Dear Student Section,
Hopefully this letter finds you all with unblemished classroom attendance in this Fall 2012 Semester. Classes officially began at 7:30 this morning, so slacking already would be unfortunate, if somewhat impressive. You have to at least collect the syllabi in order to develop an effective schedule for skipping class, right? At least, that's how it worked back in the late '90s.
I write you today regarding slacking of a different sort. I'll be honest, your behavior prior to and during home football games is lackluster, and has been for some time. Actually, lackluster is a huge step up the ladder from where it was a few years ago. You took several strides forward during the 2011 season, but there is so much more that can be done. Razorback Stadium needs to be an intense and insane vehicle of intimidation, and the student section should be the ignition that starts its thunderous motor revving.
Fortunately, most of the missteps that are traditionally made are all entirely correctable, and I would like to enumerate a few suggestions.
1. Zany antics have a shelf life. Looking at you, creepy staring-unblinking-into-the-camera guy. It was really funny the first time, less funny the second time, and by the end of the season the funny was long gone, but oh, how the creepy remained. I can't be the only person who is still haunted, nearly a year later.
2. Antics need not BE zany. In fact, they need not even be original. Did you ever imagine that you'd live to see the day when an octogenarian sitting on the 50 yard-line would move her hands in time to "All I Do is Win" playing over the stadium loudspeakers? It doesn't matter if Auburn or Alabama or anyone else started it first. It's fun and keeps the crowd engaged during a lull in the action. If it takes ripping off another student section's effective shtick, then have at it. 90% won't know, and the other 10% don't care. Just keep us up and keep us loud. Please. It starts with you.
3. Make Razorback Stadium intimidating for four quarters. All the good will and brownie points garnered by camping out all week for a game against Alabama will be forfeited in the event of a mass exodus post-halftime during the Rutgers, Kentucky, or Tulsa games. Jacksonville State should be a snoozer, and I understand the anxiousness to hit Dickson for the first post-win debauchery of 2012, but seriously, Y'ALL HAVE TO STAY AT THE GAMES. Seeing so many students up and leave in the middle of the Tennessee and South Carolina games last year was disheartening.
4. Bring back the shakers. Make it happen. Last year the crowd took their cue from the student section, and fully utilized the shakers placed throughout the stadium. It was a lot of fun for the fans, and added a ton of atmosphere that played very well on television. In short, the shakers helped Razorback stadium feel that much more like a big-time SEC venue during games when they were utilized. The students led the way on this one. Please do so again.
5. Greeks shouldn't hold a monopoly on dressing up. Arkansas is a laid-back state, and I fully understand the argument for comfort, but is a nice buttondown or polo too much to ask? To me, part of the the charm of southern football is seeing the well-appointed young man screaming his throat raw for his team. It loses a little panache if said young man is in gym shorts and a faded tee shirt. I'm certainly guilty of slumming to games myself, but my narrative as a student ended long ago. These are precious few years you're going to always remember. Remember that you had a little style.
6. Beach balls and The Wave are strictly verboten. But you already knew this. If you stoop to this level, well... it's not that we're angry with you. Just disappointed.
With just inside of two weeks to kickoff, I feel as though I have given you more than enough time to straighten up and fly right. Follow to the letter these recommendations and Razorback Stadium will assuredly offer an atmosphere that rivals any other in the country. A student section that not only you can be proud of, but more importantly, one that all of us old codgers don't have to be embarrassed of.
Stay loyal and true,