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Barra Brava Come Downtown

Friday night, as incessantly promoted here, D.C. United fans came en masse to a Caps game. They stood and screamed and sang. Virtually non-stop. I left horribly depressed.

Why? Fans didn't seem to appreciate the Barra. Because they were, you know, cheering. At a sporting event. Go figure.

"They're screaming and yelling to the point where you can't even hear the announcers," one person complained to Caps staff. (Because nothing says entertainment like listening to the announcers!)

"I ain't coming back, I'd rather watch it at home," someone else said. (Caps games: we're as quiet as your living room!)

"I think we all think they're pretty obnoxious," Melissa Van Vickle told me. "It's ok to a certain point, but they don't stop." (Caps fans: we know how to stop cheering!)

"They're annoying the [bleep] out of me, write that down," someone else shouted out. "I like to hear [bleepin'] organ music." (And next period, we'll break out the harpsichord!)

"I think it's obnoxious," said another season ticket holder who wouldn't give her name told me. "If I got here in the first period I would have asked to be moved to another section." (If I cared enough to show up for the first period.)

"I wish they'd shut up because I'm trying to watch the game," Stephanie Gilbertz said. (Oh, and she also said it was disrespectful to sing lyrics to John Lennon tunes on the anniversary of his death. Seriously. Because the Barra were singing something about "a Disney Hockey Team" to the tune of "Yellow Submarine.")

"It also makes everybody feel like they can stand up," season ticket holder Kellie Collier said. "When the puck's in play, get your butt out of the way." (Ok, fine.)

"I really don't mind the cheering, but we can't hear when they make announcements," James Gillam said. (Ok, ok, ok.)

"That's soccer, we don't approve of that," Canadian Troy Hazzard said of the "Ole" chant. (Sigh.)

"It's a hockey game, it's not a soccer game," Roman Durden told me. "If you're going to cheer, that's fine, you're cheering for Washington, but it's a hockey game, not a soccer game. Go to Nationals and cheer for baseball, go to Redskins cheer for football, go to the Caps, cheer for the Capitals and hockey. If you're a soccer fan go cheer for soccer." (I'm outta here.)

Seriously, I don't want to make it seem like I'm picking on Caps fans. Maybe the concept just doesn't translate. Or maybe they just need to be warned in advance. I talked to a lot of people, and there were definitely random fans who loved the Barra, who thought that was exactly what the Caps need, who actually left their seats to go sit with these strange people wearing red and black.

"I've been waiting to see something like that in North America for about 20 years," said Perttu Paarma, a Finn.

"Free tickets for these guys," suggested his friend, Timo Kauranen.

"I've been to a million Hartford Whalers games, and this is the craziest group I've ever seen," Scott Rivett said. "They're going to make me want to go to D.C. United games."

"I'll never forget any of it," wrote Bog reader Ian, who joined the Barra before the game and stayed the whole time. "I think it's really a start of a great tradition!"

And if you read the DCU and Caps message boards, there were more words of praise. But I'm definitely not embellishing the angry quotes. A lot of the surrounding fans were angry. They didn't like all the noise. They didn't like all the standing. They didn't like what they perceived as excessive alcohol consumption. They didn't think the Barra understood the game.

"The fact is, honestly, we have to learn what's going on in the game, when to cheer and when not to cheer," said DCU supporter Paul Sotoudeh, a longtime Caps fan. "But it could happen. In Europe it happens, so it could happen here."

Thoughts? Could this work?

I believe there were some funny and clever cheers, which I've forgotten, so maybe some Barra can come here and post highlights. And there were many concerned-looking security persons. And the Barra made the Jumbotron several times. And they're still planning on returning in early January. And most puzzlingly, their noise disappeared somewhere into the VC rafters. The Barra were at the very top of a corner section, 406. If you moved a few sections away, you could hear a low hum. A few more sections, and you could hear virtually nothing. I've been in touch with some random people from around the arena; some could hear the cheers, and some couldn't. Apparently from directly across the ice you could hear them pretty well. The players I asked said they couldn't really hear anything.

