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The Red Rowdy Experience

Red Rowdy Game Rituals

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.



The Romp is part of the Red Rowdies pre-game ritual.

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.

Player Introductions
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.

Free Throws
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.

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Houston Rockets

Red Rowdy Road Trip to New Orleans

“You gotta love that support. When you’re on the road and you come out of the hotel and see some of your fans cheering for you, it gives you a little extra juice for the game.“ – Matt Bullard



Houston Rockets Red Rowdies
Houston Rockets Red Rowdies

Red Rowdies road trip to New Orleans

“You gotta love that support. When you’re on the road and you come out of the hotel and see some of your fans cheering for you, it gives you a little extra juice for the game.“ – Matt Bullard

When traveling to road games, the presence of the Red Rowdies has a way of making the opposing fans around them respond by cheering louder for their own team. The same was true on Wednesday night in New Orleans. A group of 11 Rowdies, and a bunch of Rockets employees and Rockets season ticket holders, created a large presence of red in the New Orleans Arena. The upper bowl was nearly empty (which didn’t surprise me as I saw seats going for $2 on StubHub), but their lower bowl home crowd was loud.

This was the eighth home game for the Hornets Red Rowdy-like group, the Bee Zanies. Ironically, they sat directly across from us that night, something we did not know when we purchased tickets. The Rowdies were the first of its kind, and many other NBA teams have added their groups. From what I’ve been told, the NBA has encouraged all teams to start groups like the Red Rowdies.

We left immediately after the Kings game Tuesday night in order to make it to the Cashoutta Casino before 2 a.m., the latest they’d let us check in. On Mardi Gras night at the Toyota Center, coupons for a free night’s stay at Cashoutta Casino in Kinder, Louisiana were placed on all of the seats before the game, so we took advantage of those.

Kinder is almost exactly half way to New Orleans, which worked out perfectly. Before leaving for our road trip, we burned a New Orleans Hornet pennant and tied a noose around a stuffed animal bee, which was constantly hung out the window on our way to New Orleans. This road trip was a great way to get that awful feeling we were left with after the loss to the Kings off our minds. I had never felt so bad after a Rockets loss.

We left Kinder in the morning, stopped at a Subway, drove right to the French Quarter in New Orleans, and parked by the Rockets hotel. We were early, but we wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss any players like last time. Two busses pulled up. Rockets season ticket holders and employees poured out, most dressed in red. After those busses left, and the empty bus for the Rockets pulled up, we laid what remained of the charred New Orleans pennant and the now filthy plush Hornet right by the stairs of the bus for the players to stomp on.

I brought all sorts of stuff to get autographed, but the players seemed to be in a bigger rush this time to get to the arena, so most items were left unsigned. We asked all of the players to stomp on or kick the Hornet before boarding the bus and most of them did (Videos of that are in the comments section). It was great talking with some of the Rockets personnel and players before the game.

We “romped” a little around the French Quarter and had beignets at Café Du Monde, something we didn’t have time for on our last trip. We had some trouble with parking, and ended up entering the game a little late in the first quarter with the Rockets already up by 14 points. A wave of calm came over me when I saw that score. YES! This is going to be a blowout, I thought, or at least we will have a nice cushion just in case the Hornets go on a run.

I wore my spacesuit this time, which makes me now 0-3 with it on for Rockets road games. In the second quarter, the Hornets mascot came over and totally shocked us with some silly string. There was nothing we could do but just stand there and take it. As he walked down the stairs away from us, I started collecting all of the silly string around me, and throwing it back at him. I threw two or three handfuls, all falling short of him.

Less than a minute later, a security guard came up and threatened to throw me out for throwing it and said I was caught on camera. I asked why it was fair that he can shoot silly string at fans who did not agree to it, yet we can’t throw it right back at him. I didn’t get an answer and was told one more time if I threw something I would be thrown out. Getting hit with silly string by the mascot and getting talked to by security are on every away game road trip’s to do list.

The Bee Zanies came over to our section for a chant off at the end of the quarter, similar to what we did when the Baseline Bums and the Silver & Black Pack (two of the Spurs fan groups) visited the Toyota Center for the first home game against the Spurs on March 12. We were definitely outnumbered, but we started yelling, “Y’all copied us,” “We’re the originals” “Where are your banners?” They left and the guy in charge of the Bee Zanies came and spoke with us, saying he had come to some of the Rockets games to watch us and that he modeled their program after us. It was pretty neat to talk with him about their new program.

Our best in-game chants of the night were when Chris Paul was at the free throw line. We yelled, “New York,” “New York Knicks,” and “He wants out.” Hornets fans clearly HATED those chants. When Ariza air-balled a shot, we brought back the “You can have Ariza,” chant that was so effective last time. But, other than that air-ball, he had such a great game that it just couldn’t be said again.

