Sitting behind me at the last soccer game I attended was a British man with his two school age children muttering about the “effing rules of the game.”
It may have had something to do with the referee, the Team Canada member on the ground flailing about, or the man streaking across the pitch. Who knows, who cares?
Given the setting, the smell of stale beer that had permeated the air and the thousands of others with throbbing veins in their temples, it wasn’t even mildly offensive. It was ambiance.
It seemed almost exactly the same as the ambiance at Stampeders’ games years earlier, only the seats in Calgary were slightly less comfortable than those in Vancouver.
Going back even further, if you exchanged the smell of stale beer for that of chlorine and juice boxes, I’d say it was all quite reminiscent of my childhood swim meets where the stands were even less comfortable.
Sports fans, you see, are an interesting lot. In fact, as someone who doesn’t particularly care for sports, but loves seeing a live match, I can say with absolute certainty they’re the best part of the show — err, game.
That brings me to some of the mess leaking out of Toronto.
During a Blue Jays game some moron threw a beer at Orioles left-fielder Hyun Soo Kim. He missed and Kim still made the catch, but a nationwide episode of stupidity has ensued.
First, police released the picture of the man with bad aim, then amateur sleuths across the country launched a manhunt.
Pictures were published, theories offered up and a suspect was identified. Said suspect later denied his role and it all keeps going.
I resent knowing this much about this story, for the record. But it’s appeared in my social media feeds, the news sites I frequent and even on my radio.
It’s actually the only radio news story that has ever prompted my toddler to ask for more information.
Is that the appeal? That it is easy enough for a toddler to understand?
Because otherwise I can’t fathom how the “why did the man throw his drink?” story became one of the top news items on the CBC and every national paper.
Surely beer has been thrown on sports fields before—even on the hallowed ground of the Toronto Blue Jays?
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not just space-filling drivel designed to get hits on news sites and monetize a suffering industry.
Let’s hope this is a moment to collectively have a conversation about civility. If so then, hallelujah. It’s been a long time coming.
Personal attacks have long since replaced reasoned arguments to the contrary, which has been made more than evident not just on sports fields, but also political arenas and in the comment sections of every news publication.
While I’ll miss the ambiance at sports events, I’ll definitely toast—not toss—to that. The greater likelihood is that I’ve finally become invested enough in a sports stories to mutter obscenities to my child.
Kathy Michaels is a reporter for the Kelowna Capital News.