I went to my first ever Toronto Maple Leafs game last night. J got us tickets and we watched them play the Carolina Hurricanes. I had seen a couple of Ottawa Senators games when I lived there but I like the ACC as a stadium way better, even though we were fairly high up the slight lines were great! Also, I like the Leafs and really really am not a fan of the Sens. Sadly, the Leaf's lost, without scoring a single goal but it was still a really fun experience and reminded me again how much I love hockey.
Related to hockey but really connected to all sports - I hate when people boo and heckle. I have always been the type of person who will cheer and clap for the opposing team if they do something particularly impressive. (Last night, despite winning 3-0, the Hurricane's were not all that impressive.) Anyway, booing and heckling is so unsportsmanlike. But I realized what I don't like is when fans of one team do it to the opposing team solely because they are the opposing team - that is what is truly unsportsmanlike about it, as they are ignoring the sport of it and reacting to just the emotions tied to it. But when your own team plays badly, or borderline gives up bothering to play, wouldn't this booing just be a statement of disappointment? A critic of their 'work,' connected to their lack of talent or effort? We cheer when our team does well, wouldn't it make sense to boo at glaring errors as well? To cheer when the opposing team falters or boo when they succeed is more unsportsmanlike. What about when the reaction connects with the action, booing for bad playing?
I also don't like any booing, heckling, or negativity in general at an amateur or youth sporting event. I think that is ridiculous and counter productive in terms of fostering talent and enjoyment of the sport. However, last night at the ACC, we were not watching children, or amateurs, we were watching people who are paid a lot of money to play hockey and we were a very large group of people who had paid a lot of money to watch them. I think there maybe a place for negativity in this case.
Near the end of the game, after a disappointing loss, the crowd started cheering "Go Blue Jays Go" which I found quite funny but I did not join in. I just don't think I could ever be someone who would boo at anything, it just seems too cruel. However, I am starting to think about it differently and am more okay with others doing it.
Now, the fact that the stadium is always sold out and that there is a huge waiting list for seasons tickets and the jerseys, apparel, etc sells well, means that the powers that be in the world of Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing to make a lot of money. While it would be nice for the team to do well, they don't need to really work at it that hard. I don't think booing is going to change anything - except maybe make players less likely to want to play for a team whose fans behave in this manner. Really - money talks. But, the game was awesome to see and I would pay to go to another so the cycle continues.