Before every game, every school has something to call their own.
Wake Forest has the Demon Deacon riding in on a motorcycle. Georgia Tech has the Ramblin' Wreck. Florida State has the War Chant and Osceola planting his flaming spear while riding in on Renegade. In its prime, Miami players entered through the smoke of the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech students and fans jump up and down to "Enter Sandman." And, of course, Clemson has the "most exciting 25 seconds in college football," with its players charging down the hill in Death Valley after touching Howard's Rock.
Even schools without a signature, nationally recognized opening have something they do. Flagship schools for state universities typically enter a stadium with their state flag. Army has a distinct opening where a cadet parachutes into the stadium with the team running out behind two large flags - one with the Black Knight logo and the other with West Point on it. Arizona State has the Pat Tillman Tunnel. And Michigan athletes jump up and hit the Big Blue banner on the way out of the locker room.
At Boston College, that tradition is hard to come by. The athletic department has tried in recent years to excite the opening with fireworks and flames, with hard rock music and fancy video board effects. The Eagle statue outside the locker room allows players to interact with fans on their way out to the field after touching the wings or head for luck. And the school's gotten better about timing the intro with the video boards so the team can run out behind the customary huge BC flag and E-A-G-L-E-S cheerleaders.
But there's something about it that just feels stale.
It's time to make something our own. It's time for Boston College to make something their own that can be a mainstay through the years. It's time to develop some time of tradition. It's time to represent Boston.
Here's my take and my suggestion - when the Eagles take the field, they should all touch the statue out of the locker room. They should line up in the tunnel as the video board plays. When the band starts playing the fight song, the Eagles bust through the BC banner and unfurl the flag of Boston as they come out.
Now for the reasoning. The Eagles don't have a great tradition of running out with something to symbolize the team. They've run out with the American flag when they wore the Wounded Warrior uniforms, which is fine. But the American flag isn't something that's wholly Boston. It doesn't separate us from anyone else. It stands alone as being great, but it just feels generic. For that reason, I think the flag of Boston will serve as something wholly unique.
Think about it this way. Massachusetts uses the flag of the Commonwealth when they take the field. They have a marketing scheme centering on their position as the flagship school of the state. Their hockey jerseys have the state seal on their shoulder yokes. The red line at the Mullins Center has the state outline in it. It's all part of their marketing scheme around the branding of the state school. No matter how horrible the team is and no matter what we might think of them, it's a marketing strategy to the rest of the country to tie the state's university to geographic location.
Boston College is the only power school in New England. It also sits as the only college football program in the city that's the heartbeat of the region. Providence, Concord, Hartford, Worcester, Springfield, Burlington, and Portland all rank secondary in size and recognition to Boston. BC has indicated it wants to identify more and more with the professional and societal symbols of the city. For that reason, it makes sense to run out with the flag of the Hub of the Universe, an underrated symbol of the city.
In terms of tradition, there's many different ways we can go with it, but a flag is the idea that touched me the hardest. Joe Grav pointed out BC could use the flag of the Vatican if the Eagles want to show off their Catholic roots. A couple other people loved the idea of seeing something unfurled next to the BC flag. My friends in the area threw out the idea of the Irish flag or the Green Harp flag. Either way, though, a banner in some capacity would be great to see, and using geographic iconography is the most obvious with possibly the largest impact.
Choosing to represent Boston comes with the link Brad Bates so desperately wants. BC's played at Fenway Park, appeared on stage with the Dropkick Murphys, and have a fight song of "For Boston." "Shipping Up To Boston" is a prominent feature of the in-game production. There's a chance to build on that, to tie it all together, and unite the city behind its only big time college football program. It's a chance to claim the state by claiming the most important city, and it's a chance to help build the fence Steve Addazio desires. It's a chance to make Boston College Boston's college football team, once and for all.