Waiting times for the best seats in the Oakland Zoo section of the Petersen Events Center can extend for hours before the game's tip-off. For more high profile games, Zoo members have camped overnight inside the large lobby of the Petersen Events Center, sometimes having pizza delivered to them by the basketball coaching staff.
The Oakland Zoo distributes four page newspapers prior to every home game with details on Pitt players and opponents. The student section uses these papers to mock the opposing team during player introductions for the opponent by feigning disinterest. Also during the introduction of visiting players, the section yells "Sucks!" after the name of each opposing player is introduced, implying that the opposing players are not very good. After the opposing coach is introduced, the section yells "He sucks too!" At the start of the introduction for Pitt players, the Zoo tosses their newspapers into the air. After the first point of the game is scored by Pitt, the Zoo throws the discarded papers which in the meantime have been ripped into pieces, into the air to create a shower of confetti.
During the playing of the national anthem, the Zoo members lock their arms around their neighbors shoulders in a sign of solidarity with the Pitt players who also lock arms during the national anthem.
Currently, Panther Fans sing two fight songs during each game, the "Pitt Victory Song" and "Hail to Pitt". Oakland Zoo members are also known from dressing up, although some are known for their lack of dress and painted chests, with particular notoriety for costumes involving various animal themes including gorilla and bear costumes.
In 2006, the Oakland Zoo showed solidarity with the Duquesne University basketball team by wearing red ribbons to commemorate the five Duquesne basketball players who were shot earlier in the year.
In 2008 the Oakland Zoo wore ribbons again, however this time it was for Pink the Pete. During the Pitt vs. UConn women's game, the Oakland Zoo distributed pink ribbons to everyone in attendance to show support for breast cancer awareness. These ribbons were similar to the 2006 ribbons, but this time had the Oakland Zoo logo printed on them. The tradition was continued with a different pink shirt for the annual Pink the Pete games against Cincinnati in 2009, against Louisville in 2010, and against Connecticut in 2012 .
During the 2008-09 and 2012-13 seasons, the Oakland Zoo revived the tradition, started with the Field House Fanatics, of hanging tombstones for each team defeated by the men's basketball team at the Petersen Events Center.
For much of its history, communication between the Zoo leadership and the rest of the student section has been communicated by a whiteboard. In 2013, the university and the zoo collaborated so messages could be communicated to the entire Petersen Events Center via the main scoreboard.
Read more about this topic: Oakland Zoo (cheering Section)
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“Minds do not act together in public; they simply stick together; and when their private activities are resumed, they fly apart again.”
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