I see Manchester United’s bus was attacked by West Ham fans as it tried to get into the stadium. Rioting sports fans is nothing new. In fact England is somewhat notorious for its ‘(soccer)football hooligans’.

It happens here in the States and Canada as well. Last year at a Monday Night Football a Vikings fan was beaten by some 49ers fans.

In the late ’80’s and early ’90’s there were high school teams that refused to use the locker rooms at a couple of the schools located on tribal lands (cough, New Town, cough, cough) due to safety concerns. The teams would arrive on the bus in their gear, play the game, and then go from the field/court to the waiting bus outside and drive off. While I didn’t see it personally, I heard that at least once someone was shooting at one of the buses as it rolled out of town (I think that was in Parshall).

The thing is, this bad behavior isn’t necessarily a racial or ethnic thing, despite protestations otherwise. It’s a Tribal thing. But not as in ‘their just a bunch of uncivilized indians’, but rather who or what you identify with. It’s people who identify with Team X and attacking the symbolism of the ‘Other’. It’s also usually conducted by younger people, in their teens and twenties. Usually this is limited to vocal taunting and gestures, but occasionally we’ll see it make news headlines when it becomes physical.

Fandom isn’t necessarily geographic in nature either. Though local areas generally are more supportive of a team, you will frequently find fans of that team in far flung places as well.

A couple of years ago I attended a MN Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis with my Father-in-Law and Brother-in-Law. None of us is a Vikings fan. But after attending a couple of Chiefs games in KC because my Brother-in-Law is a Chiefs fan, my Father-in-Law wanted us to see a NY Jets game as well. The couple sitting next to us were Viking fans, as could be expected. But they weren’t from Minnesota. No, they flew in from New York City to watch the Vikings play. They didn’t even have any ties to the MN area.

In today’s world, at least in the US, we often choose our tribe rather than being born into it. Sometimes that tribe is the local one, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s loyalty to the team, sometimes it’s loyalty to a particular player. But once we’ve made that choice we can sometimes become overly passionate about it and lose focus on being good people. Attacking someone or something because they are perceived as ‘Other’ isn’t limited to sports either. Anything with fans falls into this same trap, though it might not always be physical in nature. Though sometimes it goes beyond mere heckling to harassment and even libel/defamation (See Sad Puppies 3 where several ‘news’ organizations had to retract ‘articles’ regarding Larry Correia).

Now, for some fun photos.

December 2005, Denver Broncos at KC Chiefs. We had nosebleed seats, sitting about 8 rows from the very top. But, we did get tickets to the corporate VIP tailgating area before the game.

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Since I don’t have any Chiefs gear, I went with the lone jersey I had in red at the time, Manchester United.

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I think my FiL was enjoying himself just a little too much here.

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My BiL, the lone Chiefs fan, was in heaven.

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Yeah, we were pretty high up, this is about as close as it gets.

October 2006, San Diego Chargers at KC Chiefs. Once again we had VIP tailgating tickets, but we got tied up in traffic and didn’t get to meet the cheerleaders this time. We did have MUCH better seats though. It was also much warmer, 40 degrees instead of in the 20’s.

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Last year’s seats were just down from the last light stanchion on the right hand side.

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Lower deck seats are much better for seeing the…ahem…action.

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There’s a couple of pretty good players standing in that backfield with Rivers and Tomlinson.

S5000186Antonio Gates scored a TD right in front of us.

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The game winning field goal was kicked right at us.

December 2014, NY Jets at Minnesota Vikings. Former NDSU player, Marcus Williams (#22) started at Corner Back for the Jets.

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Marcus Williams out on the field for the coin toss with former Viking Percy Harvin (#16) and former MN Golden Gopher Eric Decker (#87). While the fans cheered Decker, they booed Harvin when ever he was mentioned. There seems to be just a tad bit of bad blood there.

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We had pretty good seats, nice and close to the action. Of course, Geno screwed us on the first play from scrimmage (couldn’t get a shot of it, it happened so fast) by throwing a pick-6 right in front of us. This shot is from the 2nd quarter.

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It was a good, exciting game. We lost in OT. If it hadn’t been for the very first play we would have won.

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