Experiencing the Worst Fans In The NCAA
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Experiencing The Worst Fans In The NCAA

Whether or not the "U" is really back, Miami fans still have yet to demonstrate any sense of class. Shame on U.

Experiencing The Worst Fans In The NCAA
Anneliese Muller

Being a member of the FSU Marching Chiefs comes with some amazing perks. I've been to two bowl games, some of our older members have been to an ACC championship game and performed in the Rose Bowl, and this summer we've been accepted an invitation to perform in Normandy, France to honor the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Along with these big events, we also have the opportunity to travel a few times each season to support our football team at away games, which brings us in contact with all types of college football fans.

Alongside playing UF, the Miami game is always one of the biggest games of the year for FSU. Because the game is held in Tallahassee every other year, and Hurricane Hermine made it impossible for the Chiefs to travel down south in 2016, only a small number of 5th year Chiefs have experienced going to Miami. So preparations were necessary.

Following our last rehearsal at FSU on Thursday, our band directors warned us of the fans that we would encounter at this particular game. The directions to prepare for what was to come at this Miami game lasted for about 15 minutes and included telling all of our male Chiefs to stand on the outside of our block when we marched over to the stadium and informing us that four FSU police officers were traveling with us.

I had heard so many horror stories about the Miami game, like fans pouring drinks on our uniforms and instruments, that I was thoroughly worried about what and who we would encounter at this game.

So, we were on the warpath to south Florida the day before the game and already ran into some passionate Miami fans on the highway flicking our charter busses off. Luckily, this was the worst I personally experienced so far, making me pretty hopeful for the rest of the weekend. And although we received many of these types of experiences at the game, after it, and even driving back to Tallahassee, I could handle if that was the worst of it.

Saturday afternoon came and we were lining up behind our busses to march over to the stadium and the majority of fans coming up to us were FSU fans, asking for pictures and hyping us up, as per usual. Then, an unlabeled, unaffiliated approximately 30-something man came around to my section asking for a picture and proceeded to attempt to kiss Chiefs on the cheek. The man finally left after two of our graduate students asked him to stop and after saying multiple times that we needed "to take a joke."

This experience alone immediately made me, and likely everyone around me, upset and extremely uncomfortable. Putting football teams and rivalries aside, that behavior is inappropriate and disturbing - and one I continued to observe the rest of the weekend.

In the Hard Rock stadium, the Chiefs were sitting among Miami and Florida State fans alike, so throughout the game, we were surrounded by screaming obscenities, incessant middle fingers, and unending mockery.

There were two men that stood out of the crowd to me due to their profane behavior. One of the two men was making fun of us everytime we played a song, and just really upset that we were sitting so close to him. The other man was only a row or two away from our seats and was screaming at our drum majors, grad students, and the entire band in general for the whole game. This man consistently made jokes at our expense and kept making not only annoying comments but extremely rude ones as well.

A friend of mine had one fan make extremely inappropriate, derogatory and sexually implicit comments about her instrument, and also witnessed someone spitting on a Chief. This behavior is disgusting, and it doesn't stop there. In addition there was a parent who was teaching their young children how to flip the middle finger toward the Chiefs. Another friend was doing the chop to some FSU fans and a Miami fan continuously screamed at him, threatening physical violence.

You can try to say that all of that is out of good fun, but I just don't believe it. Regardless of where you are or what you're celebrating, no one should ever treat another human being, let alone a college band kid, the way I and many others were treated.

I'm sure there were much worse things said and experiences of other Chiefs and I am also sure that not every Miami fan acts as rude as the ones I experienced. However, regardless of football rivalries, winning or losing streaks, and whatever else may "explain" these types of behavior, it is unacceptable for grown men and women to be heckling, attacking, and being blatantly disrespectful to a group of college band members.

I am very lucky to have not experienced the worst of fans and I am also so thankful for our band directors, grad students, and, of course, FSU police officers whose main priority was to keep the Chiefs safe all weekend.

And although I love FSU, I know that football is just a game. One that I, nor any other band member, student, or fan can control. So, the next time you're at any sporting event, try making a mindful decision to have the decency and not behave like these fans.

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