Friday, June 18, 2010

Oi! Oi! Eh?

All this World Cup broohaha has got me wondering: Why don’t we have hooligans in the United States? Not soccer hooligans, obviously. We barely have soccer. But sports hooligans in general?

Movies and the Internet have taught me that in other countries, especially England, every soccer team has a “firm” of hooligans who get into fights with opposition fans. The US has nothing like this. Raider fans are close, but that’s just one team, and they’re not exactly organized, not the way these hooligan firms are.

I’m really kind of fascinated by this. Here are my theories:

- We’ve got the guns:
You don’t see that much brawling in the US because there is always the fear someone’s gonna have a gun and turn a harmless barroom punchup into a massacre.

- We have more than one sport: Soccer is king in most other countries. The US has football, baseball, basketball and hockey to divide our attentions. Having different outlets for fandom keeps the crazy in check.

- Teams are more spread out: The city of London has dozens of pro soccer clubs, including five in the Premiership. This means the fans are rubbing up against one another. Imagine if the Red Sox and Yankees played in the same town.

- We pretend we don’t have a class system: In many cities around the world with more than one club, it’ll be decided that one club is for posh people, another for the proletariat; one is for Protestants, the other for Catholics, etc. The teams are therefore an even greater extension of your identity. In the US, people don’t proudly cling to their class. If anything, it’s the opposite: If you’re rich, you’d want to root for the working class team to prove you’re not a snob. If you’re poor, you’d want to be associated with the perceived team of wealth.

That’s all I can come up with, what do you guys think? Also, do you think its changing in the US? Lakers fans rioted after the win last night, and I may or may not have participated in sports riots after big wins by the Red Sox and Patriots in the last ten years. Maybe we won’t be hooligan free for long.


BeckEye said...

Hooligans are awesome. We just have drunken assholes who like to set cars on fire.

words...words...words... said...

I'm from Philly, and based on reading media "accounts" of what "happens" there, I thought we were the hooligans.

Liz said...

You Philly fans have such a persecution complex. Did you or did not boo Santa Claus??

Gorilla Bananas said...

This is a fascinating question. I remember noting the absence of yobbos when I saw a baseball match at Shea Stadium. I think it's a cultural thing. The real hooligans in America belong to gangs and have guns, so why would they want to be pansy-assed sports hooligans who get into punch ups?

Anonymous said...

We have much rivalry between cities in Europe. Unrelated to sports.

But if a rival city comes to play soccer in your city, you gonna pick a fight with them.

Especially when you're drunk and have your buddies behind you. In the US cities are much further apart from eachother. so less intense rivalry

It's also something you get from your dad. hooliganism... There's an entire hooligan code. You fight for the thrill, not the kill. When somebody is knocked out, you drag him away from the fight, even your rivals. You dont kick a downed man.

Every men likes a fistfight deep in his heart. But he always wants to get home for dinner at some point. If there's only a slight chance that your opponent pulls a gun, you will never pick the fight. In Europe, you are better caught with a pound of coke, then a gun. So the chance your opponent has a gun is practically zero.

In the US guns are for sale... Effectivly ending the good olde pubfighter tradition. NO fight is worth catching a bullet for