Remember when you played Little League (or AYSO, or Pop Warner Football) as a kid?
Remember how your coaches—mostly dads—grilled into your gray matter the importance of sportsmanship?
Remember when you were taught as a youngster how to always treat your opponents with kindness, give them a cheer, shake their hands after a game, and never, ever rub it in their face if you win?
Well, these are the fanbases in sports where those who ally themselves with them are expected to completely forget all of that and be as mean, arrogant, and obnoxious as possible.
These are fans, usually of winning teams, who have a sense of entitlement—who see followers of other teams as lesser beings and let them know that in ways that are not subtle.
Drunkenness, vile name-calling, and fisticuffs are common among these crowds, and to attend games involving these teams while wearing the opponent's gear is to risk verbal and physical abuse.
Here are the fanbases that are to be avoided at all costs; if you encounter them at a sporting event, I strongly recommend that you run the other way screaming.
Fans of the American League's Tigers and the NBA's Pistons in the Motor City have long been known for their unpleasantness over the years.
Tiger fans have been infamous for rioting after big victories, most notably after their iconic baseball franchise convincingly won the World Series in 1984. After the last out was recorded, inebriated louts roamed the Detroit streets, overturning and burning cars and other various things.
The incident that puts this town's sports fans on this list, however, happened in 2004 at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a game between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers.
Then-Pacer Ron Artest, after partaking in a huge bench-clearing brawl, rushed into the stands after having cups of beer thrown at him while resting on the scorer's table.
The rain of malted hops, along with all kinds of verbal epithets that can't be mentioned here, continued to flow after he was ejected; I'm sure Artest smelled like a brewery when he got back to the Pacers' locker room.
I think that's a good illustration of now nasty Detroit fans can be.
Philadelphia Sports Teams
When it comes to professional sports, the term "City of Brotherly Love" is perhaps the biggest oxymoron there is.
How else do you describe a town whose fans have booed Santa Claus and thrown battery-filled snowballs at opposing players? Where filthy invective in the stands is considered normal speech, and where even athletes playing for their teams are treated brutally if they don't produce?
Let's put it like this:
Veterans Stadium, the former home of baseball's Phillies and the NFL Eagles that was an absolute cookie cutter of a dump with horrible artificial turf, sported a holding cell and a makeshift courtroom in its bowels complete with a sitting judge, because so many people got into drunken fights and heaved projectiles onto the field.
The Eagles' current home, Lincoln Financial Field, likewise has a courtroom and a cell for the same reason.
I seriously doubt there are any sports stadiums that can say they have a jail and a court.
That says a lot about Philadelphia fans.
Needless to say, the thought of being a supporter of the opposing team in the land of hoagie cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa gives me shudders, as does the next group of "fans," the...
Besides the scary Halloween costumes that those silver and black-clad followers often wear and the usual inebriated obnoxiousness that these fans from Northern California's blue-collar East Bay town display, there are two incidents I was told of that illustrate how bad these folks are...
During a game against the Miami Dolphins at the Oakland Coliseum some years ago, a fan wearing a Dolphins jacket was standing in line waiting to use the restroom when the next thing he knew, his jacket was being ripped off of his back and urinated on in the bathroom trough.
I was also told of another time when a New York Jets follower wearing a Jets cap was merely sitting in his seat, watching the game and not bothering anyone, when this idiotic thug pulled a knife on him and snarled, "Give me your cap right now!"
Quite unbelievable—getting a deadly weapon pulled on you over a hat.
To say that is overboard would be a significant understatement and provides a crystal-clear picture of what fans of San Francisco's working-class neighbors across the bay are like.
I saved this fanbase for last because in my view, they are the absolute worst in college sports, the...
"Arrogance is part of the image that we exude."—Jason Mangan, manager, USC Trojan Marching Band, 2000
That statement sums up the mentality of the most obnoxious group of fans at the intercollegiate level.
I have always said that the only difference between Trojan and Raider supporters is that USC fans tend to have more money and come from well-to-do backgrounds, particularly the alumni.
Trust me when I say this: You do not want to be a fan of the opposing team at the Trojans' home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Especially if the opponents are the crosstown UCLA Bruins.
Simply put, you would be asking for it.
Drunkenness from students, alums, and fans alike, obscene gestures, extreme verbal abuse, and the throwing of ice, tomatoes, oranges, and seat cushions—which were thrown at the 1989 Rose Bowl—are standard procedure among the followers of the cardinal and gold.
More than anything else, a culture of arrogance—like in the previous quote—and snobbery pervades the University of Southern California campus and community.
T-shirts with slogans such as "FUCLA," "My Maid Went to UCLA," and "We're Not Snobs, We're Just Better Than You" are commonly worn at games; anyone not wearing the letters U-S-C is seen as a lower class undesirable and is treated as such.
I have personally encountered this evil arrogance many times as a Los Angeles resident and a UCLA alumnus, so much so that several years ago I vowed to stop attending UCLA-USC sporting events except for football games when the Bruins are the home team.
Plus, being that the Trojans play their games at the edge of South Central L.A., a crime, drug, and gang-infested area, I avoid the Coliseum like the H1N1 flu; it's just not worth the aggravation for me.
However, that doesn't compare to the story that this elderly lady, a former UCLA cheerleader in her 80s who's one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet, told me about how when she went to the Coliseum for a Bruin-Trojan game a few years back, USC thugs posing as fans spit on her.
Having encountered my share of Trojan obnoxiousness myself, I honestly wasn't that surprised at that. But...
If that does not give a blatant picture of what those so-called fans are like, nothing will.
I know that most sports fans would list the New York Yankees' fanbase as being pretty arrogant and bad, particularly people from the New England area; if I were a Boston Red Sox follower, I would definitely list those pinstripe supporters as being the worst.
But the fanbases I have listed here are notorious for being obnoxious, thuggish, and downright scary; these are the people who give sports a bad name, a symbol of everything that is wrong with athletics, whom you just want to shake and say...
"It's just a game! Get a life!"
That is just unfortunate for everyone.