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This past Independence Day weekend, I was fortunate enough to be at Yankee Stadium. There, in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Baltimore Orioles held a 5-3 lead with one out and powerful lefty Arthur Rhodes on the mound. The Yankees had Scott Brosius at the plate and two runners on base. Brosius, previously 1-for-10 against Rhodes and mired in a slump, improbably launched the reliever's offering deep into the left field stands to win the game for New York. At that moment, the right field bleachers became a jubilant mass, jumping up and down, cheering and screaming. The fans there had been on their feet since the middle of the seventh inning, baking all afternoon in the intense July heat. Once "New York, New York" was echoed by the fans, it hit me. I was at an outdoor version of the Palestra, singing a summer "Red and Blue." At that moment, I could not wait for basketball season. That, however, was before they started enforcing the policy. Standing during the entire game is not permitted in the sideline sections. Maybe it's the lackluster effort that the Quakers were putting forth until their recent four-game winning streak. Maybe it's the fact that all of Penn's big games so far have been on the road, save for one home game against Villanova -- and that game was played before a 'Nova-heavy winter break crowd. But more likely, it's the standing rule. Last year, when the policy was not enforced as strictly, the typical crowd reaction to a Penn three-pointer was an extended period of jumping up and down, generally followed by insistent chants of "De-fense!" This season, a typical reaction to a Quakers bomb consists of fans along the south sideline standing up, only to be quickly urged to sit down by an usher. In fact, it seems like anytime a fan's rear end breaks contact from his or her seat in sections 115, 116, 215 or 216, the Palestra fun police descend on the scene to investigate the situation. So far, students in the non-standing sections have complied almost universally with the staff, albeit begrudgingly. Those who have disobeyed have received a stern lecture. The policy, which was first instituted during the 1995-96 season, grew out of the concerns of longtime season ticket holders who felt their views of the game were obstructed by standing students. The policy addresses those valid concerns, but at the same time it infringes upon the students' right to cheer their team to the fullest. To that end, standing is permitted behind the west basket at the Palestra. But that doesn't address the fact that the sections with the most devoted students are not allowed to stand. Standing has been allowed there in the past; furthermore, the basket will always obstruct some fans' view of some part of the court. That's why Penn has the Line every fall. The Line makes the Palestra a sports anomaly -- the best seats go to the biggest fans, not the biggest wallets. It ensures that the students who are most ardent in their dedication to the Red and Blue get the best student seats -- side court, front row. These are the students who most desperately want to stand throughout each game. These are also the students paying the greatest price with the enforcement of the standing policy. In addition to being forced into sitting, the ushers spend the entire game standing directly in front of these fans, blocking their view of the action. On Monday night, after one of Ugonna Onyekwe's thunderous blocked shots, the fans in the sidecourt sections rose to their feet in jubilation and appreciation. The celebration, however, was quickly quashed by the Palestra staff even though a media timeout had been called and there was no action taking place. But even if there was action taking place, what is the big deal? It's not like the Palestra is an opera house. Very often, there are moments in a basketball game that beg for people to stand up and cheer. To keep the most diehard fans from this simple action is to rob them of what makes them the most diehard fans. And this is nothing short of ridiculous. The policy prohibits fans in the side sections from standing throughout the game. But to see the enforcement of the policy, it would appear that any standing is prohibited at any time whatsoever. A great solution would be to sit students on one side of the Palestra and other season ticket holders on the other side, or to seat students behind both baskets. Both of those strategies are used by countless other schools around the country. Why then can't it happen at the Palestra? So, until that time comes, maybe Penn should take its lead from that other historic arena -- Yankee Stadium. In the bleachers, which are very much like the Palestra student section -- loud, boisterous and, yes, at times obnoxious -- enforcement is done by none other than the New York Police Department. The fans in the bleachers like to stand, and do so quite frequently. If there are two strikes on an opposing batter, if the Yankees have men on base or if the Red Sox are in town, the fans in the bleachers get up, and the cops understand the nature of the moment and have no problem with it. Other times, fans get up and are told to sit down. And there's no policy. Fans just accept that is the way things are. There is no reason that the Palestra should be any different. If the Quakers need a big defensive stop, if there's a three-pointer or a dunk, fans should be on their feet. And the Fun Police should lighten up.

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