There's a lot of ambient noise in that place, which I get, but still, you can hear Sam the Horn Guy from pretty much anywhere. Another Bog friend named Grooven bangs on a cowbell from the 400-level, and you can hear that just fine. Goat yells his head off and you can hear him; "how much do you get paid?" some Canadians asked Goat after the game, assuming he was a Caps employee because of his amazing capacity to enliven the crowd.

Anyhow, I had fun, and the Barra seemed to have fun, and at least their vocal cords got an offseason workout, I guess.

"That was the weirdest soccer game I have ever been to," Nathan Tipton said afterward, which probably sums up the night as well as anything I could say.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 11, 2006; 12:08 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , D.C. United  
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Comments

Who would have ever thought that fans of a rough and tumble sport would be such panty-waists? Was of the guys you interviewed "Get a Life" from your Maryland article?

Posted by: Bryan76 | December 11, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

yeah, that's pretty much what I figured would happen. One thing you didn't mention Dan, was that when the Barra Brava was shown on the jumbotron (or telescreen or whatever), the Caps players all got up and banged their sticks on the boards, a sign of respect. So if nothing else, the Caps themselves were happy they were there.

As far as getting Barra Brava there more often, if you keep doing it, the people that don't like it, will move to the other end of the arena. You couldn't really hear what was going on from my seats in 116. Occasionally you heard a moaning sound eminating from up there, but nothing really clear. The biggest adjustment is going to be getting the feel for the nuances of hockey. To many times the guys were doing loud cheers at bad times.

Honestly though? If the Caps had played better, I'm sure they would have been much better received by the regular fans. If the Caps had won the game 6-1, people would be buying them tickets for the next game tonight, since hockey fans are extremely superstitious.

Posted by: FS | December 11, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

So our fans are mad when there is no one in the building, but get even madder when enthusiastic fans come to cheer during our game?

Posted by: Richard Zednik | December 11, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

To be honest, the wusses who sit on Quiet Side at RFK are no better than the Caps fans who bitch about Barra.

Posted by: Section 231 | December 11, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I think this can still work. Perhaps in the future, the Caps should advertise which games will have Barra people at them. If fans know that they are going to the game, then perhaps they can then choose whether to sit near them or not.

I still think the idea is worth it.

Also, during the game, I noticed there were entire sections of the lower bowl that were empty. They should put Barra right down there, so everyone can hear them.

Posted by: Blackaces | December 11, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Blackaces, there's a couple of problems there. The people that were most upset were season ticket holders, who are at every game.

I don't think going downstairs would work, since those tickets are at least triple what the Barra Brava paid, and they are a LOT more stringent about people sitting down during play downstairs.

Posted by: FS | December 11, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

If people were bothered, um... they can stuff it. It was awesome. I wish half the people who come to Caps games were as enthusiastic as these folks who are alleged to be non-hockey fans. Bring 'em back to every game!

Posted by: false_cause | December 11, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

If they can figure out a way to adjust this for US hockey, it would be awesome to see the Barra Brava at more Caps games. I was watching on TV and could actually hear a little bit of the cheering in the background, which is a nice change from the deathly silence emanating from the screen.

I do think that a balance needs to be found, though, if they come back. I don't get the complaints about the cheering (cheering? At a hockey game? That's madness!)

I do understood the comments about the Barra Brava standing up, though, only because of the type of game hockey is. The pace of a hockey game is so quick and the puck is so small that it really takes something away from the game if your view is blocked for an extended period of time. It's not as broad a game as soccer, where the space is so huge and open.

Admittedly the people who are vocal about this could be more tactful and polite. But if you've ever missed a great goal or a fantastic save because some jackass in front of you couldn't wait until a stoppage to get his 15th beer, you'll understand.

Having said that, I still think having crazy fans at games would be a good trend to start - I think if they learn the game and maybe time their cheering a bit better, the surrounding fans won't mind as much. I look forward to seeing them up close in January!

Posted by: CapsChick | December 11, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Too bad about those that didn't like it. I thought it was fun, although I couldn't hear it too much. And people actually cheering at a game? What has this world come to? Of course, for me the funniest part of the night was this guy about 7 rows in front of Grooven getting totally and completely pissed about the cowbell. Every single time he banged it, this guy would turn around and shoot angry looks. Even when Grooven moved several sections away, this guy was STILL upset.

