“It’s Basically A Drunkfest”March 14th, 2011
Joe’s going to preface this Bucs post by saying he grew up as a wide-eyed, NFL-obsessed little tyke collecting football cards and watching a washed up Joe Namath leave the Jets and thinking newcomer running backs Clark Gaines and Kevin Long were surefire Hall of Famers.
Hey, little kids love their teams. And little kids love going to games.
Young Joe never felt it was out of place at Shea Stadium when his uncle and friends didn’t let Joe drink out of “the red Thermos” that smelled funny. And Joe thought it seemed perfectly righteous when chants of “Bullsh*t” and other foul language rang through the crowd as fans bought two and three Budweisers from the beer guy in the fourth quarter to wash away another Jets loss.
Those experiences and more were fond, lasting, almost wholesome memories for Joe. But now it seems a lot of people think a Bucs game — and other NFL games — is no place for a kid.
On today’s Fabulous Sports Babe Show on WHBO-AM 1040, the Sports Babe explained to Tampa Tribune Bucs beat writer Roy Cummings that a caller told her he wouldn’t take a 10-year-old to a Bucs game because of the behavior throughout the drunken crowd. She went on to say subsequent callers agreed and then asked Cummings to give his take.
Cummings was on board with the premise that a Bucs game is no place for a youngster and possibly not even himself, if he were a fan and not an esteemed working journalist.
“That’s America and it’s the same [in other all other cities]. … It’s basically a drunkfest. And when people get drunk and stupid, you know, they do stupid things. No. I’m not sure I would take a 10-year-old to a Buccaneers game, either,” Cummings said.
“In fact, to be honest with you, I’m not sure I would attend a Buccaneers game if I was just a fan. I used to be a Buccaneers season ticket holder back in the day and I gotta say, it’s not the most pleasant of experiences. It’s certainly not for me anyway as pleasant as going to a hockey game or a baseball game. There is something different going on in the crowd [at NFL games] that’s a little bit different than the other sports.
“I think it’s just kind of the culture of what football is. They’re liquored up early. They get liquored up more during the game. They can’t control themselves and things, you know, happen. Fights break out. Beers get thrown around. Things happen. If you’re willing to accept that and deal with that, go ahead and have a good time at the game. If not, I’d stay away.”
Joe’s saddened to hear all this.
Is it really that bad at a Bucs game? Is it really inappropriate for a 10-year-old?
Full disclosure: Back in 2004, Joe took his then 5-year-old to her first Bucs game and sat two seats away from a guy who screamed the F word at the top of his lungs about 10 times during the game, despite being asked by his girlfriend and others around him to can it since there was a kid nearby.
That said, Joe really doesn’t believe Bucs games are bad for a 10-year-old kid. There’s really not much trouble and most parents should be able to steer their kids away from it, or at least have some teaching dialogue about whatever shenanigans are happening.
Frankly, a Bucs game experience is nothing compared to what most kids are hearing in the hallways and lunchrooms of public school.
Take your kid to a game.