Those crazy fans
Depending on where you are and the quality of social life in your city, the games are often the only chance you get to put on a cute outfit and socialize, while taking in the excitement and passion of it all. To call these fans passionate would be an understatement. They are crazy. They love their teams and they love their players. It is nothing to see fans throwing bottles and garbage on to the court if they don’t like a call. The game stops just long enough for the mess to be cleaned and then it’s back to business. Most arenas don’t serve alcohol for this very reason, so fans often come to the games already drunk and ready to fight. It’s almost comical when I think of the number of fights that have started before tip off. This is why the riot police are present with batons and shields at most games and no one bats an eye.
My craziest experience was at a game in Athens. I was there with my daughter and was pregnant with my oldest son. The game hadn’t been going on for long when multiple fights broke out and soon everyone around us was either fighting or running. Luckily I was close enough to the front and someone from the team was able to get me and my daughter out of there. One would think that after that the game would be over, but nope, not in Europe. They cleared out the entire arena, only letting in family and a few others and the game was played like nothing had happened. Ever since then I’m always mapping out an escape route should another riot ever break out.
The fan appreciation doesn’t just end on the court. I’m a member of a basketball wife support group of sorts, and we just had a discussion about how to handle some of the overly zealous fans. Most of us just let our men deal with the fans and any inappropriate behavior, but it can be a frustrating aspect of the game. Fan behavior really depends on the country you’re in, and can range from normal to ridiculous. In my opinion, German fans are the most composed I’ve seen, which makes sense since they are a pretty orderly bunch in general. The most ridiculous fans were in Venezuela. They are crazy about basketball and we couldn’t walk anywhere without being mobbed. A quick trip to the mall would take hours because one person wants to take a picture, and then another, and another and pretty soon a mob has formed. Women would literally push me aside trying to get to him. It took everything I had to contain myself, but I often had my children with me so I couldn’t let them see me flip out. I have since mastered the mean face and the intense glare which seems to work.