Pictured above: Tanner Carlson single-handedly causes mayhem at the basketball game. (Garrett Chapman/Staff Photographer)
He stands out in the student section like a sore thumb.
Tanner Carlson, communication junior, was allowed to decide what the student section would be named. “Since it is a student led student section, they wanted a student to make the final decision on it,” Carlson said. “We are the ‘SC Psychos’ so that we can label ourselves.” The student section is similar to Duke’s ‘Cameron Crazies’ or ‘Rock Chalk Jayhawk.’
Showing school spirit is new for Carlson, “I, believe it or not, was the rebel kid in high school. I didn’t really like to cheer or even go to the games,” said Carlson. He is now widely known as the leader of the SC Psychos.
Carlson spent his high school years at Belton High School in Belton, Texas. “My high school was very spirited. We had a very good student section,” Carlson said. “However, I was on the soccer team and had the attitude of ‘if you’re not going to come to my game, I’m not going to yours.’”
He went on to explain that his community college, Temple, didn’t even have a football team. They only had basketball and baseball programs. Carlson admits, that he didn’t attend the baseball games. “I’m not really a baseball fan anyway, so I didn’t go to them,” said Carlson.
Carlson also explained why he did not cheer at Temple’s basketball games. “I did go to the basketball games but, it was more of a community thing, a family atmosphere,” said Carlson. There is a family atmosphere that is noticed more at community colleges, such as Temple. This is due to the number of local students who choose to attend their nearby community college.
“I never really wanted to be there. I didn’t want to go to that school,” said Carlson. “I was just there because it was in town, easy access to get into, and a great building block to start off college.”
Although he did not want to be there, he took advantage of his two years there and got his basics out of the way. After finishing at Temple, Carlson was able to branch out and choose a school to attend that he was passionate about.
Carlson landed at Southwestern College, a school that finally revealed his school spirit. “He’s great. He’s been the only student that is consistently over there. Sometimes he’s the only student I notice,” said Matt O’Brien, head men’s basketball coach, when asked about Carlson.
Carlson’s dedication to the student section this year has not gone unnoticed. He was selected by Matt Shelton, athletic director, and Scott Nuss, assistant athletic director, to be the leader of the student section at Southwestern College.
O’Brien said that Carlson’s knowledge of basketball and his wittiness makes for a great leader. “He gets under the skin of some players. This helps us, because it makes the other coach have to worry about his player’s temper,” said O’Brien.
Carlson’s’ understanding of basketball makes it all that much easier to distract the opponents. “Some of my chants are just from what I’ve heard before and I have a few originals. I’ll even get into the players chant such as the ‘D up, D up,’ or ‘Defense, Defense.’” Carlson said. “My favorite chant to do is when the ref makes a questionable call, we all say ‘Push it, Push it.’”
You can just imagine what a gym of college students yelling, “Push it, Push it,” would sound like. What you just thought is the actual reason it is Carlson’s favorite. “It gets the most criticism. It’s the most scrutinized. We get a lot of refs and opposing parents to turn their head,” said Carlson.
He has even had faculty from Southwestern turn their head to the chant. “When we have people noticing us, it means we are doing our jobs correctly,” said Carlson, “We are just a distraction.”
Whitney Corley, head women’s basketball coach, said, “Tanner’s presence brings energy into the gym, and the ladies definitely feed off of it.”
Carlson’s original chant is a strategy he uses when the opponent is shooting free throws. “I’ll yell something obscured and funny,” said Carlson, “It’s almost always something funny or a Disney movie quote, like, ‘Hakuna Matata.’” He always tries to use a quote people will get a laugh out of.
Unlike Carlson’s chants, slim to few students follow his lead in painting up. If a group of students are painted up, you are bound to see Carlson in a suit. On some occasions, Carlson is the only Psycho who is covered in body paint.
Painting up is a way of being creative for Carlson, “Choosing what I’m going to paint on myself depends on the amount of time I have,” said Carlson. The more time he has the more creative he is able to be. “One time I made the painting in the mirror and wrote across my chest, ‘I wrote this in a mirror,” said Carlson. He tries to only paint things on himself that are humorous.
Carlson’s presence in the student section has positively affected his college experience. He has gained acknowledgement from coaches and faculty and has a larger social circle on campus.
His presence in the student section has created stronger, close knit friendships for Carlson; he said he even feels like family with the athletes. The small campus of Southwestern makes these types of friendships possible. “There are people who come up to me that I don’t know and they tell me that they know me from the game,” said Carlson. “It has made me become more personable and more recognized on campus, which leads me to have more relationships.”
Although standing out is fun for Carlson, it isn’t the reason he enjoys leading the Psychos. The success of his friends, is the greater concern. “I’m going to root for my friends, I want them to succeed. If I can help them succeed from the student section then I feel obligated to be there,” said Carlson. “If you support them, they will support you.”
Carlson wishes students would join him and the SC Psychos in urging the success of their friends and classmates. “I wish I didn’t stand out. I wish I wasn’t the only one standing. I wish all the students would join me,” said Carlson, “We could all collaborate as one voice and fluster the other team.”
Garrett Chapman is a senior majoring in communication. You may email him at Garrett.Chapman@sckans.edu