This blog has been a lot of things over the years. Of course, it’s also NOT been a lot of things over the years. But, it has always strived to be fair. If we criticize someone for absurd behavior, we’ll turn the focus on ourselves if we commit the same behavior.
I’ve probably made fun of fans of other colleges at some point, so I thought I’d use an example from Saturday’s Elite Eight Game to spur some debate and show I can be fair.
The setup: The Ballard Loft is a very UA friendly bar. And Saturday the Seattle chapter of the UA Alumni Club gathered to watch the Cats vs UConn game. I’d estimate there were at least 75-85 Cats fans upstairs. Now, I don’t spend a lot of time with this group. But suddenly all of the UW fans I usually watch hoops with lost interest in the NCAA Tourney. (I can’t imagine why.) And it was the biggest UA hoops game in the last 5-6 years, so I needed to surround myself with supporters. Btw, this is what makes sports so great. The ability to show up and have a common bond with total strangers. But I digress.
So imagine this scene. You have a crowd of 75-85 energized UA basketball fans, decked out in UA gear, drinking beers, watching the game, cheering when appropriate and feeling anguish simultaneously….. And you have one guy in the corner. He has a pom pom. Every time UConn has the ball, he is shouting “Defense, Wildcats Defense. Defense, Wildcats Defense.” Every time Arizona has the ball he runs through one of his pre-programmed 4 or 5 A-R-I-Z-O-N-A cheers. He is desperate to have the other 75 of us join him, but we’re watching the game. Now every once in a while, the group of 6 people in the back would start a cheer and everyone would join. And Wanna Be Wilbur would beem as if the crowd was “finally getting it.” Then he would start up again and we’d all ignore him again. Rinse, wash, repeat for 39:00 of basketball.
The suddenly, with a minute left, Wanna Be Wilbur and his buddy actually turned on the crowd. And I submit that this is why UA lost that game. In a tight ballgame with everything on the line, as every other UA fan in the bar – hell in the country – nervously wondered what would happen next and frantically shared with each other what we though would happen, Wanna Be Wilbur started YELLING AT US. He told us how bad of fans we were for not cheering with him. He kept up with how lame UA fans were at this bar. How he couldn’t figure out what he was doing with such lame people. The poor schmuck seemed not to realize that we were in Seattle, about 1,200 miles from the stadium, and that no matter how loud we cheered, Derek Williams was NOT going to hear us.
If you were at the Loft on Saturday you saw 75 drinking, cheering, excited UA fans enjoying a great basketball game. You also heard an incredibly annoying UA fan yelling at his colleagues for not joining his one man Pom Squad. The annoying UA guy broke all fan protocols by yelling at other UA fans. I’d make fun or Oregon, UW, WSU, Duke, or Notre Dame if they had a fan who pulled that kind of behavior, so I have to make fun of us as well.
So my debate question – If you are at a bar watching your team play a game, are you less of a fan if you don’t chant and sing at the TV screen, even if one guy in the corner holding a pom pom is begging you to? I say there’s appropriate stadium behavior and appropriate bar behavior. Objections?