Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fan mail

I did something unusual the other night. I watched a sporting event on television -- Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Rangers -- in a bar with some friends. The game was exciting, my friends were fine, the picture and sound were crisp, the beer was cold and the popcorn was free.

Still, it was an odd experience. I had to listen to some other fans during the game. Yuck.

Keep something in mind here -- the Sabres were the league's best team during the regular season. They beat the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs, and had a 2-1 lead going into Game Four in New York. By any standards, this is a pretty good team ... no matter what was going to happen on this night.

For two periods, I had to listen to fans' comments at the next table. They were enough to make me scream.

Jochen Hecht was a horrible player. Jaroslav Spacek was acquired for no apparent reason. The passing was horrible. The coaching was worse. The referee always hated Buffalo. You'd never know it was a 2-1 game, decided by a non-call on a goal in the final seconds. And so on. Some of the remarks were punctuated by obscenities, just to add a little spice.

Now, some of these people were wearing Sabre apparel, so they obviously had some rooting interest in the team. So if these were the friends of the team, what do the enemies sound like?

I'll be happy to defend anyone's Constitutional right to be wrong about their views of sport. But that doesn't mean I'm forced to sit next to them.