If you’re a Northwest college basketball fan, you may be familiar with the University of Oregon student section, better known as the “Pit Crew.” The Pit Crew is an abomination to fandom in general, and especially to the intimate nature of college basketball. While other West Coast schools such as UCLA, California, Stanford, Gonzaga, and Washington have established some of the best, most recognized student sections in the nation, Oregon has attempted to undo all the creative, good-natured fun being had by their rivals with an out-of-bounds attitude towards opponents that crosses all moral and ethical lines of behavior.
To briefly sum it up, the Pit Crew is a waste of humanity. If you were to classify humans into two groups, those who to deserve to walk the earth and those who don’t, most members of the Pit Crew would fall into the latter. That’s not to say that they’re bad people when outside Oregon’s Mac Court, or in a one-on-one environment, but when they get together and form their ocean of green-and-yellow ugliness, bad things happen.
Perhaps their most notable transgression took place last season, when Pac-10 rival UCLA came to town. The Bruins were led by freshman center Kevin Love, a native of nearby Lake Oswego, who spurned the Ducks for greener pastures (no pun intended). Love’s decision to attend UCLA naturally didn’t sit well with Oregon fans. But instead of jousting the 6’10” NBA prospect with witty barbs or tongue-in-cheek chants, the Pit Crew led an all-out assault on the entire Love family. With Kevin Love’s parents, siblings, and even grandmother sitting in attendance near the UCLA bench, the Oregon students unleashed a wrath of abuse that no group of people should ever have to endure. They called Love, the player, names like “faggot,” “pussy,” and “cock-lover.” They offered to fight any one of the Love clan who dared bat an eye in their direction (for the record, I’d put my money on Grandma Love to bust the balls of some well-deserved Duck with a cane to the groin). They made signs bearing R-rated language that was condoned by the MacArthur Court security. They spewed epithets, insults, and basically made a mockery of the sport and of fans in general. The media, appalled by their actions, scolded the university for tolerating the behavior. Stan Love, Kevin’s father and an Oregon alum, publicly disowned his alma mater. None of it made any difference to the Pit Crew, with one Crew member going so far as to justify the behavior in print with this article in Oregon’s student newspaper just a few days later. Like I said, they’re the latter portion of humanity.
After the Huskies overwhelmed Oregon last night on that very same floor, Washington players walked away underwhelmed by the performance of the Duck students. “I just expected so much more, but it was nothing,” said freshman point guard Isaiah Thomas. Anticipating the same treatment that former Husky mighty-mite Nate Robinson received in Eugene four years ago (with chants and signs indicating Robinson’s supposed likeness to actor Gary Coleman), Thomas was entertained by little more than a less-than-creative Pit Crew, who have come to typify the fairweather nature of the Oregon fan base. I guess winning breeds confidence.
The Pit Crew likes to think they try hard. They have their own website, complete with all the Duck propoganda one could pull out their ass, and even go so far as to hold weekly leadership meetings, not unlike high school ASB officers or, perhaps, the mafia. In reality, the cowards who call themselves the Pit Crew are little more than a joke that embodies the lawlessness of the University of Oregon and reflects the less-than-ethical standards of their head basketball coach/Latin lover Ernie “Ernesto” Kent. Like Kent, maybe the Pit Crew would be better off taking a woman to Mexico and having sex with her before trying out some of their unimpressive tactics on opponents, because let’s face it, they’ve had very little to offer in their ten years of existence and I speak for just about everyone when I say we’re all sick of it. With any luck, MacArthur Court, scheduled for demolition after the season, will be taken down with the Pit Crew still inside. We can only hope.