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A basketball fan’s guide to creating chaos

A guide to jinxes, superstitions, gamesmanship, and general shenanigans for fans.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball is a unique spectator sport. The game is played indoors, in a relatively small venue compared to football, and everyone is right on top of the players. All of this adds up to why road teams in basketball face the most disadvantage of any road warriors across sports. College football has some incredible atmospheres, but the close quarters and the acoustics of an indoor stadium allows basketball fans to impact the game in a special way. Not only can they hear the fans, they can feel the court shaking and see students dancing in front of them during a free throw.

We are in the heart of this special season, and for all of the Red Raider faithful lucky enough to file into the USA I decided I would share my knowledge of how to make that hollowed ground the most dangerous venue in the country.

The Jinx

The most famous last words in sports follow the same general formula: “We are going to blow them out/Game over/Ball game.” Any true fan knows the potency of this jinx. A fan is sticking a giant middle finger up to the basketball gods with those words, who this year in particular are on a mission to humble the nation.

If these words are ever uttered, find some wood to knock on or slap whoever said it. I can’t emphasize this enough, this jinx is fatal. Beard will have his guys ready to play anyone at full speed, but if fans build up enough karmic debt the team could suffer for their arrogance. I feel confident Davide’s poor shooting is due to some pitiful fan uttering those accursed words before the Southern Miss. game.

The only time any version of that phrase is to be used is if it is to hurt the other guys. The jinx can be used to the advantage of the faithful at home or on the road, but of course be careful it does not come back to haunt the good guys.

Game on the line, the opposition has their 89% free throw shooter trot up to the line to put away the Red Raiders. At this moment, the team needs the universe to intervene and as fans this is go time. “Man, he is going to make this/No way he misses/we are for sure going to lose.” The ole’ announcer jinx strategy is famous for the high success rate. Obviously this strategy is a last resort, but when the time comes this is a powerful weapons in a fans arsenal.

Free throw distraction

Perhaps the most underrated aspect of basketball is free throw defense. This responsibility falls almost entirely on fans. Common strategies have always been getting loud, and shaking around signs or other distractions.

However, this white noise approach likely only marginally phases experienced players. And the signs, while funny, fade into the background for veterans. The white brick signs in particular are not distinct enough to draw the eye. The most effective strategy is likely the synchronized sudden movement. An example is when the students behind the goal all holding their arms straight up proceed to jerk them to one side at the last minute. The sudden movement is both noticeable and distracting.

Good shooters cannot be deterred, but if fans can cause even one miss they have made an impact. Be loud, but get organized for maximum effect.

Noise

Like I said above, white noise is nice but players are accustomed to tuning it out. They feel the energy but they can get used to it. To really make a difference, shake the damn building. Foot stamping is loud, annoying, and with 15 thousand strong participating can literally shake the building. Every stadium shouts, the banging around can take the experience to the next level. Jumping around is equally effective, though perhaps tiring for out of shape fans such as myself.

Again, I don’t want to discourage yelling and screaming. But never get complacent, find that extra level of annoying.

Chants

For Red Raider fans, this is simple. Raider Power is iconic, and inspiring. The students and Saddle Tramps have their own chants but nothing gives a Red Raider chills then hearing those two words. Raider. Power.

Air ball, another classic, is something Tech fans have mastered. Never stop, I don’t care if the player hits 9 threes in a row after he air balled a shot. Every time he touches the ball come after him. Stay with him like a bad cold.

Assorted Superstitions

Every fan has their thing that they swear by. Some have magic underwear, many won’t walk over their own logo, and a special few don’t shower until the season ends.

For this writer personally, I have to watch sports live so I can say “Miss it!” at big moments. Thank me later for numerous missed free throws in crunch time from opposing teams. It isn’t much, but it’s honest work

I don’t care what your thing is, USE IT. Don’t wash the shirt that was worn during the Louisville upset, turn that cap backwards, eat that special meal. Red Raider fans have an obligation to take luck out of the equation as much as possible. Especially after the horrific luck in Vegas, where clearly the fan base let the team down.

From swag surfing, to the Raider Power chants Texas Tech fans are basically experts on how to make themselves felt in a game. But for anyone out here that needed some pointers, I hope you found this enlightening. I would love to hear what superstitions you bring to the table, sign off in the comments or on social media with how you help this team get that elusive W.