Becoming a FC Dallas season ticket holder has confirmed something about sports fans in this city that I have long suspected. It's something that peaked my curiosity since I noticed long ago attending Dallas Mavericks games at the American Airlines Center. I wondered, why do fans (especially girls) in this city dress more like Ghost Bar patrons than Dallas Maverick fans when they attend games? Does it have something to do with the proximity to Victory Plaza? Perhaps. But after attending my first FC Dallas game as a season ticket holder, I think I may have connected the dots.
So here's my new take on most Dallas sporting events. To most people in Dallas, sporting games (and this applies to most of the Mavs, Stars, Rangers, and deviates only slightly with the Cowboys) are "events" to attend. Or maybe I should say, fans attend sports games like the game experience is a social event and they as fans are "socialites" rather than "sports fans."
Now many of you socialites might disagree with me, but even if you feel that you in your halter-top and stilettos (not that there's anything wrong with that) are just as passionate about your team as anybody else, I think that any rational observer would recognize that, call it what you will, there is a difference between the fans in this city and the fans in Philadelphia who for years filled the infamous Veterans Memorial Stadium and would express their enthusiasm for the game by regularly egging the visiting team's bus, throwing batteries on the field, and let's not forget booing Santa Clause. Now, say what you will about the appropriateness of their behavior, but clearly you'd agree there's a qualitative difference, right? Trust me, there is. I've been there.
I just can't help but wonder how some of our Dallas sports fans would fair sitting in the outfield bleachers at Yankee Stadium during a Yankee - Red Sox game at about the 7th inning, when everyone around them have had time to put back 2 or 3 cold ones. Or how they would fair at the Golden State Warriors' Oracle Arena when the entire crowd starts chanting "Bull-Shit" in unison objection to poor officiating. Hell, yesterday at the FC Dallas opener, after sweeper Duilio Davino mis-touched an easily playable ball, in the 84th minute, just outside his own 18, causing a turnover which resulted immediately in Chivas USA striker Maykel Galindo scoring the equalizer, I stood and yelled, "THAT WAS TERRIBLE!" at the top of my lungs. Which, I think, is pretty innocuous especially by comparison. But holy wow! You'd have thought I had just thrown a beer at Ron Artest! You should have seen the dirty looks I got from all the soccer-moms seated around me. God forbid I interrupt their social experience with expressions of passionate enthusiasm at a sporting game! I wanted to say, "Lady, if you didn't want to hear yelling, why on earth did you attend a soccer game!?!?"
I'm switching my tickets closer to the field...
Well, what I think I'm getting at, besides the simple social observation, is to just say to all the Dallas socialites, it wouldn't hurt you to loosen up a bit and allow yourself to be lost in the emotional roller-coaster that is sports. Forget that you're at Victory Plaza and you're hitting up the Ghost Bar after the game. Invest in a team jersey and use those vocal chords proudly. Become a real sports fan. Ride the up's and down's, boo your starting strong safety (who shall remain nameless) when he gives up another 40 yard touchdown pass to a tight end (what the hell, his name is Roy Williams); boo your starting goalie when he gives up not 1, not 2, but 3 goals in under 2 minuites (oh yeah, his name is Marty Turco); heckle the refs (trust me, they're terrible), the visiting bullpen, and make as much noise as possible when the visiting quarterback comes to the line of scrimmage or when the visiting guard is shooting his free throws (somewhere I'm sure Dwyane Wade is still shooting free throws given to him by the refs of the 2006 NBA finals, someone should tell them it's ok to take off their Dwyane Wade kneepads now). IT'S CALLED HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE! Trust me, it's real and it's one of the most wonderful things in all that is sports.
I'm buying a beer for the next person I hear yell audibly, "Hey Ref! Get off your knees! You're blowing the game!"