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Anyone that’s been to the Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio knows it’s a bit of a nut house, so to speak.
Basically, that was a horrid play on words from a lot of levels, but the story is this: it’s one of the most raucous, college football obsessed, loudest, most intimidating road environments in the sport.
Now, apparently, if you’re not into all that … just grab your phone and text.
Ohio State added 2,600 seats this off season and the trade off is some of that high octane fan environment. Starting Saturday against Virginia Tech, attendees at OSU home games can now text “Brutus” to 69050 to have stadium police respond to an issue in the stands.
First, the good, because we should always try to pluck the positive from even the most barren wastelands of suck if we possibly can.
Unruly fans can sap the fun from going to a game. Game tickets, parking, food before or after, a beer or two … it gets to being expensive. It gets to being depressing when you spend all that to have a terrible time around people you don’t know acting like complete slaps.
In that sense, yeah, it’d be nice to have a number to text to when someone starts swearing at a kid, is so drunk they have no idea what they’re doing, or is picking fights and sapping everyone else’s good time.
Where it starts to look like Communist Uzbekistan is how far it can go, and important people seem to think it smells fishy.
Swearing, you can probably get down with if you’re anyone. Everyone has that “Holy (poop)” trigger moment over a big hit or a play. Common sense would dictate someone isn’t texting Brutus over that. But repeated swearing with kids around? Yeah, I get that.
Inebriated? The area starts getting a little bit more gray. So long as you basically acknowledge that half the student section is going to be that way and again, exercise common sense, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Belligerent drinking and starting fights … okay, you can get down with summonsing Brutus there too.
But standing? Land sakes. Even Urban Meyer’s wife, Shelley, took to Twitter to say that they may as well kick her out. From the her Twitter account …
whelp, I guess someone will be texting complaints about me and I'll get thrown out of game-I bet @The_SHOE_OSU doesn't mind if we stand.
— Shelley meyer (@spinnershells) September 3, 2014
Kirk Barton, former Buckeye, also chimed in on the Twitter machine about how the decision “kills home field advantage”.
— Kirk Barton (@Kirk_Barton) September 3, 2014
This is where this idea goes like so many … good in idea but over-policed in language. To be frank, nothing short of Shelley Meyer wearing Maize and Blue and unleashing actual, live, rabid Wolverines in the stands is going to get her removed.
But by the letter of the law, if someone at a game has an issue with a “standing fan,” they can simply text some intervention into it, which sort of sucks. Common sense would suggest this shouldn’t happen and grown arse people should know when the line’s being crossed to not being crossed, but here’s a scenario I’ve seen play out …
Last year, at a prominent B1G stadium, two home team fans were sitting in the front row, presumably not normally in seats they sit in. Both were younger types, with backwards flat billed hats and somewhat loud (but not insultingly) mouths the entire game. They were cheering, not yelling anything disrespectful. But the game turned quickly to a blowout, and these fans apparently still didn’t want to sit. At one point after someone behind them complained, one of the fans said “I paid for my seats too, so sit down if you want but I’m not!” Security intervention was called in.
What to do in this situation? Yeah, common sense says they should sit the heck down. It’s a blow out. But they did pay a steep price for those seats, so who’s to say they can’t stand out of morbid superstition or just because they want to? When you buy the tickets, you don’t pay for the attitudes surrounding you?
This is where this whole situation in C-bus gets dicey. Common sense being exercised makes this not an issue even once. But common sense isn’t that common, that’s for darn sure.
The hope is that this goes the way it should … with fans being unruly dealt with, and whiners who can’t appreciate the collective passion of a live sporting event better off on their couches at home. The live game environment isn’t for everyone. That’s part of self-policing too. You can’t go to games expecting it to be a Sunday sermon at church. Again, that common sense thing.
Kudos to Shelley Meyer and Kirk Barton for standing up for the passionate fans of Ohio State. That’s cool. That’s love for the fan base that loves the program they are working to make great and championship level every day. There’s probably not enough of that in the world.
Either way, it’s a bad look, trying to legislate standing and cheering at football games. With OSU program heavyweights like the iconic coach’s wife and Buckeye players of past coming to the defense of the passionate fan, don’t expect it to stand for long if abused.
(Please do not text BRUTUS if you cannot stand this column).