A tamer crowd at the men's basketball game on January 13. Photo: Lindsay Boeckl

Guest Editorial: Rams Fans Too Rowdy

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By Robert Garbary
University of Waterloo Student

On the evening of Saturday, March 3, the University of Waterloo hosted the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men’s basketball final, which featured Ryerson against Carleton.  A large group of Ryerson fans dressed in yellow were located in the bottom half of a bleacher section, and I thought their behaviour was unacceptable (and dangerous).

For the entire game, they remained standing and cheering their team.  This was unacceptable because of the people located behind them on the bleachers, and their vision was extremely compromised.  I had to spend the entire game standing, and even then I was unable to see the whole court.  Furthermore, there were two older gentlemen sitting close to me who plainly just wanted to watch the game and were clearly unhappy to be forced to stand.  At several times during the action, they sat down because they were tired from standing, and were very unhappy about being unable to see the game.  Moving to a different section was not an option, as the gym was packed – except of course for the section directly behind the fans.  Several people, myself included, did try asking the fans to sit down and this had no effect.  In retrospect, I should have asked the game staff to intervene, though I certainly shouldn’t have had to.

To be clear, I’m not complaining about the noise.  It’s great to travel to support your team, and let them know you’re supporting them with noise.  Mind you, it is a bit rude to ‘boo’ every call the referees make against your team, even when the calls are blatantly justified.  I am complaining about the disrespect shown by these fans to the other spectators who paid money to come watch this game.  The behaviour was extremely inconsiderate to the people who just wanted to watch the game.  Furthermore, it’s just plain dangerous — at several times, the standing (swaying, dancing…) fans fell, and their feet could have fallen through the bleacher cracks, seriously injuring themselves or the people behind them.

When looking on ‘The Eyeopener’ website for where to send a letter about this, an article from last year immediately caught my attention.  It was about instructors who were walking out of classes because of disruptive students.  Normally I would be extremely surprised to read about this at a level beyond high school.  However, after last nights spectacle, I can’t see that I was too surprised.  This sort of behaviour reflects extremely poorly on your school.

To the Ryerson Rams: good effort last night and good luck in Halifax!



  2. My name is Luke Staniscia, and I am the captain of the Ryerson basketball team. Normally I do not respond to these types of articles, but in this case I must take an exception.

    First off I need to say that the fan support we received this weekend was without a doubt one of the most inspiring things I have ever felt. The moment when we won and our fans all rushed the court in celebration was hands down one of the best moments of my life. Our fans were truly the “6th man” of both games and without their support I doubt we would have been as successful as we were.

    Secondly, the entire purpose of the OUA Final Four is to add further legitimacy to Canadian Inter-University Sports. A tournament such as this is meant to be a spectacle similar to the any of the inter-conference tournaments held in the USA. In many sport circles, the NCAA March Madness Tournament is the biggest sporting event of the year, and this behaviour would be considered extremely mild at any semi-final game in the NCAA Tournament. One of the biggest issues we have in this country is keeping our Canadian talent (which is at an all-time high) north of the border, and a large part of that is that Canadian schools cannot offer the same kind of athletic experience that their American counterparts can. This is only compounded by the fact that on the rare occasion when some die-hard fans express their school spirit, they are immediately chastised for their behaviour, instead of being praised. If you have ever watched any NCAA college basketball you would understand that this behaviour is the norm.

    Consider being at a Toronto Maple Playoff in which they upset the favourites in an elimination game. Would you honestly expect any of those fans to be sitting down calmly in their chairs and being completely civil?…Absolutely not! In fact those games usually lead to riots! Then consider how much more a person invests in their school then they do in a professional sports team. I would say our fan’s behaviour was more then acceptable and completely justified by the significance of that moment for our school’s history.

    Finally, the gravity of that game for our entire university is not something that any of those neutral fans could possible relate to. As a university we have not played in a game of that significance in over a decade. When considering that, the fact that so many students, faculty (even our president) and family had enough school pride to drive 90mins, stand in support for 2 hours, then come back and do it again the next night is something that should be praised not chastised. Congratulations Rams fans! You are the best in the world and I hope you never change!

  3. Have you ever seen an American College Basketball game? That was nothing compared to what happens in the States. It’s a bit pretentious to even think that what the fans were doing this weekend was wrong. What exactly would the security staff have said? Please stop cheering? Our students paid their tickets too, they have every right to boo, cheer, sing, chant, dance or do what ever. This was a big moment for our school, it’s extremely impressive the turnout they got.

  4. Luke laid it out pretty well and I commend him for doing so. Clearly this person would not survive at a Duke vs. Maryland game here at UMD in front of 18,000. The student sections stand the entire game, chanting (often obscenities) at the opposing team and refs the entire game and generally make as much noise as possible. That is their job, to create an environment that is supportive of their home team, being unabashedly loyal. And damn is it ever fun. Perhaps the only mistake was by the host venue who did not account for the possibility of such a crowd and did not make proper accommodations for both the more raucous and subdued fan.

    Way to represent Luke, and the rest of Rams!

