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SportsMonday Column: I shouldn't have been kicked out of Yost Ice Arena this weekend

BY ANDY REID
Daily Sports Editor
Published November 8, 2009

Yost Ice Arena is home to my favorite student section on campus.

It doesn’t have disinterested sorority girls engrossed in a BBM conversation with their sisters at the end of the row, like at Michigan Stadium.

It doesn’t have spotty fans who stereotypically only get excited for the Duke, Michigan State and Ohio State games, like at Crisler Arena.

And — on top of all that — it’s rowdy as all hell.

But on Saturday night, my experience at Yost was not at all what I would call fun. I was at the game for about 10 minutes, when after Miami (Ohio)’s first penalty, I participated in what has come to be known as the ‘C-Ya’ chant.

For those of you who have never been to a hockey game at Yost, it goes like this: “Ahhhhh, C-Ya — chump, dick, wuss, douchebag, asshole, prick, cheater, bitch, whore, slut, cocksucker.” Racy? Yes. But it’s nothing compared to Maryland basketball fans chanting “Fucked your sister” to former Duke star J.J. Redick, whose sibling went to Maryland.

Like usual, I said the same chant tons of times Friday night with thousands of other fans and nothing happened.

Saturday night, I got kicked out. Not cool, dude.

Amidst an entire student section doing the same thing, an usher grabbed my elbow and told me it was time to leave, unless I wanted to be led out of the stadium in handcuffs.

I will admit that I stood out from the other Children of Yost. I may or may not have had a megaphone. And I may or may not have been, ahem, dressed up — if you went to the game, you might have seen a six-foot chicken standing against the glass in section 18.

But that’s even more reason to not kick me out. How is the team supposed to focus and be motivated without a yellow, fuzzy chicken standing behind the glass? The Wolverines lost 5-1, by the way.

So I walked home all by myself, a very, very sad chicken. Now I can empathize with you BBM-mad sorority girls — a walk of shame is a really embarrassing thing. I just assured myself everyone would think the weirdo in the chicken outfit would be a member of the Residential College and tried to get home as quickly as possible.

To top it off, my parents, who were in town for the football game, just happened to drive by Yost at the exact same time I was arguing with a DPS officer outside. In a chicken suit. With a megaphone.

“That U in a chicken suit w/ cops? LOL” isn’t a text message you can get from a member of your family and still maintain any shred of dignity.

I was just trying to have fun and enjoy a hockey game, but the usher assured me that my wardrobe played a major role in his singling me out amid 4,000 people who all used the same exact word that I did. Though none of the other ushers seemed to be following his lead, he went on to kick out five more people — and none of them were dressed as chickens — including one who stepped into the aisle in front of him when he tried to enter the section to find another person to throw out.

First off, I know the main problem with the chant is the homophobic slur “cocksucker.” To all those who are offended by it — I agree with you. It has no place at Michigan, and if you, as a hockey fan, aren’t already happy with shouting douchebag, slut and asshole at opposing players, the least you could do is be a little more creative than a Michigan State frat boy.

As I type this, I realize that I said the word anyway. I probably shouldn’t have, but I did, and I got caught up in the spirit of Yost Arena. I would like to see that word eliminated, too, but this is a different, more explosive issue. Right now, I just want to talk about how the ushers and the Michigan Athletic Department have decided to try and "fix" the problem.

I think it’s completely immature and inappropriate for them to single people out in this situation. If I would have used the megaphone to yell swear words and hateful speech at the other team — well, I called RedHawk coach Enrico Blasi a midget once, but that’s not worthy of expulsion, is it? — that would have been one thing.

I didn’t. I participated in a traditional Michigan hockey chant, one that the Athletic Department has sat and watched get increasingly more obscene for the last 15 years — and “cocksucker” has been around for at least four of those, from my experiences on campus.

They knew this was happening. They knew students were adding more words to it. And you did nothing, other than try to have the band play over it.

This is not the way to handle the problem. Singling out students is not the answer.

Have Michigan coach Red Berenson address the section before the game over the loudspeaker, either live or pre-taped. Or at the very least, do something to inform us that you have decided to crack down on the chant. Post signs, make an announcement, send an e-mail out to the students who bought tickets. Something.

Kicking out six students isn’t going to solve anything. And if you think the language was offensive this week, just wait until Michigan State comes to Ann Arbor this weekend for the first time since Steve Kampfer was maliciously attacked by two Sparties last year.

You can’t kick everyone out at once, I know that — but there are more preemptive ways to address the problem than having crotchety, rude old men picking on specific students.

— Reid will be donning the chicken suit again. Maybe the megaphone is a bit much. He can be reached at andyreid@umich.edu.


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