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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Raising the roof

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Professional sporting events all have their own traditions. In baseball, the Atlanta Braves have the Tomahawk Chop. College football has the “”Gator Bait”” from the University of Florida. The NFL’s Jets have the J-E-T-S fan chant in New York.

And while Arizona volleyball home games aren’t quite on the same level, they have started a fan tradition of their own.

Arizona’s “”roof”” is a chant that has emerged from the fans in McKale Center. When a Wildcat player records a “”roof”” — an opposing player hits the ball straight into a blocker’s arm and the ball hits the ground on the opponent’s side — the crowd stands up and responds with the chant “”Roof, roof, roof.””

“”It gives them a way to interact, almost,”” said junior middle blocker Stephanie Snow. “”It’s a cheer that everyone can do, and it gets us pumped and I think it gets the fans excited too.””

Volleyball isn’t a sport where most people would think cheering could create an advantage.

But in a gym, the emotions of the spectators carry over into the emotions on the court.

“”It’s one of my favorite cheers, actually,”” Snow said. “”Especially the fan in the stands that wears a red shirt that says, ‘Roof, Roof, Roof.’ He always stands up and it’s always fun to see him whenever we get a good block.””

Some fans regard the roof in its technical definition, some as closing the roof on the opponent or raising the roof. And while no one really knows which definition the crowd actually chooses, the chant certainly gets the point across.

“”I thought it was really funny,”” middle blocker Jacy Norton said. “”I’ve always heard the cheer, but I didn’t even realize it was just a middle blocker thing.””

For Arizona, fan-led cheers make sporting events more fun and keep the crowd in the game. The cheer officially began this year, and applies any time a middle blocker records a block. For the Arizona coaching staff, the fan interaction is a sign that people are engaged in Arizona’s play.

“”They just started that this year, actually,”” head coach Dave Rubio said. “”I think it’s all cool if it motivates the players. It gets them going and gives them a little more psychological advantage on your side.””

The cheer is something the pep band, crowd and announcers can get behind. Although some home games don’t have quite the crowd of other large sporting events, the noise makes up the difference for the players on the court. For the players, the “”roof”” cheer is something of substance.

“”Considering that’s the name of our position, I feel like it means a lot to us,”” Snow said. “”Since it’s our position and since it’s our responsibility to block, it’s a way of presenting a defense to the other team. I take it personally.””

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