I read an article by Jim Carty this morning from the Ann Arbor News. Normally, I don't care for his opinions because he tends to focus on bashing the University of Michigan. But this column was different.
He received three letters from Utah football fans commenting on how well they were treated by UM fans during their game on August 30th. Even though they were completely outnumbered (if you saw the game, that little red patch in the crowd was them), everyone was very respectable and well behaved.
Some of these letters gave example of how they have been treated at other college campuses across the country. These fans have been spit on, heckled, and even hit in the back of the head with an elderly person's cane!
I'm all for people being passionate about the teams that they root for, but these examples are a little bit ridiculous! These fans at other stadiums give all other fans a bad reputation.
Like I said before, I'm a Michigan football fan. I do have friends though that are Notre Dame fans, Michigan State fans (I married one), and Penn State fans. Would I give them a hard time if Michigan beat them one on one (like they will do to Notre Dame this week)? You bet I would! That's what is fun about rivalries. But some of these fans do take it too far.
I was at a couple of Red Sox games on my honeymoon back in '04. We sat in front of a gentleman that has been to a lot of games over the course of his life. He was telling us that he has seen knock down drag out fights after Red Sox vs. Yankees games! Let me tell you, I am a Red Sox fan, but I do have friends that are Yankees fans. Each time that the Red Sox beat the Yankees, you can bet you bottom dollar that some good natured ribbing is coming their way.
Some fans just get too wrapped up in all of this. Years ago, I was at a pro wrestling event (I know that it's not a sport, it's sports entertainment). During the show, these two rival wrestlers were matched up in the ring. On one side of where I was sitting were fans of one of the wrestlers, and on the other side of me were fans of the other one. These two groups of fans were hurling insults at each other during the match and getting each other so riled up that it boiled into a fist fight which got them all kicked out. OVER A PRO 'RASSLIN' MATCH!!
When it comes down to it, we are all sports fans. I like Michigan, my friends like Notre Dame, so what? I can't help it if they are misguided football fans (see...good natured ribbing).
So kudos to those at Michigan who showed the fans from Utah how classy sports fans can be. I know that most fans are very respectable, but there is that select few that give the rest of us a bad reputation.