  5. My name is Brianne Koning, and I was a member of the Women’s Volleyball team at Ryerson from 2004-2008.

    I graduated from a high school in Chatham, Ontario where bleachers were packed for every basketball and volleyball game played on home turf. Upon reaching Ryerson, I was shocked to see the LACK of fans who attended games.

    School spirit lacked, administration tried, but bleachers were only dotted with parents from the GTA, very bored siblings and devoted roommates of athletes.

    When the men’s volleyball team climbed in the rankings during my time at Ryerson, stands began to fill and we got a glimpse of what could be, and what should be. Schools like Western, UofT, York and Laurier had packed bleachers, and both teams fed off of the school spirit. It was something us girls wished we had behind us.

    We all know Ryerson is a commuter school with such a variety of programs. It was very uncommon to see a comp sci, fashion, dance, theatre or nursing student in the crowd, and after 6pm, campus was desolate.

    We were desperate for fans, and now that we have them, we’re being criticized.

    Athletics has worked very hard in recent years to develop our programs. Our men’s hockey team has done a complete 180 since Graham Wise arrived, Mirek Pirosa continues to coach a consistent men’s volleyball team, women’s hockey has built themselves from the ground up, and Dustin Reid has re-inspired women’s volleyball.

    Our men’s basketball team is doing something unprecedented and it’s inspiring to see the fans supporting them along the way. People are taking a 16h bus ride to support them next week!

    Shame on the guest writer for his lack of spirit. I only wish I could have painted my face, yelled, chirped and even boo’d with the rest of the Ramily.

    Go Rams!

  6. I understand to a certain degree where the author of this article is coming from. Yes, some people behind our RAMS fans had to stand for the two hours, and yes, maybe this was uncomfortable however, I would not blame this on the fans. If anything, maybe the game hosts should have arranged the seating in preparation for five full school buses filled with University fans. If that seems a bit ridiculous then, hey, it’s an important tournament for the teams involved so it is expected there will be passionate fans, plain and simple. As a Ryerson student, this was the first time in three years I have felt any kind of school spirit and school community. As a school downtown Toronto, we don’t have the space for a field or even a track and we have been having to travel far distances just to see a hockey game. So, it is rare for any kind of game or team at Ryerson to have this kind of support. It was amazing! For a school that has such minimal athletic facilities compared to these other schools I would say not only was the game historical but, our school support was too.

    The point where this author mentions the article “instructors who were walking out of classes” and compares the entire school to behaviors found in a high school. There are nearly 30,000 students in Ryerson University and what has happened only in a couple of classes from the hundreds we have is not comparable to a sports game. In fact, I think that is pretty shallow and unrelated to discuss that issue.

    Also, during our game against Lakehead, they too had fans that were performing in the same manner as our RAMS. Booing out team, booing the refs, cheering, singing, dancing, and EVEN Yelling at OUR fans! The only difference is numbers. There were more of us in our bright yellow shirts so obviously we stood out more and clearly were louder.

    On my last note, if students at Waterloo (since the author, much like our fans, is/was representing their school) thinks it’s wrong to passionately cheer on your school team then I would hate to go to Waterloo.

    Congrats guys! Good luck in Halifax!

  7. As echoed in some responses above, I have to agree that is unfortunate that some spectators could not enjoy the game on Saturday evening. However, I imagine that the people who did not enjoy the game were very much in the minority.
    As a former student therapist for the Ryerson men’s basketball team, I watched both the semi-final and championship games from my home in St. John’s, Newfoundland with a great sense of pride. This team has worked its collective tail off over the past few years to get where they are right now. Do they deserve the overwhelming support that they received this weekend? Absolutely. I wish I could hop on the Rambus myself to see them at nationals!
    Congratulations, boys. You’re making everyone proud and you deserve all the support that you get!

  8. This is probably the biggest waste of an article ever written… Robert Garbury, I think I speak for all of those crazed Ryerson fans you talk of when I say you clearly have no concept of school spirit, and to compare sport-loving fans to a bunch of rude freshman from an article over a year ago… completely irrelevant.

    I can sympathize with the older gentlemen…but that was poor planning by the UWaterloo staff for not creating a student section, especially the second night against Carleton after our presence Friday night, and you can’t blame fans for being excited for their team.

  9. You kidding me? This behaviour occurs all the time in the NCAA and at a much bigger scale. This is what college sports is all about. Live with it.

    “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen”

  10. Well written Luke. Robert, I get it, your school wasn’t on the court, but our school was. We as a growing university have rarely had a chance to stand up and cheer for our Rams, but we did last weekend. As you ask us for consideration, we ask the exact same thing back. If Waterloo was on the court I can’t help but think that there would be fans there cheering and chanting as hard as we were. Consider that.

    And I can’t help but hear the judgement you have of all Ryerson students based on last weekend when really less that 1% of our student body was there. Isn’t that called something? If you’re issue lies with last weekend, keep it at that. I’d say it’s pretty inconsiderate of you to put down our student body with that kind of judgement. Isn’t that ironic? Please be a little more considerate.

    Thank you.

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