With my eldest in tow, I planned to spend a relaxing evening at Ludwig watching the Maryland women play Miami. There were not going to be many more people at the stadium than for the Colgate game Tuesday, but the match was not ignored. Athletic Director Kevin Anderson was there with his daughter. President Wallace Loh showed up as well.
What everyone in attendance saw was ridiculous, an embarrassment to college athletics.
Miami features two players with local roots that both started in the defense -- Senior Ali Brennan (Columbia, Maryland) and Sophomore Maddie Simms (Bowie, Maryland) -- and both had considerable amounts of support in the stands. That's not unusual. There are often family and other partisans for the other side at games. That's the way it should be. Things went off the rails tonight, however, in part because of a complete lack of decorum from the otherwise welcome guests.
Abuse of the referees by the Miami supporters started early. Maryland's fans on the same side didn't exactly react well and howls of complaint and derision erupted every time any foul was perceived. The rancor in the stands -- focused on the referees -- fueled physical conflict on the field. In the second half, Maryland's terrific forward Hayley Brock got hammered over and over and over again. Good ball control and quick turns terrorized Miami's backline and the response, particularly from the Hurricanes' Blake Stockton, was to cut Hayley down.
The eventual breakdown was presaged by a moment late in the second half where Brock, struck down again outside the box, responded by getting up and kicking out at the face of an opponent that had also hit the ground. No card. No warning. Just the referee and linesmen being berated by boorish men.
We were on the other side of the field, but it looked like Maddie Simms got a measure of revenge by kicking a ball hard into Brock when play had been stopped and Brock responded by landing a haymaker. Bedlam.
Awful? Yes. But the lack of discipline by the players paled in comparison to the idiot dad who jumped over the fence to get in between the players. Idiot may seem a strong word. In this instance, an understatement. When I finally shepherded my four-year old out of the stadium at the end of regulation -- as a mother screamed at Miami's fans "EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME! NUMBER 27 IS MY DAUGHTER!" -- the same dad stood outside shouting that he shouldn't have been ejected because he "didn't go on to the field," he "only went on the sideline."
That there is one idiot -- an excitable, over-involved father -- in the stands was not remarkable. That no one else within the pro-Miami faction shut him up or pulled him back was a total embarrassment.