Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Fan Foibles

There's plenty that can happen on the pitch that can annoy you, but what about the actions of your fellow fans?


Last week on this blog we had a piece by Brendan Grehan which was mostly about the wearing of provincial attire at international rugby matches.

This drew quite a strong reaction from some quarters, with as much flak taken by myself for publishing the piece as was taken by the man himself for writing it.

On the subject of the post's publication, I reiterate that this blog is intended for “independent opinion”. As much as the sport of rugby union is one for all shapes and sizes, I want this blog to be there for people of all points of view to contribute, whether or not I personally agree with them, so you can expect more posts like that in future as pretty much all posts are welcome once I feel the tone is kept respectful.

Personally I took Brendan's point about the provincial jersey-wearing, but only in the case of certain people attending the game. Clearly there are those who wear their provincial jackets because it is the warmest item of clothing they own, and of course that's fine. But there are also those who go out of their way to wear their own colour jerseys, hats and scarves to make a point that they only care about the players for their particular team. THIS is definitely annoying.

But is it the most annoying thing I ever see at rugby matches? Hells to the no. So what say I go on a mini-rant about what gets the “harrumph” outta me?

Since “top ten lists” on blogs also annoy me, these are in no particular order.
  • BOOING When you see a visiting player do something naughty that the ref has missed, it's hard not to let him at least know you saw it. Still, booing a place-kicker is exceptionally shameful – though before we Irish fans get up on our high horses about what the Millennium Stadium crowd did to Nathan Sharpe last weekend, we should remember Croke Park in 2010 as Dan Parks lined up his match-winning kick for Scotland.  Really no place for it at any time, unless it’s some ironic hero-worship like “Luuuuuuuuuke!”
  • THE WAVE Most of my fan foibles stem from this question : “why the hell did you bother buying a ticket in the first place if you're just going to do THAT?” The so-called “Mexican Wave” should have stayed south of the Alamo. Essentially what you are doing is proclaiming to the world that you've a pathetic attention span. Sure, there are a lot of stoppages in rugby matches for scrums, lineouts, penalties, injuries, substitutions, but the idea behind a wave is that it goes all the way around the pitch regardless of what's happening on it. Therefore it doesn’t belong.
  • CHATTING ABOUT ANYTHING BUT RUGBY Usually not annoying for the entire match if you're paying attention to the action yourself, but these people do get caught out at placekick time. They're so engrossed in their conversations that they haven't even noticed the thousands of other people in the ground have gone quiet. And more often than not, their subject matter is light-hearted enough that one of them lets out a gut-wrenching guffaw.
  • ARRIVING LATE/LEAVING EARLY There will always be legitimate excuses for this. But the vast majority of people should know that when a game is due to kickoff at 6pm you need to allow about an hour either side of the time the match is due to be played for crowds & what-not. I mean, just last Saturday evening at the RDS, Leinster had the bonus point wrapped up with ten minutes to go, and thus the exodus began. “It was freezing cold!” doesn't really wash as an excuse for me, because most adults should know what the weather is going to be like on a December evening in Dublin. Now don't get me's your life and your money and if you don't want to stay to the end it's your look out (for example those who left early on Saturday missed Fergus McFadden’s 2nd try plus his conversion hitting not one but two pieces of woodwork), I just reserve my right to say harrumph, and never more so than with over five minutes left on the clock in the Leinster v Exeter Heineken Cup match in October, with the score as it was at a perilous 9-6. Maybe THAT'S a good time for booing?
I could go on, but that would deny me the chance to hear more from yourselves - what say you leave a comment here and/or go back to the social media source that led you here and get a debate going?

What brings out the Peter Griffin in you and grinds your gears at rugby matches when it comes to your fellow patrons? JLP

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