Confession time (cue the Real World cameras): My name is Courtney. I'm 29 + 1, I was raised in Chicago....... and I am not a Blackhawks fan. Before you come at me with your pitchforks and torches ala 'Kill the Beast', let me explain myself. Being in my "second year of 29", I grew up during the glory years of Chicago Bulls basketball; like anyone with a pulse during that time, I grew up idolizing MJ, Scottie (aka the greatest Bull of all-time), Bill Cartwright, and all the rest. Our fam was focused on b-ball, so none of us ever really gave any thought to hockey. It also didn't help that the Blackhawks games were never shown on TV. We weren't anti-Blackhawks by any means. It was more just ambivalence towards the sport.
Naturally, right after I moved to DC in 2006, the Blackhawks started their turnaround and intense campaign to gain loyal supporters; needless to say, I think they did alright. By that point, I had already started supporting the Washington Capitals and subscribed to the Russian Machine Never Breaks mentality, and let's face it, how can you say no to a mug like this? The hubs, a good ole Minnesota boy from White Bear Lake and naturally a hockey player and fan, played a part in fueling my fandom and we ended up holding Caps season tickets for the past two years.
Fast-forward to the present, and Boo and I are living in Chicago and pretty jazzed that our team was playing at the United Center. Even though we were in the midst of a 5 game skid (mark), we were still incredibly excited to Rock the Red. At last Friday's game, we were in the obvious minority. For the most part, the people around us were good sports and only participated in mild ribbing. We reciprocated the politeness of our seat neighbors and didn't make a huge scene when the Caps ended up taking the W. On our way down the stands after the game, however, some drunk young guy yelled at me, "Whatever, you fucking suck anyway! See you in the playoffs!" Despite his obvious bonehead statement of seeing us in the playoffs (different conferences, asshole. If we meet in the playoffs, it'll be in the Stanley Cup, and I'd be ok with that), his outburst was totally out of nowhere and so unnecessary. It made me think that there should be some ground rules set, blessed, and hanging in every sports arena or stadium, that dictate how opposing team fans should act and be treated. I came up with the following:
Thou shalt not be afraid to root for thine team
Regardless of where you are, everyone has the right to root for their own team without constantly getting crap from seat neighbors. So, wave your fanboy/girl flag proud! Just don't be an ass about it.
Thou shalt not heckle without provocation
Heckling is lame to begin with, but heckling without reason? Simply unholy.
Thou shalt not rub victories into thy neighbors' faces
Be a gracious victor. Shoving your "We're #1!" sausage finger in a stranger's face won't win you any fans. Or non-black eyes.
Uh, yeah. Don't do that.
Thou shall respect the temples in which you are visiting
You wouldn't want opposing fans coming into your stadium/arena/field and wallowing around like Pigpen, so extend the same courtesy to whatever sports temple you visit. At the very least, it's being considerate of the custodial staff.
If you identify an opposing team's fan, thou shalt not yell, "You Suck" if thine team shall lose (It makes thou looketh dumb)
Thou shalt not call for a flag/foul/penalty simply because thou art ignorant
No, the refs probably AREN'T favoring the home team; there's no flag because there was likely no penalty. Calling for a non-existent one makes you look ignorant of that sport's rules and subject to ridicule from home team fans.
Thou shalt not pick fights
You're outnumbered, buddy. NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA.
Thou shalt not spill beer on thy fellow fans
Not only is it rude, and in violation of respecting the visiting temple, but it could be interpreted as picking a fight and thus a disregardment of the previous commandment.
Thou shalt not repeatedly get out of your seat to pee, forcing thy neighbors to stand up
Technically, this is a rule that ALL fans should follow, visiting or home. Even if the people you're passing say, "No problem" when you apologize, they're secretly raging on the inside.
So next time you're visiting another stadium, or in the presence of an opposing team's fan, remember your Ten Commandments. It could save you from getting a blog post calling out your douchery....
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