As the Hornets took the lead, the fans became more and more vocal towards us. We just all stood and pointed with our left hand at their three banners: two retired jerseys and a southwest division title. Most of it was in good fun, but the people on the balcony above us were yelling some racist remarks at some of the Red Rowdies during the game. In all of my time as a Red Rowdy, both at home games and away games, NEVER have I witnessed fans using race to talk down fans of the opposing team.

That group of people did not represent the whole crowd of Hornets fans and that became apparent after the game. After we lost, we were contemplating whether we wanted to jet out of there to avoid conflict, or if we wanted to wait around until some people cleared out. We chose the second option.

Many fans who trashed talked to us during the game came up to us to shake our hands and told us what a great time they had with us here. I don’t imagine they see as many opposing fans in their arena as often as we do with so many displaced NBA fans living in Houston- especially Mavericks and Spurs fans. One guy in particular really hung around to talk to us. He shared with us how his sister now lives in Houston after Katrina. He told us to enjoy the city of New Orleans but to be careful. The last thing he told us before he left was, “If anyone gives you any trouble, tell them Houston took in a lot of the Katrina victims from New Orleans.” I couldn’t help but think of the connection that these two cities shared after that natural disaster and what an impact that man had on me. He was genuinely grateful for what the city of Houston did to help Katrina victims, and he thanked us as representatives of the city of Houston.

That and how kindly we were treated by others made it a lot easier to not be so upset after the loss and to actually be happy for New Orleans. Even the security guard who had threatened to throw me out was really friendly towards me as we left, saying he was just doing his job. We left the arena chanting “Beat LA” because we sincerely wanted the Hornets to beat LA, and it helped ward off the Hornets fans wanting to rub playoffs in our face.

We began the long trip back home right after the game and made a stop at one of the many Waffle Houses on the way. We were the only ones in there, and shortly after, four Rockets fans from Beaumont walked in. We had a Waffle House full of 15 Rockets fans. It was kind of a cool moment, and I always enjoy talking to other Rockets fans. We modified one of our own chants and started a, “Whose House? The Waffle House!” before leaving.

In my last post about Rowdy road trips, I mentioned that a trip to the Rio Grande Valley to watch the Vipers play was on my to-do list. Well, my wish has been granted because the Vipers contacted the Rockets asking that we be present at their playoff game tonight for game two of their three-game playoff series. They must have been impressed with us at the two games we went to in Austin. Unfortunately, the Vipers lost Game 1 to the Bakersfield Jam, so hopefully the Red Rowdies can help create a home court advantage tonight to keep the Vipers alive in the playoffs. The Rockets Power Dancers and Clutch the Bear will also be there.

Prior to last week’s loss to the Kings, we saw some of the best games of the season. It has truly been a real treat watching the Rockets push for the playoffs when the odds were against them. Even though the Rockets have been eliminated from the playoffs, I don’t doubt that we will still see them play with the same heart and determination the final three games of the season. With only two home games left, I’ll relish every moment as a Red Rowdy before I put away my spacesuit for the offseason.

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The Red Rowdy Experience

Rowdy Road Trips

The Houston Rockets celebrated Mardi Gras last Saturday night against the Pacers with a Clutch the Bear Mardi Gras bead giveaway and the Red Rowdies handed out beads to fans during the romp and had a Mardi Gras costume contest. I took the Mardi Gras theme as an opportunity to dress in my homemade replica Calvin Murphy green and yellow San Diego Rockets jersey since I’m normally constrained by the red dress code. It’s astonishing to me how few people know the Rockets started in San Diego, and I’m certain I was rejected of a few high fives during the romp because it did not appear that I was wearing Rockets clothing.



Houston Rockets Red Rowdies in New Orleans

Rocketgirl and the Red Rowdies in New Orleans

The Houston Rockets celebrated Mardi Gras last Saturday night against the Pacers with a Clutch the Bear Mardi Gras bead giveaway and the Red Rowdies handed out beads to fans during the romp and had a Mardi Gras costume contest. I took the Mardi Gras theme as an opportunity to dress in my homemade replica Calvin Murphy green and yellow San Diego Rockets jersey since I’m normally constrained by the red dress code. It’s astonishing to me how few people know the Rockets started in San Diego, and I’m certain I was rejected of a few high fives during the romp because it did not appear that I was wearing Rockets clothing.

For a few Red Rowdies, including myself, this was the second Rockets game we attended within a week with a Mardi Gras theme. A group of eight of us made the trip to the Rockets v. Hornets game in New Orleans on Sunday, February 27th when the Hornets also had their Mardi Gras night. Of course, their Mardi Gras night was a little over the top compared to ours, complete with a parade at halftime and a debut of the Hornets’ Mardi Gras themed jerseys.

