Friday, April 8, 2011
The Daily Rant: It's Just a Ballgame Folks
I don’t know how many have followed this story, but it’s something that needs more attention. On March 31, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, father of two, attended Opening Night with two friends at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. During the game between two heated rivals, Stow texted his family that he was scared and that he felt nervous being at the game in Giants gear. After the game, a Dodgers victory, two Dodgers fans attacked Stow, punching him in the back of the head. Stow was knocked to the ground, hitting his head on the concrete. He went unconscious.
Fast forward to today, where Stow is laying in a hospital bed with permanent brain damage. Doctors have removed part of his skull to reduce the swelling in his brain, but he will probably never recover to become his former self. His children will never have the same father. All because a couple of no good thug fans decided that a person wearing an opposing jersey deserved to have the crap beat out of him for wearing Black and Orange. Meanwhile, Stow’s two assailants are free, and will probably never be found even though a $100,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
I acknowledge that some opposing fans incite the violence. Some are obnoxious in the game, and some try to provoke fights. I’ve both seen and been with fans like that, and it makes the game impossible to enjoy for all involved. But the majority of fans wearing an opposing team's colors just want to see their team play; they live in the city the game is being played, or tickets are hard to come by. They should not be subjected to pain and violence. It’s possible to have good natured trash talk without repercussions.
I don’t mean to just call out Dodgers fans; I’ve been a part of fear-inducing situations myself. I was scared out of my mind while attending a St. Louis Cardinals game in San Francisco two years ago. I was walking around the outfield minding my own business, trying to take in the views of San Francisco Bay. I was called all sorts of names, pushed around, and was genuinely fearful for my safety. As soon as I left the ballpark, I took my jersey off as I was getting heated looks and words from Giants fans. I was afraid of a situation similar to what happened to Bryan Stow. Just this year I attended the Ohio State-Michigan game. I watched two drunken OSU students vault over five rows to blindside punch a Michigan fan in the back of the head, all because the guy was wearing a Michigan jersey.
Personally, I am absolutely disgusted by acts like these, and think it’s despicable that someone would treat fans of opposing teams like this. I understand that rivalries get heated. Good natured ribbing is part of the game. I constantly harrass friends who like rival teams of mine. I think it’s funny when I get booed walking up the aisle at the Reds ballpark while wearing my Albert Pujols jersey. I think it’s funny when people give me crap for being a Dayton fan at Xavier’s Cintas Center. But a line can, and often is, crossed. I love sports more than most, but violence has no place at the stadium; not over something as insignificant as a game. And what happened to Bryan Stow is inexplicable. Sports teams are not gangs. There is no reason to assault, or even kill, someone who happens to wear a rival’s teams colors.
No person deserves what happened to Bryan Stow. Some will say he shouldn’t have gone to that game. Others will say he deserved what he got. Those people need to get a life, and find more important things to live for. It’s just a game. I hope that Stow’s assailants get caught, because justice needs to be served.