“Can I sit with you?”
Look in the stands of most any sport. You see the same thing: one guy in the away team’s jersey, alone in a sea of home team fans. Sometimes he’s even there with his friend who is actually a fan of the home team but took pity on his buddy and got him a seat to the game.
And then there’s soccer.
There’s just something really cool about seeing a stadium filled to the brim with blue and white with the exception of a substantial mass of red and yellow. All together. Singing and cheering when the rest of the place isn’t quite as enthused. And if the away team scores?? Woah. Makes it worth the hours on the bus to and from the game.
In my vast and detailed research for this post (otherwise known as a super-hasty Googling and the Twitter equivalent of interrogation at gunpoint), I looked into how and why away supporter sections are a thing. It would seem that in England, it was a way to keep fights from breaking out in the stands. They’re not the best seats in the house. And it’s downright comical how many security stewards are stationed around them (or better yet, the astounding number of seats blocked out to keep them separate from the home supporters).
The Supporter Group culture is growing in America, and most visible during MLS games with banners, scarves, tailgate parties, and tifos (look it up- it’s a thing of beauty). So when you go to tons of home games together, you stay at the same hotel, and you take a bus to the arena, it would make no sense to sit on the other side of the stadium from fellow supporters.
Why can’t more sports do that? How awesome would it be to have a huge swath of Rangers fans sitting together at a Devils game? What if a whole section of bleachers at Yankee Stadium was clearly set apart for the Red Sox fans? You kinda dropped the ball, other sports.
Play on, everyone. And please, play nice.
Hasty Googling results:
Twitter Interrogation target: