If you plan on attending a sporting event as a fan of the home team, you know there’s always a possibility you'll be sitting next to a visiting fan. The odds are, if you're not sitting directly next to an opposing fan, there will most likely be a few sitting in your section or the section over. But if you do find yourself sitting next to a fan flying the enemy flag, just hope they're not obnoxious.
Whether you've had direct exposure to them or not, you know the type of fan I'm talking about. They can't just sit there and cheer respectably for their team when they score or something significant happens. They have to be loud and over the top, even during the most inconsequential plays.
I was prompted to share my views on this issue after attending the Bruins Thanksgiving Showdown against the New York rangers at the TD Garden on the 26th. I was in my seat ready to enjoy myself as the start of the game neared. Then it happened; a couple in their mid twenties wearing Rangers jerseys filled the two seats directly to my right. “Oh, great,” I sighed, alerting the rest of my party to the presence the enemy. All I could hope for now was that these weren’t the obnoxious brand of visiting fan. Maybe they’ll be cool and we’ll end up being friends.
It started right from puck drop. “LET'S GO BOYS!” “HERE WE GO RANGERS!”
So much for that; I hated them already. It was shaping up to be a long game as she insisted on constantly yelling “go, go, go!” once any Rangers player got control of the puck. But that was only the beginning. It got even worse when she started calling Henrik Lundqvist “Lundqy” and “Lundqs” and Mats Zucarello “Zucs” as if she knew them personally. The worst came when the Rangers scored, to first tie the game and then again to take the lead after the Bruins scored the first goal of the game. She made sure her shrill screech, loud clapping and annoying cheers identified her as a Rangers fan.
She also made sure to get up multiple times to get beer, as if she wasn't annoying enough sober. Each time she stepped down over the row of seats in front of us to make her way to the aisle, I rooted (sometimes out loud) for her to fall. Unfortunately, she didn’t.
At this point, I wanted the Bruins to win so badly. Obviously I wanted them to win because that’s my team, but at this point, maybe more so just to shut this girl up and to stop the other idiot Rangers fan in the section over from starting his “LET’S GO RANGERS!” chant that he was well-aware would never catch on.
Congratulations man, mission accomplished; you have successfully alerted everyone around you that you are not only a Rangers fan, but an asshole. Now sit down and watch your team lose.
And lose they did. The Bruins came back and scored two goals in the third to lock up the 3-2 win. Oddly enough, once the Bruins had tied it and later took the lead, the obnoxious girl next to me fell oddly silent. It was so satisfying to watch her sit there quietly, watching the minutes tick down to zero with her team losing. The horn sounded to end the game and they were off as quickly as possible.
So what’s the point of being an obnoxious visiting fan? Your jersey has already identified you as a supporter of the opposition, why do you need to attempt to ruin others’ experience by constantly yelling and cheering for the sole purpose of getting under the home fans’ skin? I wish I knew the answer to this question.
Don't get me wrong, if you're a fan of the opposing team you have every right to cheer them on. All I ask is that you’re reasonable. I am confident that any obnoxious fan is well aware of the fact that they're being obnoxious because they’re doing it on purpose. I have no respect for a fan who cheers for their team just to make a scene. Besides, you make it a lot harder for yourself when your team loses.