There was a little time left after the 5:30 p.m. dinner and the start of last Wednesday's hockey game with B.U., so I picked up that morning's Crime and shuffled to the sports page. After glossing over the hockey pre and a b-ball sty, I came upon "The Mail" and a letter to the editor from director of athletics Robert B. Watson.
It seems Watson was upset about the conduct of fans who have been sitting in Watson Rink's folk legend--Section 18. "I ordered this (the roping off of 18 for an earlier game) done because I have viewed with increasing alarm the negative activities of spectators in this area over the past two years," Watson wrote. He went on to chastize Harvard supporters for perpetrating "a vicious negative attack on visitors" and for the launching of a "continuous barrage of obscenities" at opponents.
Well, I proudly took all of my improved "We won't Boo...How About You" spirit and my newfound ever-increasing alarm down to Section 18 that night, but an incident at the end of the Crimson's 6-5 loss made me realize that just maybe Watson was invoking a double standard in his judgments.
As the jubilant B.U. team mobbed victorious goalie Ed Walsh in front of Section 18, one distraught Harvard rooter screamed something less than complimentary in the direction of two Terriers on the perimeter of the swarm. This prompted a digital symbol and a kind reply by B.U.'s Bob Sunderland.
An empty beer can meekly popped over the glass in front of neighboring Section 19. It hit the ice with a tinny clank and about as much force as Watson's argument. It slid about a yard before gingerly nudging up to Sunderland's left skate.
At once, it was apparent that Sunderland had a bit of the psychotic in his blood as he amazingly performed the Dr. Jekyll routine. I swear he foamed as he darted to the glass, mounted it and began raking the environs with his stick. The fans ducked, screamed, wept and fell, not necessarily in that order. After finishing this massacre, he skated to the dressing room as fast as he had struck.
Even everyone on Section 18 agreed that for their tastes Sunderland's portrayal of the "Grim Reaper" was just too frighteningly real as he whisked his sickle through the crowd, indiscriminately lopping off noses and ears and whatever other chaff was unlucky enough to be poking up above bleacher level.
He really did a job. He wiped out 80 per cent of the A.D. Club, not that this is important to anyone, but it is worth mentioning as a sign of the times. If Nader had been there, we could have been talkin' a legitimate class action suit against Sunderland. The Mamed Section 19 Nine vs. Bobby "The Rabid Malcontent Terrier" Sunderland.
C'mon, you two Bob's. I mean really, the true question is not what can we do to protect the visitors from the fans, but rather how in the world can we secure the protection of the fans from "gentlemen" like Mr. Sunderland who happen to wander in from the bush.
Protect the players, Mr. Watson, hell--try to imagine, if you will, the following scenario: Early yesterday evening in Wigglesworth Hall a freshman named John made his weekly call home to Topeka. "Hi Mom, Hi Dad, boy have I got a lot to tell you. For openers, I just got out of the hospital and I don't have a left ear anymore."
"But let me start at the beginning. I went to my first Harvard hockey game Wednesday and I was really lucky to get seats in Section 18. Anyway, I was innocently standing in the bleachers bidding my post-game goodbyes when this opposing player jumped into the stands and perforated my skull with his blade.
"Yea, I know it's tragic but I've become quite a hero around the Union. Everyone either calls me Vinnie or wants me to try and get them some special deal on gas during the crisis.""