Daniel Kozlowski is Vice Chairman of the Stanford Axe Committee, the student group responsible for the protection of Stanford’s most prized possession “The Stanford Axe.”
Welcome, freshmen. I hope you have enjoyed your first three weeks here at Stanford. I remember this being an exciting time for me two years ago. I was in a new, interesting, exciting, and fun place with some of the most articulate, intelligent, and friendly 18-22 year olds in the world (pat on back). I had just turned in my first PSET and finally had a vague understanding of where my classes were. It was also around this time that Stanford Stadium hosted its first football home game when school was in session. It was a big game…not THE BIG GAME (that came later in the year, in which we clobbered that other school across the Bay 48-14 and got back the Axe).
Our beloved Cardinal were playing the University of Spoiled Children Southern California Trojans. Stanford hadn’t beaten the Trojans in Stanford Stadium since 2000, a full decade prior; needless to say, the excitement was palpable. A back-and-forth game between the two teams featured some heavy hitting (by a quarterback-turned-linebacker) and its fair share of drama. The game came down to Stanford kicker Nate Whitaker, who earlier in the game had missed a PAT that stood as the lone difference in a 35-34 game. Turning from goat to hero, Whitaker split the uprights and gave Stanford the win it had been waiting ten years for. Fans, many of them students, came rushing onto the field as the Cardinal celebrated its victory.
Side Note: Since then, we have extended our win streak against USC to four (the longest ever) and won eleven regular-season games in back-to-back years (before 2010, we had never won more than nine games in a season), leading to two BCS Bowl appearances (2011 Orange Bowl, 2012 Fiesta Bowl). Stanford has become a football powerhouse.
That game was Stanford’s closest (and most exciting) of the 2010 season, made all the more special because of the support of the RED ZONE (the student section), which can actually affect the outcome of games: loud crowds cause opponents to incur False Start and Delay of Game penalties; they also throw off the opponent’s rhythm and give the defense a tactical advantage. Our alumni, awesome as they are, are not the best at being loud; sometimes, they need a push. The RED ZONE gives them that push. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for the student section that will help our team win on Saturdays:
- Come to all the home games and the Big Game (which is at Cal’s newly-renovated-but-still-crappy Memorial Stadium this year). This week we have a home game against Arizona (Kickoff at 12PM on Saturday).
- Attend the viewing parties on the Row and show that we support our team even when they aren’t playing at home.
- Wear Cardinal Red (or some color in the red family) on game day.
- Yell/cheer/make noise (bang on the seat backs, shake maracas, perform light construction work with a jackhammer, etc.) while we are on DEFENSE, especially on 3rd and 4th downs.
- Be respectful of the opposing team’s fans. Stanford is a world-class institution and you, as students of the University, should represent it with pride and class.
Participate in our in-game traditions:
- Stand while the team is on the field and playing (from the first kickoff to 00:00, you should be standing, with the exception of the halftime stretch sit).
- Jump during the climax of “All Right Now,” our unofficial fight song that plays after each score.
- Jingle your keys when WE kick off (NOT when they kick, as that usually means they scored).
- “Oh-Oh-Oh, First Down” (First Downs Only)
- This one includes arm motions where you move both arms up and down on each of the three ‘ohs’ and then point in the direction of the first down. It takes a little while to get the cadence down on this one.
- “Penetrate! Penetrate! Score! Score!” (Offense Only)
- “Blood! Blood! Blood Makes the Grass Grow!”
- “Traverse the field! Traverse the field! Increase the aggregate yardage” (Offense Only)
- “Go…Stanford…Go…Stanford” (Simple back-and-forth chant often used during breaks)
- “Oh-Oh-Oh, First Down” (First Downs Only)
- Sit down while the game is being played (see traditions).
- Yell/cheer/make noise while we are on OFFENSE. It makes it harder for the coaches and players on the field to communicate.
- Throw things on the field.
- First, this is classless and accomplishes nothing but making you look like a poor sport.
- Second, you should keep Stanford beautiful and dispose of your trash/recycling appropriately.
- Run onto the field during the game. In other words, don’t rush the field unless the game is actually over. Trust me, we have had problems with this in the past.
- That’s a 15-yard penalty against the home team (us). Fifteen yards can be the difference between winning and losing; you don’t want to be the reason that our team loses, so don’t be.
The Axe Committee is on the field for every home game, blowing the Stanford train whistle, shooting an air cannon, and waving flags. If you have any questions for Daniel about Stanford Football, the Axe Committee, or this article, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.