As the trade deadline approaches, I thought this would be a good time to take a break from Rockets trade rumors and speculation and share some Red Rowdy game rituals.
I’ve made a lot of sacrifices, as have other Rowdies, to be at nearly all of the Rockets games. I schedule my classes so I can make it to the Toyota Center in time for games. My family vacations are planned around the Rockets home schedule. I know most other Red Rowdies adjust their schedules accordingly too. We have a few Rowdies with insane commutes, although I think I travel the most with a just over 200 miles roundtrip. So what makes the Red Rowdy commitment worth it?
From the outside looking in, the Red Rowdy game experience of standing and constant yelling looks to be like one that will leave you with tired legs, a hoarse voice and a headache. Believe me, all of that is true. But there is so much more to it, and it all begins with the romp.
If you’ve ever been to a game, I imagine you’ve seen the Red Rowdies walking around Toyota Center and chanting before the start of the game. This is called “The Romp.” It’s a blast high fiving Rockets fans passing by and getting other fans psyched for the game. The Romp begins at the LaBranch entrance at 7 p.m. with some of the Rowdies chanting in a circle while we wait for more to arrive. We conclude the circle with a Rowdies chant and then we’re off. We take the escalators and make a lap around the upper concourse, come down the stairwell and make a run around the lower concourse until we reach our section 114. We circle one more time to chant “Red Rising” and “Rowdies” before entering the tunnel and heading to our seats.
During the National Anthem, Rowdies and other fans yell the words “rockets red glare.” While the visiting team is introduced shortly after, we turn our backs to the court and boo, but turn around and cheer like crazy when the lights go down at the start of the Rockets players’ introductions. As the lights come back on, we put our arms around one another and rock back and forth while chanting, “Rowdies.” Before tip off, we jump up and down chanting “Oo oo oo o o o,” along with the audio being played in the center. When the opposing team wins the tip, which they normally do, we give a quick boo before jumping right into a “defense” chant.
During the Game
I’m going to be completely honest, this season has been the toughest for keeping up our energy since I joined the Rowdies. The cheering came so much more naturally in my rookie season when the Rockets made it to the second round of the playoffs. This season, the Rockets home attendance has been low, and the Rockets continue to fail at closing out games, leaving all of us a bit depressed after a tough loss. Just because the cheering is harder, however, doesn’t mean we’re cheering any less. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping our section loud and we still have a great time doing it. While the game is played, we chant along with the audio played at the game like, “Let’s go Rockets”, “Go Rockets Go” and “Defense.” Sometimes we’ll get thrown a curveball with a beat that makes chanting nearly impossible, but we have a couple of drums in our section to give us a beat.
We are pretty superstitious when it comes to free throws. We have three Rowdies who must each yell a certain phrase when a free throw is shot. I don’t know how it started, but it’s been around since before my time. When a player on our team is fouled, we’ll chant their name or nickname until they receive the ball from the ref. “Hands up!” is yelled. We raise our hands and say, “Whoosh!” as we bring them down after a made basket. One variation that I love is when we lean our arms to the right when Chuck Hayes is at the line, just to help him out a little bit. When the opposing team shoots free throws, we sometimes have specific things to chant for a player to get inside his head, like singing “It’s a Small World After All,” for the vertically challenged, or just a generic, “You’re gonna miss it!”
Post Game Celebration
After a win at home, we like to romp back to the La Branch entrance for a celebration. We’re usually joined by slightly intoxicated fans dancing in the middle of our circle to the drums and opposing fans trying to talk trash with us. These have been the best, as you might imagine, after playoff wins at home.
What really makes the Red Rowdy experience enjoyable is the people I meet and the friends I make every season. We’re like one big family and I get to know everyone pretty well at games, during events like the Rockets Run and on road trips, my favorite.