*The Masked Mountaineer’s views do not necessarily (but probably) represent the views of BGP. This is only for entertainment purposes. The Masked Mountaineer is not responsible for App State losses under any circumstance but will gladly take credit for wins.*

Two weeks ago I provided 8 steps that will Make The App State Student Section Great Again! Therefore, this week I’m giving you the Official App State Fan Code of Conduct. It should be cherished like the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Why? Because App State’s reputation of being a mid-major program with a Power 5 spirit must be protected! Against who? Dr. Status Quo. Every time a Mountaineer fan adopts these principles a Statesboro Eagle loses a feather.  Without further ado:

The Official App State Fan Code of Conduct

1 – No Mindless Cursing or Name-calling

It takes no effort to call an opposing fan or player a “stupid m**********r” online or in person. It’s a tacky, lazy way to engage others and makes you and all App State fans look stupid. The best rivalries are formed when smack talk has substance. Most App State fans actually went to App State therefore representing the University more Wal-Mart UNC, Duke, or Clemson fans.

2 – Live In The Present:

App State beat Michigan in 2007 as an FCS program. Did you know that? It was great and everything but a lot of football has been played between then and now. Don’t use “well, we beat a Top 5 team as an FCS school” in the rare event we lose this season. App State fans using Michigan as a defense for today’s games need better material. That said, the same is true for opposing fans using it as a diss. High emotions and the sting of a bad loss is the root cause of bad smack talk. The best way to react to a loss is to own it and move on. Bringing up games from years past is petty and ineffective.

3 – Be Knowledgeable:

Knowing where you came from makes you appreciate what you have today. There’s a ton of App State history to be proud of and you should know it. We’re the only North Carolina D1 football program to win a national championship. Dozens of Mountaineers have played in the NFL. Our facilities today are nicer than most Power 5 programs. App State football produced two Pro Bowl players in the 1980s (Yes, young fan, App State had great teams in the mid-late 80s). Did you know any of those things? Be proud of our history, facilities, traditions, attendance numbers, NFL pipeline, successful former coaches, sweet uniforms, and the awesome Yosef logo. App State fans have a reason to be arrogant and proud. We have a history of winning and expect to win. Who’s the most successful program in the history of FCS-FBS transitions? Oh that’s right… us. Let’em know because it’s true!

4 – Have a Purpose:

You have two choices when engaging other fans: Smack talk or thoughtful conversation.  Example: don’t make fun of Georgia Southern fans for losing to New Hampshire (LOL!) and immediately try to discuss why Georgia Southern is struggling so badly. It prolongs the engagement and nothing gets done. State your intention and stick to it!

5 – Be Clever:

Clever smack talkers win. Period. It isn’t enough to avoid cursing or name-calling. Learn about your opponent is a great way to begin building clever smack talk. Observational humor based on appearance, statistics, or silly traditions gets great results. A player or coach’s public social media is absolutely fair game. They put it out there and it can be used to tease. Period. Example: Have an opposing roster ready on your phone. Most programs list players full name, home town, parents’ names, previous schools for transfer students, and many other tidbits ripe for the taking. It works.

6 – Own The Low Points:

Every program has weaknesses and bad games or seasons. Reacting emotionally when opposing fans accurately talk smack (especially online) about those things only adds fuel to their fire. There are three ways to kill an opponent’s smack talk momentum after an embarrassing loss:

  • No Response – They need material to keep talking smack. Don’t give it to them. I recommend this after really, really bad losses or moments.
  • Own It with No Counter – This option takes great restraint but can be extremely effective. Saying things like “You’re right. We looked terrible tonight” puts the “Acting Irrationally” ball back in their court and robs them of new smack talk ammo.
  • Redirected Apathy – Be short and subtle. Putting too much energy here defeats its purpose. Reponses to “Appy State lost to _____! LOL losers! HAIL SUTHERN” with “We certainly did but on the bright side we don’t live in Statesboro” acknowledges valid points but puts you back in the smack talk game. Stop after 1 or 2 comments. Anything more puts blood in the water and they’ll know you’re frustrated.

In summary: don’t let them know how upset you are and it takes the wind out of their sails. Brush off the bad stuff because it only lasts a moment, Mountaineers.

7 – Embrace App State’s Niche:

App State is what it is and nothing more and nothing less. We don’t need to be a nationally recognized powerhouse University to stand out and be great. That should make your chest swell with pride. Rethink your value system if it doesn’t. We’re a regional University in a small town tucked inside the most beautiful place on God’s green earth: The Blue Ridge Mountains. How many other colleges can say that? Massive endowment funds and nation-wide popularity can’t replicate the beauty, spirit, and unique family culture of App State and Boone, NC. Major universities compete among themselves with their huge campuses, athletic budgets, and national status. We compete with things they can’t buy. That’s because it’s GREAT to be a Mountaineer!

8 – It’s Your School – Act Like It:

This issue can be sensitive for some. It’s also not unique to App State. Virtually every school deals with Mr. Dude-That-Wears-Other-School-Gear on campus, Facebook, and family reunions. That same guy also probably uses “we” and “us” to discuss the other school on social media. Sound like you? Sorry (not really), time to face the music. That other school ain’t your school. This situation has nuance like everything else in life. However, as a general rule: App State is your school – act like it!

9 – Be Grateful:

Hold this one close. Every program has bad times and very few experience our level of success. Be grateful for being part of unprecedented history and the greatest FBS transition ever. Demand excellence without being hysterical. Our bad times are rarer than most programs’ good times. Therefore, savor this era of App State football. It will not last forever. Always remember that it’s great to be a Mountaineer no matter what the scoreboard says!

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