Thursday, January 3, 2008

Atmosphere at the Palumbo Center

Now that Duquesne is 10-3 and looking like a legit Division I basketball program it is time to evaluate the A.J. Palumbo Center on game day. In my opinion the atmosphere needs to be improved.

My suggestions:

  • The pep band needs an overhaul. The band needs to be in a more prominent position in the Palumbo Center, not tucked way up high where it is now. The band needs to be bigger, wear uniforms or have a uniform dress code, and to play set music every game that fans can come to know and cheer for.

  • I'll admit the cheerleaders have improved the last few years, but there are still improvements that need to be made. The size of the cheerleading squad is inconsistent, some games there too many cheerleaders, and other games there are too few. There are not enough cheerleaders who can do actual gymnastics and/or tumbling. In my mind there are three necessities for being a cheerleader 1. gymnastic skills, 2. attractiveness and 3. a fit body. I know it sounds bad, but part of being a cheerleader is being attractive and in great shape. We seem to have only a handful of cheerleaders who can do any tumbling. We actually have a good percentage of attractive cheerleaders who are in great shape this year, but in my mind all of our cheerleaders should fit this description, not just some.

  • There should be more concession stands, and the concession stands need to have better food. I don't expect gourmet food, but the nacho cheese comes in a little plastic thing with a seal on the top. This is something that likely won't change until the Dukes get a new gym and I understand that. Last year there were a few extra concession tables to offset the full concession stands and those need to be brought back until a new gym is built.

  • I was very happy that the Dukes added the extra location for sale of Duquesne paraphernalia near the 2nd level of the general admission section. Many people have complained that they do not have enough of a selection or that they run out of certain items, sweatshirts in particular. The location also creates a traffic jam for people sitting in the general admission section as well. This is the type of problem that can't really be solved until a new arena is built but the stand should at least have an ample supply of the few items they do sell.

  • Our ushers need to act more professionally. The ushers now are sub par, it seems like most of the ushers are grubby college kids who have not taken any time to look remotely professional, at the very least I expect an usher to have clean combed hair. Most of the time the ushers don't greet you when you enter the Palumbo Center or ask if you need help finding your seat.

  • The pictures in the front section of the Palumbo Center need to be updated, (I actually think there is a picture of Ron Dokes.) Duquesne should put up pictures of some noteworthy recent players: Bryant McAllister, Mike James, Beth Friday, and Korie Hlede would be my top choices. Underneath each picture should be an update on what each of these former Dukes are not doing, James plays in the NBA, McAllister is playing professional basketball in Germany, Hlede spent several successful seasons in the WNBA, etc. Duquesne should be proud of its former star athletes and that should show in their gym. A group of pictures of players who have had their numbers retired would be nice addition as well, in addition to information about each of those players accomplishments at Duquesne and the remainder of their basketball careers.

  • The students have been doing a decent job of attending Duquesne games this season and I hope this continues. Duquesne needs some way of filling those seats during the winter break however. In years past the Dukes have given away blocks of tickets to groups to help fill up the Palumbo Center. Something has to be done to fill the arena during winter break when Ron Everhart is putting such a strong team on the floor. When the team was bad I didn't mind that the gym was empty, but now that the the team is good the athletic department needs to do whatever is necessary to get people to the games, especially during winter break.

It may seem like I am nitpicking, but if we want to a be a top calibre basketball program these are the things that need to be improved until we can build a new arena.


goduquesne12 said...

i agree with you 100 percent. hopefully the dukes can get some games in the new pens arena when it finally gets built. it will actually be closer to duquesne than the mellon arena.

Scoville said...

Nice post. I can never let a good rant go uncontinued - so here is what I would add along with your changes...

- Pep band, learn a few more songs. Actually, learn a lot more songs. Oh - and I like the idea for a dress code.

- Cheerleaders - yeah, you're right, but I'm going to save my venom for the dance squad. Learn2dance, thanks. And while we're at it - lose the lame get ups. If you're going to be the Duke-ettes or whatever - dress like it. That's right - tuxedo jackets with tails, top hats and canes. Let's have something that stands out a little bit. And also, and this can't be stated enough - get better at the dancing.

