Blog Archive

18 April 2010

Among the Barbarians

Setting a new low for classless Philadelphia sports fan behavior (an incredible feat needless to say) 21 year old Matthew Clemmens allegedly (intentionally) vomited on an 11 year old girl at a recent Phillies game. Although the report does not say the reason for the spew attack, it can be inferred that the young girl committed the horrible crime of actually wearing another team's jersey to the game. The girl's father mentioned that they were sworn at before the incident and had beer thrown on them causing the young kid to cry- something that all parents reading this blog can understand would be a really painful thing to see. Fortunately for the offender, the girl's father (a tough looking police captain) didn't beat the living hell out of him although his mug shot does show him sporting a nice shiner.

Well, you say, that wouldn't happen in a great city with a great sports tradition such as....Pittsburgh ! Oh nay, nay. It does happen and I've seen it happen. I've seen it happen to such an extent at Steelers games that after many years of buying 3 or 4 games a year off of a friend, I am sitting this season out. I'm sick and tired of trying to go to a game and having to endure thousands of blind drunk "fans" hurling obscenities at the opposing team and fans, their own team and each other. I'm revolted by the parking lot tailgating scene that is starting to look like something out of "Mad Max" with rampant binge drinking, vomiting and fighting. I made the mistake of taking my 9 year old to the Steelers-Oakland game last season and instead of enjoying an afternoon out, was forced to explain why otherwise responsible people feel the need to get drunk out of their minds in order to watch a game.

Now look, I'm by no means a priss. I like to drink beer when I'm at sporting events (before, during and after) and enjoy hanging out with my buddies as we enjoy the ups and downs of our local teams. Having a mild buzz and sitting in the stadium or arena can be an enjoyable experience. What I don't get, however, is how people can pay a great deal of money to buy their tickets so they can get blasted in the parking lot and pass out in their seats. A more logical plan would seem to be save the money, get blasted at home and pass out on your couch but, hey, who am I to judge ?

The other problem at sporting events, particularly Steelers games, is the underlying nasty vibe that you get (even if you are wearing Steelers gear.) The crowd seems very edgy, very drunk and in need of just one little spark to completely lose it. On many occasions I've bumped into a member of the Steelers nation, said "sorry" or "excuse me" and been met with the classic "fuck you" hissed through beer sodden lips. I've seen fist fights break out over people having their feet stepped on, cutting the line at the bathroom (because they badly need to get rid of that 6 gallons they drank in the parking lot) and reacting to insults real and perceived. Something about putting on a Steelers jersey and drinking heavily before noon can turn a nerdy bank vice president into a raving lunatic ready to fight anyone, and everyone, that gets in his way.

So, I'm sitting this one out. I'm tired of worrying about getting punched, kicked or shoved while trying to actually watch the game. In fact, I'm so tired of Steelers nation that I'm not even going to watch them on television. Screw 'em, the team and their fans have become a damned disgrace. No more hero worship for women beaters and sexual predators. You want me back in your stadium ? Clean up your act. You can start by cutting a few big names on your team. Next, reign in the zoo in the parking lot and quit quietly looking the other way at underage binge drinking, public exposure and drunk driving. Pull season ticket holder's tickets if anyone using theirs gets out of line and make them pay a fine of $5,000 to get them back with money going to charity. Do these things and I might just come back. Maybe.

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