We left right after the home game against the Nets on February 26th and arrived at our hotel in New Orleans around 6 AM. Our sleep was short and we ventured over to the French Quarter for the day around noon. Immediately after parking, we spotted some Rockets t-shirts and a cameraman on the other side of the street, part of an FSN crew, who told us where the Rockets were staying.

We spent the next few hours romping around the French Quarter in our red, chanting and holding our Houston Rockets flag. We purchased a few Rockets beads at a gift shop, ate some fantastic Cajun food and then made our way to the team hotel. The first bus was already half filled with players, coaches and personnel about to depart to the arena. We began chanting to the players on the bus and the players still boarding. We were able to snag a few autographs and photos and had some great conversations with a few of them.

After a quick pre-game romp down Bourbon Street, we hopped into our vehicle, navigated around the Mardi Gras parade traffic to the New Orleans Arena and made our way to the nosebleed seats. We cheered a lot at the beginning but grew silent when it appeared to be a Hornets blowout. I was planning a quick exit in the event of a loss when the Rockets began to make a comeback and won, which meant we could post game romp.

Our favorite chant after a victory at an away Rockets game is, “Whose House? The Rockets House!” The opposing fans hate it, and that is exactly why we love it. However the two best chants after this victory were, “Who dat talkin’ bout beatin’ dem Rockets? Who Dat? Who dat? What?” and “You can have Ariza.” They hated the “Who dat?” since it was originally a Saints’ chant, and the Ariza one was the dagger because our former Rocket must’ve air-balled two or three three-point shots, including one in the last few minutes of the game when they were trying to regain the lead.

We romped back to the vehicle and decided to stop at Bourbon Street to continue our romp before heading back to Houston. We chanted a little bit on Bourbon, ran into the Hornets fans that sat behind us at the game, but mainly had a great time talking with random people from Houston about the Rockets. We arrived in Houston about 5 AM the following morning. This was honestly one of the best days of my life, and we’re looking forward to reliving it on April 6 when the Rockets return to New Orleans.

New Orleans was our 5th road trip this season including two Rio Grande Valley Vipers games. As I have mentioned before, the road trips are one of my favorite parts of being a Red Rowdy. These road trips are entirely paid for and planned by Red Rowdy members. I’ve given a few summaries of our other road trips from this season below. Excluding playoff games, the most fun Rockets games I’ve been to are away games.

10/22/10 Preseason Rockets @ Mavericks in Dallas, TX (8hr & 14min. roundtrip)

Five of us made the road trip to Dallas, something I’ve always wanted to do as a Red Rowdy. With the two regular season games in Dallas during weekdays this season, a Friday night preseason game seemed like the place to be. We were sitting in the lower bowl for this game and it wasn’t long before we got complaints. We had three American Airlines Center security workers come talk to us, including the president of security. They told us we needed to sit down, even though we weren’t blocking anyone’s view and that we could cheer but try not to do it so loudly. We had fans come up and yell in our face and try to start something, people around us relocated to other seats and a man threatened to rip up my sign a Rowdy was holding only during timeouts and quarter breaks. We were treated absolutely terribly from the moment we walked into the arena.

This was the game the Rockets were up the entire time before Courtney Lee stepped out of bounds with .4 seconds left, up by one. The Mavs won the game with an alley-oop to Shawn Marion at the buzzer. This game was almost the complete opposite of New Orleans. We enjoyed every minute up to the end. As soon as the Rockets lost, we gathered up our belongings and nearly ran out of the building to avoid conflict. On our trip back home, we stopped at a Taco Bell about two hours outside of Dallas. A customer inside asked us if we were coming Rockets game and said he recognized me from TV.

11/6/10 Rockets @ Spurs in San Antonio, TX (6hr & 34min. roundtrip)

The Rockets were 0-4 before this game and we were praying that we would witness the Rockets first win of the season that night. Unfortunately, we did not but still saw a remarkable game that went into overtime. This was my third trip to San Antonio for a Rockets game and I have each one has been a positive experience. We are always treated with respect when we visit. I think it’s because the Spurs fans and the Rockets fans can find common ground in their hatred for the Mavericks. Before the game, we made a stop at the Alamo and boardwalk for dinner and had an opportunity to parade around in our Rockets attire.

Whenever we go to San Antonio, we always have Rockets fans move to sit by us, and this game was no different. Brooks hurt his ankle just before half time, and Ish Smith had to take over as point guard. It was a great comeback game for the Rockets, but they lost in overtime. We were planning on returning for the second Rockets game in San Antonio of the season, but the Spurs have been doing so well this season, the worst seats in the house were going for over $30.

2/10/11 Rio Grande Valley Vipers @ Austin Toros (6 hr, & 38min. roundtrip)

I have always wanted to attend a home Vipers game, but they are over 6 hours away from Houston, so we settled by going to an away game in Austin against the Toros, the Spurs’ D-league affiliate. It’s unfair that Dallas is just 45 minutes away from their D-league affiliate and San Antonio is less than 2 hours away from theirs.

