Monday, November 2, 2015

SEC Football Sucks, But Their Crowds Are AMAZING

I went to my first SEC football game this past weekend, as I took in the Florida/Georgia game which is also known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. That second part is more that it is in Jacksonville, which is the most spread out city on the planet, so it makes sense that they could spread out a party pretty well. Putting the game in Jacksonville every year is a pretty sweet gig for Florida, which is only a little over an hour away, but Athens is six hours away, so even though the crowd is split, it is a way better deal for Florida.

Anyway, the setup was pretty great. We went with a Georgia alum who had a parking/barbecue lunch ticket for all of us, and the chicken/baked beans, and potato salad were all on point. I drank a bunch of Natural Light, because I am a classy adult who enjoys the finer things in life, and we went off to the game where both teams sucked, but Georgia's suckiness was more evident in that they had a bunch of costly turnovers, and Florida's defense dominated to help them win 27-3.

Honestly, the game was fairly uneventful, especially when cheering for Georgia, but man, oh man, was I glad to be sitting on the Georgia side, because there was so much drama going on around us.

Things were not going Georgia's way, and since they had a lot of hours to drink, added with the frustration of losing, tempers got heated over fairly small things. Before halftime, there were already Georgia fans threatening to fight a group of Florida fans, but the police officer came before things came to fisticuffs. But the one repeated instigator for these scrums were people standing up. People got pissed if others were standing to cheer and watch their beloved Georgia Bulldogs.

The first instance was of two old guys (at least in their 70s) who wanted to sit down and watch the game, and two young ladies were standing in front of them and cheering on the team. The first logical step would be to politely ask them to sit down, and if they didn't, well, tough shit, looks like you're standing. Instead, the old guys immediately got a police officer to threaten them with ejection from the game if they did not sit down. That was totally outrageous, and I'm pretty sure even the cop knew that he couldn't follow through on that plan, because plenty of people kept standing without ejection.

But the cop's threat was enough to get them to sit down. Unfortunately, a young gentleman in front of them was standing, which forced them to stand, which enraged the old dudes behind them. The one dude on the aisle walked down to the gentleman, told him to sit down, and when he did not, he yanked him down by his arm, and then went back to his seat. That only stopped the young guns for a while, and eventually they started standing again.

This all culminated in the other old dude yanking down the girl in front of him, which led to the girl threatening violence if he touched her again, and telling him, quite correctly, that if he wanted to sit and watch the game, he should do so from his own living room. I'm not in favor of fighting old people, but seriously, if 70 years of life experience haven't taught them how to act like adults, honestly, an ass beating might be the best thing for them.

It reminded me of a time in high school where a bunch of parents mistakenly sat in the student section, and then freaked out when I started standing and cheering when the game started. They cussed at me, while I explained that they were in a student section, and I had every right to stand. They proceeded to talk shit about me loud enough for me to hear, as I laughed in the front row. At halftime, they all got up and left, and one dude in his 40s decided to deliver a shoulder block to me, a 17-year-old who weighed all of 140 pounds (I'd like to see him mess with me now that I'm up to 150). The whole thing was childish and hilarious.

But sadly, that was not the only drama caused by sports fans standing during a sporting event. Late in the third quarter, somebody tapped me on the shoulder to get the attention of the guy who was standing in front of me. I obliged, as I knew that me ignoring them would only delay the inevitable.

Of course they wanted the guy to sit down, and he tried to reason with them that he just wanted to support his team. But they still wanted him to sit. After about five minutes, they got so frustrated that they left, but not before making a point. One of the dudes pulled out an ID card, only showed him the back of it for like a second, and said it was his handicapped card. He then said, "You may have won the battle, but you're an asshole," which was just sad. It was sad in that the guy couldn't think of a more pithy one-liner, and it was also sad that this guy thought that anyone who didn't bend to his desires was ultimately an asshole.

Now, as someone who didn't have a strong rooting interest in the game, I was able to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere of people getting worked up over really stupid shit. The game was atrocious, but the fans, the fans were astonishing. God Bless the SEC.

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