For Vancouver Canucks fans, there are two familiar faces that are hard to miss. For an opponent, these faces can make two minutes the most annoying or most enjoyable two minutes they will ever have in a penalty box. These two faces are not players, coaches or commentators, but Vancouver fans. Except, these fans are dressed in a head to toe spandex bright green body suits. A fully covering suit is just the tip of the iceberg.
This is what Toronto Maple Leaf players have seen while in the box: Tim Brent had waffles tossed at the penalty window, Kris Versteeg saw a sign reading ‘Draft picks for sale’ and Mike Komisarek saw which players were on Santa’s naughty list.
If Sully and Force, the names these anonymous chose to give themselves, are not coming up with clever signs, they are upside down doing handstands in front of the penalty box. Never seen it before? Pretty much just need to YouTube the green men and numerous videos can be found. Fans of Vancouver have a special appreciation for dedicated fans even to the extent of disagreeing with the NHL deciding Sully and Force could no longer perform handstands at games.
There is something to say about the green men and it is we should have some admiration for them. Every team in sports has a fan base, but Sully and Force reprised a different kind of fan.; one that can poke fun at other teams without crossing the line or causing fights. From my personal experience, I have seen a Bengals football fan yell derogatory words in front of a Steelers fan and his son. When did fan bases turn from respectively cheering for their team to undermining the other team’s fans?
I think there is a lesson to be learned from what happened with the Vancouver team this season. Their fan’s Sully and Force brought entertainment back into the stands, making other spectators have extra enjoyment out of the game. And maybe here at Miami University, we need to return to being loyal and respectful fans.
Now, this does not mean we need people running around in full on red spandex suits at every game, but being able to respectfully make fun of the other team. Excluding the hockey team, the sports teams here are missing filled stands and cheers from more than roommates and parents. If every school had fans like Sully and Force, the atmosphere surrounding an athletic event would never be the same.
This biggest thing to learn from these fans is how they act to others. First, they are anonymous to protect their careers and people respect their decision to not be revealed. Second, their Twitter fan base has skyrocketed in the past year and their tweets are funny about the other teams, not vindictive. Lastly, even though they have met celebrities since the Stanley Cup series began, they stay with their same creative antics in front of the opponent’s penalty box. The Boston Bruins even let them be on a float before one of the first games in Boston. Opponents even love them. That is something to be said when a fan could make fun of another player or team and the opponent still has respect for them. That is how a relationship should be between fans and other fans or fans and other players.
Maybe people in Oxford can take what Sully and Force have done for the Vancouver Canucks and bring it back to Miami. We need to broaden our fan base and cheer on our athletes. This weekend, take the time and if tickets are still available, go to the football game. But after that, maybe attend a volleyball game in the next couple weeks or a field hockey match. Players need support from their peers. You know Sully and Force would be at every event with a new antic for the opponent.