*The Black & Gold Podcast wants the App State student section to be an asset to the team. Therefore, we have a special guest writer in honor of the first home game. He is the Armanti Edwards version of student section students. He terrorized opposing players with psychological karate for years. He’s caused dropped passes, missed assignments, even played mind games with opposing coaches. He’s the most qualified person to lead the student section to mid-2000’s greatness again. He will remain anonymous but you can refer to him as The Masked Mountaineer!*
You probably know my face even if you don’t know my name if you attended App State football games in the student section between 2003 and 2007. I was a super supportive student section leader or a mean, obnoxious young man depending on your perspective. Both views are true to a certain degree. I bought my #55 jersey prior to the first game of my freshman year for $15 in the bookstore. I didn’t retire it until 2011. It smelled like an old rubber tire and there was not a brand name to be found on it. But I can tell you that it was Jerrell Carter’s number.
Welcome freshman App State students! Being a Mountaineer is like joining a football fraternity. Here are eight easy steps that will help YOU make the App State student section great again… and have a positive effect on our team.
1 – Arrive Early
Some of you won’t love arriving when the gates open two hours before kickoff. I don’t blame you. I always tried to be in my seat by around the 50 minute mark. That’s when the band marched into the stadium and warmed up in front of the student section. Be in your seat 20 minutes before the game to take part in the band performance. Game time starts when the Marching Mountaineers take the field. It’s part of tradition that does not graduate. Arriving early also maximizes your potential to disrupt opponents. We’ll touch on that later.
2 – Find YOUR Spot
I always sat seven rows off the field on the 50. Our bleacher is still bent from years of abuse the last time I visited the student section. A group of around ten friends always sat with me and we had neighbors. I knew their faces but no names. One neighbor embraced the Daunte’ Culpepper TD celebration with me one year (Google it, kids). Another neighbor from my first two years spent 7 years at App State (presumably drunk half the time). He arrived shirtless, bragging about being App State’s Van WIlder. Another guy wore what I would describe as a bathrobe to every game. My favorite neighbor lost his voice by the end of the first quarter. He would scream “PUT HIM IN A BODY BAAAAAAG!” The point: become familiar with your group to maximize fun on game day.
3 – Be A Leader Or A Follower
Here’s an experiment if you aren’t sure what you are yet: Try to start a chant during the first game. Maybe even twice. You’re a follower if no one joins you. But don’t be sad! Your job is still important. My voice still gets people to join in unison to this day and I don’t know why. Jump in if the leader starts a chant! A leader is useless without followers. Be engaged and LOUD!
4 – Pick Favorites
My friend John Sevier was a walk on and wore #64. We created chants for him about the fact he rarely played and had no name on the back of his jersey (“No Name John.”). They were funny BUT supportive. One of my favorites was Arthur Orlebar. He played a lot and was an important part of the D-Line. Here’s an example of an Orlebar chant: “When I say Orle- you say Bar. Orle____!” Pick out stars or walk ons. It doesn’t matter. The players will engage with the student section more and feel the love. Trust me.
5 – Be Prepared and Observant
Talking smack is a gift. I have it. It’s not always a good thing. As recently as last year an assistant coach (Miami) cursed at me (Richt had to pull him away). So arrive before the other team does stretches and drills and look for funny things about them. Examples: fat punters, short linemen, jerseys that don’t fit. When they react – it’s on! I was merciless at this stage and got in their head. Use specific, targeted, smack but avoid cursing. It’s lazy. Example: Lafayette named Larry Johnson (Google it, kids). He kept responding to being called Grandmama. When he got burned in the game he heard from me loud and clear.
Without going into great detail before Taylor Lamb graduates, Furman had a QB named Ingle Martin. I made it my duty to ruin his day every time App State played them. Want a Master’s level class in smack? Make a roster of opposing team’s stats, home towns, and parent’s names. If there’s a kicker with a low FG percentage let him hear it before the game – a lot. If their QB is from Columbia, SC then maybe you were there last night and hung out with his mom, Nancy. Followers, your reaction to smack should be Kings of Comedy (Google it, kids) level over the top. Nobody likes to be teased and it affects them on the field to our advantage.
6 – Be Respectful & Represent App State
This step makes me seem like an oxymoron. However, when we deal with opposing fans we represent App State. Be nice to opposing fans. Yes, even Georgia Southern. I hate James Madison to this day because their fans punched me and launched a full can of beer at my head. The App State student section “F*** you a**hole!” on kickoffs needs to die a swift death. It’s tacky, unintelligent, and lazy. We’re better than that.
7 – Don’t Take Success For Granted
We have been spoiled for a long time. Our current success isn’t guaranteed in the future. Remember, we aren’t too far removed from losing to Charleston Southern and the “Give a Mountaineer a Chance” game to Liberty at home. Therefore, be supportive of the players and coaches. Treat every game knowing that success is fleeting. Embrace the fact that you’re a student in the golden age of App State football. A large portion of the team’s success is on your shoulders now!
8 – Be Inclusive
One of my best friend’s younger brothers sat with us at App State games. He fell in love with it. Another friend transferred to App State for his final three years after attending games. The game day experience is powerful enough to persuade people to come to App State. Bring your brother or sister, family friend, or any other younger person to games if possible. The best way to recruit future Mountaineers is to show them a good time at an App State football game.