It's sad that today's sports "fan" feels that in order for them to show their fandom, they have to completely decimate the fandom of another team's fans. From name calling to throwing garbage out on to the playing surface, many of us "fans" fail to remember we're not paid to play a game. In fact, we pay the players to play a game.
But we become so invested in the results of the game, that many fans (yes, me included) become so void of any emotional filtering that the most vile of actions come out of people, and those who are most adversely effected are those who sit around these "fans." Throwing a beer cup or yelling racial or sexual epithets, as much as it pains me to say, will not have any outcome of the event you're watching. In fact, chances are, the game you're attending has gotten so out of hand, nothing you, the coach, the owner(s) or players can say or do will change the results. After all, that's why you're making a complete jackass out of yourself in the first place, isn't it?
You ask any sports writer or reporter why they got into the field they did, and nearly 100% of the time they will answer with, "I wasn't good enough to make the team." As tongue-in-cheek as this answer may seem, it's the 100% truth.
I fell in love with the sport of hockey over 25 years ago. Then, in 1993, the Minnesota North Stars relocated to Dallas and then hockey began to spread through North Texas like an August wildfire. I finally got to watch hockey every time I wanted to, practically. No longer was I handcuffed by ESPNs singular evening. However, it took quite some time before the StarsCenter locations would start popping up. My high school didn't even "experiment" with hockey until 2 years after I graduated. I didn't have the opportunity to grow up and play the game I love. What was the next best thing? Write about it.
I have said since day one when I began writing for various sites which ultimately lead to the creation of this site: the Allen Americans, and Tommy Daniels in particular, have been gracious enough to allow me this opportunity to learn the ropes of sports reporting. They have allowed me access to players, front office and even the area in front of the room. So, naturally, I feel a kinship with the Americans' organization, but the one thing that I've always made it clear about my writing: I will call a spade a spade and I will write things most fans of their particular team will not want to hear/see/say.
About a month ago, I made it a point to mention the Ft. Worth Brahmas twitter page as several of their scratches that night were rude to my family. I was attending the game as a fan and was sitting in the stands as such. I didn't have my press pass visible (though I had it with me) and did not make it known as at that moment, it had no bearing on the situation. I was then greeted with a season ticket holder from Ft. Worth that, "That is the reason why Ft. Worth hates Allen. Their fans are rude and vulgar."
Well, guess what? It goes both ways. Instead of seeming standing up for a couple of punks who know damn well how to act when they're scratched, let alone as members of the human race, either stay out of the situation or unless you have something to add that could possibly prevent such a situation again. That individual said I should join him at a Brahmas game in Ft. Worth and he would introduce me to the owners and member of the front office. How about instead, you inform them that on a particular game in Allen, a couple of scratches were rude to a family and they might want to look into it.
Today, there was an altercation a section over that had the potential to get physical but never did. Really? You are surrounded by kids; at a hockey game. It was Allen YOUTH Hockey Appreciation day. What example are you setting? What are you telling the other team's fans other than, "You're absolutely right about us. We're assholes."
***EDITOR'S NOTE: The below paragraph has been edited from it's original draft. I unfortunately used very poor wording when explaining the situation where I thought the homophobic slur was uttered.***
To end the game today, from within one of the large sections on the visitor end of the ice (visiting team defends twice) an unruley fan referred to one of the opposition's players as a "homo."
I have no idea who(m) may have yelled out the word. As sad as it is, as a fan, you represent your team. Regardless if it was an Allen or Ft. Worth fan, if you're a jerk, then "all fans" of that team are jerks. That's the assumption. Ft. Worth fans dislike Allen fans and vice versa because of the treatment they say they get in each other's arena. What is it they say about "assumptions?" What is it they say about "perception is reality?"
I am not associated with any team. I do not get paid for any of the things I do for StarsInsider.com or FanVsFan.com. I do, however realize that with the name of the website and the subjects I cover, comes a certain responsibility. I amazingly (and I still can't wrap my mind around the awesomeness) have people that come to me and my writers for information. We may not have all the answers due to limited access, but I have sworn to each of you who reads this that we will never speculate and we will always make it a point to bring accurate information in a respectful manner.
Hockey is a beautiful game. It's family is one of unity and solidarity. The day my friend, Jessica Redfield was taken from us, I learned the news from a national hockey writer. Hours after the creation of the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund, the Los Angeles Kings organization donated $10,000 (Jessica was in no way associated with the Kings. She was from Texas and was working in Denver). Just a month or so ago, the Florida Panthers donated a generous amount. When the hockey world experiences something tragic, there is no stronger, swifter force than that of the hockey family coming together. Just ask Jack Jablonski.
In every family, there's the "uncle" or "brother-in-law" who just doesn't seem to get it. In every arena and stadium across the world, there will always be some folks who just don't get it. Does that make them less of a fan? Absolutely not. It does make them look like an idiot when they throw trash of the the physical or verbal variety. There is no room for garbage like that in sports. Our children see that and they think it's ok. They see the father shove or spit at a little league umpire, then the parents are dumbfounded when they get a call from the kid's school because they just spit on a teacher or another kid. We use sports to escape the stress of everyday lives. We use sports to teach our kids about teamwork and other everyday situations. The two are joined and intertwine often. It's time to cut the frayed pieces from the fabric so that the threads that bind the whole together remain strong and beautiful as one.