Nothing happens underneath it.
What exactly is it, though? On the near side of the bleachers in the Mercyhurst Ice Center is a green banner with white text that reads “Laker Lunatics” in Bodoni Condensed font and “The Asylum” in Jokerman below it. What we need is something to actually occur below it: namely, a formal student section at sporting events, coming up with creative chants, staying on their feet the whole game and cheering on the Lakers vociferously to create an electric atmosphere.
I would like to see that at sporting events in the near future. Virtually every other Division I (and II, for that matter) school has one: look at our counterparts in Pittsburgh (who have “the Oakland Zoo”), Columbus (“Block O”), and State College (“the Legion of Blue”).
My intention was to use the Corner Crew as a basis to ignite Mercyhurst school spirit and start a formal student section in that vein. This, I attest, is the main reason that I did something I probably shouldn’t have over the weekend of March 11 and learned some of the Corner Crew’s chants. Who is the Corner Crew, you may ask? They are the fans that made the four-hour trip from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to cheer on the Tigers at the MIC, who went on to capture the Atlantic Hockey tournament title on March 19. I was, in effect, an RIT fan for those two games. I had so much fun in the process due to their exciting display of school spirit.
A quick back-story: Originally, at the Feb. 27 contest, a 3-2 win for the host Lakers, I decided to sit with the women’s lacrosse team on the far end of the metal bleachers. However, to my direct left, before the band, were a group of fans clad in white-and-orange sweaters who had come up with some of the most creative chants imaginable, effectively creating a Cameron Crazies-esque atmosphere and allowing the fans to have a lot of fun at games.
It made matters worse (or better) when I stubbed my entire left foot dancing during a break in the second period. A girl in the RIT Corner Crew noticed me hobbling and asked if I was ok. I told her I was, and, to Mercyhurst Captain Emily Koestler’s apparent dismay, she extended an invitation for me to join the Corner Crew and cheer on RIT. Instead of moving on for additional coverage that night, as I told my best friend, I wanted to stay just for these RIT fans, and I did, capturing audio of some chants they performed in the third period. I knew that the next time the Tigers played at the MIC, I was going to sit with the Corner Crew. The girl gave me a shirt when I got to the second game on Saturday night.
What were some of the chants performed? Without allowing too many cats to escape this bag (since I am not an RIT student), we shouted variants of “You s***!” (“Eh?”, “You’re from Ohio!”, “Don’t you know?”) during player introductions. We directed the phrase “It’s all your fault!” at Mercyhurst players with every RIT goal, and creatively called out “B-O-X! To the box!” on the occasion of a Laker penalty, among others.
I intend to collaborate with Student Government President-elect Shannon Holley, Athletic Director Joe Kimball and the Student Activities Council to drum up more support for Laker athletics, as was a major part of Holley and SAC’s platform during the MSG elections this year.
The night after the game I enjoyed with the Corner Crew, I met field-hockey starter Kaitlyn Lechner in the Laker, and I explained my vision of a formal student cheer section to her. A 10-minute debate ensued.
“We can’t, we’re a Catholic school,” Lech said.
“What does that mean?” I replied.
Her teammate, star forward Jessica Brandon, came to her defense and added, “We have values and morals as a Catholic school, and chants like those, putting your opponents down, makes us look bad.”
How does it make us look bad, I thought to myself.
“So you are telling me you, as the fan, cannot talk bad about your opponent in the stands?”
“Nope,” replied Lech.
My response was simple: “But that it what you expect from a Division I student-section.”
And that is why I beg to differ with this opposing view. Just because you are Catholic does not mean you cannot create an electric gameday experience. Look at the success of the “Red Scare” at Dayton, “Nova Nation” at Villanova, and the “Hoya Hoop” Club at Georgetown. Each of these student cheering groups is laden with 1,500 members or more. We can certainly replicate this on a smaller scale at Tullio, the MAC, and, more importantly, in the MIC underneath the proud banner of “Laker Lunatics.”