New England: The View from the Capo


I got rhythm, I got music, I got my team, who could ask for anything more?

This badly-misquoted Gershwin song was my feeling as I ascended the capo stand at Gillette Stadium for the first time on Saturday. For a couple of years, I’d contemplated taking the bull by the horn and trying to conduct several hundred semi-belligerent Revs fans in various states of inebriation. As it turned out, my capo cherry was broken when I was pressed into service at the last minute after the scheduled cheerleader (let’s face it, that’s what we are) backed out.

Depending on whom you ask, my 45-minute tenure atop the repurposed lifeguard stand was either a rousing success or a colossal failure. I did my best to bring out some of the oldies – after 16 years of going to games, I picked up a few songs that have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another, and I relished the opportunity to reintroduce Jonathan Richman’s “New England” to the proceedings.

Some songs I’m glad to be parted from. There was a chant several years ago that dropped a derisive f-bomb (and I don’t mean ‘fuck’) at our opponents. I don’t recall precisely how that one died out, but I’m certainly thankful it has. Others, however, including the chant about how “Revos’ balls are made of gold”, ought to be brought back just for chuckles.

The job isn’t made any easier when the only drummer in the vicinity is positioned to your immediate left, is a nine year-old with his first snare, and couldn’t find the rhythm to a chant cadence with a divining rod. I spent half my time trying to point out to this poor musically-disinclined soul when to hit the damn thing, and the rest of it trying to keep the schmucks in each of our supporters’ groups happy by mixing up the song selection.

My goal for the season was to try and incorporate just a hint of musicality into the capo job. It isn’t a big stretch from “musical conductor” to “cheerleader”, so my thought was, “maybe if I can show people where the goddamned downbeat is, we won’t end up with three different tempos across the section”. If only I’d been so lucky. No, some people are going to go at whatever tempo they ┬áplease, common sense and harmony be damned.

At any rate, I’m not going to be quite so intimidated by the job in the future. I just wish they’d give me a Nerf gun to take out the jackasses who aren’t content with anything.

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