Fans come from all origins, especially here in DC. Some of us are Canadian, some of us are American, some German, some Russian, and I'm missing more than a few here. Therefore, I feel some of us have different expectations of what a fan should and should not do at a sporting event, specifically, at a Caps game. Here are what I believe would be some acceptable ground rules.
We hear it all the time, and a post in the conversation on Jason Arnott brought by Chris Burton really got me kind of going. As hockey fans, a lot of us here would like to be considered classy, and there's nothing wrong with that. But rather than just saying "let's be classy," I'd like to propose something more along the lines of The Code. What follows are some basic ground rules.
1) No booing an injured player. Ever. Also, let's get quiet, and clap when he leaves the ice.
2) Keep swearing to a minimum. I know a lot of us love Hershey's "B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T- BULLSHIT" chant, but is that appropriate for an NHL game in prime time? Probably not, but at the same time, I could excuse one, especially if it were well orchestrated. Just chanting bullshit is doing too much.
3) In a similar vein, "Ref You Suck" isn't as effective. This is especially true in a post Winter Classic world, where the quote "Apparently I just missed four fucking calls" sticks out like a sore thumb.
4) Trash talk is acceptable, but there are lines that need not be crossed. If a player did something, it's totally fine getting on them for that ("Reeeee-khabbbbb" comes to mind). However, don't cross the line and talk about someone's mother or fabricate stories (Crosby wears a flannel dress"). Real stuff is more effective, and realy, classier.
5) The National Anthem. Shut your mouth, unless you're singing or doing some coordinated thing. This is bound to be controversial, and it damn well should be. I don't know how I feel about "red" and "O" anymore because of watching the winter classic. My favorite time was against Toronto earlier this year, when my friends and I sang along with both national anthems. Most of the people around us actually thought it was really cool, and after we sang the Canadian, joined in with the American.
6) Rampant negativity. If you want to complain constructively, that's fine. But to just continuously complain about one thing over and over with no backing from sources or stats, and saying "Just watch the game, you'll see", is absolute garbage.
7) No vuvuzelas (unless you're Horn Guy).
8) No physical contact, ever, with a player, unless it's a high five as they leave the ice.
Walking the line of rabid and classy is possible. I would like to generate the discussion, here, on what is appropriate fan culture and what is not. I know many of us have differing opinions, and I want to stress that no one be afraid to jump in on this - what you think is what you think. Let's be constructive. We're not too small a group to guide a fan base.