We open on a typical CFL crowd - let's say, oh, in Hamilton - booing loudly after a crucial call has gone against them.
One knowledgeable patron courteously informs those sitting around him that the call on the field made by the referees was, in fact, correct and they have no reason to be upset.
Word spreads quickly around the stadium that the decision on the field was the correct one and the fans return to their seats and give the officials a smattering of polite applause for their correct interpretation of the rules at a critical point in the game.
Ok, let's snap back to reality for a second if we could, after that little story that had more fantasy than Mariah Carey.
Most of the commentary I've been reading following Saturday's Saskatchewan/Hamilton game has been along the lines of "Oh those ignorant Hamilton fans, they were booing even though the refs got it right !!!11!!1!!!"
Maybe it's just me and my un-Canadian views on football but I guarantee the reaction to the deciding call in Saturday's game would have been the exact same in any CFL city. If not worse.
If that game had been in Taylor Field and James Johnson ran down Jessee Lumsden (hey - it's just a thought experiment, never mind the fact that it could never possibly happen) with the same outcome that we saw on Saturday, are we really to believe the intelligista that comprises the crowd in Regina would have accepted the decision of the officials with quiet resignation?
That's not to say the crowds in Regina are any more or less intelligent and full-throated than in any other CFL city. But, you better believe that Taylor Field would have been shaken to its core if the situation was reversed.
And how do we even know what the fans in Hamilton were booing about? They could have all been perfectly aware that the correct call was made - and they were booing the stupidity of the rule itself. Because let's be honest, that is the dumbest rule I have ever heard of. Even worse than no-yards, and no-yards is dumber than... than... insert reference to something dumb here (I went to the well and the bucket came up empty).
Moreover, since when did fans (of any sport) need a valid reason to express their displeasure with anything - especially officiating? Fans in Regina berate local radio personalities standing on the sidelines at football games because they "suck" (which they do, by the way). That's what is so great about being a sports fan - it requires very little logic. It can be a very nice escape from everyday life.
For example, I have a seething, white-hot hatred for the New England Patriots - and I really don't have a good reason for this. They have never beaten "my" team in a meaningful game (that would require "my" team playing in a meaningful game - no playoff wins in 15 years baby!) and they've never personally wronged me in any way. Mostly I just hate them because they're too good (Sure they're cheaters and steroid abusers, but I hated them long before that).
Now, hating something because it's too good does not make a whole lot of sense to me. I wouldn't hate a book, a CD or a plate of pasta because it's too good - but that doesn't stop me from doing it when it comes to sports. Rest assured if I ever see Tom Brady on the street I will endeavour to boo him until he cries like a school girl with a skinned knee.
What's my point in all of this?
I have no idea. I started out wanting to write about Hamilton fans being upset at the perception that their team got jobbed - and the reaction to it. But somewhere along the way I wandered off the path a bit. I suppose if I had to sum up, I'd say that booing officiating is perfectly acceptable regardless of the situation - if they didn't want to be booed they shouldn't be wearing the stupid zebra costumes. I just think it's pretty ridiculous for one fan base or the media to criticize another fan base for "ignorant" booing.
Except those American hockey fans, they don't know what the hell they're booing about.