Archive Opinion The Orion

Sports becoming child’s play

August 1, 2004

Idiots rushed the stands, idiots came on the floor and all hell spilled loose in a melee to give both sides a huge black eye.

Whose fault is it, anyway? While much has been made of Ron Artest jumping into the stands, who shoved him after the hard foul? Who threw the cup at him after the first fracas was ended?

The fans dish it out to the opposing players and other fans with as much tact as the air coming out of a balloon. In the end, both sides would never have made it in kindergarten.

I went to a football game in San Francisco with my family. Mom is a 49ers fan, and my brother and his two kids are Carolina Panthers fans.

I’m an Indianapolis Colts fan, which makes me Switzerland. Even my Chico State sweatshirt was football-neutral. The parking lot crowds were fairly civil. Well, at least the dirt lot crowds were.

Once we got close to the asphalt parking, the future drunks got themselves all riled up, hollering, “Panthers suck.”

Honestly, can we please have a little creativity? It’s a short statement with no evidence or background. Add in the fact that it’s being thrown at a family, and the person automatically drops 10 IQ points.

Screw the Swiss option. “Get a quarterback,” I slapped across the street. No reply.

When we got in the stadium, it was the same as the parking lot — a few idiots, but mostly civil. Halftime saw the home team up 17-3 and the fans’ spirits were high.

A few penalties, turnovers and miscues later, the last-place home team was down and didn’t get up.

If only they waited to choke after the third quarter when the alcohol sales ended. At least then we’d only have angry, stupid fans — not drunk ones, too.

Instead, we had a bunch of fools drowning their sorrows and looking for someone to free their inhibitions on in different ways.

One man chose (actually his body made up his mind) to express himself all over a cement wall in an explosion of phlegm and the garlic fries he had during the second quarter. Another was simply pacing around with a look of total disbelief, muttering something about tickets and what a rip-off they were.

But the one that took the cake was the gentleman in his 60s about 10 or 15 seats away from us and three miles from the field. That didn’t stop him from screaming his entire four-letter vocabulary at the players, the coaching staff, the opposing team, the mascot, the announcers on Fox he couldn’t hear, the seagulls crapping all over the stands and all the fans who were leaving early.

He left with about six minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

Two or three rows up, the alcohol was taking hold and the hamsters in their heads were cranking their wheels about as fast as a dead rodent could. Flying down the stands were those familiar words: “Panthers suck, Panthers suck, Panthers suck.”

My youngest nephew is 5, and he’s a quick little guy. While the rest of us didn’t bother turning our heads to see who else was yelling, he stood up on his seat, turned around and started yelling back at them, “Panthers rock, Panthers rock, Panthers rock.”

Nothing came flying down the stands. No words, no cups, nothing. A man sitting directly behind us looked him in the eye and said, “I thought you were asleep awhile ago.” Didn’t even faze him. The kid just kept yelling up the rows at the losing team’s fans.

After the game, the man behind us said that was the only highlight of the game for him.

Ron Artest acted like a 4-year-old. The idiot who threw the cup and let his buddy take the hit for him acted like a 4-year-old. The senior-citizen idiot next to us acted like a 4-year-old.

It’s time for both sides to act like grown-ups. A kindergartner was able to show more class than any of the idiots in the dastardly Detroit debacle.

Maybe they need to go back to school, too.