The Truth Hurts - <EM>Opinion</EM>

Tradition sucks sometimes.<br><br>Oh, how I do so hate LSU fans. Not the vast majority of the Tiger faithful who, even in the face of a butt whuppin', find a way to display some sportsmanship and engage in good-natured razzing.<br><br>It's the few bad ones, especially during football season, I would like to see confined to house arrest for aggravated ignorance.

Every team has its share of graceless morons in its fan base who excel in embarrassing themselves and their respective schools before, during and after sporting events. The LSU examples that come to mind are numerous and stretch over decades now, but I've included a few of the more recent experiences to prove my point.


I remember tailgating at Ole Miss for the ‘99 football game within earshot of a cadre of drunken LSU idiots, mostly middle-aged mind you, who entertained themselves all afternoon by shouting obscenities at passing Rebels fans.


I also recall attending the ‘97 home game against New Mexico State in which some tactless parents let their foul-mouthed child stand at the rail just above the visitors' bench, shouting unmentionables at the hapless victims of the Tigers' cream puff portion of the schedule.


And then there are those fans of even further suspect intellect who confuse stupidity with upholding tradition within the hollowed grounds of Tiger Stadium.


What other reporters have termed as the stadium's "raucous" atmosphere is politically correct code for describing ignorant rednecks who spew a game-long string of obscenities and racial epithets, usually within sight of young children.


To those fans: Despite what Pappy taught you, this behavior is not tradition. You're idiots.


Equally galling LSU fans chastise fellow supporters for acknowledging a good play by the opposing team. I recall marveling at the athleticism of Gator running back Earnest Graham during last year's home loss to Florida.


Even with the game well out of LSU's reach, two nearby Tiger fans kept glaring as my friend and I privately discussed our appreciation of Graham's talent.


"Sure you're on the right side, buddy?" one triple-chinned Neanderthal finally posited.


I would have invited him to relax with another sip of his illicit, bourbon-laced soda had I thought it would have done either one of us any good.


There are even admonitions for some the more sane fans, who regularly sully the LSU campus with food callously deposited on the ground after each tailgate. As a student, I remember deftly traipsing through landmines of chicken bones-and-jambalaya refuse every Monday that followed home football games.


Look, if fans want to make noise and get drunk during football games, by all means go ahead. But I don't care how many LSU degrees you have and how much you contribute to the alumni fund. The purchase of a ticket is not carte blanche to trash the campus and act like second-graders on crystal meth.

Those "fans" would do us all a favor by saving it up for the Superdome on Sundays.


The last word hurts...


Kudos to several of you who corrected me in pointing out that Nick Saban did not coach Michigan State when the Spartans beat Florida in the 2000 Citrus Bowl. I might say that while I've learned my lesson to be more diligent in my research, the oversight did not detract from my assertions.


But once again, Gator fans (and a few LSU devotees as well) proved their arrogance and inability to digest anything that remotely resembles criticism of their beloved football program.


In their reactions to the last column on Tiger Rag's message boards, not only did most of the Florida complainers miss the point of my column, some responded by offhandedly accusing me of being on drugs. (Very classy, guys.)


First of all, the column was not a comparison of LSU and Florida football. Florida has been and remains clearly the better program, which I stated. Nor did I even attempt to suggest Florida's diminished luster in the last five years of Steve Spurrier's tenure was due to the ‘97 loss to LSU.


The point of the column, had you actually read it, was simply to demonstrate that while virtually everyone agrees The Game was the turning point for Gerry DiNardo, it was for Spurrier as well, albeit more subtle.


Whatever the reasons, I specifically wrote, Spurrier's teams did not match their brutal dominance prior to the ‘97 season. And my question remains: Did Shiny Pants defect to the NFL because of that demonstrable fact?


So please, Florida fans and Spurrier sycophants, learn how to swallow a dose of reality every once in a while along with all those gator chomps.


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