I Heart Booing

I have written a little about this subject before, but it’s been spread out all over the internets in various comment threads and emails. You can consider this post, The Official TWC Proclamation on Booing.

I heart booing. Booing might be the single most interesting revelation I have had as a passionate sports fan these last few months. Everything in my background and in my personality suggests that I should believe that booing is “mean”. When I thought about this weekend I thought, “I hope we don’t boo Danny,” but once the game had started, and I heard the boos, it really didn’t bother me. I have been consistently amused by booing this season, and last night’s game against the Flyers was no exception.

In my opinion, booing is just not that big a deal. I harbor no ill will towards Briere. I don’t think we will ever really know how much he did or did not want to stay in Buffalo, because the Sabres organization never negotiated with him. I don’t blame him at all for signing his big contract. People like to argue that booing is about lack of “class” or “vindictiveness” or “anger”. Having recently been a part of two booing crowds at HSBC arena (one of which was booing the Sabres), I don’t sense genuine anger from booing. Booing is just one gesture on the spectrum of expression available to a spectator, and it’s not necessarily abusive.

Like it or not, booing also fosters a sense of camaraderie among the fans. Booing isn’t for the guys on the ice, it’s for the people in the stands. Last night, it was more important to the crowd to assert themselves as Sabres fans, than it was to be “classy”. I’m fine with that. It’s an awkward thing, watching a former Sabre on the ice. We loved Danny, and many still do, but last night the people in HSBC wanted it known that they love the Sabres more than any one player. I don’t think it was about anger towards Briere. I think it was about passion for the team. You can say what you want about the people of Buffalo, but our passion for sports is beyond dispute. Daniel Briere still inspires passion. I assume that someday he won’t be such an emotional figure for the people of Buffalo, and when that day comes, we’ll stop booing him, but for right now, it’s impossible to ignore him out there. If we can’t cheer for Danny, we have to boo. That’s just how it is. Until someone invents a noise that is easily identifiable as “I respect you, and I wish the Sabres had resigned you, but you’re a bit of a slag-faced whore for becoming a FLYER, thanks for all the memories, good luck in the future, I hope the Flyers never win again”, our hands are a little tied. Our feelings about Briere are pretty complex, and a crowd is a blunt instrument when it comes to expression. I would definitely argue that the passion of the fans contributed to the high level of passion on the ice last night. Like it or hate it, the booing made the fans an active participant in the game, and it made the game more exciting.

Listen, I actually respect Briere enough to trust that he isn’t going to cry himself to sleep over being booed. For goodness sakes, it’s a sound. It’s not like the crowd was tossing molotov cocktails onto the ice. He’s making a buttload of money, and he’s a professional. I wish him nothing but the best. BOOOOOOOOO!

19 Responses to “I Heart Booing”


  1. 1 Tessa December 22, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    “I respect you, and I wish the Sabres had resigned you, but you’re a bit of a slag-faced whore for becoming a FLYER, thanks for all the memories, good luck in the future, I hope the Flyers never win again”

    That’s a pretty great summary, haha.

    I personally didn’t like hearing the boos, but I’m just not a boo-er…I prefer to save them for players who cheapshot our guys or badmouth the team on the way out. Or for Satan because…well, he’s Satan, and who liked him when he was here in the first place?

    I guess I’d rather boo management for the off-season, but we don’t get enough views of Darcy eating creamsicles up in his box to get any good booing in. And you’re right, it’s tough to know how to respond to a well-liked player (both on and off ice) like Briere when he comes back in a rival sweater.

    It didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, though – especially since it was such a fun game and it was a way of showing the crowd’s energy. And I’m sure he was expecting it.

  2. 2 Schnookie December 22, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Until someone invents a noise that is easily identifiable as “I respect you, and I wish the Sabres had resigned you, but you’re a bit of a slag-faced whore for becoming a FLYER, thanks for all the memories, good luck in the future, I hope the Flyers never win again”, our hands are a little tied. Our feelings about Briere are pretty complex, and crowd is a blunt instrument when it comes to expression.

    PERFECTLY put!

    I’ve got to say, I have absolutely no problem at all with booing. Like Tessa, I’m not much of a boo-er myself, but when I’m in a crowd that’s booing it always makes me happy to hear. It’s just the crowd showing that it’s alive. I mean, as spectators, where is it writ that we’re only supposed to be able to make noise when we’re happy?

    Furthermore, I will wholeheartedly support booing each and every ex-member of my team. I don’t care if he was traded away, signed away grudgingly, or if I wanted him to leave. Once he’s not wearing a Devils logo anymore, he’s a target of my wrath. What can I say? I’m vindictive. :D

  3. 3 Schnookie December 22, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Oh, and just for the record, I would have been appalled if the Buffalo fans hadn’t booed Briere. :D His departure was about him voluntarily leaving what had been a promising team with a bright future. There were a million reasons that probably went into his decision, and goodness only knows what management did or didn’t do to keep him around, but the fact remains that he is the public embodiment, along with Drury, of potential unfulfilled. That deserves a reaction. (And seriously, if he wanted to be cheered when he came back, he should have won a Cup before leaving.)

  4. 4 Pookie December 22, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    *clapclapclapclapclapclap* Great post!

    I feel like booing has been a part of spectator civilization since the dawn of time. Think of Roman emperors deciding a gladiator’s fate based on the crowd; think of Shakespeare’s groundlings reacting to the bawdy humor in the comedies, think of audiences in early silent melodramas catching their first glimpse of Snidely Whiplash. Don’t those crowds all seem like they got more out of the experience than we do? Booing is just a way to be part of the history of spectator entertainment.

