Stadium Music An Assault On Hearing And Occasionally Decency


Sports Venues Musical Selections Questionable At Times

By John Ventola

Not long ago sports fans could go to a basketball game and hear the sound of the basketball as it hit the court, the squeak of sneakers as players cut and moved through the lane, and the actual swish of the basketball as it fell through the net. They also could go to a football contest and hear the home team’s band playing popular school songs, cheerleaders helping with popular chants, and the sounds of the game itself, the thud sound when a punter’s foot starts a 45-yard booming spiral, the grunts and groans in the line skirmishes. During baseball season, a fan could actually hear the pop of the mitt, the crack of the bat (and the ping of the aluminum), a player actually calling off another before settling under a pop fly. Sports provided the sounds, the rhythm may have differed according to sport, but the games gave the sights and sounds. Now, all three of the major sports, at both the professional and college levels, are inundating sports fans with loud, pounding, rhythmic music that is basically an assault on our sense of hearing.

I am sure there are those that will say the music adds to the overall atmosphere and enjoyment of the actual games, particularly football, where keeping fans exhilarated and excited is a main goal of any team. This


Sports Teams Going Overboard On Viewer Sound Enhancements

writer, however, would submit that while some music helps occupy “dead time” in all sports, the lyrics and decibel level currently used could be better chosen. Not Frank Sinatra or Lawrence Welk classics, but some music that can be understood, and not full of curse words and jibberish. The LSU band has used some of Jon Bovi’s songs to lead some important drives over the past six years, why not some of their music, or something similar. For Example… ~Below~



No prude by any stretch and follower of all genres of music, I attended five games during September, the last Saints exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Notre Dame versus Michigan game in Notre Dame Stadium, and LSU against ULM, Mississippi State, and New Mexico State in Tiger Stadium.

~ Luther Kent, Vocalist ~ Charles Brent, Arranger ~ Bubby Valentino, Producer ~
Album, Louisiana State University
LSU Fight Song “N’awlins” Style

The Superdome should really check into their choice of music and have someone actually listen to the so called lyrics, Notre Dame traditions are falling by the way side, and Tiger Stadium, with its two new, elaborate scoreboards in the South endzone and one in the North endzone, should quit trying to eliminate the Golden Band from Tigerland. The musical score (have to tie in the sport and musical similarity) of the three venues? Offensive, made no sense, was ill-timed, too loud, more of a nuisance, and definitely not the enjoyment factor for which it was intended.

Once settled in my Superdome seat for pre-game warmups, I was astonished to hear a song blaring over the stadium’s loudspeakers that was hard to understand because of its loudness, but one word was definitely distinguishable—fornicate. As the Saints and Ravens were going through their pre-game rituals, the music


No Offense? How About No Offensive Music?

was blaring about fornicating. Again, no prude, but geez. And no, there is no chance I misheard the words. The Saints have featured all kinds of music since Pete Fountain and Al Hirt use to play at every home game when the franchise started in 1967. It even continued when the Superdome opened in 1975, even though the marvelous structure had the worse sound system around for years. Poor long time announcer Jerry Romig always sounded like he was speaking into a drum.

The Saints have used various sound tracks to keep the fanbase fired up during games, not the least of which, The Crunk, is highly motivational for both fans and players alike. It is a fun, rhythmic sound that gets people moving, and hollering. Maybe the pre-game song I heard sneaked by whoever is in charge of choosing music, but while I looked around to see if anyone else was offended by what I was hearing, it was like no one else heard ,or was listening. Families with young children were sitting right in front of me. Wonder if Drew Brees would let his three boys listen to such music in a few years. My guess they would all be outfitted with the headphones two year old Baylen had during the Saints Super Bowl win. Only they would not be for the decibel level, but for the lyrical content. This season, the Saints franchise has started using a siren sound that is played throughout their games, a piercing, irritating sound that really serves no purpose other than aggravating those in attendance, and those watching New Orleans home games on television.

Music just adds loudness and eggs on bad fan games. Kind of a free for all with rhythm. Just last Sunday an older male Saints fan elbowed a visiting Cincinnati Bengal female fan while grabbing a football thrown in the stands that was intended for her. The ball, thrown by a Bengals player as he ran through the endzone after scoring a touchdown, was confiscated by the fan in typical Mardi Gras “snatch’em” style, on national TV, making himself and the Saints organization look kind of bad. Fittingly, the Saints sent down a representative with a football for the visiting fan, but already the sight of a classless New Orleans fan “stealing” a football from a visiting fan was etched into the nation’s memory bank. The Saints fan happens to be an ex-king of Zulu, one of New Orleans’ top Mardi Gras parades, and his reasoning was plausible, even if his actions were not very well received. He said the football was for his eight-year-old grandson. Four days after the game the Saints fan and Bengals fan, who had recently moved to New Orleans, enjoyed beignets together–a nice local ending to a nasty national story.

At Notre Dame, where traditions are slowly disappearing, the loud music began in Coach Brian Kelly’s first season in 2010. For a stadium that still does not have a big screen scoreboard, the music now blares before the game, between plays, and seems to be amped up when the opposition has the ball. I have attended thirteen games in the venerable stadium that was expanded from 55,000 to 80,000 in 1997, and just recently went to Field Turf for its playing surface. I always enjoyed the Notre Dame band and their arrangement of Fighting Irish favorites, but the last four years of artificial music seems out of place and petty. It feels like the loud music was a natural progression for ND because everyone else had it. Irish followers tend to be traditional and reserved compared to, say, SEC fans. One thing for sure, their music is carefully screened.

LSU, with their new South endzone addition and two new scoreboards for that end of the field, has an impressive setup, particularly when one throws in the North endzone scoreboard and the new wraparound signage that lights up with bright colors during the game. However, the music level is out of sight. During my four games there this year I saw many people actually covering their ears. All of their music played right before the game is wonderful, “Saturday Night In Louisiana”, etc., and their film clips of past greats, Cannon et al, invoke fond memories, but even their warm-up music makes folks cringe. The two quarterbacks have surely struggled this year, but I can attest they can both dance well—Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris each got a groove on while throwing in pre-game, adding a few steps, shoulder shrugs and hand gestures to the music.

Sadly, just last year the Golden Band from Tigerland was forced to stop playing the popular “Neck” song when the LSU student body added a vulgar five-word refrain at key spots in the song. Videos of the student “creativity” quickly went viral, and athletic officials banned the song. Then this season, the student body caused an uproar when a filthy chant aimed at former LSU coach and current Alabama mentor Nick Saban was heard in the final minutes of an overtime loss. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva apologized to fans that attended the game and any who may have heard the chant over national TV, and said steps would be taken to identify offenders and stop it from happening again.

Football is probably the biggest offender, but basketball and baseball have also turned to the artificial, loud music to get fans actively involved in their games. Basketball now goes on while music is playing, and baseball


“I Can Play….Centerfield”

is now more than the seventh inning, “take me out to the ball game”, or pre-game rendition of John Fogerty singing, “put me in coach, I’m ready to play”. Now each batter has their own walk up to the plate song. Take that, Babe Ruth!

I know the new music is popular and from a team’s standpoint vocal fans are necessary. It gets both the fans and players ready to play a contest. Gets their blood pumping, if you will. But I, for one, would like to insist that good judgment be used when making the selections, and that fans improve their game decorum.

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