After reading Julie Robenhymer’s great columns on her “fan” experiences I’ve been formulating my take on the state of respect, or lack of, that I have seen in my 30 plus years of attending sporting events at different venues around the country.
Baseball is my first love, followed closely by Hockey. I really prefer to go to hockey games for live action so maybe there’s hope for me in the future. I have experienced live events from Seattle to Miami ranging from hockey games to the US Open Tennis Championships in Queens, NY.
That being said, I have seen a substantial deterioration of respect for people in general at most events over the years. It is probably more a societal problem than a sporting problem but there is very little thought put into what someone will say or do at an event. I know these people pay for their tickets just like me and some of them appear to be spending much of their hard earned money on those eight-dollar beers. I understand that I’m getting older and maybe my perspective is changing or has changed. I also have two young daughters who I enjoy taking to the Predator hockey games on a fairly regular basis.
My main complaint is the language that is used. Maybe I’m old fashioned. But I really don’t want my daughters hearing some idiot spouting off F-Bombs every other word for two hours along with other assorted creative language. I’m not a choirboy. I expect people to have a good time. I also don’t think you should have to be in a family section. I watched two drunk guys berating a RedWings couple at game six in Nashville. I don’t mind good-natured ribbing but these two idiots went over the line.
I actually saw the two RedWing people outside and wished them good luck in their next series. They evidently came into our city from Michigan for the game and were on the phone talking to someone about their bad experience. I don’t know about your city or your team, but I don’t want mine known as being a place where you can’t go to a game without worrying about your safety, especially in Nashville where every ticket counts.
I am a Giants football fan and wore my jersey to a Giants vs. Titans game a couple years ago. It was the game where the Titans made a miracle comeback in the fourth quarter and stole the game from the Giants. I took a pretty good beating on the way out of the stadium and most of it was good natured but there were a couple of idiots who wanted to push it too far. I’m not a small man so my threat to pitch the guy over the side of the ramp calmed him down sufficiently.
How do you feel about your arena or city? I’m curious on other peoples takes on this and whether you have children and hesitate to take them to events. I think a little courtesy goes along way. I like the home field advantage, as much as the other guy but not at the expense of making people feel unsafe.
There are drunks and idiots in every city. The difference is in whether or not the behavior is aberrant or prevalent. You are doing a serious injustice to the sports experience in Nashville by painting a picture of us as hostile drunkards when the norm couldn't be further from the truth. Those people you spoke of at the Red Wings game probably weren't regular hockey goers. I have found Preds fans to be very accomodating to fans of other teams unless those fans try to antagonize the home crowd. I understand your point, but I really think you should have taken the time to explain that those two drunk guys weren't representative of the Nashville fan base.
I agree with your desire that fans behave with a semblance of civil behavior - kids, families, self-respecting people, etc. should never have to listen to endless streams of crude obscenities. While I have seen my share of fans that don't meet that minimal standard, I also know that the vast majority at any given North American sporting event behave with class. My experiences with other teams' fans over the years has been uniformly good, with very few exceptions. It also helps to talk to the people around you - they welcome acceptance and usually enjoy talking about the game they love, be it hockey or whatever. The problem is the classless (and often casual) fan who is not only boorish but also overly intoxicated. It makes for a bad mixture. Most of that ilk don't even pay attention to the game and haven't a clue to what's happening. Regarding Nashville, I think we have an excellent, extremely passionate yet well-behaved base of sports fans, the minority of jerks notwithstanding. Courtesy and respect is still paramount to most of us, and I for one like to see visitors leave our town with good feelings and a desire to return. It starts with each of us.
Anytime you get 20,000 people together and lube up a few with beer, you're going to get idiots.
Nobody painted or accused Nashville as having a bunch of drunken fans. I am one of the fans!! My take has to do with what conduct has become acceptable and regular at games throughout sports throughout the country. I hate to break it to you but there are "regular" fans and season ticket holders that ARE idiots in EVERY city. Pointing them out doesn't lump the city or the whole lot of them together. I also add that I actually made a point of talking to the RedWing fans after the game outside when I happened to see them to hopefully change their opinion of the crowd and city and to make them realize the two idiots that were berating them are not representative of the city or the fan base in general.What I'd like to see is more fans, me included, that don't tolerate the idiots and either have the removed or addressed by the security and usher personnel. Now I'm not looking for the place to turn into a symphony hall but there should be limits to what you say and do to opposing fans and people in general. That is what I'm talking about here.