A three-step program to louder home crowds
The least discussed aspect of Kansas playing better on the road than at home this season involves the performance of the crowds.
They haven’t brought as much passion and not all of that can be blamed on a shortage of blowouts, which always pump up the volume at Allen Fieldhouse.
Action is needed to make sure Kansas is doing everything it can to take advantage of playing in Allen Fieldhouse, an intimate setting.
Here’s my three-step program to recovery, but it will require the cooperation of athletic administrators, faculty, and parents of students to take it happen, so it’s not going to be easy.
STEP I: Scale back the use of electronic noise in order to allow the human noise to crescendo.
Too often, KU will force a couple of turnovers in a row, leading to dunks and just as the crowd is feeding on itself, getting louder and louder, the opposing coach calls timeout and the loudspeakers blare, having the effect of blasting the fans into silence since they know they can’t compete with electronic-generated decibels. The humans shut up and their senses take such a beating from the electronic noise that without the spectators even knowing it, their energy begins to wither away.
Let the human voices roar, filling the players from the home team with energy.
Naturally, coach Bill Self is not listening during breaks in the action. He’s talking and his players are listening. He knows exactly what he wants to tell his players and gets right to it. That didn’t keep me from asking Self if he ever wondered if the intrusion of electronic noise might kill a crowd’s momentum.
He was amused by the question, but as he tends to do, he treated it as a challenge to come up with a better answer than the question itself.
“I don't listen to see how loud the electronic noise is,” he said. “My first guess would be absolutely not, but I haven't studied it. We may form a committee to talk about that.”
Can I chair it?
“I do think this, and to speak to your point, in athletics, in sports, primarily basketball, the natural old-time crowd noise is a must,” Self said. “But in today's time, I think the piped-in stuff at times is also a must. I think there needs to be a combination of both. I don't know what our percentages are in that, but I think we do a pretty good job with it, from my perspective.”
The man has such laser focus that he doesn’t even notice the negative impact the intrusion of electronics is having on his program’s home-court advantage, so someone else must take up the cause.
STEP II: Professors must do their part by curtailing homework assignments.
Fewer students are attending games and it could be because they’re spending too much time doing homework. The Kansas basketball program goes a long way toward linking alumni forever. Watch parties in Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and throughout Kansas ensure that alumni see each other regularly. It serves for them as a constant reminder of the four most enjoyable years of their lives.
But if students are too busy to go to games now, they will be less likely to stay linked to other Jayhawks at watch parties in the future. Donations to the school will drop.
Attending basketball games is an important part of the Kansas student experience, so it’s imperative professors do their part and scale back on homework assignments.
STEP III: Parents need to lighten up on applying pressure on their children to attain high grade-point averages, which they demand of them so that they can brag to friends about their children’s GPAs.
Employers seek verification of diplomas at times, but I’ve never once been asked for my GPA, which explains why I have been able to remain employed. So unless students are planning on attending graduate school, the GPA is an overrated number.
If students focused more on staying on course to graduate and less on attaining a high GPA, they could use more of their time to go to basketball games. They would make more friends, develop better social skills and perhaps even develop better time-management skills, knowing that they must set aside a few hours for each home game.
No problem is without a solution. If everyone can do her or his to follow this three-step road to recovery, KU’s home-court advantage can become greater than ever.