Each year it seems we hear stories about fans going too far in rooting for their teams... to the point of violence and inexcusable behavior. Sport can be an amazing thing; it teaches valuable lessons about life, it teaches athletes the true value of hard work, it can help students get an education, and it can teach young people how to deal with losing and disappointment. But there is a dark side of sports, and sometimes it's not the athletes.
This past week during a high school football game in Louisiana, two officials were arrested for threatening the on duty police officers there for crowd control. Details are still incomplete, but it appears that the officials were arguing with the chain gang, which led to the crowd yelling at the officials. The officials then, allegedly, threatened the police officers for not keeping control. It's unknown at this point what was said to the police, but the two officals were arrested and taken into custody. While this was a relatively minor indecent, there are many more serious examples of sports' passion going too far.
In 1994 Andres Escobar was playing for the Colombian national soccer team when be mistakenly kicked the ball into his own goal against the United States. Escobar was murdered in July of 1994 after returning home to Colombia.
Just a few weeks ago a Dodger's fan was attacked and stabed to death outside of Giants' AT&T Park.
Last week fans went to the home of Texan's quarterback Matt Shaub and threatened him due to his poor performance thus far this season. The police were called and the men arrested. This past Sunday however, Schaub sustained what may be a serious leg injury and his home town crowd cheered. His teammates expressed their disgust at the fans following the game.
Sports are a fantastic microcosm of the ups and downs of life, they can create heart-wrenching stories of triumph and tragedy, and they can even bring people together after personal or national heartbreak... however it's important to remember that at the end of the day, it's a game.