Maddenation

Bananas for Footballs

People go bananas cheering for sports teams. One cheers for one’s team and jeers louder at one’s opponent. This is the case at every Notre Dame football game, home and away. I have seen ND fans throw bottles at opposing fans, taunt them, rip clothes off them, etc. Most ND fans don’t do this. Most are cordial, inviting. Most behave civilly.

Why would somebody throw a beer bottle at an opposing fan?

Case: Notre Dame @ University of Michigan, 2003 (and, like, always)

Many ND fans attending said that UM fans were (blank)holes who threw beer and yelled “F… the Irish” and “Rudy Sucks,” etc. Most of these ND fans were appalled by this, declaring that they (ND fans) weren’t that bad (mean). I was at UM visiting a friend in grad school. I attended a UM tailgate before and after the game. aside from looks exclaiming, “you’re wearing green. don’t drink my beer.” and “ew, green. i’m conditioned to dislike this person,” I was treated well, allowed to stand among several UM fans, and even allowed to eat and drink their provisions (mostly food). I engaged in conversation, heard how bad (mean) our fans were to UM fans last year, about the bottle thrown by a ND fan that hit a UM fan and he went to the hospital and missed the game. That’s not nice.

“My team is better than yours.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes it is.”
“No. It’s not. Let’s fight.”
“(Punch)”
“(Shove, kick)”
“(Bottle)”
Problem solved.

There is no “Meanness Meter” at tailgates or inside stadiums, but if there were, chances are you would think it’s miscalibrated. There’s just no way our fans are that bad (mean).

There’s always two sides to a tailgate, to the pregame, to the game. “If we only had 500 more yards and 39 more points, we would have WON, man.”

What can you do to make sure your biases don’t interfere with your self-contained Meanness Meter?
1. Don’t get so drunk.
2. Go to the home game and the away game (usually takes a full year).
3. Don’t wizz in public and then brag about it.
4. Give more “thumbs-up”.
5. Stop thinking that the team needs you to be mean in order for them to win.
6. Hand beer to opposing fans or let them get it themselves.
7. No projectiles.
8. F-bomb abstinence (directed at opposing teams).
9. Be excellent to each other.

DanFunnies09/16/03 5 comments

Comments

Dan • 09/16/03 3:02 AM:

i might submit an edited version of this to ND’s newspaper, the observer. there’s been some craptastic stuff written about the game and the fan treatment. it’s retarded. i intended this piece to be funny, but the first paragraph isn’t. i’ll work on that. in the meantime, let me know thoughts and opinions here so i can add them and edit more. i want to submit this tuesday night.

Dad • 09/16/03 11:50 AM:

My experience has been that ND fans are more cordial to opposing fans than the opposition is to us, but in general, the vast majority of fans on both sides are cordial. Stories you hear about fans being hit with projectiles and taken to hospitals, etc. are often just the type of thing that urban legends are made of, unsubstantiated rumor. Projectile vomiting, on the other hand…

And while I’m on the subject, drinking is most often associated with drunken behavior, which causes more death and destruction than almost any other kind of behavior. Programs to disconnect drinking and driving have been successful in recent years, and recent programs to reduce and/or eliminate binge drinking on college campuses are worthwhile. Meanness, however, can erupt among jerks at athletic contests with or without drinking. Drinking is often used as an excuse for mean or outrageous behavior when stupidity or lack of discipline is the real cause. As far as I know, here is no cure for stupidity.

Actually, the idea of a “meanness meter” might catch on. You can act as a meanness meter yourself until better technology is available. I can see people standing around at a tailgater when a mean remark is made and you say, “Whoa, my meanness meter is really responding on that one. (On a scale of 9-10, how mean do you think that was.)

Finally, on stories of meanness past, demand to see the video tape, or at least corroboration by at least 2 other witnesses.

Dan • 09/16/03 12:42 PM:

yeah, i’m touching it up a bit to ensure that it doesn’t sound like i believe everything i hear. good help. meanness meter is great, and, of course, on a scale from 9 to 10, UM’s meanness was pretty bad.

Dan • 09/16/03 1:33 PM:

Go, Sports Team, Go

People go bananas for their sports team! Some fans throw bottles at opposing fans, taunt them, rip clothes off them, etc. Most ND fans don’t do this. Most are cordial, inviting. Most behave civilly.

Several ND fans testified this weekend that UM fans were (blank)holes who threw beer and yelled “(Forget about the) Irish” and “Rudy Sucks,” etc. ND fans were unnerved by this, some ready to combat the calumny, most avowing that they (ND fans) weren’t that bad (mean) last year. I went to Ann Arbor this weekend to a friend in grad school. I attended a UM tailgate before and after the game. Abreast of a couple (I hope they weren’t serious!) standoffish glares— “you’re wearing green. Don’t drink my beer.” and “Eww, green. I’ve been conditioned to dislike you.”—was everybody else (holding bottles/weapons, none airborne at any point during my visit) allowing me to stand among them, even giving me access to their provisions (mostly food). I engaged in conversation (sans chanting, swearing), heard how bad (mean, unpleasant) our fans were to UM fans last year, particularly the one about the bottle a ND fan threw that hit a UM fan, leading to a hospital visit and absence from the game (videotape and witness corroboration still processing).

“My team is better than yours.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes it is.”
“No. It’s not. Let’s fight.”
“(Punch)”
“(Shove, kick)”
“(Bottle)”

Problem solved.

There is no “Meanness Meter” at tailgates or inside stadiums, but if there were, chances are that you, sports team fan, would think it is miscalibrated. There’s just no way our fans are that bad (mean, unpleasant, cantankerous). There’s always two sides to a tailgate, to a game. “If we only had 500 more yards and 39 more points, I know we would have won, man.”

These are suggestions designed to stop biases from affecting your Self-Contained Meanness Meter (SCMM) calibration:

1. Don’t get so drunk.
2. Go to the home game and the away game (will take full year).
3. Don’t wizz in public and then brag about it.
4. Give more “thumbs-up” to people.
5. Stop thinking that your meanness contributes to a victory.
6. Hand beer to opposing fans or let them get it themselves.
7. No projectiles (vomit included).
8. F-bomb abstinence (directed at opposing teams).
9. Be excellent to each other.

This weekend is our first practice round for the SCMM. All meter readings are qualitative measurements on a scale from 9-10. That’s right, I wrote “qualitative” and I meant it. Let’s show Michigan State fans that our SCMM readings are “Not Bad (mean)”. Suck Fichigan Mtate. Or something like that. One more suggestion, #10: Be careful with anagrams.

Dan Madden ‘03
September 16, 2003

Kathleen • 09/17/03 7:19 PM:

I thought OTHER people are supposed to comment on your article. It’s funny. But it’s Wed., so it’s too late for me to help. Sorry.

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