Last week I met sports journalist Justine Gubar. She wrote the book “Fanaticus, Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan.” The book is about crazy fans. Last night I watched the Major League Baseball playoffs. Toronto fans threw beer cans and other debris onto to the field after being upset with an umpire’s call (but mostly the fans hit other fans, including kids). Toronto eventually won, otherwise the fans might have thrown kids. Last weekend, I photographed the Bay Area Derby Girl roller derby league championships. Some fans cheered. Some drank beer. Some fans brought their kids (or some kids brought their parents), but nothing unusual happened… except that The Berkeley Resistance won their first league title.
You can view more photos of Berkeley’s first league celebration and 161-143 victory over Oakland at the gallery here.
You can also view the third place gallery between The Richmond Wrecking Belles and The San Francisco ShEvil Dead.
During half-time of the championship, adults played a version of a kid game. It was called Hungry Hungry Humans. Three of the four teams might have been disqualified for breaking the rules, but nobody tossed beer at other fans. (Now that doesn’t sound like a bad half-time game – “beer toss.”)
For some reason, I am still surprised to see little children at roller derby. When I take my children, other people seemed surprised. Why is that? Children attend major league sports. At major league sports, adults insult players and officials. Fans fight each other in the stands and the parking lot.
At the end of most bouts, the fans congratulate the athletes. Perhaps we should reconsider how we view this ritual. Perhaps we should also consider that the athletes are congratulating the fans for another well behaved contest.
Derby fanatics are funny and creative.
I don’t usually understand some of their comments, but even their catcalls are painless.
The little fans look up to the skaters, figuratively and literally (and yes, I know what literally means.) I look up to the skaters too, especially those whose persona uses my all-time favorite animation series.
Some skaters are more animated than other skates.
but the players skate together, regardless of their background
and everyone, fan or participant, is comfortable flying their own flag.
NOTE: I have edited this post a few times since originally posting it. I added the comment about throwing kids and I corrected the spelling of the author’s name (it was the least I could do). At her book signing/reading, we talked about several topics, including my conversation with Bryan Stow and our favorite baseball teams. She likes the team that remembered how to score from third last night with less than two out. I recommend her book too. After reading it, I was surprised that Toronto allowed beer cans. There is a reason that beer bottles are not allowed in stadiums. Fans throw beer. Fans throw beer a lot.