In early November, USC students will have the chance to make a decision of monumental importance. We live in a land of great opportunity, with unprecedented access to resources. Yet, we have fallen short of reaching our full potential. We must now choose a representative, symbolizing our highest ideals and capable of bringing us together. The decision will leave a permanent legacy for this land for generations to come.
Astonishingly, though, for such an important decision, we haven’t even been given a single viable option. Therefore, for anyone who cares about the future of this place we call home, we cannot settle for these non-options. We must follow our conscious and write-in the candidate we think would be the best option.
I’m talking, of course, about the athletic department’s campaign to rename the student section of the Galen Center.
I normally delete most of the mass emails USC sends out to students. But the athletic department’s “Basketball is back!” message on Sunday caught my eye. With basketball season around the corner, and the USC men’s team coming off a breakout regular season but abrupt end to March Madness, I was excited to see what the athletic department had in store to generate more fan interest on the court.
They couldn’t have thought of a better promo.
Crowd-sourced naming campaigns are maybe my favorite things ever on the Internet. For example, the United Kingdom’s environmental research council solicited suggestions for the name of a new ship and the name that garnered the most support was “Boaty McBoatface,” or the petition on change.org, directed at none other than President Barack Obama, to officially change the zoological classification of fire ants to “spicy boys.” It has more than 80,000 online signatures.
So in light of this wonderful opportunity the athletic department has given this current class of USC students, I want to ensure that we take this responsibility seriously. I wanted to dedicate this column to discussing a list of potential choices before the poll for suggestions closes next week. But before throwing out some options, I want to make some suggestions for the process.
The name should signify an actual place. We’re picking a name for the area, not a new name for us fans who congregate in it. The name should be no more than three words—it will have staying power only if it rolls off the tongue.
And most importantly, if the name is not original or unique to USC, then there’s no point in picking one in the first place. So let’s not even bother with including “The Pit,” “The Cage,” “The Zoo,” or anything vague like that on the list. Alliterations with “USC,” “’SC,” or “Trojan” are encouraged but not necessary. Lastly, anyone who suggests “The Den” must forfeit his or her football season tickets, as UCLA has already claimed that for their student section in Pauley Pavilion.
With that covered, here are some ideas, in no particular order:
–The Trojan Horse. Your history major friend will probably point out that the Trojan Horse actually symbolizes the Trojans’ shortsightedness and ultimate defeat to the Greeks in the Trojan War — and is part of Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding the Syrian refugee crisis. But given that the athletic department’s objective with this whole campaign would be to get more Greek students into the building in order to overwhelm our enemies, it’s actually perfectly fitting. I’m all about self-deprecating irony.
–The En-Zone. This is putting a lot of faith into our current head coach Andy Enfield. Usually this kind of honor comes posthumously. He hasn’t quite achieved the level of success as, say, a Mike Krzyzewski, the namesake behind Duke’s Kryzewskiville — where students often camp out before home games against rival UNC. Enfield’s shelf life may or may not be shorter than our next president’s, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with a heavy dose of optimism for the program’s near future.
–The Dunk Tank. Sticking with reverence to Enfield and his high-flying style of offense, nothing would better solidify Los Angeles’ title of “Dunk City” than equipping the student section with an actual dunk tank, into which Tommy Trojan would plunge after any posterizing alley-oop or slam. It works much better than “The Splash Zone” because we don’t shoot that many 3s, and the next generation of students won’t appreciate the reference to Sea World’s now defunct Shamu show.
–Lil Coli. If we’re trying to capture the gameday atmosphere on weeknight basketball games, we might as well try to play off the football culture. Your history major friend would also probably point out that the Coliseum is really a remnant of the Roman, (not Trojan) Empire, and sounds a little diminutive to symbolize an ancient amphitheater of martyrdom, but whatever. His history degree still isn’t employable.
–The Flank. The section name should be a call to arms for all Trojan fans, and I’m sure the Trojan Army busted out the tactic all the time. It’s got a nice ring to it, too.
–The Trench. This also really gets the warfare symbolism, but has the full alliteration with “Trojan” and could even be extended to “The Trojan Trench.”
–The Trap. Not only does this have the full Trojan alliteration, but it also brings back memories Admiral Ackbar’s famous declaration during the Rebel victory in the Battle for Endor, which fans could all collectively yell any time our defense goes into a full-court press.
–The 9-Oh Zone. I haven’t ran the idea past Big Sean yet, but work in some drink deals for fans in attendance and you’ve got the greatest corporate partnership to ever come out of Marshall.
–Spicy-Boy Central. Just throwing it out there. At least there’s the ‘SC alliteration?
I haven’t decided which of these ideas I plan on submitting — feedback appreciated, as always — but I feel like any one of these could catch on. The athletic department is closing the suggestion portal on Nov. 2, and then will narrow down the ballot for a school-wide vote.
Many donors sacrificed millions of dollars for our right to freely attend basketball games at the Galen Center. It’s a shame only about 50 percent of seats eligible for students are filled up on a given night. All that’s stopping us from becoming a basketball school are these arbitrary notions that we can tailgate for football, but we can’t get rowdy for basketball.
So do your part, Trojan students. Let’s bridge this divide, and find a name that can bring us all together on the court. Let’s make the Galen Center great again.
Luke Holthouse is a senior majoring in policy, planning and development and print and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs on Wednesday.