Posted by: TG | December 11, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea this was going on or I would've shown up for the game. Where would I look to know in advance for the next time? I'm a Flyers fan, and a huge soccer fan, and would love to sit in the same section with these guys if they don't mind a non-Caps fan for the night. This is what hockey needs right now.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

As being a "normal" Caps fan, I joined the Barra on Friday because I figured that the louder the arena was, the better the Capitals would play. The Capitals rarely get any kind of home advantage on most nights because no one shows up. I think getting enthusiastic United fans to come to the games is a blessing. And the fact that the ring leader - I believe Duffman right? - met with Leonsis during the game, only further proves that management is trying to embrace this.

Yes I agree, that there probably should have been more of a mix of hockey chants - like yelling the Giguere's name loudly - than Ole! but I thought overall it was a great success. The guys are great people and they will learn!

I think the one thing that must happen though if this does become something that happens with regularity, is that the brava has to be somewhere else in the arena. The cheap seats are generally where the kids are. And there was too much passing around of jack daniels and cursing around kids under 10. I think behind the opposing team's goal would be good. Not only would it show enthusiasm that would be picked up on TV, it would be heard on the ice easily, and make people more want to be in the lower bowl. Atleast I would think so.

I just am a firm believer that the more energy's in the building, the better the Capitals will play. So I thought the experiment was a success. But more work needs to be done to annoy less fans!

Too bad the Caps had their biggest stinker of the year on Friday, though.

Anyways, thank you the barra for allowing me to be up and join in. It was really fun and I guess I must go to a United game now. Hope to see you all again. And it was nice to finally meet you horn-guy. A real honor.

Posted by: Ian | December 11, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Please - as a long-time (30+) year Cap fan - the more Barra the better!! There is nothing like sitting in my lower level seat and thinking that I am in a library and, hey, look: a hockey game is breaking out.

Posted by: AR | December 11, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, any Penguins fans who might be attending the V-Center tonight:

Please turn your cell phones to vibrate before they drop the puck. Nothing ruins a good Caps game like a tacky cell phone ring.

Posted by: Arrrlington | December 11, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

To the Flyers fan: You're more than welcome to join us next time. I'm a Flyers fan and a couple of other guys are Pens fans. I also like the Caps (except when they play the Flyers) but the Pens fans were just there for the good time.

A couple of songs sung (in addition to Dan's list):
-Who's your father referee....
-We're all part of Hanlon's Army...
-You're not Mighty anymore...
-Ole, Ole was converted to Olie, Olie
-After it became a 6-1 rout, a couple of reditions of Diablo, Jamie Moreno, and Oooh Ahh Johnny Harkes came out....we just went old school. Think of them as 'ralley chants'

I think the lopsided score had a lot with the cheering not following the game. The intensity went down a bit after the first intermission. A misconception is that we're a bunch of soccer fans only. I've followed hockey since the mid-70's, and I'd say about a quarter of us were 'real' hockey fans, and another half were at least casual hockey fans.

Posted by: Kim | December 11, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I think it could work. It works in college basketball. Hell it worked in High school basketball. The last time I was at a Caps game was pre-lockout and the final score was 0-0. I was bored off my ass. I decided never to attend a Caps game again. But I would definitely take part in this on occasion. I do see the point in being able to hear the organ music.. it tells people when to clap along.

There is nothing worse then a dead silent stadium. The worst one I've ever been to was Tampa some quality D-Rays action. I felt bad talking because half the stadium was over hearing my conversation. So to all the Caps fans who want the cheering to stop I'm lumping you in with D-Rays fans.. aren't you better then that?

Posted by: Marc | December 11, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I was out of town for this game, but saw they were planning another in January. I don't think i'll miss that one though :)

And "Section 231", i'm a Quiet Sider and love all 3 groups and so do all the regulars that sit near me. Just because we don't jump and sing all game long doesn't mean we are lesser fans of the team or that we don't like the ones that do, it means we are looking for something different.

I can understand regular caps fans being surprised by this event and not being happy with it, but I think some of the comments are insane (you shouldn't cheer for your team?!?!). Hopefully if the Caps management liked it, they will try to work it out so everyone can enjoy the game next time.

-dave

Posted by: gnat | December 11, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I was in 401 and yeah, the group was oddly really quiet sounding compared to Cowbell and Horn Guy.

