To "suck" or not to "suck", that is the question

The diehards at Predators games are known for bringing a college hockey-like atmosphere to the Sommet Center, with Section 303 leading the way on chants aimed at the opposition. Goalies are razzed after the Predators score, the starting lineups are booed lustily, etc. But when is the line crossed between good-natured enthusiasm and public vulgarity?

The following letter to the editors of the Tennessean opens the debate:

My husband and I had a fabulous time at the Predators/Blackhawks game Tuesday night. We sat next to a lovely couple, enjoyed good music and some great food. My only complaint about the night was when the Preds scored

The chant accompanying “Rock and Roll, Part II” with the “you suck” portion made me wonder what visitors to our city must think about our hospitality.

We are transplants to Nashville from New Orleans. We were disconcerted to discover that a precious city of rebirth could not be hospitable to opposing teams. When we heard a child screaming this chant behind us, we were taken aback. The South has always been known as a place of hospitality.

We are known for providing an inviting atmosphere for persons from another part of the country and other regions. We are known for our manners. Even an event that is known for rough play should show our training, upbringing and couth. Our compatriots did not display this. We will not attract visitors with this attitude.

I would love to see old-fashioned class at my next game.

In response, we have Codey Holland, a Predators super-fan (who recently relaunched Section303.org), who placed the following on every seat in the 303 before Saturday night's game against hated rival Detroit:

This was waiting for 303... on TwitPic

So let me ask you; can one complain about the nature of some of the chants without undermining the spirit of them? I take my kids (ages 6, 6, and 5) to many games, and have to admit I'm not crazy about all the "you suck" and "we're gonna beat the hell out of you" taunts. On the other hand, I was at the University of Michigan during the early and mid 1990's, when chants like this (and many, many others besides) became an essential part of the game experience. But what do you think? Can the 303 tone down the language, while maintaining the intensity?

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