- Concessions stands/gear stands - can't really do too much unless there was a rebuild, etc.

- My ushers are usually the same guys, and are friendly/professional. Can't complain about them, as much as I'd like.

- Pictures updated - very good idea. They should get on that stat.

- I thought the attendence was pretty good for this past winter break, but that was comparing it to prior years when the team wasn't very good. Don't blame the fans entirely though - play some teams the average fan has heard of, I think attendence will go up. Get some home/home series going with some of the crappier teams from the ACC and the B10.

- Let's get the PA system to play more than just whatever club rap song is out. Those are cool, but let's use the music to tell a story. When Shawn James makes a killer dunk or a sick block - queue up Funk 49 by the James Gang. Kieron makes a play - let's hear some bagpipes. (Sorry Kieron - that's the stereotype us yanks have of Scotland.) It'll get the crowd fired up once they catch on - and the players will get up for it too.

- Speaking of the PA system - stop playing that stupid zombie nation "woah oh oh oh oh woah oh oh" song. It's lame.

Dutch said...

Hi, I am A83 from other boards for some reason that my name is Dutch here. Google assigned me a nickname.

I brought 8 people to the RMC game and 5 of them were first time DU basketball people. They spent most of the game making fun of the band.

They did not know that I made a pest of myself complaining about the elimination of the Marching Band on other sites.

Ms. Heath-Charles is having the last laugh. The new band director and the current band members have the personalities of dead fish. One of the things that the enhanced pep band would bring is "paid" members. Well, that group looks like a bunch of people showing up for a minimum wage job.

First, the administration has to admit they made a mistake and reinstate the Marching Band. Then, the pissed off members of the Marching band will come back to the Pep Band.

Then, actually hire a Band Director with some life and enthusiam. They guy they have there now looks like he is trapped in hell. Please relieve him from his misery.

I have no problems with cheerleaders or dance team. I think they are fine.

What happened to the Duke mascot??

The "ushers" are a joke. They are from a paid company and they are worthless. Twice, I had to remove people from my seats.

At the Pitt game, as I was walking in two ushers were yelling together "Lets Go Pitt" in the lobby. I told them they were working for DU. Ushers shouldnt be yelling anything.

Honestly, they have improved getting people into the Palumbo Center and the ticket lines.

I just think after three years we would see bigger improvement in the Palumbo Center game day event.

Dutch said...

And one thing I disagree with in your post, Court. Is that they need to give away tickets. One or two free groups a game is fine, but you devalue tickets by giving them away.

The past administration did that and inflated attendance that way. I want to know I we are doing attracting real attendance.

I totally agree with GA's policy here.

jaygeekray said...

I agree that the cheerleaders/ dance team members should be fit...from the stands you can't tell how attractive these girls are if they slap on make-up...but, boy oh boy can you tell, I mean, unfit...c'mon girls try a salad for lunch sometimes..

also, the pep band back in the 70s and 80s was great...what happened? get some enthusiasm and let's go Dukes !!!

Eddie Spaghetti said...

Our team should take the court to Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man". The intro is fierce and features a loop of the word Duke repeated like a dozen times.

20% of our cheerleaders need to lay off the Pizza Milano double ranch student specials. A couple of them seem to have falling victims to the dreaded "Freshman 50"...

Also, the student section can do better than call itself "the Crew". That's completely generic unless Duquesne became a rowing powerhouse now or something... What about something that plays off of the Hill or the Bluff? Or the team colors? I'm pretty sure the readers of this blog could come up with something better in no time...

jaygeekray said...

You are right...Student section calling itself the "Crew" sounds too much like the neighbor's "Zoo"....time to get a better name that doen't sound like an homage to the folks up the street..

goduquesne12 said...

hey Eddie Spaghetti and jaygeekray,
the full name of the student section is The RED and BLUE Crew they just dont put it on their shirts for some reason