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Author Topic: Hooligan spectators at sporting events  (Read 2089 times)

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Offline Grand Master Lomandalis

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Hooligan spectators at sporting events
« on: August 6, 2013, 10:59:27 AM »
This has been on my mind for a while, but events this year have really brought it forward that I want to see what other people think on it.  The only way to describe it is "Hooligans".

You know the type of people I am talking about.  The crowds at European soccer events that riot because their team lost, the idiots at baseball games that run onto the field because their friends dared them to.  The type of people that disrupt an event because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

My first real experience with hooliganism took place in early April when I went to see the Toronto Blue Jays play the Boston Red Sox within the first week of the season opening.  Toronto lost that game... badly.  13-0, not a pretty game to watch.  I can stomach watching my favourite team getting stomped into the turf, but what left a bad taste in my mouth was the so called "fans" at the game who  were letting their boredom and drinking get to them.

Throughout the game, as Boston kept tacking on runs, people from the upper levels were throwing paper airplanes out onto the playing surface.  It is kind of bad when the players have to pick stuff up and cram it into their pockets so they don't risk injuring themselves during a play.  But I would say half way through the game, some guy ran out onto the field between pitches (so all of the players are still out on the field), ran and slid into second base, then high tailed it out to centre field to try and make it over the wall before he got tackled off of it by 3 security guards.

A little while later, a guy who was clearly drunk, ran out on to the field to try and shake hands with Boston's third baseman.  He was tackled even harder.  What bugged me about this wasn't the fact that the guy was disrupting the game, but that as he was taken off the field in hand cuffs (and resisting the police officer to the point where they picked him off his feet), the crowd was chanting "Let him go!"

Add in a few dozen more paper airplanes, and someone throwing a full plastic cup of beer onto the field (which could have injured a player), and the crowd chanting "Go Leafs Go," a completely disgraceful spectacle in Toronto that evening.

Fast forward to the half way point in the season at the All-Star game, and you get an 18 year old kid who posted on twitter saying that he will run onto the field if he got 1,000 retweets.  Guess what happened?  Yeah... he got leveled and is facing a year in jail (story can be found here).

I just don't understand what it is about acting like a complete ass at a professional sporting event that draws so many people.  I mean, it isn't like you will get your 15 seconds of fame on TV or anything.  Most sports now have rules in place to not show these idiots on TV.  Ok, yeah they might wind up on YouTube, but is the 20 second blurry video of your ass getting tackled by big, beefy security guards really worth the criminal charges, the fines, and having the fact that you were an idiot on your permanent record?
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Offline Spectral Arbor

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Re: Hooligan spectators at sporting events
« Reply #1 on: August 6, 2013, 01:13:19 PM »
Well, I think you nailed it with the notes on inebriation. I'd bet on pretty long odds that these folks were shmammered. [For those of you that are unfamiliar, when you're hammered to the point you can't properly say "Hammered", you're "Shmammered".]

Shmammered folks tend to either disregard that useful voice that says, "Hey, this is probably going to hurt an awful lot..." or it gets turned off altogether. It's not so much that it's a good idea in real life, but it seems like there's not going to be any consequences at the time of action.

For example, Shmammered GBT thinks, "What could go wrong? Let's play toss the flaming log, and see who can throw the farthest!"

Sober GBT thinks, "Hey, those folks sleeping in their tents are going to be mighty pissy if I accidently throw a burning log onto their shelter. Oh, that burning log is heavy, I might wrench my back. And that whole burning thing? I should probably get some gloves before we even think about it. And a Measuring tape, 'cause we want this to go down in the books. Spray me with a hose first, I don't want my polyester pants to melt to my legs."

It's all about loss of perspective. Hooligans lose perspective, and do things that they will regret later because they can't comprehend the likely consequences at the time of action.


PS: I'm sorry you had to go to a Jays game. That couldn't have been easy.
« Last Edit: August 6, 2013, 01:15:47 PM by GreatBigTree »

Offline Gunner_Sabot_Tank

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Re: Hooligan spectators at sporting events
« Reply #2 on: August 6, 2013, 02:12:39 PM »
As mentioned above, booze plays a big part. But you also need to factor in peer pressure ("hey, I dare you to run out there") and the stupidity of the average person.

Sober GBT . . . polyester pants

A sober GBT wears polyester pants?  :o
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Offline Spectral Arbor

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Re: Hooligan spectators at sporting events
« Reply #3 on: August 6, 2013, 04:10:41 PM »
A great deal of that is exagerated. I wouldn't remember to get a tape measure, and I don't wear pants... but the argument still stands, I think.

Offline Faeluchu

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Re: Hooligan spectators at sporting events
« Reply #4 on: August 7, 2013, 05:06:52 PM »
Sounds like your hooligans are the playful sort - here in Poland we still have the aggresive ones, who would throw flares and fireworks on the pitch (either randomly or deliberately aimed at the players; not long ago one of those guys actually hit a player on the head with one of those), throw bananas at black players, hurl whole rolls of toilet paper (much harder to quickly clean up than paper airplanes...) at the opposing team... until recently the football fans down here even used to organize battles between themselves, during which people died at regular basis...

What I'm trying to say is that you while you can blame the more or less harmless stuff on being drunk, stupid or the ever-present peer pressure, there are certain behaviours which go beyond that. I always thought that, as GBT put it, it is about "loss of perspective", but in the case of more serious offences it's not alcohol-driven but rather there's a certain "crowd security": there's no way the authorities gonna catch you if you just throw things from the stands, one speck among thousands, so even people who normally won't do anything like that might feel tempted to try (Birmingham riots a while back proves this - there certainly weren't that many "full-time" looters in the area, those were mostly normal people like you and me who felt a bit more 'uncatchable', hence also powerful .)

On a more optimistic note, here's a very positive "riot": Hibbert Scores We Riot - YouTube
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Offline TagniK'ZuR

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Re: Hooligan spectators at sporting events
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 03:23:17 AM »
This is also something that annoys me endlessly. The rugby team I support get a lot of hate because of hooligan fans like that. One drunk old man threw a water bottle at an opposing player recently, another jumped the fence, run up to, and hit the referee long ago.

I have to say though, that the franchise is going to great lengths to discourage this kind of behavior and currently even booing when the other teams attempt penalty kicks is discouraged, making it a much nicer place to watch games at.

At the end of the day, I think Faeluchu has the right of it. People start booing, throwing paper or beer (or piss if you're a drunk Australian cricket supporter :P ) and because no one can do anything about them, they start feeling empowered. Add more liquid courage, and people start running onto the field....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_violent_spectator_incidents_in_sports
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 03:30:31 AM by TagniK'ZuR »
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