I think it could still work, they just need to tailor the chants to match what's going on the ice. And maybe reserve an entire section for them and offer the season ticket holders seats elsewhere.

Posted by: tallbear | December 11, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe people were so upset by us, way up in the rafters. I would LOVE to be down closer to the action for the next game. I felt rather divorced from it all that high up. I don't know what the energy would be like if we had to sit, though.

Some of the season ticket holders, and anybody else who got their panties in a bunch over us need to remember that we came out in SUPPORT of the Caps. Matter of fact, the guy who security was giving the hardest time to that night was a Caps fan who just got to be part of what we were doing and was good and drunk on his own. I just hope that some of our energy was able to be felt by the team, even though it was a big loss scorewise.

Some people are just threatened by the new. You know, horses over cars, typewriters over computers. Staid fans over enthusiastic ones.

And we weren't even anywhere near the energy we kick out at a DC United game, either.

Thanks for coming out, Dan, nice to have met you.

Posted by: wcevery4yrs | December 11, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised in the slightest about the comments by surrounding fans. Heck, we even get that at United games from people who have never been. But I am really glad to hear all of the positive comments posted on the blog from the hardcore fans. I'm more concerned with pissing off people that truly support the Caps. I just spoke with one of the Caps executives and told him what was written in the blog and it didn't sway his opinion of him wanting us at games. To start next season we'll have all of the games picked out with a particular section. Then we can try and get the word out and warn people that don't want to be around us and attract the people that do.

Keep an eye out on all relevant message boards about game #2. We are going to get some very attractive pricing for a very attractive game. ALL are Welcome!!!

Posted by: Duffman | December 11, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Watch a big game in any soccer league in Europe and you'll get an idea of what a stadium full of Barra sounds like. If we had more of these guys at the Verizon Center, I would be a season-ticket holder.

It was great to have you, Barra Brava! Please come again :)

Posted by: Jeroen | December 11, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Note to Stephanie Gilbertz: Paul McCartney wrote Yellow Submarine, not John Lennon.

Posted by: Dave Lifton | December 11, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ms Gilbertz may have been referring to "Give us A Goal" to "Give Peace a Chance".

Either way, I'm kinda over John getting killed.

Posted by: Kim | December 11, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Good freakin' lord, I had no idea Caps fans were SO dependent on the announcements. And this is from a Barra Brava member who made many many trips to the Cap Center back in the 80s and still cherishes her Langway sweater.

Seriously, where did all the Caps fans with a set go? (save the folks with rare kind words posted here and on the Caps board)

Posted by: Riz | December 11, 2006 2:05 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, we were also singing "All we are saying...is give us a goal!"

As Borat's humor coach might say, "How thoughtlessly disrespectful of us...NOT!"

I had a good time at the game, and it was the first Caps game I'd been to since the lockout. I hadn't realized just how morgue-like the atmosphere had gotten. Back In The Day, at Cap Centre, la Barra would have fit right in. We've got some work to do to get that home ice advantage back.

Finally, as to cheering at "inappropriate" times...when your team is down is when you should be cheering loudest, not when they're already ahead. Besides, Anaheim was scoring all night long...if we'd been quiet after all their goals, all anyone in the arena would have been able to hear would have been cell phone conversations, just like in Tampa.

Posted by: EdTheRed | December 11, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see some of these annoyed caps fans attend a hockey game in europe. They would probably leave by the end of the 1st period because they couldn't hear the announcements.

haha

Posted by: littles | December 11, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

littles, you're assuming they'd actually show up for the 1st period! ;-)

Posted by: EdTheRed | December 11, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

and this is why d.c. will never be cool: people are obnoxiously uptight and conservative. heaven forfend they use the wrong fork to eat their fancy salad!

seriously, this team has the most exciting talents to play in the nhl in a long time, one that is way more personable than anyone i can remember from the '80s, and these teatoatlers are upset that people are excited, having a good time, making noise?

actually, that is rather depressing.

count me in the next time Barra Brava are at the phone booth. i really hope some of friday's enthusiasm rubbed off on the fans that'll be there tonight. i'll be the guy trying to lose his voice up high in 412.

big ups to the Barra Brava. TEACH US!

