I've just been reading an intriguing piece about crowd trouble at football games - highlighted by a front page picture of fans 'tearing down goalposts' (which everyone else) thinks is a pretty romantic notion - including ESPN, which see 'rushing the field' as something romantic.
But now, it's trouble.
Before I get to the Penn State, I was pretty stunned to find out that a Red Sox fan had been reprimanded for using the 'S' word when his beloved pitcher gave up a dinger at Fenway Park.
What is the world coming to when you can't use the odd epiphet when being at a game. In the UK, it's all part of the chanting! OK, there are some people who go over the top (nobody's perfect when it comes to bad language - particularly at a sports event in which you are passionately involved in), but isn't that part of the game. It shouldn't be, but isn't it?
Anyway, back to the boys at State College. According to ESPN - "Penn State police, who provided bar charts in team colors with similar cross-tabulated figures, reported 397 incidents in 2008, 62 percent of which involved alcohol. That's more than double the estimated 177 incidents in 2006. Over those three years, the highest number -- 101 incidents -- came on Oct. 27, 2007, during a game against Ohio State."
Behavior at the 2005 game wasn't great, either. And certainly not the frat house in 2007, which saw OSU fans bombarded with cans.
Those are the sort of things which let us down, Nittany Nation.
Stunningly, the ESPN report paints the Buckeyes fans are whiter than driven snow - fewer than five arrests per year and five ejections per game - obviously they didn't catch the Buckeyes fans who threw buckeye nuts at a friend of mine who went to the Illinois vs OSU game in 2007 and the Penn State fan who had their car smashed up at the Horseshoe. Having said that, the Buckeyes HAVE been cleaning up their image with the Good Sportsmanship Program - something that ought to be encouraged across every single NCAA campus.
Georgia fans are pretty awful too, according to ESPN, with 300 people ejected per game. One can suspect most of that is for bringing illegal booze into games (not that that would ever happen in a college football game), because I've been to Athens twice and both times the language certainly hasn't been poor (unless you count the screams of rage after the SEC officialling call in 2009!).
Listen, bad language is always going to be a part of the game. It shouldn't, but it is. Unfortunately We at the VFA can understand the authorities if they boot fans out for bringing booze into games, because it's their fault. Fighting should end up in a lifetime ban. But swearing? Can they not turn a blind eye, and UK stewards and police do every Saturday because they are happier that there's no crowd trouble if fans can blow off steam a little?
And West Virginia fans? Apparently couch burning's in with a victory. And being an away player??
We could go on and on, but let's face the facts: if you're an away fan, it's never going to be fun rooting for your team in the home stand. To be fair, you shouldn't really be there in the first place. You should be with your own fans. But if you are an away fan sitting in a home end, then expect to get heckled. But if someone throws a missile - be it a bottle or anything else - then make sure he or she gets their butt thrown out of the game. That's bang out of order. But consistent and funny heckling?? That should only be admired. And you should leave sharpish if your team wins on a last second, B.S. call. You can always go and find your fellow away fans by darting over to their end when the stadium empties.
And one other thing before we sign off: Remember a few things: 1)If you're a visiting fan in a home section, you're lucky if you get away with the odd '****hole' chant or a finger or 10 thrown in your direction. In the some UK soccer grounds your butt would be booted out of the stadium, and secondly, The actual percentages of those getting thrown out to those who attend the games week in, week out? I'd say college football has it pretty good.
Now, back to Penn State. This amused me, anyway.