Rivalries. It's in the genes of sports. If you're a fan of a specific team, there has to be one team you absolutely despise in return. For example, if you like the Red Sox, you totally hate the Yankees. If you like the Packers, you totally hate the Bears. If you like the Cowboys or the Penguins, everyone seems to hate you. No matter where you are, there's a blind hatred involved with people rooting for the other team. While there may be respect when it comes to other interest, sports fall into the category of things you should never discuss along with religion and politics. Then again, aren't there a lot of politics involved in the religion that is sports? I digress. In my time of watching and loving sports, I have read many reports of fans fighting in the stands over something extremely stupid which later results in police activity. Good times, I must say. While they often involve flying cups of beer, flying fists, and other flying objects (shoes?), others involve even harsher physical violence. I'm talking about sharp objects. While sharp objects are not permitted inside of stadiums, most of these fights take place outside, and most of them have gruesome results.
Sunday night following the Broncos/Chargers game in Denver, a fight broke out after an alleged near-collision while someone was pulling out of a parking spot. A knife was pulled out and at least three people were stabbed in the process. Luckily, the injuries were not life-threatening.
A parking spot. I could not make this up.
The idea that this is even happening or being brought into conversation is preposterous. Really? Are we thinking short-term again? This is enough to throw the unwritten code of ethics onto the table. While I have seen my share of rival fights in the stands, any idea of going so far as to stabbing someone over a parking lot incident is rather stupid in a sane person's mind. While there is the idea of making a statement, it's also another thing to shut someone up and the inevitable happens. In this case, three (possibly four) people were stabbed in the incident. When we go through a though process, anger tends to cut the whole "thinking things through" part and that's when the bad stuff usually happens. We see it all the time in the ghetto-style neighborhoods when one tussle turns into an unnecessary weapons display. In short, short-term anger leads to lack of long-term planning. One doesn't think of the consequences, and why is that? One wants an immediate solution to an irritating problem. It's not a video game, where the guy is going to respawn at home after a ten-second wait.
This recent story comes on the heels of other national news stories involving fan violence after and even before the games occur. We're not talking one, but at least four or five here. For example, a 24-year-old man was fatally stabbed following a bar fight after a Dodgers/Giants game in late September. While charges were later filed and apologies were made, nothing was healed in the matter; there's a loss of life and a guilty conscience on the man who delivered that deadly blow. It's one thing to incapacitate a guy, but it's another to use a weapon that can end a person's life. Again, short-term anger turns into lack of long-term planning.
I'm not particularly saying this from a woman's perspective, but there's a fine, fine line between being a man and being stupid. There. I said it.
I'd like to direct you to this little video that was shot a few months ago after a Cowboys/Chargers game. While alcohol was involved with this incident, again, there is a fine line between showing that you're a man and that you're a total idiot. I'd like to note that this is one of many fan fights you will see on YouTube, and most of them result in law enforcement getting involved. Unfortunately, the only thing that sports organizations can do is enforce the law and practice the correct discretionary measures toward unruly fans through security and ground rules explained in various locations in the vicinity. I feel as if teams and franchise owners almost take some sort of responsibility for these matters because, after all, these fans are rooting for their team and their actions are giving their team bad publicity. Even when it doesn't involve violence, such as when a fan fell to his death at Turner Field in Atlanta in August or at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in September, there is some sort of an "uh oh, what happened here" thought flying around the head.
There is a general understanding that it is human instinct to express the policy of "actions speak louder than words." However, when that instinct kicks in, the "flight or fight response" rears its head and takes over. There's no morals, there's no remorse; it's all about making the statement. Unfortunately, there's the assistance with alcohol and the reason to be angry in a rival showdown going sour. I'd also like to note again that some of the reasons for these altercations are asinine and they make me want to throw my head into my hands asking: "Why? Why are people so stupid? Why do I want to smack them upside the head?" Then we hear that voice in our heads, replying: "[Your name], people are crazy, that's all. This is normal." Life goes on as usual. There are other ways to cope with these bouts of anger, believe me. This has to be the worst wave of fan violence in a very long time, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. You can blame society all you want; it's just an awful shame that it's at the expense of an exciting sporting event.
(What is it with the Chargers and San Francisco teams making multiple appearances in this article? Sheesh.)
(Here are the articles used as reference in this article. Read if you wish. 1, 2, 3)