Jovenitti: 10 traditions Pitt needs, animal costumes in the Zoo

By Tony Jovenitti

Pitt football’s slogan this year is “My City. My Panthers.”

If they are truly my… Pitt football’s slogan this year is “My City. My Panthers.”

If they are truly my Panthers, then for my Top 10 this week, I give you the traditions that I wish my Panthers had — for all sports.

This list only includes things that could actually happen, so an on-campus football stadium and a renewed Penn State football rivalry are ineligible.

And no, a “winning tradition” doesn’t count.

10. Wear moustaches to every football game. No matter how you feel about Dave Wannstedt’s coaching abilities, there’s no denying the awesomeness of his moustache. Instead of giving free T-shirts to students who buy season tickets (which leads to an ugly, multicolored student section), the tickets should just come with one fake moustache per game.

9. A homecoming parade. How does Pitt not have a homecoming parade? The only homecoming off-field tradition Pitt has is fireworks the night before the game. How cool would a parade from the Cathedral to Heinz Field be?

8. Sing “Sweet Caroline” at basketball games. Let’s be honest here, “Sweet Caroline” is the best part of the Pitt football gameday experience. Why not bring that energy to the Petersen Events Center for basketball season?

7. An actual Pittsburgh song. “Sweet Caroline” is exciting, but it would be even cooler if there were a non-school song that was actually about Pittsburgh. West Virginia has that annoyingly catchy “Country Roads.” Pitt needs something like that. But as far as I know, there aren’t many songs that mention Pittsburgh, other than Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.” So listen up, music department, and start writing one.

6. A student section at baseball/softball games. With the completion of the new Petersen Sports Complex, there is no excuse for students not to go to baseball and softball games. The softball team is looking to be pretty decent this year, and the baseball team is looking to make the NCAA Tournament. A student section at the new ballparks would give the Panthers an edge in every game.

5. Throwback uniforms. I haven’t met a Pitt fan who wasn’t in favor of bringing back the script logo for a football game. I don’t know why it is taking so long for the athletic department to listen. If Pitt can wear that ridiculously epic Nike Pro Combat uniform as a third jersey this season, why can’t it use the script logo next year?

4. Midnight Madness. Every year, in the middle of October, students at schools like Duke, Connecticut and Kentucky wait in line all day to pack the basketball arena. No, not for a game, but for practice. The first official practice, to be exact. Pitt just has Fan Fest, which is nice, but a midnight basketball practice would be a little more energized.

3. An NCAA hockey team. A few weeks ago, a Penn State alumnnus donated $88 million for the construction of a new hockey rink and an upgrade to NCAA Division 1 hockey for the Nittany Lions. I’m more than a little jealous. And I don’t easily admit jealousy of Penn State for anything. I’m not sure if the Pete has hockey capabilities, but I’m sure that’s nothing a little renovation can’t fix. Pitt can’t let Robert Morris and Penn State have the only Division 1 hockey programs in the state.

2. Turn Heinz Field blue and gold. Turning Heinz Field blue is nice  — but like I said earlier, some people still wear those hideous pink shirts anyway. How cool would it be if Heinz Field were like Iowa’s and Boise State’s stadiums, where each section wears an alternating color for big games. So for West Virginia and Notre Dame, every fan should get a T-shirt, and Heinz Field will actually feel like a college stadium.

1. Wear animal costumes in the Zoo. Duke has the best student section in college basketball. They always have and they always will — unless Pitt fans start taking the Oakland Zoo literally. Sure, a few students come dressed as gorillas or even Winnie the Pooh, but Pitt’s student section  — which is already among the nation’s best — would skyrocket to the top of the list if every student came dressed in a full animal costume. Imagine how opponents would react as they try to shoot a free throw with an elephant and an alligator behind the net trying to make them miss.

There’s a reason this is at the top of my list. It needs to happen. Someone should start a Facebook group or something. Maybe even the athletic department can get in on it.

Halloween is coming up. So do your part, loyal readers. Go buy an animal costume.