A few weeks ago Every Day Should Be Saturday put up a pretty nifty manifesto outlining a code of conduct every amateur football blogger/pundit should strive for -- stuff like focusing on what is interesting and fun as opposed to the designated MSM Big Game storyline (#10) and not giving a rip about individual postseason awards (#16). Good recommendations all, though I'd like to add one more to that list if I may, and I invite all of y'all to join with me:
We will not stoop to engaging in discussions of which school's fans exhibit the worst behavior, nor will we act like criticisms of a given school's fans somehow amount to substantive football commentary.
You know what I'm talking about: The insinuation that because a fan of Team X flipped you off when you were just trying to ask directions to the stadium, or because a large group of Team X fans were raising hell at your hotel while you were trying to get some goddamn sleep, or because an inebriated Team X booster followed you all the way back to your tailgate screaming his school's fight song at you, this somehow makes Team X's school a festering pit of depravity about which nothing kind or complimentary can ever be said ever, with every person who has ever graduated from or been employed by said school being guilty by association. You may think you are doing the rest of us a service, Team Y fan, by publicly shaming these alleged Neanderthals and warning the rest of us of their obnoxiousness, but really all you're doing is making yourself look like -- how do I put this gently? -- a big whiny-ass titty baby. Just as patriotism, in the words of Samuel Johnson, is the last refuge of a scoundrel, so is complaining about other teams' fan behavior the last refuge of a loser.
Apparently someone managed to transport himself forward in time and snap a picture of my firstborn son, little Champ Gillett, at his first Georgia football game.
That's what it really boils down to, isn't it? Ninety-nine percent of the time, people complain about the supposed obnoxiousness of an opposing team's fans because said opposing team just beat their ass lopsided. If your team has just waxed its opponent, you're probably too busy celebrating (and/or gloating) to give a rat's ass about how the other team's fans are acting in defeat; on the other hand, if you've just been thumped, your self-esteem is at low ebb, you're looking for anything you can hold over the heads of the victors -- and since you don't have the scoreboard to back you up, you go ad hominem and slag off the other team's fans as boorish troglodytes. There's a certain banal logic to all this, but it's still pretty pathetic.
Now, as the rabid devotee of a team that both 1) wins a lot and 2) has a bit of a reputation for rowdy fans, it may look like I have an agenda here -- but it's an agenda supported by years of experience. Take our bitter in-state rivals, for instance. We have now beaten Georgia Tech six years in a row, each year in a fashion more soul-crushing than the last, and as you might guess, the Techies are getting a little tired of this. But they can't seriously say their team is superior to ours, so instead they comfort themselves with fanciful tales of how obnoxious we Bulldogs are and how, no matter how many times we punk them on the actual field of play, they're still glad they're not us. They attempt to reinforce this by regaling each other with sordid tales of how they saw drunk Georgia fans peeing off the upper deck at Sanford Stadium, children getting screamed at and having objects knocked out of their hands, and much, much worse. (In fairness, they're not alone, as this hysterical South Carolina fan forum graphically demonstrates.)
Above, an overzealous UGA fan viciously attacks an unsuspecting Techie at last year's UGA-GT game just for saying Calvin Johnson was "awesome." True story.
