Ball game turns sour for family

By Meghan McSloy
April 20, 2010

What comes to mind when you think of going to the ballpark?

Many would say things like hot dogs, peanuts, the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and cheering on your favorite team. Most would not put being vomited on at the top of their list.

Unfortunately, for one young girl and her father, this was on their list as they attended the Phillies game on April 14.

Michael Vangelo, along with his two daughters, one 11 and one 15, were enjoying a Phillies game when the fans who were sitting behind them, obviously intoxicated, began using vulgar language and even went as far as throwing beer on Vangelo and the two girls.

Vangelo, who is the police captain of Easton, then said something to one of the unruly fans. Matthew Clemmens came over and stuck his fingers down his throat and intentionally threw up on the little 11-year-old girl. Clemmens was arrested and taken to jail, after being held down by Vangelo and a few other honorable fans.

What Clemmens did was not only disgusting and way out of hand, but it is also a scary reminder of the things that can happen when people get too crazy at sporting events.

I am all for friends getting together and having a good time at a game, but when it get so ridiculous that other people are being affected by your behavior, then it is time to clean up your act and be respectful of other people.

Unfortunately for Philly fans, this is another example of why we get a bad wrap nationally. There is a fine line between being a passionate fan and over stepping boundaries. Matthew Clemmens is the poster child for unsportsmanlike conduct.

One of the most important qualities a fan must possess is good sportsmanship. They must have the courage to cheer on their team through good and bad and accept that there are people who are not always going to be cheering for the same team.

Clemmens certainly does not represent Phillies fans, rather he is a troublemaker who needs to be taught some serious lessons.

Vangelo and his daughters were not cheering for the opposing team, nor were they doing anything to provoke Clemmens and his friends. No one, for any reason at all, deserves to be spit on, harassed or have beer thrown on them for any reason, let alone while they are trying to enjoy quality family time.

It makes no sense why people have to act out while at sporting events. While this incident was extreme, many times fans at games get really obnoxious both verbally and physically.

It is not uncommon for fights to break out at a game.  It seems like sports have become an outlet for people to show their aggression and a venue to displace their anger but if this is the case, what is the point of being a sports fan? It takes out all the good fun and turns it into something negative.

The point is, people like Matthew Clemmens are a disgrace to sports as a whole. Because of people like him, those of us who attend games for fun have to worry about others around us acting up.  Clemmens needs to be punished to the full extent so he can be a warning to others.

Meghan McSloy

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