Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beating the Drum (Again)

Not this drum.

Ethan at Actionless Activity writes about what soccer fans (and some hockey fans) are permitted to do and what WNBA fans are permitted to do:

As for how this would play out at a basketball game, using the Atlanta Dream as my case study from afar, I’d say if Petrel and company showed up with a drum and Atlanta Dream scarves and wanted to designate a specific section as “Dreamland” where the passionate fans stand and chant for 48 minutes, in a vacuum the organization would balk and probably deny them entry. Sans drum, if everyone stood and chanted, they’d probably get the PA voice of God booming “please be seated during play and [reiteration of arena policy].”

This does not mean that there’s no hope for fan-supplied atmosphere outside of the hated “ev’ry-bod-y clap your hands” canned clip or “thundersticks” called out at random intervals. Talking with the front office NOW during the off season is ideal to hash out what they’re willing to accept versus declaring that they’ll provide the entertainment, thanks, now siddown and please buy season tickets.

I therefore decided to see what I would be allowed to get away with. The first question: could I get a scarf and a drum? It's not hard to buy a drum, and if you don't have a drum, you could probably make one. A scarf, on the other hand, is simply impossible to obtain unless you make one yourself. Granted, there's a lot of cool swag at the NBA Store, but unfortunately, scarves are not along the swag.

There is a web site called the Atlanta Dream A to Z Fan Guide, which is probably just a version of the Atlanta Hawks/NBA Fan Guide rewritten by substituting "Dream" for "Hawks". Some highlights:

Banners and Signs

Banners and signs are allowed at Philips Arena; however they may not obstruct the view of guests, obscure advertising, or impede the operation of the facility. In addition, banners or signs may not be commercial in nature or contain objectionable material.

The Cleveland Cavaliers site forbids banners/signs from being put on posts or being beyond a certain length. However, it appears that signs are legal if you don't obstruct someone's view. All you have to do is find a deserted section of Phillips or just make sure that you have a large group of well-wishers behind you.


The doors to Philips Arena will open one hour prior to tip-off during the 2008 season unless otherwise noted.

I'll put a note in my TARDIS manual.

Prohibited Items

For the comfort and safety of all guests, the following items are not permitted to enter into the arena:

# Air horns.
# Alcoholic beverages.
# Backpacks/large bags/purses over the size of 12" X 12".
# Banners or signs that obstruct the view of guests, obscure advertising or impede the operation of Philips Arena, contain objectionable subject matter or are commercial in nature.
# Cans, bottles or other beverage containers.
# Chains/spiked wrist or neck bands / spiked belts.
# Confetti.
# Coolers.
# Fireworks.
# Flag poles.
# Hockey sticks.
# Ice chests.
# Illegal drugs or paraphernalia.
# Laser pens and pointers.
# Outside food or drink.
# Pepper spray and mace.
# Projectiles.
# Silly string.
# Video cameras or recording devices.
# Weapons (guns, knives, weapon parts, etc.).
# Wrapped gifts.
# Any other items deemed to be dangerous or inappropriate. Electric noise-making devices.

There's nothing there that states that you can't bring drums, but note that last sentence - a constitutional scholar would call that the "elastic cause". Really, "any item we say prohibited is prohibited" - and I wouldn't have it any other way. I agree, for example, with the ban on air horns and electronic noisemakers, which can produce ear-splitting noise.

But what about drums? Do you have to get a Papal dispensation? I'm going to write someone at the DFO and find out if Drums are specifically prohibited.

As a matter of fact, all of Ethan's ideas at the end of his post - a "supporter's section", working with the Front Office - are worth looking into. For superfans that want to start a supersection in Atlanta, Ethan's post is the "how-to" guide.


Ethan said...

I'll be interested to learn what you hear back from the DFO.

pilight said...

Playing indoors makes the drumming thing all the more unlikely. Soccer games are outdoors, which means much of the the sound escapes instead of echoing back on top of the crowd.

OTOH, back in the days when Immacualata was dominating WCBB, the Mighty Macs were known for having nuns beating on drums in the stands.

Ethan said...

Like you said, Pilight, drumming at indoor sporting events is not unprecedented. College glee bands aside, I have only heard drumming at hockey and soccer games. The Chicago Blackhawks had (have?) a drumming corps that moved from doorway to doorway but stayed near the top of the arena.

The caveat for the Allen Americans example in my article is that the drum is close to the back row of the AEC. it's a small venue so the drum indeed can be heard anywhere.

I have heard organized chanting during a recent Edmonton Oilers game as well.

audsquad said...

I love the idea of a supporters section. First time I ever heard about the concept was when I purchased Chicago Red Stars (WPS) season tix last year. I would LOVE to have that kind of section here in Chicago at Sky games.

Regarding the drums...the Sky have a Drumline that performs at all home games...pregame, halftime, timeouts and on the concourse. They even play in the stands during the games by providing the beats for D-FENSE and LETS-GO-SKY chants. It definitely adds a lot to the atmosphere.