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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Show Your Twits!

- Did you notice that the New York Times report that became one of the big stories of the day contained a reference to the sport of kings.

Such fan behavior is not uncommon at other sporting events in the United States, like Nascar races and the infield at the Kentucky Derby.
This news of drunken Jets fans chanting for the money shot at halftime is not really news at all. It's been going on there for a few years now, and many people, including Meadowlands security, know about it. And Left at the Gate can report this to you exclusively: it happens at Gate A too. The main form of entertainment used to be tossing dollar bills down to the bottom of the cylinder formed by the circular ramps, and throwing beer at anyone who dared to try and pick them up. But once fences were constructed to deny entrance into the ring, people needed to find an alternative, and this is what they came up with. Classy crew.

I find it humorous when someone gets wind of an existing situation that is not at all a secret, and it becomes news. Back in my teen years on Long Island in the 70's, a job working for Nassau County, usually in one of the numerous parks, was a common summer job. But everyone knew that, if hired, you had to kickback 1% of your salary to the county Republican Party machine. It was just part of the gig, and common knowledge. It wasn't until the mid-80's that it became news. In 1985, the Times reported: The American Civil Liberties Union has charged that county and town workers were coerced into making contributions to the Republicans equal to 1 percent of their annual salaries. Er, hello. It turned into a major scandal for the county GOP.

The Times' report on the Jets games was a chance for politicians to display their moral values. [New Jersey Senate President] Codey says Gate D apparently stands for "drunk and disgusting." [AP] I wonder then what Gate A stands for. "Assholes and anarchy?" In any event, I think that the Senator should be more concerned with his own house.

It also gives writers a chance to get on their soapbox. On MSNBC.com, the headline of the opinion column by Mike Celzic reads: Shame on Jets for allowing stadium strip club. Huh? What do the Jets have to do with it? They "allow" it? They play in Giants Stadium after all, and security is provided by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the State Police. I don't think any of the team execs hang out on the ramps unless they're smoking pot to forget about the dismal action on the field.

So much for classy New York fans, this Celzic guy writes. Lemme clue him in. The average "classy" New York fan, whatever that really means with respect to fans in any city, has nothing to do with a relative handful of drunken assholes at halftime of a Jets game. It's the same group of twits every game. It's just unfair and simplistic to make a blanket statement like that, and I take offense.

No, I'm not condoning this behavior, and I'm not particularly proud to say that I've been going to Jets games since my father got season tickets back in 19.....65!? (Holy shit!) I actually did not attend this particular game in part because I know what it's like when the game starts so late (and partly because they were 1-8). It's idiotic, sophomoric, and downright crude, both on the part of the chanters and those who willingly comply. It's no place to bring the family to be sure, but you can say that about many sports events nowadays, except, of course, for the track. But harassment and intimidation? That seems a little hysterical. It's just what happens when people are permitted to drink unabated for hours in the parking lots before games that sometimes, for network TV, don't even start until 4 (if not 8:30), and beer is widely available inside. What do you expect? People act like jerks when they get drunk, whether at a football game or in the infield at Churchill Downs. Cut out the alcohol, and you cut out the problem.....and, unfortunately for our chances to ever seeing increased civility at sporting events, part of the profits too.

3 Comments:

Teresa said...

Hmm...have to disagree that the behavior isn't "harassment and intimidation." As I read the article today, I thought about what it would be like to have to walk through that on my way to/from my seats at the Garden...and I'm not sure that I would do it.

It was interesting reading the piece, especially the cavalier nature of the security people, in light of what was happening around me in the blue seats last night at the Rangers/Isles game--lot of fights, lot of profanity...and the security guards were pretty vigilant. I have to say that I was happy to see them speak to the guy behind me who repeatedly yelled "cocksucker" at the top of his lungs through the first period--which I found both harassing and intimidating.

All made worse, of course, by the disaster on the ice in front of me.

alan said...

>>As I read the article today, I thought about what it would be like to have to walk through that on my way to/from my seats at the Garden...and I'm not sure that I would do it.

I don't blame you. But the only people hanging over the wall on those ramps are people who want to be there. It's not really a thruway to or from anywhere where one would have to pass through. I believe the activity there is purely consensual, if moronic. The woman interviewed in the article certainly didn't seem to have been bothered!

We have some really bad nights at the Garden too in terms of language. Don't know if I'll be able to get the Head Chef back. Wasn't a security guy in sight last time.

Anonymous said...

Alan, very true, this is a weekly half time spectacle so unless you happen to be leaving early, not uncommon this year, you do not have to walk through.

Please don't take my beer!!

True, alchohol plays a part, but no moreso than just being a low brow male teen or teen+ frat boy in today's society.

If you want to raise the drinking age to 25 I would approve, but us well behaved :) adults deserve and in truth sometimes need a brewsky to get us through some of these games.

Do not penalize the masses for the sins of a few.

The best solution is for the 370 existing security guards (for 70,000 fans, wow!) actually earn there money and throw the bums out who act inappropriately, while cancelling their season tickets.

Problem solved, but instead the guards sit there and enjoy the show every week.

Thankfully, we at the Big A are so much mature and well behaved.