I have never considered myself a sports fanatic. I have always been the fair-weathered fan that gets excited for the possibility of a Super Bowl title for the Bills or a Stanley Cup win that may leave the names of the Buffalo Sabres engraved on its chalice. I’ve been more interested in the beer and snacks than actually watching the game, and in the case of Super Bowls, I have always left the room until commercial time. However, at the beginning of my relationship with my boyfriend, things changed. I found myself being forced to take part in the fanaticism that goes along with being a “manly-man,” and, as much as I would not like to admit, I started to love it. It isn’t necessarily the sports that excite me, but more so the opportunity to observe men in their true habitats. As a Sociology major, it is incredibly interesting to watch what happens when guys get together to watch a game. All socioeconomic lines disappear because any fan of the same team becomes an automatic friend. I realized this first while watching last week’s Bills home opener at “The Ralph” (Ralph Wilson Stadium- for those who are as savvy as I was at the beginning of football season). As I tried to explain it to my boyfriend and his friends, I was shot down because apparently sports are a little bit more interesting than observations of game-time goings-on between members of the male sex.
During this week’s game, my observations continued and this is what I saw:
- Two male fans from the opposing team sat down in our section- the nosebleed section of Ralph Wilson Stadium.
- Trash talking ensued and an altercation began between one of the men and an obviously intoxicated Bills fan sitting nearby.
- Soon, other fans from around the section got in on the heated words, and eventually someone threw the first punch
- It became a small brawl with people from every direction getting involved. Security guards threw some guys around and a few got kicked out.
- All of a sudden, these Bills fans who began as strangers, became friends. A simple love of the same team, and the natural hatred of the opposition caused some strong relationships to form.
There is no talk of jobs, hobbies or outside interests during a Bills game. However, the idea that all of these people have a sports team to bond over causes just as strong a sense of camaraderie. The loss experienced by the Bills during that game was enough to leave many angry. Even more were left saddened because they lost along with their team.
I guess my lack of testosterone will keep me from understanding this age old bonding ritual completely. I will always be the one sitting at the game trying to explain to angry fans, as I did on Sunday, that “It’s just a game!” But, my new found interest has made me consider blogging about my observations of male sports fans, especially fans of the Buffalo teams that never seem to catch a break.