Friday, November 11, 2011

The Art of Heckling

Because of my extreme lack of being good at football, I have had the opportunity to view college football from both the stands and the field. Although it totally sucked working at Abercrombie and Fitch, I made some great friends there and it made earning a starting spot that much sweeter. Also, that year my friends and I had front row tickets behind the opposing team's bench, the perfect spot for letting the team know what we really thought of them. For example, there was a kid from Inglewood, California to which we yelled "Is it true Inglewood is, indeed, up to no good?" (a reference to 2 Pac's smash hit "California Love" for both of you older readers). He laughed, turned around and gave a hearty "yes!" Boom. New friend. Probably made the sting of Purdue beating his team a little less painful. 

I always preferred heckling back-up offensive linemen. To me, they are the perfect target: slow, and unwilling to move more than they have to. For instance, if you notice a linemen wearing turf shoes at a place with grass, let him know; say something like "Are you wearing turf shoes because you knew you weren't going to play, and you wanted to be comfortable?" You got his attention, made him laugh, but also made him sad because he won't play. Perfect crime.

I have always said heckling players from the other team is just as American as kicking the British's butt in the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, I am sad to report that things are not as great as they once were in the world of smack talking. Back in the day, fans put thought, time and effort into what they said to the opposing team. Opposing fans would do research and prepare all week, as if they were playing in the game along with their boys on the field. They would take great pride in what they would say to the players on the sideline.
Nowadays, most people go straight to something racial, or to questioning the player's sexual preferences. These idiots are ruining the fun for everybody. Why does it always have to be about something mean? Why cant you just say something clever? In this age of smart phones, it would be very easy to pull up a team roster and get some inside information on a player before you go off and call them names.

It doesn't matter how much we (I say we, but I mean players who people actually take the time to yell at) ignore the fans, we can always hear them. Some take it too far and forget they could easily get beaten up by anybody on the sideline. Those (hopefully drunk) people are just embarrassing themselves and their little kids who are sitting beside them.

This week, I talked to some of my buddies who actually play on various teams, and asked for stories of people yelling at them that stuck.  Here are a few highlights:

Zack Heiniger, linebacker - while riding the bike on the sidelines to prepare for his epic battle on kickoff return he hears "HEY 36! You can ride that bike for as long as you want, you're still going to SUCK!" -thoughtful Wisconsin Fan

Logan Link, safety - "For every tackle you miss your hair will grow an inch!" -uncreative Michigan fan

KK Short, defensive tackle - "Hey 93, you ain't tryin' to play! You just trying to find something to eat!" -Rice fan

James "Bruce" Sheppard, offensive line - two years ago (when he was a back up) "Yeah take that drink of water, you deserve it! You've worked so hard today! - Oregon fan

Kyle Adams, tight end for Da Bears says he is often compared to Towlie from South Park, or my personal favorite, Jim Breuer.

John Finch, long snapper tells a story that goes like this. "One time, I was standing on the sidelines at IU minding my own biz and these two dime pieces from the stands start smiling and waving at me. As soon as I put the moves on and said "Hi!" they both simultaneously flipped me off."

Christian Yount, long snapper for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - "Wait, you actually get paid to do that?" "My left nut could the same job you do." "If I quit my job and practiced snapping for a month I could beat you out." -San Francisco 49ers fans

Specialists are usually the first people on the field to stretch and warm up, when we (3 kickers and 2 snappers) were coming out of the tunnel at Michigan this year a Wolverines fan said "That's cute you guys brought 5 kickers." You got me good sir, got me good.

Chris Carlino, linebacker - "Apparently I wasn't paying enough attention to someone yelling at me at Michigan State last year so he threw a hot dog and it hit me in the helmet."

My personal all time favorite zing on an opposing team was when my brother, Adam, played basketball at Michigan State. Sunday afternoon game about halfway through the first half, score was about 65-10 in favor of MSU. Silence fell on the Breslin Center and one clever student out of the Izzone yelled "You guys need to work on scoring." Boom. Roasted.

So this weekend, say something clever, but still kinda mean, and I guarantee you'll get a warm reception from the opposing team. Later they will thank you for the time and effort spent in your endeavor.

Ohio State - 1 day
Christmas - 44 days

P.S. Today is Veterans Day. I wish I could repay you for what you have done for me and my past/present/future family. A thank you isn't enough but it's all I've got. Thank you, heroes.


  1. As a veteran your mustache is enough thanks for me

  2. Saw Jeanne's pics of FB and now I know why the call you "Bootie"! (The corn rows are "guapo"!

  3. Arkansas fan to one of Tennessee's players named Nash, "I can't believe your parents named you after Nash from Ernest Goes to Jail!" and "Thanks for giving us the top two plays on ESPN" which they did indeed receive :(