Player vs. Fan
In a span of just over 72 hours, there have been two highly publicized instances of players encroaching on the fans part of an entertainment facility. The first was the brawl at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton where an estimated 10 to 20 members of the St. Leonard Cougars climbed up into the seats behind their players’ bench Saturday night to fight spectators at the end of a CJFL playoff game. Although the video doesn’t show it, its alleged that the incident started when fans supporting the Hamilton Hurricanes started hurling insults, bottles, and water at the visiting Cougars.
The second incident occurred last night when Rick Rypien of the Vancouver Canucks accosted a fan after being given a misconduct penalty in Vancouver’s 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Unlike the brawl at Ivor Wynne, the video available clearly shows that the fan involved was guilty only of clapping and perhaps throwing out a verbal barb to the Canucks forward.
Both incidents, although very different, highlight two keys points about the way that sporting events are handled. The first is a lack of security precautions by facilities to ensure that fans and players remain separated. At Commonwealth Stadium, there is a security fence along the perimeter of the track that encircles the playing field, making it very difficult for player and fans to enter area where they shouldn’t be going. The second, and perhaps bigger issue, is the lack of respect being shown by fans towards players and players towards fans. There was a time where going to a sporting event was looked upon as a civilized social affair, not an opportunity for stupidity. There was a mutual respect between those in the stands and the athletes performing on the playing surface. It’s unfortunate that these types of things are now happening.
This past weekend, the CFL suffered a rash of injuries, and as TSN’s Dave Naylor observed, five probable season ending injuries occured to Canadians. While it will certainly have an impact on those teams as they make their final push towards the playoffs, injuries are a part of the game, and present new opportunities for other players to step forward and make their mark. For the Esks, it looks like Andre Talbot will fill in for Kamau Peterson. The Lions secondary will need some players to step up with the loss of Davis Sanchez and JR LaRose – maybe Jason Arakgi or Tad Crawford – while Saskatchewan will need to plug a big hole on special teams with Luca Congi out of the lineup. The Riders will also be missing Rob Bagg. It will be interesting to see if teams non-import depth can contribute, especially with the league looking at future expansion.
Support Patrick Kabongo and Wellspring Edmonton
Just another reminder to support Patrick Kabongo and Wellspring Edmonton in The Pepsi Refresh Project – CFL Challenge. It’s a worthy cause folks and only requires a few clicks and keystrokes.