Our town has an NHLA team here - a bunch of young kids trying to get noticed by colleges - and my daughters and I attend the games once in awhile. It's a cheap night out, and the hockey is fast and fun.
Anyway. last night, a "fan" yells out a racial taunt towards the Official. It stopped me cold. I turned in absolute disbelief. I was AMAZED that idiots like this still existed. Apparantly, I wasn't alone, for a colored gentleman essentially told the idiot to sit down and shut up. Words were exchanged, and another guy and I jumped into it as well - verbally - telling the idiot to shut his mouth.
The POINT here is that this was ONE guy. ONE guy. And he essentially crapped all over everyone's night.
The score of the game no longer mattered. The hard work the guys put in was no longer significant. All anyone in that area will remember is ONE guy demonstrating how moronic he is for all to hear.
What the father of the 10 year old has to remember is he had a bad experience because of ONE small group of people. The Vikings can't control that. Nothing that was done is/was illegal. All Dad can do is explain to his son that there are people out there like that, but it isn't the fault of the Vikings.
In a way, I think it's sad that the father even wrote this letter. I'm not calling my local NHLA team and whining over the presence of an idiot. I used it as an object lesson to illustrate to my 13 year old twin daughters what a racist moron sounds like.
The point is don't blame the team for the actions of a few. Blame the few.
And, for the rest of us, stop tolerating the "few". If we all tell them to shut up and go away, they eventually will.
As a former Marine and Sailor, I put my ass on the line to defend your right to be a moron....
...but I reserve the right to kick yours if you are.
I'm going to assume the dad had never attended a live NFL game before. These are not really family friendly events. Alcohol fueled fans enjoying a game of aggression may not provide the best environment for children.
I suggested an alcohol free section when season ticket holders were surveyed a few years back, but there was no response.
I understand where the father is coming from and it is his job to protect his son. But you don't protect a 10 year old by putting his name in public to defend a position that is yours. This is the dads issue.
I assume he thought the live game experience was something different than it really is.
Hopefully the Vikings will develop a family friendly section. I think it would be popular and people would be willing to pay a premium for it.
It's amazing how many people are bashing on this kid because he was unhappy he didn't get to enjoy a game he saved and paid for.
I guess they have either forgotten how much they wished to go to their first Vikings game as a young boys, never have taken a kid to the game & had this happened or they had no interest in going to a game until they were old enough to drink.
When I go to a game, I expect to be able to watch & enjoy the game. I expect the same when I take my kids. I fully expect there will be drinking there, some drunks, swearing & people standing & cheering on third downs & after great plays.
I don't expect to have 5 or 6 guys from the row or two in front of me standing for the entire game blocking my or my kids view of the field & preventing us from watching & enjoying the game. It has happened in the past, but most games I've been to even the fans having plenty to drink have the common courtesy to sit down for the better part of the game so those behind them can enjoy the game too.
It seems acceptable & excepted to some fans here to have the fans in front of them being unruly, obnoxious, drunk & standing the entire game, but I'm guessing that perception changes once those fans in front of them aren't wearing Vikings jersey's, but rather Packer's jerseys.
I've been to games in 15 NFL cities, a dozen major colleges, Bowl games, Playoffs games, MBL games in a dozen cities (Reds fan), 3 Super Bowls, a BCS Championship game, 9 World Series games...etc. The most consistent experience is that the experiences are inconsistently enjoyable...a point I try to make to my daughters whenever we go.
On the opposite ends of the spectrum: I went to a MNF game at Lincoln Financial Field to watch the Vikes vs Eagles. Had awesome Club level tickets, a parking pass 50 yards from our gate, and we got to the game early to tailgate. I chose not to wear my Vikings jersey to this game, also, not to take my young daughters. I witnessed some of the most appalling behavior I've ever seen...to give a flavor...at the tailgate, right in front of us, a young father was wearing a Vikings hoodie, his 9 or 10 year-old son, a Randy Moss jersey. They were walking, being trailed by 6 or 8 Eagles fans pointing at them and chanting, "asshole, asshole, asshole." We confronted the posse, stopped them dead in their tracks and forced them to stand down. As Caine points out, too many people accept that behavior and just turn away. In the stadium, I witnessed countless Vikings fans being doused by beers and verbally ridiculed. Needless to say, I will never go to another game at the Linc...ever.
On the good end of the spectrum, I am a Nebraskan and have goon to roughly 30 Nebraska games in Lincoln. Our oldest daughter, 21, is a Sr now at Penn State. My wife, our youngest, 16, daughter, and I were in Happy Valley for the Indiana game this weekend. The two atmospheres (Lincoln and Happy Valley) are exactly what we would hope an NFL game would be for our kids...unfortunately, that ain't happening anytime soon. Both NU and PSU fan bases respect the game and their opponent. They both tailgate their asses off...it was going strong in Happy Valley all day and night. Our 16 year old daughter gave me a hug after the game and said, "thanks Dad, this was an awesome day. I can't wait to be a Penn State student."
I guess what I'm trying to say, and, admittedly, tried to joke a little about the letter...is, that, we, unfortunately, need to let young people know that they may experience some behavior that is exactly the opposite of how we will behave and exactly the opposite of the standard we hold ourselves to.
Caine's post, and, the experience yesterday with my family, reminded me as such.
The Metrodome, if you've been there is probably one of the better stadiums to enjoy the game in if your a fan of the Vikings or a fan of the opposing team. Incidents like the one the kid experienced is uncommon, rather than the norm. I've been to over 100 games there & experienced bad behavior only a few times. Most times it was fans from the opposing teams.
Several times fans from the other teams complimented Minnesotans to be friendly fans who treated them kindly. There was ribbing going on by both sides, but generally in fun.
Never been to Philly. Maybe that is not just stadium behavior out there. Perhaps that is just how they are all the time.:)
Giving fans of the other team some good natured ribbing was always ok, but too many seem to want to take a fans dedication to his team personally and push the harassing to the point of fighting.
Don't know if it will ever go back. Sorry for the kids bad experience.
Football may not be for this kid. Yes, encourage him to follow another sport, music, a play or chess club. Football isn't for everyone.
With that said, I have gone to games and had unpleasant people around me, most of the time they were drunk. I think that there could be more alcohol free sections for families.
I do think that we can encourage our culture/society in MN. The policies at stadiums can affect this. Because of fan violence and stupidity the NFL has been attempting to curb fans with bad behaviors.
If a guy wants to stand and cheer, and is in the way of someone who doesn't, tough luck IMO. They should stand up. People will be cheering, standing, jumping, yelling. As long as it's not something like Caine explained, there's no problem with it.