These stories are all appalling; they are also utter horseshit, every bit as spurious as the stories of cracked-out Katrina refugees raping fetuses in the Superdome. And that's another reason that opposing-fan-behavior kvetching should be stricken from the repertoire of any CFB blogger or pundit who wishes to be taken even remotely seriously -- it lends itself to the most absurd fish stories imaginable. Not only does the opposing team's supposed obnoxiousness get exaggerated with every step further down the grapevine, until the stadium in question has become a veritable Thunderdome of fan-on-fan mayhem, but there is the equal and opposite reaction of turning one's fellow fans into beings so ridiculously pure and noble, not to mention superhumanly strong, you almost have to wonder what the hell they were doing wasting time at a football game when they could've been ending worldwide hunger or bringing al-Qaeda to its knees with their bare hands. In that South Carolina fan forum I linked above, for instance, there are dozens of stories of drunk, brutish UGA starting fights for no reason whatsoever, yet somehow every one of those stories ends with a brave Gamecock fan rising up and Buford Pussering the Bulldog into oblivion. (Based on this sample, I can only conclude that the average male student at SC is over eight feet tall and weighs around 900 pounds.) And on a slightly less violent note, you've also got stuff like this:
Uh-huh, sure, you betcha. Readers, if any of you believe that the words "You're from Florida? Nice to meet ya! We just want to say welcome, and that color of blue looks really good on you!" have ever left a Tennessee fan's lips, then please contact me as soon as possible; I have a pristine, collector's-item 2000 Volkswagen Jetta that I would be willing to part with for the fire-sale price of only $49,999.00, and I'd also like to tell you the story of the time I nailed Jessica Simpson in the back seat of P.Diddy's Escalade. (On the other hand, this video lets you play a fun little mini-version of that NBC game show hosted by Penn Jillette: Which one is the girl who only gives blowjobs because she thinks it "doesn't count" as sex? Which one is the girl who told everyone her appendix burst when the real reason she disappeared from campus for a month is because her dad put her in rehab after she wrapped his 5-series around a lamppost? It's time to play . . . Identity!)
I mean, for crying out loud. You're really going to complain about other fans yelling "You suck" and "We're gonna kick your ass"? I'm going to let you in on a nasty little secret, ladies, and it is that college football fans occasionally say some very unkind things to their opponents. Guard that secret with care, because it is a dark and powerful truth, known only to those brave souls who have ever attended an SEC football game anyplace in the world ever.
Folks, we live in a country where the vice president, the statesman tasked with presiding over the Senate, once told a sitting senator to "go fuck [him]self" on the floor of that very legislating body. After that, if you're surprised that someone who likes a football team different from yours would ever tell you that you "suck," then perhaps you should just stay inside your house and never venture outside your front door on the off chance that some random person might disagree with you and hurt your feelings.
FSU Cowgirl Jenn Sterger recoils at the sight of a zealous Miami fan. They're normally such a quiet, subdued bunch.
If you still insist on attending college football games, you are advised to sack up and not allow your sense of self-worth to vaporize every time an opposing fan informs you that your team's ass is about to be kicked. Ignore that fan, hit him with a stinging comeback, inform him that the jerk store called and they're out of him -- just don't bitch and moan about it. Sitting around whining about how those fans are "foul, foul, foul" might earn you a couple extra gold stars on the Emily Post Fan Club message board, but it means fuck-all to anyone who actually knows or cares anything about football.
I make this solemn vow today: If we lose to Alabama on September 22, then Tide fans, you may shout "Hey Dawgs, we just beat the hell out of you!" as loud as your vocal chords are capable, or as local noise ordinances allow. If we lose to Tennessee up in Knoxville two weeks later, then Big Orange fans, you can play "Rocky Top" until your 8-track players start shooting sparks. If we lose to Georgia Tech to close out the regular season, then guess what, Techies -- you have carte-blanche to brag by any means necessary about how Georgia's reign is over and there's a new sheriff in the state. Do all of those things, and you won't see me complain about your bad manners on this site, because we will have gotten beat fair and square. On the other hand, though, if we beat you, I'm going to brag about it until I'm blue in the face, explaining in exhaustive detail exactly why and how your team, campus, and city suck massive amounts of ass -- using charts and diagrams, if necessary. And if you then have the nerve to whine about this treatment, I will then explain in equally detailed fashion why you're a pussy, and may also suggest a brand of diapers for you to purchase.
And if you're a 'tard, I'm going to call you a 'tard.
That's how it works in big-time college football. That's how it should work. Winners get the glory and the right of first refusal on any trash-talking; losers get to suck it up and hope to get 'em back next year. Attempting to usurp this hierarchy by bringing the class level or etiquette of the other team into the discussion will make you look like a big whiny douche, but it won't change the numbers on the scoreboard.
That's my new rule. Go in peace, you inbred redneck jean-shorts-wearing assbags. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.