Booing is a huge part of sports, right up there with cheering. You cheer for the players and the plays you love, and you boo for everything you hate. The refs, the calls, the players on the opposing team, all of the things you disagree with. It comes with the territory of being a sports fan.
But as I took in the Flyers/Lightning game this past Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center, I found myself wondering why Flyers fans booed Matt Carle — not only when he first took the ice, but a few times throughout the game when he touched the puck.
I get booing players on opposing teams. They’re the enemy, they suck, we don’t want them around. But I will never understand the point of booing a former player if they didn’t do anything to warrant the boos aside from now playing for another team.
When Mike Richards returned to Philadelphia with the Kings in October of 2011, he was booed every single time he touched the puck. Really? The guy got traded. He didn’t spit on the Liberty Bell on the way out of town, he didn’t do the DX move while facing the Wells Fargo Center — he got traded. A move that was completely out of his control and came as a total surprise to him.
Now, I know that there were some people who didn’t like Richards, and that’s fine. You don’t need to cheer for the guy. But to boo him every single time he touched the puck that night? He’s not Scott Rolen, guys.
This phenomenon is not limited to Philadelphia, I know that. We get enough grief about booing as it is (that Santa thing happened almost 50 years ago, people!) and I’m not trying to put this all on the city. Based on what I’ve heard from colleagues, it happens almost everywhere.
We have more than enough to boo without doing so at a former player. Save your boos for those who really deserve it — ie, your Sidney Crosbys and Ilya Kovalchuks, the refs and their horrendous calls and non-calls, and Santa. I mean…