Soccer Fans Are Known Throughout the World For Their Obnoxious Behavior

by Reggie Soni | 10/29/98 6:00am

To the Editor:

This is written in response to the article on soccer fan behavior written by Druanne Prescott [The Dartmouth, Oct. 27]. I do NOT speak for the soccer team, staff or associated members. I do speak for rabid, often inebriated fans, though.

Soccer on the world stage is a sport that veritably swims in a sea of fan violence and misconduct. A trip to England would serve as an eye opening lesson for Prescott as to just how violent truly virulent soccer "fans" can behave. If the worst thing Dartmouth fans do is scream and boo -- then I consider it pretty civilized.

I admit that some of what we as soccer fans do is obnoxious, crude and mean-spirited. But that's why it's called "home field advantage." As fans our job is to support the team and make it as inhospitable as possible for visitors. Our goal is to psychologically take the other team out of its element.

Dartmouth students are "caring" and "open-minded" in the classrooms, at discussions, at Sanborn Tea every afternoon and in frat basements. However, the fever-pitched madness of a soccer game is hardly the place for caring open-mindedness. It is a place for screaming and yelling your head off though. And we're not trying to win Tony awards for our great lyric witticisms out there. Most of our comments are variations on how much we hate the other team and how badly we are going to beat them.

If Prescott has her way, boorish cheering will be sapped out of all great sports. Soon everything will be as sanitized as tennis or golf, where scarcely an utterance will be allowed. And if Prescott is wont to make judgments about the character of our school from our behavior during a soccer game, then I would say the Dartmouth community is thriving just fine without her poor judgment. In fact it sounds like Prescott is the close-minded one, refusing to "even set foot on campus" after this experience.

Does she honestly think that we behave this way with professors, at job interviews, during thesis defense presentations or when we call home? Gasp! Could it possibly be true that Dartmouth students drop their intellectualism, descend from the ivory tower and enjoy a sporting event like all other normal people?

Lastly, being a fan is just plain fun! I can't play soccer as well as the Dartmouth teams do, so that's why I yell and scream and curse as much support as I can. And if the other teams players begin to cry because we hurt their feelings, then they better be ready for even more insults.

I leave the good sportsmanship to the players and the staff. As long as we fans do not abuse the other team with improper remarks aimed at race, gender, creed, sexual orientation or status as a Vietnam era veteran, I believe we act well within the bounds of civilized soccer behavior.