That’s a fine question and one I found myself asking when I saw several Facebook posts and tweets this week ripping into various groups of fans who were booing for one reason or another.
Most of those posts—due to the unfortunately large amount of individuals I know (and love) from the Steel City—were directed at the folk who occupied Consol Energy Center this week as the Penguins got their asses handed to them in Games 1 and 2 of the Easter Conference Finals. One post in particular called those people booing “not real fans” and encouraged them to offer their tickets to someone who would actually enjoy being at the game supporting their team.
The post itself made me shake my head, and the fact that there was a decent number of people who “liked” it kind of ticked me off even more.
I don’t see how anyone, especially die-hard fans, could have anything against some good ol’ fashioned booing, especially when it’s well deserved. (And, looking at how those first two games in Pittsburgh went, I’d say that the home team deserved to be booed from the time the puck dropped to start the first period of game 2 until they left on a plane to head to Boston for games 3 and 4.) Knowing how to properly boo is in the early chapters of Sports Fan 101.
This discussion comes just hours removed from one of the most beautiful displays of displeasure—albeit with an umpire—I’ve ever witnessed. It doesn’t get any better than this. The Philly faithful let 2nd base ump Bob Davidson (who’s had run-ins with the Phillies before) have it for a good four innings after Davidson made a ridiculous runner interference call against Ben Revere.
Boos directed at Davidson as Ryan Howard steps to the plate a whole inning later
Boos two innings later as Jonathan Papelbon pitches in the 9th
Growing up a Philly fan, booing is basically second nature. Rare was the team that saw any amount of success. Booing said teams is one of the only ways a fan base is able to show the men on the field, court, ice, whathaveyou, and the fat cats in the suites above that they’re not happy with what’s going on in front of them. It’s a way to light a fire under someone’s ass and maybe elicit greater effort or some sort of change.
To sit quietly as your team gets embarrassed is just asinine and makes you seem like more of a passive fan or someone who doesn’t care, or doesn’t have enough sports-sense to know what’s going on in front of you. I picture a non-booer like the soft-clapper at an opera—no emotion, not invested, and thinks they probably have so many better things to do with their quaint little life. Personally, I think it’s more obnoxious for someone to sit at a game showing no signs of life (like those assholes who go to baseball games and read their paper).
It’s either that, or you’re just a blind follower. Lying to yourself about how everything is oh-so great with the sub-.500 team and that they’re just on the brink of turning it all around. Only they never do and you’re left all depressed at the end of the season wondering where things went wrong.
And if you refuse to boo when things go south, then I’d rather you not be there to cheer and scream your head off when things finally do go our way.