By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
My favorite tradition in college football (and this is going to sound bad because sic ‘em bears) is Penn State’s annual “White Out” during big games.
You can expect to see a sold out crowd of over 100,000 fans in white in support of their team, no matter how hot or cold it is. With chants of “we are” on the left side of the field being responded with “Penn State” on the right, and while watching the game on television gets you excited and wondering, “What if this happened at my university?”
Part of me is probably biased, as I grew up with an alumni as a parent and that was the first college and collegiate football team I was ever exposed to. But now as a sophomore, with a fair share of football games under my belt, it brings me to wonder how can Baylor make football games more bearable (no pun intended) and engaging to students?
1. Heat solutions.
First thing first is the heat. If you’ve gone to any game between 11 to 4 p.m., you understand how terrible the Texas sun can be. I can acknowledge Baylor has made leaps since my freshman year and first time running the line. Now, they provide water stands, a few fans around the stadium to cool us down, and water periodically sprayed on the line. I love and appreciate how much I see our school responding to the student section being empty by half time, but there’s still more to be done.
Something as simple as putting more air conditioning or fans in the stands or pillars would help so much. It’s much easier to stay a whole game and be in the mood to cheer on our Bears when we don’t feel like we’re melting or about to faint. I have to be reasonable too, that we are in Texas and that’s something we signed up for and we can’t expect our school to fix the sun. But little steps as simple as providing more handheld fans or free ice could change the dynamic of students bearing the heat.
2. Yellow out. Green out.
I began thinking about when the idea of a black out was circulating on Twitter last year. I was excited to see Baylor be able to potentially pull of their own edition of the white out, but when I saw the game, saw a few students in black. Most people wore their own mix. If every student received a yellow or green shirt at the gate before a huge matchup like Texas, TCU, or Tech, no one would have excuses about not hearing about the theme. We would be able to be unified and have something cool happen. Could you imagine a full McLane with everyone in one of our school colors?
3. Engage us.
Piggy-backing off my last point, I can’t help but feel Baylor lacks with chants, dancing and just having every student feel they’re a part of the game and atmosphere.
There are chants about another Baylor first down, “kill kill kill,” when we hear a certain song by the band, but for most of the fight song most of us only know when to spell Baylor. I think if Baylor could establish a chant or a song that we knew was coming on when the Bears are going for the kill, that would get everyone excited. If there was some aspect of being in the stands we could look forward to, people would be more willing to stay and have fun. Something as simple as engaging students in dancing on the bleachers would be huge. Understanding the game is more than football, but community, being unifed and having fun is important.
Don’t get me wrong, with bear walk, the line, and sail-gating, I can love and appreciate so many traditions Baylor has to offer. I just think we can do better, keep our students engaged and involved, and be able to change the football dynamic many of us are used to — everyone gone by halftime.