Fans Ruin Game

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Fans Ruin Game by Alex Sibley
lebronshames.com

Resting neatly in the corner of my closet on a brown and white hanger lies what used to be one of my prized possessions.

I remember the day I got it. It pretty much broke my checking account, which back in my early college days, I knew ants that weighed more.

We got the tickets. The truck was filled with hot dogs and sodas. Finally I slid it on—my very own authentic Cleveland Browns jersey that I wore to my favorite team’s game.

Yeah, I know they’re terrible. Different subject for a different day.

But I wore the Braylon Edwards jersey with pride as we tailgated and amped ourselves up for the upcoming game against the Steelers. What could be better? Browns-Steelers on opening day with the sun shining and the thoughts of the Brownies making a deep run into the playoffs. Life was good my friends, real darn good.

But what I quickly learned and have come to realize since is that when you put a jersey on, you become a target. My first trip to the bathroom at Cleveland Browns Stadium I was greeted with middle fingers, swearing, and jeering from lines of Steeler fans.

For the rest of the game, I was forced to hold my bodily functions for fear of becoming a victim of a beatdown by a drunk fan. Along with that, fights were popping up left and right and there were more beers being thrown in the stands than footballs on the field.

What a joke. I was lucky that day. Somewhere else, someone else wasn’t so lucky. A gentleman wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey in Los Angeles was beaten so severely by a Dodgers’ fan on opening day that he lays in a coma.

The individual or individuals who dished out the beating still haven’t been found.

When did sporting events become a life and death situation for a patron who wants to wear a jersey? Soccer has its hooligans who throw toilet paper on the field in celebration and has had its fair share of riots. But that’s overseas. America seemed to be a safe place to take the family to a game and enjoy it. Apparently those days are long gone.

I’ve seen some of the worst acts of my life at sporting events. On one occasion, my old roommate wore a Flyers T-shirt, not a jersey, to Mellon Arena for a Sunday afternoon game. We weren’t more than 20 feet away from the car before he was greeted with a chorus of ‘A-Hole’ chants and middle fingers.

Same thing in Cleveland years later when a group of us were walking to the stadium when one of the guys was wearing a Raiders jersey. But this time it wasn’t just the chants and middle fingers; he was also greeted with a flying can of Bud Light that nearly missed his skull...



Grab a FREE copy at one of our distribution points to read the rest of the article.

Erie Reader Distribution Map

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 20
Now Available — Pick It Up Today

CURRENT

Now serving up good vibes on State Street

Fighting for change in our most vulnerable communities.

Running into a blazing building can be ‘terrifying,’ but some choose to do it, anyway. 

Here are three good opportunities to lighten up as the nights grow longer.

Dancing Wheels bring a world premiere to Mercyhurst.

IN THIS ISSUE

Now serving up good vibes on State Street

Fighting for change in our most vulnerable communities.

Running into a blazing building can be ‘terrifying,’ but some choose to do it, anyway. 

Here are three good opportunities to lighten up as the nights grow longer.

Dancing Wheels bring a world premiere to Mercyhurst.

Shapeshift With Me, relative to the band’s spectacular catalog as a whole, is certainly one of their less powerful studio albums.

Grate every road in downtown Erie all at once.

Some ‘multigrain’ bread has a little more protein than you’d like. 

Don’t just dream it. Be it!

If De Palmas trip down memory lane whets your appetite, come back to the museum for one of his most underrated movies a week later.