Just recently, the Georgia Tech Athletic Association announced the launch of a new fan initiative.
The program is called “The Gold Standard” and is an effort to gather good sportsmanship pledges from Georgia Tech fans.
The “mission statement” follows:
The Gold Standard is a campus wide effort of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association to raise awareness of sportsmanship at all Georgia Tech Athletic events by increasing positive Yellow Jacket support; creating a sense of pride in Georgia Tech venues, events, and traditions; promoting appreciation for the spirit of competition and providing a safe, healthy and respectful game day environment for all.
In short, they’re asking Georgia Tech fans to cheer for the Jackets rather than against opposing teams.
This is a good common sense approach. There seems to be a common thread that runs through athletic fandom at various levels, where “fans” expend more energy boo’ing their opponents than supporting their own team.
Sometimes its easy to hate your opponent more than you love your own team. We’ve all seen it before. And most of us have been guilty of it from time to time.
The actual pledge is as follows:
THE GOLD STANDARD PLEDGE:
I pledge to honor and uphold The Gold Standard. I will strive to create a positive environment for my team and fellow fans. I will cheer for Georgia Tech, rather than against the opponent. I will conduct myself in a positive manner, showing respect, responsibility and leadership to Georgia Tech. It’s up with the White & Gold…Georgia Tech is out for a victory!
It sounds great, but with all due respect to Dan Radakovich and The Gold Standard effort, this is where they lose me.
I’ve got no problem at all pledging that I’ll cheer for Georgia Tech, rather than against the opponent. I already approach GT events with that perspective. So its not a change for me.
But I have to draw the line at altering the lyrics to Up With the White and Gold…
Oh well it’s up with the White and Gold,
Down with the Red and Black,
Georgia Tech is out for a victory.
We’ll drop the battle-axe on Georgia’s head,
When we meet her our team is sure to beat her.
Down on the old farm there will be no sound
Till our bow-wows rip through the air;
When the battle is over Georgia’s team will be found
With the Yellow Jackets swarming around!
I’m just not capable of saying “Up with the White and Gold” without automatically saying “Down with the Red and Black!”
Those lyrics have been ingrained into my pysche through years of repetition and its the bedtime song I sing to my daughter.
So while I understand what the Athletic Association is trying to do, I have to stay true to our traditions and most sacred of game day anthems.
I don’t run around before a Clemson or Virginia Tech game screaming “To Hell With Georgia!” like some fans might do. I honestly think its a little silly. And I’m sure the Tiger and Hokie fans would agree with me.
Maybe this is an area where we could learn a little something from our Aubie friends. When you go to an Auburn game, they greet each other with cries of “War Eagle!”.
So I’m going to ask my fellow Georgia Tech fans to approach game day in the same fashion for at least the first eleven games this season. When you greet each other, belt out a loud “Go Jackets!” in support of the White and Gold.
For that twelfth game, however, “Down With the Red and Black!” will be an acceptable and expected refrain.
And of course, we all know what the Good Word is. That goes without saying!