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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Proposed New Tradition #3,964: Howard's Wolf

What do you do when your football program doesn't have much tradition to speak of? You make "new" traditions!

If you'll recall, GoPack.com has been asking Pack fans in recent months to submit suggestions for the opening song, and for the best song to play to get the whole crowd singing along, as part of a collection of "new" traditions to try at home games.

Well, in that same vein we now have this, our latest "new" tradition:

That's right. It's a wolf statue at the mouth of the players' entrance.

One can only assume that we're trying to start a "new" tradition of rubbing the wolf's head before entering onto the field, a la Howard's Rock at Clemson, Testudo at Maryland and probably several other schools that rub objects before hitting the field.

Color me "meh" on the whole idea.

Yeah, it's great that we're trying to put the wraps on all the renovations to Carter Finley with the smaller trappings and details, but this just looks unfinished to me in its current state.

Perhaps it is. Perhaps the statue will be joined in subsequent years with a matching environment that will give it a good, intimidating feel that it needs.

But right now, all it looks like is a statue that was dropped off the back of a Chevy Silverado onto a slab of concrete. Which it is.

I guess I shouldn't be too critical of this. It's a sign that we're trying to start building some tradition that we really haven't ever had. The fireworks entrance is about the only notable thing that we've continued to do over the last 10 years, but there's certainly nothing unique about that.

Actually, we used to have a tradition that sadly has passed: There was a large bass drum that the band used to wheel onto the field before a game as part of the marching band's entrance. But I guess with the addition of the jumbotron in the early part of this decade, the band's involvement into the pregame festivities has taken a back seat to the rap metal of P.O.D. and The Drowning Pool, so the bass drum's entrance -- our only real tradition at that point -- went the way of the dodo.

My fear is that it comes off like a half-assed attempt to copy the traditions that other schools already have in place. There's nothing unique about this idea that hasn't already been done before at other schools, and at other schools (notably Clemson), they've been doing it long enough to give it credibility.

Whether or not this "new" tradition sticks ultimately it comes down to two things: Our success on the field and the willingness of subsequent coaches to keep it in place.

If we win, it's cool. Winning teams get away with doing whatever the hell they want, no matter how cheesy. Remember when FSU was kicking ass and taking names? The notion of a white dude painted in red face riding onto the field with a flaming spear seemed badass...WAY cooler than it should, in all honesty. But they won games, and the dude fired you up (no pun intended) before kickoff. Maybe if the Pack can start posting 9-11 win seasons on a regular basis, rubbing a giant wolf will gain some clout.

The second key to this tradition's longevity will be when Tom' time here is done, the next coach in line needs to stick with it, regardless of how he feels about it. Because here's the bottom line about traditions: there's no such thing as "new" traditions. They have to earn the label over time. We have to ride this thing out over its initial cheesiness phase because if we don't, all we'll have as a tradition at Carter Finley is the constant stream of "new" traditions.


  1. I like the wolf; I still think the cave is uber-cheesy.

    I still miss the big wolf-head golf cart.

  2. The wolf looks like he's ice skating.

  3. the wolf should be howling or running or something ...

    and i think we should put a giant inflatable King Kong on the Bell Tower after every win. now that would be cool.