NC State Marching Band Needs a Lesson in Sportsmanship

As if it weren't annoying enough that we had to sit in our cars and wait for this monstrosity to pass... (via Flickr, infomatique)

Most likely, I am going to come off as just a bitter fan coming off a bad loss. But during what the ACC has dubbed Sportsmanship Week, the NC State band, the "Power Sound of the South," put on one of the poorest displays of sportsmanship I've ever seen.  That they are a school-sponsored entity only makes it worse.

The band certainly traveled with some force, playing while marching their way into Scott Stadium last Saturday. Throughout the game (which I still refuse to acknowledge actually happened), they were on their feet, they were loud, and they certainly did their part in keeping their fan section alive.  Unlike most other bands I've seen, they showed no deference to whether the home band was playing or not.  I don't like it, but I can't really fault them for that.  

After their 28-14 victory, as I was sitting there in my car (sulking, mostly) waiting for the traffic to clear through, there came the Wolfpack band once again, marching their way through traffic back to their buses.  They were playing. They were dancing.  They were chanting. They were celebrating.  All traffic was stopped while waiting for their seemingly 4-mile long procession to pass.  

Again, I have a hard time blaming them for this.  If this is a tradition, to march in and out regardless of win or loss (and I don't know that for a fact), then so be it.  It's not something I would be doing while on the road (there's something to be said about being gracious to your hosts) but again, so be it.

What really got me, though, was that while I was waiting for the song and dance to pass so that I could make my three hour drive back north, Pack band members found it appropriate to stick their Wolfpack hand signal in my face, against the closed window to my car.  How is this something acceptable in the wake of ACC Sportsmanship Week? Did someone in the band miss the memo?  More importantly, how is this something acceptable ever? I certainly didn't do anything to provoke this (I have learned once or twice in my past not to provoke a 100-strong group when it's just you and they are all armed with various instruments that double as car-damaging devices). Can you imagine walking up to someone you just beat and yelling Go Hoos? If so, you must also be a Philadelphia Eagles fan.

It didn't stop there.  Finding a gap in front of one car and behind another, the tuba section found it in their right to take another victory lap, playing and dancing circles around cars that were already stopped because they were waiting for the band to pass.  They're quite lucky they weren't walking in front of my car swinging those big ol' brass instruments around, because I'm not entirely convinced I would have had the self restraint not to just hit the gas right then and there and face the consequences later.

Most of the Pack fans I ran into on Saturday were surprisingly pleasant -- I say surprisingly only because I have a lot of Duke and Carolina colleagues who don't think too highly of their in-state counterparts. But for the school to allow a sponsored organization to fly in the face of sportsmanship like this, I find troubling. Virginia had its own issues with the Pep Band a while back, and the school took swift  and sweeping action, leading us to a new Cavalier Marching Band. I hope someone over there at NC State takes a hard look at those who are wearing their uniforms and representing the school.

Again, maybe I'm coming off as a sore loser. But this is why I waited a couple days to post this rather than writing an incensed message the day after. Celebrate your victories with a little bit of class. Act like you've been there before.

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