Fans are an integral part of professional sports. Without fans, much of the professional sporting events we watch today would simply not exist. Whether filling seats at stadiums and arenas, buying jerseys or purchasing expensive cable and satellite packages, the fan is responsible for keeping the teams, clubs and leagues around the world going – even if it seems like some organizations fail to recognize that! For the most part, sports fans follow their players and teams regardless of distances, weather, success or lack of it – cough Maple Leafs, cough. Even if we don’t feel important sometimes, you must always remember the fan is the reason why professional sports exist on the scale they do. That’s why there are stadiums, advertising, television coverage, autographs, replica jerseys and fan days.
Yes, being a sports fan can be an emotional rollercoaster at times. Watching your team on television can be one thing, but taking in the game in person can be a whole other experience. The sights and sounds of a live game make for a different experience in comparison to televised coverage. The athletes are closer, the crowd energy more noticeable, the plays seem more real and beer costs a lot more. Sometimes the play comes to the fans. A ball or puck is hit, thrown or deflected into the crowd. Perhaps a player even comes over the barrier, propelled by their momentum, only to find themselves among the fans. It’s all part of the game – for the most part.
The following list looks at 15 of the most shocking and crazy moments involving fans at sporting events. From angry athletes to terrible tragedy to funny moments and ‘typical’ fan stupidity, a wide range of sports and sports fans are covered here. It all just goes to show that in the world of sports, the fan can be an integral part of the action, whether they choose to be or not.
16 Honorable Mention: The 2011 AIK – DIF Derby
15 RAW Just Got Real
14 Way to Go, Dad
13 Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield and Fan Man
12 Bring Out the Band
11 Two Minutes in the Box with Tie Domi
10 Assault with a Deadly Cornhusker
9 McIlroy’s Hole-In-One
8 Fan Takes Favre’s Snap
7 Ron Artest Loses It
6 CFL Fan Makes a Bad Choice
5 Bruce Lee or Eric Cantona?
4 Fan Takes on the Buffalo Sabres Bench
3 The Bruins Invade Madison Square Gardens
2 No Love for Monica Seles
1 Front Row at LeMans
We’d like to end this one off with something funny or witty but when it comes to notable incidents of fan involvement at a sporting event, unfortunately, the 1955 24 Hours of LeMans race takes top spot. In any racing event, fans love being right up close to the action. Today, this is far less risky than it was even a few decades ago thanks to safety equipment and regulations. In 1955, protection was generally limited to a small wall or a fence, at most. At LeMans, this was insufficient to stop Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes from launching up and into the crowd. Film footage is as spectacular as it is horrifying. The Mercedes’ axel and hood are shown flying through the crowd of spectators while the rest of the car bursts into flames, all resulting in the deaths of 83 spectators and Levegh himself. The race world has come a long way and fan safety has improved tremendously since that terrible day.
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