Stay classless, Crazies

Apparently, Mike Krzyzewski doesn’t appreciate swearing.

He could’ve fooled me.

An e-mail sent to the K-Ville listserv last Wednesday, titled “Message from Coach K,” made a few interesting requests for the most famous student section in college basketball. Two of them, eliminating the “O” chant during the national anthem and refraining from yelling “You suck” at opposing players during the pregame introductions, seemed reasonable. They were uncreative and should be beneficial in differentiating the Cameron Crazies from other fan bases, such as Maryland’s.

But Coach K’s other request was strange, to say the least. He gave instructions, paraphrased by head line monitor John Reynolds, for students to refrain from profanity during chants this season. He said he wants the student section to remain “classier and more creative” than other fan bases.

Now, creativity has always been one of the defining traits of the Cameron Crazies. Classiness? Not so much.

In fact, it is the fans’ classlessness that enables their creativity.

The Crazies are notorious for making fun of the legal, academic and even relationship troubles of Duke’s opponents. Remember, this is the student section which once chanted “Sean May eats babies.” They once chanted a sexual pejorative at a particularly hated referee named Richard. They were once told by those in charge of K-Ville to chant “She said ‘No’” to Wayne Ellington after he was spurned numerous times by his would-be finance, and they did.

And Coach K thinks eliminating swearing is going to make the Crazies “classier”?

Lets face it—class has no place in a college basketball student section. When the same email from Reynolds that discouraged swearing encourages researching an opponent’s romantic history, there is no class involved. If the Cameron Crazies truly wanted to be classy, their repertoire of cheers would likely be reduced to variants of “Lets Go Duke!” Any semblance of the “creativity” Krzyzewski desires would have to be thrown out the window. And the Crazies would actually cease to be “crazy” any more.

Now, lets be clear—eliminating cursing from cheers is not a bad suggestion. It would prevent students from reverting to clichéd chants and instead foster new ideas from the same group that once created the “Air Ball!” chant. But it won’t make the Crazies classy.

And if you want a perfect example of the divide between vulgarity and class, look no further than Krzyzewski himself. Krzyzewski is notorious for his foul mouth on the sidelines, which often carries over into his annual pep talk for students on the eve of the North Carolina game. But if Krzyzewski were to cease swearing, would he immediately become more classy? No. He’d be classy because of his grace in both victory and defeat, and the way he has led his program without any NCAA sanctions for more than three decades.

And he does all those things already, whether or not he swears.

So Crazies, take the “Message from Coach K” with a grain of salt. Eliminating the “O” chant is a good idea. So is getting rid of “You suck.” And on its own merits, ending swearing isn’t a half-bad suggestion either.

But if the Crazies want to remain original and a critical part of Duke’s home court advantage, class shouldn’t play a factor. The less class a cheer has, the more likely it is to do its job: Namely, get under the skin of the opposition and creatively distract them from the task at hand.

Classless chants are what make the Cameron Crazies the most famous student section in the land. Suggesting anything else would be, pardon my French, bull.


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