I was there. If the camera had been pointing a little to the left, I'm about 20 rows up. A buddy of mine has season tickets to the NY Giants and invited me to the game last night. I went primarily because he's a good business contact and a guy I like outside of work, but have to say it was more fun than I thought it would be.
I'm not a big pro sports fan. College, well, that's another issue. It's a product of growing up in an area where there were no pro teams of any kind less than a three hour drive. In my part of the country, college sports is king. Last night though, I have to say was really fun. Most of that was being with my buddy Dave (nicknamed Captain Good Times). He's one of those guys who knows everyone within 30 feet of you in the first 5 minutes. Never a dull moment when that guy is in the vicinity.
The game was particularly important for Giants fans because it was against Philadelphia. For those of you who don't follow, Philly is geographically the closest big city to NYC, thus a huge rival, but also a division opponent. The Giants needed to win this game for playoff purposes. Needless to say, there's a lot of bad blood between the teams and fans, and the games can get pretty heated. So can things in the stands. This game had an added bonus: apparently, a Sunday night game brings out the crazies. Kids usually stay home since the game starts late, so if you're there, you're serious about being there. The fact that it was in the 30's last night and raining meant only die hards (or those like me who felt they couldn't bail on their buddies) made it out. Tons of Philly fans made the trek since they are only a 90 minute drive away. They have the reputation for being the rowdiest fans in the league. One year, they were caught on TV throwing snowballs at Santa at halftime!!! And in the old Veterens' stadium, there used to be a jail in the basement out of necessity. Unreal, right?
Most times though, it's all about fun. There was a lot of good natured talking in the stands and given that the game was close with a few lead changes, a lot to talk back and forth about. While I was having fun watching the game, I became particuarly focused on a Dad and his two sons a few rows below us. The boys couldn't have been older than 10. Dressed in their Giants jerseys, it was cool to see that the three of them were excited to be on a Dudes' Night Out up way past their bedtime on a school night (the game didn't end until almost midnight). What a great thing for those boys and their dad. It made me wonder what type of events Miss M and I will share when she's older. Not sure football will be her thing, but hey, you never know.
As the game went on and remained close, the beers in the stands continued to flow, things started getting a bit rowdy. Fans yelling back and forth in fun turned a bit more serious, a girl behind us drank too much and got sick everywhere (so gross), and the Eagles and Giants fans began throwing things at eachother, namely, their beers. Stupid right? Eight bucks a beer and you throw it at someone. Total waste if you ask me. As it got worse, I started feeling sorry for the guy with his kids: with the amount of F-bombs flying, as well as cups of beer, it was easy to see he was getting uncomfortable. A couple times he looked back as if to say "come on guys, I'm with my kids here." To no avail though not long inot the third quarter, a Philly fan stood up to celebrate a play and a Giants fan hit him with a beer from several rows away. Problem for the Dad and his boys...they were caught in between. The Philly guy and his buddies immediately started making a b-line for the Giants guys, a fight broke out and security had to be called. Of course, this made more beers fly. Crazy.
I'm no prude by any stretch but as I'm watching this I'm thinking, how do you shield your kids from this kind of thing? It got cleaned up and some of the fans got tossed out, but you could tell that Dad was rightfully pissed and the boys, while in total awe of what was going on, were a little scared. What could have been a tremendous game to watch turned out to most likely be a civility lesson for the boys instead. Early in the fourth quarter they ended up leaving early as things began to get rowdy again, missing a down to the wire finish. I felt really bad for the guy.
There are always going to be A-holes around, but most of these people around us last night probably had their own kids as well. How do you act like that and then go home to you children and tell them to behave? Maybe I'm too preachy, maybe it's that I'm over protective with my little girl, but I just wonder, what kind of example do we set for our kids (or other people's kids) with behavior like that. Look, not a huge deal and those boys have some stories to tell at school today that will make them the most popular kids in class, but if they were my boys, I'd much rather they talk about a game where there were 5 touchdowns of over 60+ yards and a ton of points than a puking drunk lady, several fights, and obnoxious grown ups throwing beers at eachother all night.
Get a grip people, the economy sucks, the world is in chaos, we need healthcare reform...this is just a football game! Maybe I'll take my kids to watch a golf tournament. Nothing controversial happens there, right???? Well, maybe not...