Big time news out of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where this sleepy little hamlet was rocked to its core by the scandal of the century. Right here in America, some kid got a hard time for wearing an opposing team's jersey. I know, I know, it's shocking. This is the kind of stuff you hear about happening in third world countries... you know, those countries with no vowels in their names where they watch, play, and care about soccer. No, this dreaded plague of sports fandom has spread across the oceans, presumably in the feces of rats on barges, and shattered our peaceful existence in the land of freedom. Worst of all, if the article is accurate, the poor victim was assaulted with a vicoius hail of notebook paper (we haven't banned that in schools yet?)
Okay, so enough hyperbole for one night. Anyway, I'm sure you've all read this goofy story and the media smograsbord that has grown out of it. Maybe we're just missing the point here, but come on, grow a pair. You wear an opposing jersey in an unfriendly place (God knows I've done it plenty of times) you take your licks and laugh it off. Good gravy, if the worst thing that happened to you is some stray pieces of looseleaf, consider yourself lucky. Wait till you see some of the things I've done to opposing fans in my brief yet distinguished history.
- April 12, 1991: Following a highly-controversial Orange Bowl, a loudmouth Colorado fan in my elementary school class continually ridicules the Irish for several months. The young lad meets with a tragic accident when a long stick somehow gets lodged in his bicycle spokes while traveling at a high rate of speed. Captain Smartass had a lot of time to savor his split National Championship and watch the Price is Right when he spent the whole summer in a cast.
- November 30, 1993: Smarmy Boston College fan shows up to school in a Doug Flutie jersey. By some flukey coincidence, his jersey as well as the rest of his clothes end up buried at the bottom of a three-foot snowdrift behind the parking lot while Eagles Superfan is taking a shower during gym class.
- October 16, 1999: There's one thing that my obnoxious USC fan buddy didn't bargain for: the fact that I was taking his younger sister to Senior Prom. What better way to celebrate a big win over a rival than to sneak out the bathroom window at the restaurant and peel off in the limo, leaving my helpless date rideless and stuck with a bill for the two most expensive entrees on the menu?
- January 8, 2001: Mister Oregon State fan thought it was pretty funny when the Beavers romped all over a misguided Bob Davie Irish team in the Fiesta Bowl. What he didn't find quite as funny was when when the police pulled his Dodge Dart out of Chatfield Reservoir and found a partial skeleton in the passenger's seat. After several months, DNA evidence determined that the bones were bovine in nature, most likely taken from a meat packing plant by some prankster (wink, wink). Later that week, he was cleared of all charges and released from prison.
- January 15, 2006: Yeah, there's one in every office: the loudmouth Ohio State fan who doesn't quite know when to shut up. But to this guy's credit, he did eventually shut up (and quickly at that) once his wife received an anonymous letter in the mail with those pictures I took at his bachelor party of him performing ungodly and illegal-in-48-states actions with that transgendered Thai hooker. Ooh, too bad you were too lazy to add your name to the mortgage and the title to the car. Since I'm a good sport and all, I dropped by his room at the YMCA the other day and brought him some food and some bar soap.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's just a game, people. There's no need to get up in arms about silly sports-related pranks, because we've all dished 'em out as well as taken them in our course of fandom. It just comes with the game, and anyone who takes any of this silliness too seriously is a real head case. 'Nuff said.