As a Mississippi State graduate, I’ve been recently reminded of what it’s like to lose to the in-state arch-rival. I must say, though, that it had been so long since that happened, I almost forgot what it felt like.
It was fun to be on the winning side for many years. Between the TSUN (“the school up north”) moniker and the many billboards that dotted the landscape, stating that Mississippi was “Our State”, it’s been a lot of fun to talk a bit of smack to the TSUN brethren, though I can never remember if they’re the Rebels or the Black Bears. Mascot ambiguity seems to be running amok in Oxford.
As one who also holds a degree from Louisiana State University, I can always divert the smack talk to my Bayou Bengal Tigers, who are always putting a beat down on Rebs. It’s not the same, though, because those from TSUN can’t comprehend that, and it creates confusion on their part.
As the college football season winds down, it has become painfully apparent that rules have been broken regarding “smack talk.” I’m sure you’re aware of the “Rules of Smack Talk”…the unwritten code regarding what you can say, to whom you can say it, and what to what level of “smackness” you can go. These apply to any rivalry, be it Tennessee v. Kentucky, Georgia v. Georgia Tech, and so on.
But, before we go to my rules for smack talk, we need to understand what “smack talk” is. Wikipedia states that “smack talk“…
…refers to inflammatory comments made by a person or team in order to insult, anger, or annoy opponents. Although it began as a term used by sports fans and athletes, it has spread to all areas of culture where competition takes place. In the United States, it is synonymous with “trash talk”.
I’m not a huge “smack talker” unless someone talks smack to me first. You see, the intent of talking smack in the first place is to annoy and anger the opponents. So, if I see someone talking big smack or acting like “they’re-all-that-and-they-ain’t”, then I’ll throw down on them.
Smack talk is usually directed at those who are arch-rivals, or those teams that win year after year. Of course, I don’t advise talking smack to fans of a team that you know will put a beat down on you. Just ain’t smart!
So, before you start talking smack, here are some general guidelines to remember.
Don’t attack family. The one sure thing to escalate smack talking to certain fisticuffs is to say something about the opponent’s momma or sister. Just don’t do it, even if it’s applicable.
Don’t get personal. Smack talk must be limited to wins and losses, the ineffectiveness of the offense, or the coaching decisions. You can even make fun of the mascot. But, under no circumstances do you get personal. Making fun of an opponent in a personal way is way out of bounds.
If you dish it out, then be willing to take it. Smack talk is a two-way street. It’s supposed to be fun to a point, but if you run and hide when your team loses, then you lose the right to talk smack in the future.
Remember…it’s all in good fun. If you keep it on the right level and stay away from attacking family and personal traits, it’s a good thing.
Keep it clean. Be a smart smack talker. Cursing is for conversational cripples. Part of talking smack is to see how clever you can be when talking about the opponent. Resorting to foul language means you’re in over your head.
Specifically, when talking smack in collegiate sports, rules apply. To talk smack regarding your collegiate team, there needs to be some level of association other than “I like the color of their uniforms” or “Their mascot is so cute.” If you’re a casual fan, then support your team and wear a t-shirt, but don’t get in the face of someone just because the team you chose to support is putting a beat down on its opponent.
So, as you remember the general guidelines for talking smack, here are specific rules regarding smack talk for collegiate fans. These are listed in order of intensity, too. The lower you are on the list, the less right you have to talk smack.
1. You are a graduate of the institution. This is the no-holds-barred level. You can talk smack all you want because you attended and have a degree from your school.
2. You attended the institution for at least 1 year. For whatever reason, you had to leave that school and go elsewhere. You can talk smack on some level. But, you must acknowledge that you attended another school, i.e. wear their colors, a t-shirt, a car sticker. Smack talk for you is level 2…you can get involved, but you’re on the outside looking in.
3. You have family that graduated from the institution. If your spouse is a graduate, you have some privileges. If your mom or dad is a graduate, you have some privileges. But, because you’re level 3, you’ll have to ratchet it down a bit.
4. You were born or grew up in the state of the institution. Once you choose, in this case, you have to remain with the school you chose at the beginning. If the other in-state schools start winning, you can’t switch just because you’re a citizen of that state. The only smack talk you can do in this scenario is to simply admit that you’re a fan of a particular school. That’s it.
5. You’re a fan because you like the colors, the coach, the mascot, or worse, because they’re winning. You need to shut up or risk bodily harm.
So, as you get ready to talk smack, remember your “smack level” and stay there. Otherwise, you could get hurt!