And I mean pleasure with the most sarcasm possible.
The Philadelphia Flyers, for those who don't know, currently sit atop the NHL in points with 49, one above division rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Since their late-season charge in the 2009-10 season and a Stanley Cup Finals berth, the Flyers have been one of the best teams (and at points THE best) in the NHL. Their 10-2-3 road record makes them a force even away from the confines of the Wells Fargo Arena. Offensively, they have so many weapons: Mike Richards, Danny Briere, Ville Leino, Claude Giroux, Nikolay Zherdev (when he's on his game), Scott Hartnell's assist work. Defensively, they are strong: Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, and the tandem of Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher. Except for their checking line and 3rd defensive pairing, there aren't many weaknesses. So when the team comes home, fans should expect top performances against every team.
Fans should expect. Doesn't mean it happens.
When it doesn't we learn the wonders of alcohol. The Flyers had a pitiful lost Monday to the Florida Panthers 5-0, where nothing went right except for the weakest lines. Play was sloppy, no hustle, bad possessions, not capitalizing on opportunities. Pitiful is being nice. Fans during any sport start to get a little tipsy during the course of any game. Those who go to games know it's never pretty when a team is losing, especially to a Panthers team that's last in the Southeast division.
I was sitting in the upper section of the Wells Fargo Arena with my mom as a Christmas present to the both of us. Usually it's my dad and I, so this was a nice change. We sat shoulder-to-shoulder waiting for our nosebleeds to start, excited to see a game after being in the tundra of central New York for half a year. The game was doomed early on, when they gave up two easy goals in the first period, and the team looked as if they just didn't care. Some of the groups of college and recently graduated people were already drinking a lot before the collapse, and the poor play made it worse.
To my right were a group of about seven or eight guys pretty much gone by the third period. One of the bunch started off the game quiet, then as more alcohol went in, the talking increased. To the point where I don't think he could actually stop. Now, my mom wasn't happy with it because of the constant cursing, but it didn't bother me. It did, however, bother one guy sitting behind me with his (I assume) girlfriend. He was quiet all during the game. I wouldn't have even known they were there if his girlfriend didn't drop her phone under my seat. Yet, when the drunkerds start saying things like how they would be better if they had kept Geoffrey Lupul and the team plays down to their opponents, the guy with his girlfriend quietly fired back. I'd hear "stop knocking the Flyers" and "you don't know what you're talking about" loud enough so they could hear it but quiet enough that it wasn't getting him noticed. After every comment, he would make his quiet rebuke and continue to try to watch the game.
First, anyone who's been to college or a bar knows how drunk people function...or lack of function. They don't make sense. They cannot stop talking or act out of line. Most of the time, they don't realize what they do. So, holding someone personally responsible for their comments while intoxicated seems a little silly. Second, when you go to a professional and even college sporting event, you should expect there to be intoxicated people that could possibly disrupt your game experience. Finally, if you really have that much of a problem with people making comments about your team, you should either learn to deal with it or just not go to places like arenas if you cannot take the heckling. It must not be an environment that suits you.
Now, am I condoning bad behavior while intoxicated? No. Am I saying high levels of alcohol is okay? No. Am I opposed to the high availability of alcohol at sporting events? Yeah, it'd be nice to see it reduced for the good of everyone around the drunkerds. But if you're going to an event that has available alcohol, you HAVE to expect this kind of acting. Like I said, if you're not happy with it, then watch the game somewhere else.
Normally, I don't defend the drunkerds, but when you go to a game, you should be prepared. Especially when a team performs very poorly.