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Bizzaro Vibe in the Hive

Published: December 30, 2011

Let’s just get right into it.

The pregame player intro DID NOT work.  I applaud the thought of having a live band for the intros, but the formula needs to be changed if we’re going to continue with this format.  If the point of the player intro is to get the players (and fans) fired up, then we’ll at the very least needs some different songs.  For starters, these are all guys in their twenties who aren’t from New Orleans originally (with the exception of Squeaky).  It’s a little too soon to have them appreciate a “Snug Harbor” intro like they received.  If we want the players pumped up, there has to be some more primal beats, echoing back to some Congo Square stuff.  Something with more of a Rebirth or Kermit Ruffins pace as opposed to what we saw.  Also, they should consider traditional New Orleans or Mardi Gras day songs that all of the crowd already knows, that way people could be singing or clapping along.  I think “Do Whatcha Wanna” would be a great song to play for the intros.

Next, let’s talk about the oddly subdued crowd.

There’s obviously a lot of NEW season ticket holders at the game, and I’m not sure where we found them.  I think many of them are more casual fans than die-hards, and the lack of a recognizable superstar might be throwing them off.  Honestly, if we were crushing the Celtics like that last year, the place would have been going crazy (think about that San Antonio blowout early in the season last year).  There was a family of three sitting next to me (daughter was about 10), and they would yell when the Celtics would shoot free throws, but not really much during other parts of the game.  The Dad seemed very pleased with the team and even commented on how great our team looks, but neither he nor anyone else in my section seemed to know when to stand and cheer.  Everyone remained seated and would give a modest cheer after the Hornets scored a bucket.  I think this will improve as the year goes on and the fans begin to bond with the team.  I keep reminding myself that we (Hornets247 gang) have been obsessing over this stuff 247 for the past few months, but for everyone else, it’s probably a bit discombobulating.  I think all of us vets need to really set an example of rowdiness for others to follow!

Additionally, since the Hornets’ focus is defense, we should concentrate our cheering on the defensive end of the floor, both with a “defense” chant as well as just screaming and being as loud and disruptive as possible (like when the Saints are on defense in the Dome).  I think it would provide extra motivation for the players to hustle on defense.

Finally, I didn’t even realize or think about this fact:  most of the gametime staff (Buzz Patrol, Brittany, etc.) weren’t at the game.  There wasn’t any entertainment during the timeouts other than one Hugo skit and the houseband playing occasionally.  My girlfriend thinks that a lot of the staff was let go during the lockout, and now we’re having to produce the gametime entertainment with a very shoestring staff.  We need to get back to DanceCam, AirHugo Jr., on the court contests, and the like if it’s possible.

I would be very troubled by the crowd and the gametime experience if it wasn’t for a brief, redeeming glimpse of the true heart of the crowd in the fourth quarter.  A soul crushing run by the Hornets caused the Celts to call a timeout with 6 min left.  “Crunk” started playing on the loudspeaker, and the crowd roared to life, standing and partying like they should.  That moment made me realize that the unfamiliarity will yield to enthusiasm if we just play to our strengths (both players & fans) during the games.


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