I love the pageantry of sports. I grew up learning all the traditions at Neyland Stadium and when I was in high school, I was right in the middle of the “Front Row Bros” at Charlie Dalton Gym.
It’s a preface I must add before getting to the business at hand – the Whiteout night has run its course in Warren County.
There’s nothing better than a crowd and team developing a bond that makes visiting teams quiver in fear. Seeing a home squad get an extra pep in their step during a run or hearing the small hush preceding a thunderous roar when a 3-pointer sails through the air and splashes is sensational.
Whiteout night used to be a great way for Pioneer fans to show their rabid support. In its first years, toilet paper flew from every angle and blanketed the court, leading to lengthy delays where the crowd noise was deafening.
It was a sight to see. The sheer spectacle was worth the price of admission – made even better if you brought your own TP.
Nowadays, the whiteout is spent by a handful of students either trying to sink toilet paper in the basket or – in rare cases – targeting players on the court or the clean-up crew as they get to sweeping up the few strands that hit the floor.
It just doesn’t seem worth it to forfeit two points – vital ones when you consider the Pioneers lost by four Monday – to let 50-60 people aimlessly toss toilet paper for five seconds.
It’s time to go big or go home – I currently favor the latter.
If the administration, teams and students want to continue to have the whiteout, I’d offer the follow suggestions:
Play a local opponent
Warren County should schedule Boyd or Covenant – two local teams with local fans – for whiteout night, with the contingency that there’s not likely to be a home-and-home attached (at least until the Civic Center is completed and could be a venue for a local round-robin tournament). If both fanbases knew what was going on, maybe participation would be better.
Bring in kids
This was a suggestion I heard after Monday’s game: Ask all the elementary teams to bring their kids and load them up with toilet paper. I think it’s a great idea.
Throw from up top
We’re not rolling trees here, where you can’t help but toss from the ground and go up. It’s a big gym where you can get up high and let it fly. People should be on the top rows on both sides tossing TP and let it cascade down.
Those are just a few tips. A better one just may be flush the idea altogether.