Rooting for the away team

By Jesse Gaunce
January 20, 2011

There is absolutely nothing like rooting for your favorite team in their home arena. But what is it like being a fan of the opposing team?

With me personally, I am usually the one going to Philadelphia sports complexes rooting for the road team. I am a Boston sports fan living in Philadelphia and I go to games all the time.

I’ve been very lucky to attend some great Celtics-76ers, Bruins-Flyers and Red Sox-Phillies bouts over the last eight years or so. The trash talk is fun to an extent, but I have seen it get way out of hand.

Philadelphia gets a bad reputation for having uncharacteristically obnoxious fans. I think every city has its share of idiotic fans. Those are the kind of people who love to torture the road fans at games and think it is actually funny.

It’s not news to you people. I have been to games in other states and you get the same group of idiot fans trying to get under people’s skin in every stadium.

As one who pays just as much good money as anyone else does to see a game, I am not the only one who thinks road fans do not deserve to be heckled obnoxiously. Even Yankees fans don’t deserve that because they’re human just like us and have souls. At least I think.

I have been obnoxiously heckled at games but I have never really heckled anyone of an opposing team. It takes away from the fun of watching the actual game and no one wants to sit there and be verbally abused over sports being that there are bigger issues in the world. That’s just flat out stupid.

I guess you could say I have some compassion because I know what it is like to be the road fan. I mean I know we have free speech and all, but that still doesn’t excuse anyone from starting problems while watching a game.

I feel like this has gone too far.

Regardless of how I feel, if you openly root for the road team at a game, you are subject to verbal abuse. However, this should never lead to assault.

During this current NFL season, a man and his 8-year-old son attended a New York Jets-Cleveland Browns game in Cleveland. Needless to say they were Jets fans. After the game, the boy was walking with his father to their car in one of the stadium parking lots when a Browns fan tackled the boy. The boy was on the ground crying with minor injuries.

That just makes me sick. The Browns fan was probably three times the boy’s size and could have seriously injured him. This goes to show that dislike between opposing fans has gotten extremely out of hand.

Another scary story is one I actually found out because of YouTube. A man recorded a fight between a Yankees fan and a Florida Marlins fan at a game in Florida during the 2009 season. What I didn’t realize until after watching the video a second time, is that the Yankees fan’s young daughter, probably about 7 years old or so, was behind him the entire time watching and screaming for him to stop and he didn’t.

Heckling can go so far as to make people want to do irrational things, but for a child to see an adult with so much immaturity over a game is beyond pathetic.

People will argue with me over the fact that when you pay to come to a game, anything can happen. I don’t think it should be this way because we are all there for the same reason.

We just want to have a good time.

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Jesse Gaunce

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