watched students at prestigious Yale University shout:

"Bulldogs! Bulldogs!

Bow wow wow!"

I don't care what your SAT scores are, you can't shout something like this without appearing to have the intelligence of luncheon meat. That's what being in a sporting-event crowd is all about: a mass lowering of IQs. That's why, after all these years, we are still vastly amused by our own cleverness when we manage to execute "the Wave."

So the FSU fans will definitely be using the Tomahawk Chop against the Storm Systems Saturday in Tallahassee. Also FSU will perform the ritual opening ceremony wherein the football team is led into battle by an FSU person pretending to be Chief Osceola, who rides a prancing horse to midfield and hurls a flaming spear into the turf.

If I were an Indian, I would really be ticked off about this ceremony, because it makes Chief Osceola look even dumber than the barking Yale students, if such a thing is possible. I mean, let's say you really were a chief, leading your braves into battle, riding boldly forward, waving your flaming spear and whooping fiercely, and when you finally got close enough to the enemy to do some actual damage, you threw the spear into the turf. Who would be impressed by that? Chinch bugs? There you'd be, trying desperately to yank your spear back out of the turf, and the enemy would just mosey up and tomahawk you right in the chops.

You'd think that FSU would come up with a less-ridiculous ceremony, something appropriate for a modern state university located in the Florida capital. For example, they could have a lobbyist ride out to midfield in a prancing limousine and hurl money into a state legislator's pocket. Or they could have a legislator ride out and hurl a flaming taxpayer down a toilet.

But let FSU solve its own problems. Our problem here in Miami is that, if we're going to be considered a major traditional football power, we need our own trademark stupid rituals, reflecting the unique quality of life here in South Florida. For example, we could have our team be led onto the field by a group of British tourists driving a prancing Alamo rental car to midfield, where they would be ceremonially robbed. Then the crowd could do "the South Florida Motorist," wherein we all leap up and suddenly change seats without signaling.

Or we could do "the Kathy Willets Scandal," wherein certain members of the crowd put paper bags over their heads, and everybody tries to guess who they are.

Or we could do "the Abe Hirschfeld," but not if I'm sitting in front of you.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.