Sunday, October 05, 2008


We Matter (And We Should Wear a Proper Belt)

With a questionably-working Internet and such in past days, I've got quite a bit to say. So I would like to continue discussing how the Devils can increase their appeal and "plant the seeds." To help illustrate my point, I'd like to share the following image from Friday's preseason game against the Islanders.

So I'm sitting in my seat prior to the game, waiting for warm-ups to begin. Then this piece of work walks through my section to get to his seat. Disgusting doesn't even begin to describe this guy. It's not that his hair looks like a ratty bird nest that seems to be impervious to combs, water, shampoo, and conditioner. It's not that his Islanders jersey - their newer, sleeker design - didn't cover his entire massive gut. No, what made this fellow special was that the belt on his cargo shorts was well undone and were slipping down as he waddled across two sections with his tickets to his seat. He stopped maybe once to pull them up approximately a half an inch, then figured it wasn't worth stopping to pull up his shorts, and proceeded to continue going on down while giving whoever around a good view of his crusty white briefs.

This got me thinking: Ew. Then it got me thinking that ultimately, how we carry ourselves does have an effect on our enjoyment of the game. I wrote this popular post (?) a while back about fan conduct sort of tongue in cheek. Some of them are good pieces of advice in general but I now regret not adding "make sure your jersey is big enough before wearing it in public" and "for the love of God, pull up your pants." This guy could have used it. But seriously. Consider that even if the Devils promote themselves real well, the team is playing excellently, and the arena is top-notch - if you're sitting around some people who can't conduct (or dress) themselves in a public setting, that's going to affect any one's enjoyment of the game. I haven't posted in the past few days and the first thing I'm writing about isn't the end of preseason, or some other content related to hockey. No, it's some guy looking brutal that I saw for about 2 minutes before the game. That stuck out from Friday's game among other things.

The Devils are aware of this. It's why there's (now) an announcement before the game to tell you to go to an usher if someone is being a nuisance. And therefore, it's critical that if anyone is being a nuisance, that it shouldn't be us - the Devils fans. If only to not get thrown out of the game, but to not make it harder for the Devils organization to bring in some new fans. If someone is talking trash and trying to start something, just let it go. There's no need at all to start a fight - only Paul Mara is an actual dog or cat, according to right-thinking people like Mike Rupp, you don't need to "defend your honor." Nobody cares about your honor - especially security as you're being escorted out. Let the security/ushers deal with an unruly fan of another team. You can even be snarky doing so: "Sir, this fellow of an inferior team who is currently being swamped by the glorious team in red is making it incredibly difficult to watch this beatdown of a hockey game. In addition to his team being poor and listless, he's being quite rude and classless because he can't handle how bad his team is sucking right now. Could you consider moving me to a different seat where I can enjoy the superior hockey team of New Jersey roll on to victory? Thank you."

But seriously, there's never any good reason to get involved at a fight in the game; there's never any good reason to being incredibly offensive by making comments about one's race or sexual orientation (I don't have to explain this one, thank you); there's never any good reason to be a jackass at a game; and there's never any good reason to wear clothes that won't fit (this is true in general). In addition to making yourself look terrible, it damages the overall atmosphere of the game. Instead of talking about how well/poorly the Devils did, people will talk about the jerk in section X and how he sucks.

We're all part of the experience at any sporting event. Given that we'd like more than just us to experience the Devils - who wouldn't want to be a Devils fan other than fans of other teams, we shouldn't actively try to make the experience worse for them. Making sure we don't display our thighty whities in the process shouldn't have be stated - but thanks to that Islander fan (note to other Islanders fans, I don't mean you - just those who can't/don't wear clothes properly), let's make sure that's under control before we head out.

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