Spectrum crowd traditions create tough environment for foes
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 15:01
Editor’s note: This is part two in a three-part series detailing the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Student creativity and support in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum have created a nationally-recognized atmosphere that has been named one of the top environments in the country during the past decade.
“The students set the tone and the season ticket holders pay the bills,” said head coach Stew Morrill.
Although there are many notable traditions, those listed here are among the most famous.
Free Throw Coordination
Tyler Olsen, former ASUSU vice president of athletics and creator of the game day shirts, was one of the key initiators for creating a crazed atmosphere behind the basket in Section F during games.
“He’s the guy that really brought things to the next level in the early 2000s,” said Matt Sonnenberg, the next Section F leader and founder of “The Refraction.” “I mostly just tried to keep the tradition going.”
Olsen helped direct the student body behind the basket during opponent free throws with special symbols meaning specific actions, such as swing right or sit up and down.
“I sat behind the basketball hoop and I decided we needed to coordinate,” Olsen said. “We designed a whole bunch of plays like I would have as a football player.”
When Olsen graduated, Sonnenberg took the reins in 2006 and kept enhancing the play calling.
“I just stood on my chair and started doing the same things he did,” Sonnenberg said. “We only added in a few, like ‘right-left’ and each row swaying.”
The ‘“you, you, you suck” chant for the opposing team’s fouls and ‘stupid’ for their turnovers also began during Olsen’s time.
Sonnenberg said those two cheers were the first ones to start getting noticed and get people excited.
“They’re both things that everybody knows,” he said. “It’s coordinated. You know when to do them, and I think it just brings an overall sense of unity.”
Olsen added that it came from previous cheers.
“I’m not sure who exactly started that,” he said. “I think it was a derivative of the ‘Utah State, hey U, Utah’ cheer and then someone added ‘suck’ on to the end. ‘Stupid’ came with it.
Winning Team, Losing Team
The inspiration for this cheer came from crowd research done on YouTube, Sonnenberg said.
“We like checking out what other crowds do,” he said. “The first we saw was Ohio University do ‘Winning Team, Losing Team.’ It was a small crowd of them doing it.”
Sonnenberg said the first night they decided to try the cheer in early 2009, only about 15 fans joined in.
“After the game we had a handful of people come up to us and say, ‘What was that? That was cool,’” he said. “They said they were going to do it next game and see where it went from there.”
The instructions were then published in “The Refraction” and passed around for the next game.
“That time around it was probably 2-300 people doing it,” Sonnenberg said. “Next game, probably half the crowd, and by the fourth or fifth time doing it everyone was in on it. It was one of those things where it was so coordinated and such a fancy new toy of ours that we were like ‘Well, got to keep rolling with this.’”
Bleacher Report has since labeled it as “extraordinarily obnoxious” and “a clever tradition that has to be despised greatly,” while an ESPN announcer stated it had “better choreography than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”
The cheer is delivered in the waning moments of games that have already been iced. While the Aggies have yet to lose a game after doing it, Morrill said he wants the students to be careful on their timing and not jinx the team.
“‘Winning Team, Losing Team’ makes me nervous a lot of times,” Morrill said. “We break out in that one a little early sometimes.”
Varied claims for the true origin exist, from sometime in the 1970s to Ohio University, but none have been proven absolute.
“We didn’t exactly invent it,” Sonnenberg said. “But we feel like we perfected it.”
Named the “coolest chant in the country” by ESPN writer Eammon Brennan, this chant has been a Spectrum staple since the 2009-2010 season.