Once again the time has come for the Lady Zags to start their season. Last year was a monumental success, but for many it’s always hard to maintain interest in women’s hoops before the NCAA Tourney. Head coach Kelly Graves has done a magnificent job building a program, but it may be hard to keep the student body’s interest after losing a once-in-a-generation player like Courtney Vandersloot and still having a walk-over WCC schedule. So what can help spell tepidity and get The Kennel rocking for Lady Zags games? A gimmick. Students of Gonzaga, it’s time for the the Graves-yard.
As most of you no doubt know, there is no collegiate holiday as glorious as Halloween. It frees students from the studious grind with one wild night (or, let’s be honest, weekend) of costumed chaos. But why can’t the spooky fun continue on? It can via the Graves-yard (punningly named after the best in-game coach on campus.)
At the core, the Graves-yard is as simple as it sounds; turn part of the student section into a graveyard-themed area for the craziest of fans. Students could don classic horror attire and scare up some excitement. Even if you didn’t masquerade as a frightful entity this year (oh, how clever, you went as a slutty “fill in the blank”), it’s not that hard to improvise. The section could be filled with zombies (a little red makeup and some torn clothes from Value Village,) vampires (fake plastic teeth and a cape - think Bela Lugosi, not Robert Pattinson,) killers (hello hockey mask,) the old-school white bed ghost with eye holes (for the super cheap,) or any number of other assorted terrors. If you have a more intricate one on hand (Pinhead perhaps?), that’s even better. After all, isn’t it a waste to wear that costume one weekend only to throw it out?
The signage at the games could fit the theme as well. Horror-related wordplay is easy, so it should be plentiful in the Graves-yard. “Our offense gives you nightmares.” “Zags play killer D.” “Fear Standish in the post.” “Winters is deadly beyond the arc.” Making the emphasis word dripping with blood is encouraged.
And while these signs are all fine and moderately clever, it wouldn’t be a true Graves-yard without tombstone signs. Each foe vanquished in The Kennel over the course of the season could receive their own headstone. The epitaphs would simply be the team name, date, and final score:
January 12, 2012
As the season wore on the Graves-yard would be filled with more and more tombstones, showcase the ladies’ dominance at home.
Now I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Whoa. That’s far too macabre for an upstanding Jesuit school like Gonzaga.” But considering we’re a Catholic school, and many of our opponents are as well, shouldn’t we assume these “dead” teams are going to a better place? Lest we cast judgment on their souls and believe all these fine intercollegiate athletes to be sinners, we should assume their piousness and not cast that stone.
The atmosphere could be further livened (deadened?) up with some choice musical accompaniment. Beyond the obvious ( “Zombie Nation,” duh) and the band’s rendition of “Thriller,” many more theme appropriate songs could be added. Obvious additions to the in-house and band rotations include: “Monster Mash,” “The Adam’s Family Theme” (made better by the Graves-yard snapping along in time), “Ghostbusters,” “Halloween (Theme),” and “Moves Like Jagger” (because it’s terrifyingly bad.)
So I ask you Zags, are you ready to help our Lady Zags to another stellar season by becoming the most feared cheering section in the nation? Let the ghoulish games begin. Unleash the Graves-yard.