For those of you who weren't at Saturday's game against Puerto Rico, we caught a lot of flack from GSF security and the scene was not pretty. Apparently they've been receiving written and verbal complaints from families attending games since the home opener concerning our use of profanities in group chants.
I spoke to several of the security staff, and while they were civil with me, several of them were very confrontational with a few of our members. Some members were yelled at, while others were threatened with being ejected from the game and even arrested. This issue has been addressed with the Rowdies front office and will hopefully be taken care of.
Following the game we had an after party at the new Green Iguana near the stadium. The team's Director of Public Relations, Megan Danner, spoke with me and mentioned that while many of the complaints were coming from families, some were coming from sponsors such as Budweiser and Lotto as well.
As a supporter's group, we must support the team. That means doing everything we can do to help make the Rowdies a success. Before the season began, I brought up the issue of profanities in chants and the response was pretty negative, but now it's time to revisit the issue.
Please hear me out on this one. We in no way have to "tone it down" as far as the passion we display or the intent of the insults we chant at the imposing team. Instead of seeing this as travesty, we should instead look at it as a challenge to be creative. When security began bugging us, we actually displayed a lot of creativity. We all spontaneously broke into the chant "Billy has a mangina!" directed to Islanders goalkeeper Bill Gaudette. Then we started including "punta" in a chant. While these chants will still be considered to be inappropriate by some, they should not illicit the same response that chants with asshole and the f-word do.
The counter-argument in the past has been that since we only have a few chants with these words in them, it's not a big deal to use them. I'd actually say that this will make it even easier to tweak them. For example, at the beginning of the season we used the chant "Paul Dalglish ain't nothing to mess with" but at Saturday's game, we used the f-word instead of "mess" and it can easily be changed back. For other chants -- such as the "we'll go f-ing mental" chant -- we can easily change it to "freaking."
The next home game is on June 12 against Montreal, so we have some time to discuss this. Let's take this one game at a time. My suggestion for this game is to learn some words in French security and families won't pick up on, use a lot of "USA" and "We hate Canada" chants and overall just be creative!
Again we've been asked by the team to change our language in the chants, not just by the GSF security staff. I say we support the team because so far they've been very receptive to our suggestions. For dollar beer night, they extended it into the 20th minute after we complained. After all of the uproar over the possibility of a band and "Rowdies girls", neither has been an issue. They also have promoted us on their Web site and have treated us pretty well so far. Let's try to return the favor!
Please share your thoughts, however heated they may be!