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Hobbs Column: To LSU, let Tiger Stadium be Tiger Stadium

Last Modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:07 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Come on, Tiger Stadium, you’re better than this. This is beneath you.

Don’t go there. Don’t destroy a state landmark that is based far more on the experience than the architecture.

This has been budding for a few years now, but if last Saturday’s season opener was any preview, this is the year Tiger Stadium jumps the shark.

It will soon be just another big, old football stadium, scheduled to get a little bigger next year.

Cosmetically, the old girl never looked better, what all the face-lifts in recent years. But, if something isn’t done about the atmosphere, all the charm and reputation, the mystique and lore of Death Valley is about to disappear as fast (and about as gracefully) as you can say “Who let the dogs out? … Woof! Woof!”

The solution is as simple as it is clear: let Tiger Stadium be Tiger Stadium.

It worked pretty well for all these many years.

Right now, the school seems intent on turning home LSU football games into just another very, very loud rapper/hip-hop concert or, far worse, an NBA game.

At best, it’s like the LSU powers that be, after 100 years of naturally growing and nourishing one of the great college football atmospheres in America, are suddenly trying to imitate the NFL experience.

There’s a place for that. They call it the NFL, which, by the way, looks a whole lot better on TV than it feels in person. In the NFL it’s not who has the loudest fans, it’s who has the most amps.

But LSU doesn’t need to go there. Don’t degrade Tiger Stadium like that.

College football is different. It should have a different feel — and sound — to it. Reliable Tiger Stadium always did. A style all its own.

Now, these nights in Tiger Stadium, it’s more like you’re assaulted for three hours by these affronts to anyone’s eardrums by speakers the size of motor homes.

Tiger Stadium evidently got itself a new sound system and they seem intent on showing it off for the full 60 minutes with gosh-awful music at full volume.

I know I’m in danger of wandering into old fuddy-duddy territory here, but it’s not about the rap music, although, yes, that stuff can make a dentist drill sound calm and soothing.

I know, I know. Kids have an obligation to torture their elders with their music. But that’s not it.

It wouldn’t matter if these speakers were playing Simon & Garfunkel. When force blasted without warning at those outlandish decibels, this assault on the senses just has no place in the college football experience.

It’s awkward. It’s cheap and sleazy. It’s arena football.

It isn’t about being loud. Gosh knows, Tiger Stadium can get loud. That’s when it’s at it absolute rocking best.

But let the stadium come by it naturally, perhaps with the usual and familiar assistance from the marching band. It cheapens the whole experience, spits in the face of all the past wild and crazy nights there, when the school starts trying to force-feed atmosphere or manufacture pseudo excitement.

The pulsating noise from Tiger Stadium should come from deep inside the bellies, resonate through 92,000 throats and make the chairbacks vibrate. It loses some of its charm when it’s big, old screeching jumbo speakers that are breaking windows in Bunkie.

If you’re at home watching on TV, like with the NFL, it’s probably not that bad. A good bit of this stuff is happening during TV timeouts.

But it’s almost like they’re afraid for the stadium to catch its breath. They have a great product. Let people enjoy it as they may.

Trust Tiger Stadium. It knows how to act. It knows when its input is needed, it knows when to go crazy and loud and raucous. It doesn’t need mega-ton speakers to tell it when to twist and shout.

If UAB doesn’t quite move the needle, that’s the school’s fault for scheduling the Blazers.

And I’m not saying ban this stuff altogether.

When the teams are warming up with some rappers doing their thing, it feels about right, the calm before the storm, kids limbering up to their music.

Cranking up the speakers for “Louisiana Saturday Night” while the band is busy setting up for its pregame show is as much of a Tiger Stadium tradition as is toasting the announcement that alcohol is strictly prohibited within the confines.

But let the game play itself out naturally, in a college atmosphere.

Maybe it would be different if LSU didn’t have one of the grandest marching bands in the land.

They are (or used to be) almost as much of part of the Tiger Stadium experience as the football team.

Saturday it seemed like the famed Golden Band from Tigerland sometimes had trouble getting a muffled low note in. They’d be sitting there innocently, trumpets uncocked, while these crazed, rogue loud speakers again took over the joint, ran amuck and taunted them with their overbassed caterwauling.

Maybe it’s reading too much into body language, but it appeared the band had their feelings hurt.

They used to run the joint, and did a great job at it. Now, it’s almost like they’re being phased out, a true Louisiana original replaced by faceless, soulless technology.

Don’t let this happen. Write your congressman. This is not the NFL.

Bear Bryant once said playing in Tiger Stadium is like being on the inside of a base drum. Southern Cal guard Brad Budde said the place made Notre Dame look like “Romper Room.”

It once made the earth move, all by itself, registered on the Richter scale.

But if this trend keeps up, future generations might be quoting Johnny Manziel as saying, “Like wow, man, those LSU dudes, they had like the biggest baddest, amped-out, turbo-charged loudspeakers in the whole $%@&* universe. I got to have me some of those puppies for my man cave.”

To paraphrase another great American, Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Alleva, tear down those speakers.”

Or at least de-amp them some.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

Posted By: Michael On: 9/22/2013

Title: I agree

Seems to be a trend and I'm glad someone is saying something. Well written article! The only comparison is wrestling introductions...heck.... the next step is to give a microphone to the football players and let them rant over the sound system.
Sulphur High School wheels out giant speakers into the south end zone before the game and blasts the fans with meaningless head-banging music that even drowns out the band... it adds nothing to the experience of high school football and I'm not sure why it is happening, perhaps its just to mimic what the colleges are doing.
Please stop!

Posted By: John On: 9/13/2013

Title: McNeese stadium

McNeese games are heading in the same direction. Trust me, I live near the stadium! The loudness never bothered me when it was the sound of team spirit.

Posted By: Quinn On: 9/12/2013

Title: Totally Agree - Turn it down and let the band play!

Sitting in 200 level Suite, which is parallel with the Speakers, I wished I had brought my Bose Noise-Cancelling headphones -next time I will - it was ridiculously loud.
One thought I had about the volume was that perhaps they cranked it up because the other scoreboard/speakers have been taken down... But no excuse for it....

Posted By: Sluggo91 On: 9/11/2013

Title: Tiger Stadium New Speakers

Never been so happy to sit in the south endzone!! Let those "Northerners" deal with what us "southerners" have been dealing with for years...only problem is it sounds almost as loud from the other end of the field with the new speakers! GEAUX TIGERS!!!

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