Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Appeal To Ateneo's 6th Man

Here's a message purportedly from Mr. Jun Dalandan of ADMU's Office of University Development and Alumni Relations:
13 August 2011

GO, ATENEO! ONE BIG FIGHT!

Our 3-peat champion Blue Eagles got the job done in the first round. But how about the Ateneo's 6th Man? Sadly not so. When our team was struggling, when we were most needed, there was hardly a peep from us. We wake up only after spectacular plays, strange calls, or non-calls, stirring runs.

Are we getting spoiled by all the titles, all the wins? Are we content to let our players leave it all out on the floor while we sit back in our reserved seats and smugly spectate? Are we there just to be entertained?

The price of admission = the privilege and the responsibility to CHEER! Our players, band, and cheerleaders need us. For we're part of the fabled Blue Babble Batallion.

The second round starts today. Our brave Blue Eagles are bracing for more spirited and physical opposition. And so much, much more is demanded of us boosters and fans. So, as we face FEU anew and in every game thereafter, wear your favorite Ateneo Blue shirt (Not just any of your weekend shirts, please! Don’t you think it’s time to buy an Ateneo shirt?) and CHEER! CHEER! CHEER! until victory is at hand.

When we are on the offense, shout out our storied one-word yell, FIGHT! When we are on defense, there's none better than GET THAT BALL!

Just like during the good ole' days, we, the Ateneo 6th Man, should show our might with thunderous and sustained Fabilioh! Halikinu! Blue Eagle Spelling! Go Ateneo! and One Big Fight!

All Out, All Heart ... that's the Ateneo 6th Man's way!
It has been years since I last watched the Blue Eagles play live. Ever since I moved here in the mountains, I have had to content myself with watching their games on TV. And from watching the Studio 23 telecasts this season I've noticed that the Ateneo Sixth Man has often been out-cheered by the opposing gallery. During those instances I find myself thinking, "If I were in Araneta for this game I'd be cheering my butt off."

But maybe that's just me.

See, my four-year stay in ADMU coincided with the last few years of the Blue Eagles' so-called "Dark Ages," which included almost all of the '90s. I learned to cheer for them at a time when Ateneo fans didn't have much to cheer for: the men's basketball program wasn't the multi-championship-winning powerhouse it is now, the team wasn't as loaded and well-coached as the competition, and the future nucleus of the 2002 champion team—players like Enrico Villanueva, Rich Alvarez, Wesley Gonzales, Paolo Bugia, and Jec Chia—hadn't hit their primes yet.

Forget about about winning the championship; the most Ateneo fans could hope for during that era was for the Blue Eagles to finish with a .500 record and maybe sneak into the Final Four. The squad's moniker "Hail Mary Team" couldn't have been more apt then—the Blue Eagles lived on a prayer and needed all the energy they could feed off from the blue side of the arena, while the Ateneo faithful had to besiege the heavens with prayers for the team to get a win.

So when my college boardmates and I used to watch games live, win or lose we never failed to cheer (and heckle) ourselves hoarse. Once that ball was tossed up to start the game, we only sat down during timeouts and at halftime.

But now, despite the consecutive championships and Final Four appearances school officials still have been reduced to practically begging the Ateneo crowd to cheer. How…sad.

[Hat tip to user true.blue on Blue Eagles' Nest.]

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