  5. 5 Anne December 22, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    I was at the game last night and going into it I had no intention of booing Danny. However, as the game went on, we all got into it. And you’re so right, it wasn’t because we hated Danny, it was because we all wanted to show the rest of the Sabres that we love them all as a whole more than we loved Danny. To me, it was about showing a united front of support for the city and the Sabres. Although, I can’t lie, it was pretty SWEET when Sissy (as I call Jaro Spacek) slammed Danny into the boards, the crowd went nuts.

  6. 6 LizzieB December 22, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I went to the game last night and I booed. Yes, I did. With menace in my heart. I did it proudly and I’d do it again.

    That being said, I’m so happy you used the quotations marks around the word classy. I can’t stand people using the words “class” or “classy”. First of all, if you have to say that someone or something is klassy or not, you are not, yourself, klassy. If you have klass, you’re not talking about it. Secondly, many of the things/people/actions that sports figures/sportscasters/sports fans refer to as klassy are not, in fact, klassy; it’s just the absence of douchebaggery. For instance, it is not “a klass move” to call an opponent the day after you injured him. It’s just human decency.

    Please note that from now on, friends, I will not hesitate to go all Sidney Crosby on your ass if you use the word “class.” Just warning you.

  7. 7 Not!Gambler December 22, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    it’s impossible to ignore him out there. If we can’t cheer for Danny, we have to boo.

    This is really the crux of the issue, for me. I mean, you can’t expect the fans to just pretend he’s not out there, and cheering is just not a possibility. Aside from the history and the offseason drama, he’s a Flyer, and one of their best players with a monster contract. Buffalo fans have always booed those kinds of players, and we’re not going to start cheering for one just because he played a couple of good seasons for us. But the booing doesn’t mean we hate him, or that there are any especially hard feelings, and I think Briere’s smart enough to realize that even if some people aren’t.

    Also, booing is totally fun! Last year I went to the game the day after Christmas against Washington, and getting to follow Ovie around with boos all night made the Sabres scoring six goals in ten minutes that much sweeter.

  8. 8 Katebits December 22, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    LizzeB and Anne, I am so happy to hear from people who were at the game! My experience with booing in person has left me feeling downright happy. I think whatever “negativity” booing creates is totally outweighed by the camaraderie of sitting shoulder to shoulder with your fellow fans and letting it rip. It’s just not that big a deal, and it is certainly not a reflexion of klass.

    Also, booing is totally fun!

    Word, Gambler. Word.

  9. 9 elise December 22, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I love to boo. It is therapeutic. And no-harm meant. Well said, Kate!

  10. 10 kms2 December 22, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Booing isn’t for the guys on the ice, it’s for the people in the stands.

    I looooovvvveee booing. I like it because I think it shows how compassionate fans are with their team. I don’t care if people think it’s not classy because at least we’re getting into the game.

  11. 11 Matt December 22, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    On a side note, did Marty gets any applause/cheers last night? I just can’t bear the thought of him getting booed

  12. 12 Amy December 22, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    “I respect you, and I wish the Sabres had resigned you, but you’re a bit of a slag-faced whore for becoming a FLYER, thanks for all the memories, good luck in the future, I hope the Flyers never win again”

    Until this noise gets invented, Danny better get used to hearing the boos. The crowd still boos Satan, and he hasn’t played for the team since 2003-04.

    For goodness sakes, it’s a sound. It’s not like the crowd was tossing molotov cocktails onto the ice.

    Buffalo fans only do that at away games. :)

  13. 13 LizzieB December 22, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Marty was heckled last night pretty loudly by folks at our end and it went down hill from there, but no booing. I did not participate in the Marty-baiting because, well, he’s just so damn lovable. I can’t imagine a time when I would be willing to boo or heckle Sweet Marty.

    By the way, Buffalo has scored just a couple minutes into tonight’s game and the Flyers are being booed by their own crowd. I think they’ve gotten used to it at this point.

  14. 14 Anne December 22, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I didn’t boo Marty, but I did thank him when we scored whether or not it was his fault it went in. There was definitely more response for Briere. I mean, if you look at the circumstances under which they each left, Marty clearly left under better terms and really with the support of the Sabres fans. Not because we didn’t like him, but we didn’t use him and he’d get more playing time with another team.

  15. 15 Becky December 23, 2007 at 8:34 am

    I pretty much only boo the refs when then call one against us, or fail to call one for us.

    But I would’ve booed a Briere goal against the Sabres with gusto, as I did last night in my living room.

  16. 16 Sara December 23, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I was truly sad when Danny left Buffalo. I loved his spirit and the fact that he seemed to be a genuinely decent guy. However, when Anne called me post-game to tell me that Danny had gotten booed at the game, I felt a little pride. I mean, we still boo Ovechkin for a hit he laid on Danny that’s how seriously we take our hockey and how much we love our team.

    And allow me to add that personally, I think Drury is more of a slag-faced whore than Briere ever will be.


  1. 1 Go Forth and Boo (If That’s Your Style) « The Willful Caboose Trackback on February 23, 2008 at 6:57 pm
  2. 2 Thoughts « The Willful Caboose Trackback on November 22, 2008 at 4:43 pm
  3. 3 Dispatches from Portland, 2009 « The Willful Caboose Trackback on January 12, 2009 at 2:34 pm

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