Friday, October 19, 2012

What was that?

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.  


  1. Not only did the Father jump over the fence, but his +6 ft son was the first to jump the fence and push 27 on UMD, soon to followed by the Mother. Earlier in the game a Police officer, sitting with his daughter, a UMD recruit. Warned the father that he would have him arrested if he continued to walk up and down the sideline berrating the ref and players, which he had down virtually from the start of the game. Interesting it was number 21, the daughter of the aforementioned family the instigated the disgusting scene with multiple vicious tackles, from behind, against 27 of UMD. All three that jumped the fence should be banned from attending future NCAA soccer matches. Sad night for soccer.

  2. It was truly unfortunate and embarrassing for all involved. While one expects the officials to control the game and players and fans to control their emotions, one also expects that the UMD security force should do something to stop irate fans from marching up and down the sidelines screaming at officials and threatening players and should also stop them from standing up in the stands spewing forth their ugliness on all those sitting within 50 feet.

    According to the locals this particular parent's antics are well known in club and high school and they expected this behavior. The Miami parents knowing him over the last few seasons likely expected it as well. He is large and loud enough that it may be that the Miami fans were afraid to tackle him - figuratively of course - or maybe they have tried in the past to no avail. All the more reason the professionals should have handled it.

    The fact that any fan would actually enter the field over the fence could not be reasonably anticipated but once it happened the ejected fans should immediately have been made to leave campus or arrested so that neither you nor your eldest were subjected to them- and to safeguard the Maryland players - for that matter to safeguard all the players and fans given the heightened emotions.

    The ejected Miami players should not have been allowed to stand in the open doorway on the front step of the visitor's trailer further egging on the Miami fans in the stands above them by calling to them as the game continued while security just watched it happen.

    The security force was not prepared to act proactively to defuse the situation and allowed it to simmer over 85 minutes until it boiled over - and even then they failed to act quickly and finally to deal with the ejected fans and players.

  3. Thank you both for the additional details and clarification.

    The rain kept us away from Maryland-UNC tonight. I got my soccer fix by watching the Sheffield Wednesday - Leeds match. As demonstrated in that game, tough to imagine any level of security that would stop idiots from doing idiotic things. From our standpoint, the staff at Ludwig do a fine job of trying to make sure that people obey the rules of the road -- no flash photography, no umbrellas in the stands, no smoking or imbibing alcohol, etc. The staff is not capable of dealing with people who flagrantly flaunt basic principles of respect for their fellow man. That anything more might be required is depressing.

    Maryland women's soccer matches are, bar none, the most enjoyable, family (particularly families with young children) friendly sporting events we regularly attend in the region. It would be unfortunate if the actions of an idiot and his progeny sparked changes to Ludwig's environment.

  4. Immediately after the game and entirely of her own volition, the player from Columbia apologized to the Maryland players for her aggressive play and the behavior of her team. I would not typically post anything about a particular player, but given you used her name, I thought she deserved the credit.