Monday, October 20, 2008

The Maryland Marching Band Showing Respect

Missed in the fervor over Maryland's stunning performance on Saturday, was a subtle touch put on the game by the Mighty Sound of Maryland (marching band). When the band was lined up before the Terrapin players ran onto the field, it was announced that the band was to play the Wake Forest fight song. The student section booed (I'll get to that point in a minute), but the band played that fight song as Wake's team ran onto the sidelines.

Let me tell you something. As a longtime fan and follower of college football, I cannot tell you how proud and pleased I am that the Mighty Sound of Maryland has stepped up to do this pregame ritual. What this does is show respect for your opponent, and add a sense of dignity for your school. Maryland, throughout it's athletic history (at least as far as I can remember), has consistently failed at showing this class. And why is this important? Real programs, real elite programs, don't lower themselves to their opponent, and don't disrespect them and the game they are about to play. Look at any storied football program and you will find a similiar practice. The perpetuation of classlessness and disrespect in both Maryland basketball and football has consistently worsenecd this school's reputation and has been a distinct part of this university's identity as a second-tier power.

Don't think that this isn't tied into the performance on the field. People wonder why Maryland football and basketball can be so manic, inexplicably losing to horrendous teams (see Middle Tennessee State and Virginia). A good reason for this might just be that the atmosphere around our sports is one of disrespect to our opponents. If you don't respect your opponents you're going to get bitten, and you're going to look like a fool.

And speaking of looking like a fool, the student section was disgraceful in their booing in response to the playing of the Wake Forest fight song. Again, there is no class and no acknowledgement of the opponent. Top schools don't do that in a non-rivalry (Auburn-Alabama, Mich-OSU level rivalries). Clearly Terp fans are content to be perennial pretenders.

Yes, it's certainly true that the real battles are fought on the field, and playing a song won't make you a top-tier school. But playing that song adds something. It adds respectability, it adds the feeling that our teams don't have to spit on the opponent to win a game. If you want to win, act like you're going to win. Don't act like a child by simply booing your opponent and yelling taunts; it reeks of insecurity. Pay respect to your opponent, and most importantly pay respect to the game.


Bill-DC said...

At the end of the Army-Navy game, the Alma Maters of the losing team and then the winning team are played and sung. The winning team stands alongside the losing team and faces the losing academy students; then the losing team accompanies the winning team, facing their students. This is done in a show of mutual respect and solidarity and one of the great traditions in all of sports.

I loved the band playing the Wake fight song. It is respectful and should be continued.

kuklie07 said...

However the playing of the opposition fight song will never happen again. "UMD Sports Marketing" has forbid the band from doing this ever again.