I really like the Vipers team and would enjoy being able to attend more of their games in a season. I was a big fan of Ish Smith and hoped he would be there. Unfortunately, Brooks decided to leave a Rockets game early, resulting in a one game suspension. Smith was called up less than a week before our road trip. Still, we were all excited about getting to see our D-league affiliate and give them some support on the road.

We purchased our seats right behind the Vipers bench, although we could’ve purchased cheaper seats and moved up because the arena was empty. Our five voices could easily be heard and seemed to have a big impact when the Toros were shooting free throws.  We modified all of our Rockets chants to fit the Vipers and they won 117-97. After the game, all of the Vipers coaches came up to talk to us, thank us and shake our hands. One of them offered to leave us tickets at will-call at the next game in Austin, two days later if we were up for it.

2/12/11 Rio Grande Valley Vipers @ Austin Toros (6 hr, & 38min. roundtrip)

We decided to return to the noon Vipers game two days later because we had such a great time and felt so appreciated at the last one. It was Spurs day at the Toros game, so the Spurs’ Coyote mascot made an appearance. Also a few members of the Spurs’ fan group, the Baseline Bums, were sitting courtside. Nothing makes me more upset than when people compare the Red Rowdies to the Baseline Bums. The Baseline Bums are a private organization and the furthest thing from being rowdy. We couldn’t even hear them during the game.

It was an exciting game, but the Vipers lost 99-105. After the game, we rushed to Houston to make it in time for a Rockets game that night. Not too many people can say that they have been to both a Vipers and a Rockets game in the same day. Making a trip to a Vipers home game in the valley is still on our to do list.

Tough loss last night against the San Antonio Spurs, the first game of a six game home stance. We’ll have five games in nine days, making this potentially one of the greatest spring breaks ever.

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Houston Rockets

The Red Rowdy Experience

“There’s no place like home” That sentiment, written on my sign at Monday night’s game when the Rockets beat the Wizards for their eighth consecutive win at home, is how I’ve felt lately as a Red Rowdy.



Houston Rockets Red Rowdy "Rocketgirl"“There’s no place like home”

That sentiment, written on my sign at Monday night’s game when the Rockets beat the Wizards for their eighth consecutive win at home, is how I’ve felt lately as a Red Rowdy.

They call me Rocketgirl. You may have seen me before. I wear a Rockets red spacesuit, white goggle glasses, a jet pack and a few other space-like accessories to all of the Rockets games. Every once in awhile I’ll change it up like I did last night with my blue, checkered “Dorothy” dress and glittery red shoes with Rockets logos.

This season, my third as a Red Rowdy, Clutch has given me the opportunity to share my experiences with you. I have had some unbelievable experiences and I am looking forward to sharing my stories with you on this blog.

Rockets vs. Wizards- December 27, 2010

I was really impressed with the crowd Monday night. I don’t know if it was the lure of the RPD swimsuit calendar, the fact that people were off work and out of school for Christmas vacation or that fans were excited about our team approaching the .500 mark, but there was nearly a full house and fans were into it.

As a Red Rowdy, the best feeling is when the rest of the Toyota Center does what you’ve been doing the whole game: stand, chant, and cheer. I even get chills. During those times, I pause, just for a second, so I can watch and listen to the rest of the crowd chanting in unison.

In the fourth quarter, two of my fellow Rowdies – REDiculous and Rowdy South Park Satan – held signs reading “get up” and “on your feet” and were able to get sections 113 and 114 standing. With those sections on their feet and cheering like crazy behind the goal, the Wizards went one for four at the free-throw line, including a pair of misses by John Wall with fans chanting “Brick Wall.” That’s when you feel like you make a difference.

After the game, I got a chance to talk to the real Wizard, Daryl Morey. He was roaming the concourse late after the game and a few of us went to talk to him, including a couple of Rowdies who were with me in the Free Agency Caravan. We talked and joked about the caravan and the game. He referred to me as Rocketgirl, which was pretty cool, although it’s probably because I Tweet to him frequently. We stood their basking in his presence for a while until it got awkward.

I am probably biased, but the Rowdies have been looking and sounding strong, especially during this eight-game home winning streak. During the past few games, we’ve been allowed to bring guests with us doubling our section and helping tremendously. There are copycat NBA fan groups that have double the amount of seats we do. Having almost twice as many people and voices has been great, but no guests tonight as the house will be full for the Heat.

For the first time since I have been a Red Rowdy, I’ll be representing the Rowdies and watching the game from a different location, near the Heat bench with a friend I met on Clutchfans. I’ll be doing my best to heckle the Heat to help the Rockets get their sixth straight win and ninth straight win at home!

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