The Daily Aztec

Despite concerns, The Show goes on

by Edward Lewis

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Last year, SDSU’s student section, The Show, ruffled fans’ feathers by dressing as Mormon missionaries. File Photo

Last year, SDSU’s student section, The Show, ruffled fans’ feathers by dressing as Mormon missionaries. File Photo

D.J. Gay meant the comment as a lighthearted, encouraging, funny statement.

After San Diego State’s captain said it though, it likely opened up a Pandora’s Box of horrors for SDSU’s Athletic Department.

“I would ask The Show to come up with the funniest, craziest things they can come up with to help distract Jimmer at the free throw line,” Gay said of BYU’s star guard Jimmer Fredette. “Just to be as creative as they can be and be our sixth man.”

Somewhere, in some part of the Aztec Athletics Center, SDSU officials collectively cringed.

Last year, SDSU’s student section created such a controversy after the BYU game that Sports Illustrated writer Seth Davis labeled it as “totally classless.” It was smashed on the message boards by angry BYU fans, and columnists all across the country took it behind the woodshed.

The Show had dressed up as Mormon missionaries – decked out in short-sleeve button-ups, black ties and bicycle helmets – and had made signs poking fun at BYU and its religion, and ultimately ended the night with a “You’re still Mormon!” chant.

This year, SDSU is concerned something like that could happen again, and its administrators are asking fans and members of The Show to police themselves.

“I would say we didn’t represent our university in the way that it should be represented,” Senior Associate Athletic Director Don Oberhelman said of last year’s game and ensuing controversy. “The university is bigger than the game and bigger than The Show. We want to represent the university in a respectful way that it deserves. I don’t know if we did that last year.”

Oberhelman and his colleagues have talked to The Show leaders and have asked them to “tone down any offensive chants, signs or T-shirts.” Saturday’s game against BYU will be televised nationally on CBS, and the last thing SDSU wants is for the storyline to be about its fans more than its basketball team.

“I just want to make sure all the news on Sunday is about the game,” Oberhelman said.

But The Show is still planning to wear its missionary garb. Its leaders created a Facebook event titled, “Wear Missionary Gear to the BYU game,” and as of yesterday, it had more than 300 people “attending.”

Vincent Silva, a mainstay of The Show and a 2009 SDSU graduate, said the attire isn’t supposed to offend BYU, Mormons or anybody’s religion.

“If you’re trying to disrespect it and degrade the dress and attire, then I think that’s one thing,” Silva said. “But that’s not what we’re trying to do. For us, it’s more of a humorous thing. It’s more of, ‘Hey, look at all these missionaries rooting for San Diego State.’ Some people when they first hear about or see it, they jump to the conclusion that ‘Oh, they’re doing it in a mocking sense.’ That’s definitely not what we’re trying to do.”

Regardless, Oberhelman would rather not see it on Saturday.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “I wish they wouldn’t do that, but bottom line is the kids are wearing shirts and ties to a basketball game and there’s really not much we can do to prevent that from happening.”

The school will, however, try to prevent offensive signs, T-shirts and chants from making their way into Viejas Arena.

SDSU officials and security will warn students at this week’s campout. Before Saturday’s game, signs and T-shirts will be checked. During the game, fans are encouraged to drown out any offensive chants.

Still, Silva said The Show will have some witty signs on display. Some of which include: “Hi Moms,” “For the Last Time, Get Off Our Doorstep,” and “Which Mom named you Jimmer?”
Beau Bearden, a senior at SDSU who dresses up as a gecko in The Show, said he will dress up in missionary gear and will support the signs, but he’s not sure if it’s the right thing to do.

“My opinion personally is it should be about us and not them,” Bearden said. “It should be about what makes us a good student section.”

Bearden also created a Facebook group inviting fans to strip off their missionary attire in favor of red and black in the second half. This, he believes, will help squash the complaints of the missionary gear.

As for the game itself, No. 4 / 6 SDSU will take on No. 7 BYU at 11 a.m. on Saturday for sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference, and Oberhelman expects everything to run smoothly.

“From my perspective, I think we’re going to have an incident-free Saturday,” he said. “Because I think the students are going to take the leadership and do the right thing here.”
SDSU officials can only hope.

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9 Comments

9 Responses to “Despite concerns, The Show goes on”

  1. Porterfield on February 24th, 2011 7:05 am

    It is perfectly acceptable to poke fun at things others consider sacred as long as it is done in the name of entertainment. There are several societies throughout history who have tried to raise their cultural standard by these actions….such as Nazi Germany.

  2. CJL on February 24th, 2011 7:37 am

    Hey,

    I heard Jimmer say that he views the missionary gear as as support to the BYU crowd and team. What great publicity. Please, everyone, wear your LDS missionary gear!!! What a great CougarFan way to show what is going on.

  3. Eric on February 24th, 2011 9:05 am

    As a BYU alumni, fan, “mormon”, and former missionary, I think the student section looks good in missionary attire. Also, I am not offended by comments like “you’re still mormon” as I am happy to be one. I wouldn’t consider the t-shirts mentioned as witty; more like something you would hear on an elementary playground. I think with the popularity of the Aztecs and a broader representation of the studentbody this season, you will see less ignorance and more intelligence demonstrated. I believe this is more reflective of students at a University like SDSU.

  4. Steve on February 24th, 2011 9:29 am

    I’m a graduate of SDSU and am now in graduate school at the University of Missouri. I’ll be pulling for BYU to embarass the Aztecs on Saturday, partly because I’m sick and tired of the Show trying to embarass anyone associated with State by behaving like bigoted yokels.

  5. manaen on February 24th, 2011 1:49 pm

    Making it about someone else instead of about you is the admission that you don’t have enough for it to be about. Why would you concede that when your team is ranked higher? Because you want the attention instead of it going to either team and so will poach what you are unable to attract on your merits?

    BTW, I’m still grateful to be Mormon.

  6. Cytron on February 24th, 2011 6:25 pm

    To me it is classless!

    To repeat what I wrote last time, if the female students of “the show” were to dress up in a Muslim Abaya or a Boshiy the world would come unglued and many would have been kicked out of school or disciplined. It is interesting the double standard with a religion that has been in California since the 1800’s and was one of the first religions in San Diego.

  7. jon on February 25th, 2011 8:58 am

    I am a Mormon returned missionary and a fan of BYU. I think the missionary attire is witty and funny. To the chant of “you’re still mormon” I say “Yes I am, proudly.” The chant may have gone to far (debatable) but the shirts and ties definitely didn’t. Hopefully, we will be able to say this Saturday, “You lost again to a bunch of Mormons.”

  8. RandO on February 25th, 2011 9:16 am

    What impresses me is how Coach Fisher and Coach Rose have both instituted the policy in their teams of respecting their competitor. It makes both programs appear so much more mature. UNLV’s Tre’von only embarrasses the school – just as Max Hall’s rant on the UofU embarrassed BYU and most of the ulumni.
    I look forward to Saturday’s game because it won’t be ‘win at all costs’. It won’t be – ‘see what we can get away with.’ It will be, ‘let’s prove who is the better basketball team today.’
    I’m a long time BYU fan/alum – but I am excited for SDSU. I hope they do well (after Saturday 🙂 ). They are a class act and play great ball. I hope they get the chance to prove that in March.

  9. Aztec on February 25th, 2011 11:52 am

    I’m still classless.

    What SDSU did last year would be unforgiveable for most. If it happens again it may be for even Mormons.

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