Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It’s Great to Be Green. Yes, I said GREAT.

I’ve been cheering on Tulane since I was a kid, thanks to my family full of Greenies. I remember following Shaun King and the Wave to Memphis TWICE when I was 8 years old during 1998’s Perfect Season. Once to see the Wave beat the Tigers during regular season and again to watch them win the Liberty Bowl. I even got a picture with the trophy! I still follow Shaun King, only now it's on Twitter. I also remember chasing foul balls in 2001, then waiting by the dugout after the game to snag autographs from Michael Aubrey, Jonny Kaplan, Jake Gautreau, and others that were part of Tulane’s historical win against LSU and first trip to Omaha.  Ah, the glory days!
Check out me and centerfielder Jon Kaplan - my favorite baseball player back when I was 12! 

Now, I’m 22, a Tulane graduate, and constantly nagged by my coworkers and non-Tulane friends for my puzzling passion for a weak athletics organization. It seems like Tulane has had nothing but bad hype lately. Rick Jones had the fewest wins of his tenure, finishing this season at 30-28. Successful coaches like women’s golf coach Andrew Pratt and sand volleyball coach Alan Segal are both leaving Tulane for lesser jobs. Six basketball players have transferred. Our 2013 football schedule is pretty much the laughing stock of the NCAA. Being a Greenie seems to get tougher every year, but I’ll never stop sporting my love for Tulane.

Here are my 7 reasons why:

1. I DO see light at the end of the tunnel:  One year from now, we’ll have a new University President, we’ll officially be a part of the new American Athletic Conference, and we’ll be preparing for opening night in Yulman Stadium. These are three HUGE shifts for the Green Wave that have amazing potential to completely change the nature of this organization into something great. It’s truly the start of a new era for Tulane Athletics. I recently came across this article on SBNation.com and, although I initilally rolled my eyes at the seemingly sarcastic "Baby Steps" headline, I found it pretty spot-on. The Author, Bill Connelly, points out that Tulane is on the right track to slowly reshape their program into a great one - but that doesn't happen overnight! Finally, a winning season is within reach and 2013 is shaping up to be a promising year and a significant baby step for Curtis Johnson's team.

2. Rich in history and stuck on traditions. I could sit and listen to a Tulane Alumn sit and tell stories of the good ole days, back when they went to games at the old Tulane Stadium, all. day. long. The history and traditions that have been rooted in Tulane culture over the years are really fascinating. Tulane has one of the oldest and most storied athletic programs in the south.
-I saw a couple of tweets going around a few weeks ago about Tulane’s 3 SEC Championships. It’s pretty cool that we have more SEC Championship titles than both Kentucky and Mississippi State.  And yes, LSU has beat us significantly more times than we’ve beat them, BUT… we did shut them out in both the first matchup ever in 1893 AND the last matchup played in Tulane Stadium in 1973. That has to count for something, right?
;-)

Oh, and have you ever eaten at Reginelli's Pizza? The owner is the brother of a community hero! Reggie Reginelli had a 32-yd reception to beat LSU 31-28 in 1982 that will go down in infamy.. in the hearts of Tulane fans, at least. (Note: I wasn’t born yet, but with the way my aunts and uncles talk about this game, I feel like I was there!) 
....And then there was that famous perfect 12-0 season with Tommy Bowden.
-One of my absolute favorite traditions: I LOVE hearing stories about he Wheelbarrows after The Battle for the Rag. Our rivalry with LSU is one of the oldest college football rivalries in the nation! The winner would receive “The Rag” – a half Tulane, half LSU banner. It disappeared in the early 1980s (rumor has it that some Tulane students destroyed it after our 48-7 victory in ’81). A new one was created in 2001. The most fun part about the Battle for the Rag is the ridiculous wager that occurs year after year. In the  70s, frequenters of Norby’s Bar (which no longer exists) would wager that whatever team won earned the right to be pushed around the block in a decorated wheelbarrow by the opposing team’s fans. The tradition lived on at Henry’s Bar with a second line and parade the Sunday following the Tulane-LSU game... up until LSU decided we weren't worth their time. I certainly don't miss getting my butt kicked by the Tigers, but it is a shame that our football rivalry is no longer an annual event. 



-The history behind our school colors is another interesting mystery! It’s said that LSU and Tulane’s colors were picked at the same time.. back in the late 1890s around Mardi Gras season. I’ve read a Baton Rouge article that states the LSU football coach at the time went  to purchase ribbon for their gray jerseys in preparation for their first football game. Apparently stores were stocking ribbons in the colors of Mardi Gras, but the green had not yet arrived, so LSU went with purple and gold, leaving the green for Tulane to later claim. I’ve also read similar stories that the teams were picking colors during Mardi Gras time, so stores were stocked with purple, green, and gold fabric. LSU had the privilege of choosing first, so they left just Green for the Wave. Then again, I’ve heard some Tulane fans claim it’s the other way around. I’ll never really know the TRUTH, but it’s an interesting concept behind the schools’ colors!

Steering away from football… did you know that TUMB was founded in 1920 as a military band? They disappeared for a while, but returned in 2006 just in time for me to start school there. Now I couldn’t be prouder of my younger brother for being a part of this Krewe that really makes a difference at our home games!
 
-How about that old tradition of throwing Mardi Gras beads onto the Fogelman court at the basketball game before Fat Tuesday? Only at Tulane would that be a tradition! Unfortunately, the beads were banned after the Perry Clark era when an opposing player was hit in the eye. In 2012, some students (including your future GSAPC founders *cough cough*) tried to revive this tradition. It led to a technical foul, just like it used to….
 
3. I actually DID go to school there. I typically claim Prairieville, LA as my hometown, but on occasion I will admit the truth: I was born in the heart of Tigerland. When I share my Baton Rouge roots with others, the first thing I hear is, “So why aren’t you an LSU fan?” It’s no secret that a pretty good chunk of “Die-hard LSU fans” never actually attended Louisiana State University. I'm not saying you can't be a fan of any university that you did not attend.. but I worked hard to be able to go to school at Tulane. Then, I worked hard to finish school at Tulane. When I’m watching the Green Wave play, I feel a sense of pride and ownership to this team. That’s MY school and I’ve got a diploma to prove it!
4. The Hullabaloo: I just LOVE that no one else knows what we are talking about. Hell, I don’t even know what we’re talking about but it’s a helluva a good time chanting this during the games and watching the opposing fans look around in confusion.


5. Thanking the fans: Every team will claim they have the best fans, so of course I am biased. But, come on. How can you not tip your hat to Tulane fans. Look at what we put up with! Losing season after losing season, “Tiger Bait” chant after “Tiger Bait” chant… we still wear our green with pride.
6. Only at Tulane, Only in New Orleans: Duh! I can't tell you how many times I have repeated this university motto. We're one of the very few teams that can claim NEW ORLEANS as our home. We have the best food, the best culture, the best music, the best nightlife, and the best people! Win or Lose – we still booze, and we still have a damn good time in our city!
7. I was born this way: Last, but certainly not least, I was born this way. Bandwagons, fairweather fans, and poor sportsmanship have always been my biggest pet peeves.I was introduced to Tulane when I was born and embraced the fact that Olive & Blue is in my blood. Now, I have instant respect for anyone who is born with this similar blessing. :-)

GSAPC has the potential to really make a difference on Tulane Athletics. I am really looking forward to uniting with my fellow "Wave Council" members to get young alumni excited about Tulane sports. We desparately need to boost a new generation of fans and I couldn't be happer to be a part of spearheading such a campaign. So -spread the word and keep an eye out for fun GSPAC events!

Cheers & Roll Wave

Lynne