When I first thought of transferring to Penn from Villanova, one of the reasons was Villanova's insane inferiority complex.
Villanovans were obsessed with Georgetown and Boston College: the suburban Catholic schools they didn't get into.
We acted out our jealousy by intensely mocking the kids from St. Joe's for going to a safety school.
Penn was going to be different, I thought. All students there must surely feel confident and secure in their achievements at Penn!
Penn has the worst inferiority complex of any school I've ever known. It's as if everyone here has a smarter, more athletic, better-looking older brother that Mom and Dad say they love equally, but we all know that's a lie. The University not only allows this unhealthy obsession to continue, but it also encourages it to flourish.
Entirely too many decisions at this school are made only with the hope of polishing our lustrous reputation and bolstering our academic egos.
We are in college, damn it; we should act like it sometimes.
The latest substantiation of our fixation for brand improvement came last week with Penn Band's announcement that, at the request of the Athletic Department, they would no longer play "Rock & Roll Part 2", aka the "Hey song," at the end of victorious basketball games.
According to associate director of athletics Mary DiStanislao, the song is disrespectful. She told the DP last week that the song "doesn't cast Penn in a good light."
Of course it's disrespectful! It should be! We should be more disrespectful to opposing teams, not less. The level of vitriol a team's fans show is a hallmark of a great program. The best fans in the nation are always the worst.
Take Duke for example. Duke is just as prestigious as dear old Pennsylvania. Their students go on to become tony lawyers and respected doctors just as often as we do.
But their fans are vicious. They go more nuts for in-bound passes than we do for 20-point victories.
Opposing teams fear playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium. No one fears playing at the Palestra; the ride through West Philly might get a bit dicey, but the stadium itself is pretty tame.
Other schools are equally intense. At 'Nova we fought for the right to scream at complete strangers who just so happened to play ball for another school. We told Delonte West, who has an unfortunate birthmark on his face, to buy some Valtrex. Like any other school, we offered a send-off to fouled-out players by singing a lovely rendition of that Steam classic "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye."
The entire experience was awesome. Rambunctious sports viewing is at its best a Dionysian ecstasy.
Thousands of students unifying their spirits into one grand meta-will, all yearning with feverish vigor for victory, represents one of the more awe-inspiring events of your university days.
Penn is in the eye of a hurricane, the calm place of dull decorum and respect surrounded by the worst - and therefore best - fans in the nation. Heckling is a time honored Philadelphia tradition.
We're the city that cheered Michael Irving's career-ending injury. We threw snowballs at Santa. Philly has the best fans, but Penn isn't having any of it.
Unfortunately, Penn's preposterously proper spectators aren't the only example of our students taking themselves too seriously.
Even when Penn students relax, we can't help but to exhort our self-proclaimed superiority with "Not Penn State" T-shirts. Obviously. Penn State can fill their football stadium, and the student body doesn't feel the need to convince everyone they meet of its impressive intelligence.
I'll admit that I'm a pretentious prick. Penn didn't do that to me, I've always been a pretentious prick - emphasis on the prick part. I refuse to let Penn turn me into a prim-and-proper etiquette automaton. I pledge to curse and catcall at every Quaker game and hope you will join me in the revelry.
The real world lurks just beyond our ivy walls, but there's no reason to rush into its iron-fisted embrace just yet. Goof off, play Frisbee, heckle another school, drink a keg to celebrate a snowfall - let's act like we're still in college.
Jim Saksa is a College senior from Toms River, N.J. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You Sir, are an Idiot appears on Mondays.Comments powered by Disqus
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