Posted by: served cold | December 11, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey, good job at the game. I was in the section next to you and didnt mind a bit. That place needs some life!

Here is a suggestion for the January game: How about borrowing from the England tradition of singing (or chanting at the case may be) the Great Escape tune as the Caps kill an opponents power play? Just a suggestion on making the crossover...

I can't really afford to join you as I just got the charge for my DCU season tickets, but hopefully as this becomes a tradition I can be there down the road.

¡Viva la Barras Frío!

Posted by: NW FC | December 11, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

hilarious :D

Posted by: Srdan | December 11, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I had planned on joining my Barra brothers and sisters for this match but I had a situation that arose that conflicted. I'm now glad it happened as hockey fans sound like uptight idiots.

I'd encourage our members not to go back at this point. If the Caps fans are happy with organ music and golf claps, they should do their thing and we'll save our energy for DC's only real team--4 time Champs DC United.

Posted by: BigRob | December 11, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I mostly talked to Caps fans in the direct line of fire of Barra chants, so we probably shouldn't assume they all felt thus.

Second of all, in fairness to Stephanie G., she just said the Barra were singing "Beatles songs," and since I heard the "Disney Hockey Team" song I drew my own conclusions. Probably my bad. I think she's a big enough Lennon fan that she probably knows who wrote what. I, on the other hand, don't.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | December 11, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Announcements remedy: Use the great looking jumbo-tron screen and List Goal scorers, assists, penalties. I remember pictures of the players up there, but just post it all there.

I'm going to try and drive down for the next Barra Brava Caps game, sounds like wicked fun.

Posted by: Eddie in CT | December 11, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

FYI... someone above said...

"yeah, that's pretty much what I figured would happen. One thing you didn't mention Dan, was that when the Barra Brava was shown on the jumbotron (or telescreen or whatever), the Caps players all got up and banged their sticks on the boards, a sign of respect. So if nothing else, the Caps themselves were happy they were there."

Um, they were banging their sticks on the boards because Brashear was exiting the penalty box after having stood up for the team by fighting. The Ducks did the same as Thornton was coming out of the box too. It had nothing to do with the fans.

Posted by: Jay | December 11, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Don't be discouraged. Remember, this was the first time this has been done. If what Duffman says is correct (and I have every reason to believe this is), the Caps will have a schedule for this sort of thing in the future.

If these fans who don't like the noise continue to complain, the Caps should just move them to the other side of the stadium. It's big enough that they won't be bothered.

I, for one, welcome our new Barra overlords!

Posted by: Blackaces | December 11, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I had planned on joining my Barra brothers and sisters for this match but I had a situation that arose that conflicted. I'm now glad it happened as hockey fans sound like uptight idiots.
-Big Rob

Seriously, where did all the Caps fans with a set go? (save the folks with rare kind words posted here and on the Caps board)
-Riz

Some of the season ticket holders, and anybody else who got their panties in a bunch over us need to remember that we came out in SUPPORT of the Caps.

-wvevery4yrs


Comments like these are why I have a problem. You seem to think that you're doing us some big favor, that you're some sort of saviors. We've gotten really loud on our own, we don't need the help. We also actually know about hockey, know when to stand, to sit, to cheer, and a lot of other stuff.
The sheer arrogance really gets to me. I personally don't care one way or the other if you go to the games, you didn't add anything for me by being there so drop the attitudes like you're some kind of super fans.

Posted by: Josh | December 11, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

We'll be back. I've never known us to stop doing something just because it didn't agree with what "everyone" wanted.

If the team is behind it, and the players are cool with it, and Duffman (with our help) wants to keep putting forth the effort, then we go back.

Calling all Caps fans uptight idiots really isn't fair. The proper term for those kind of people is: Leafs Fans.

Posted by: Eddie C | December 11, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm glad I'm not on this team anymore. Soon there'll only be one section of fans left, but everyone will all be happy since they'll sing and yell the whole time.

Posted by: Peter Bondra | December 11, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Comments like these are why I have a problem. You seem to think that you're doing us some big favor, that you're some sort of saviors. We've gotten really loud on our own, we don't need the help. We also actually know about hockey, know when to stand, to sit, to cheer, and a lot of other stuff. The sheer arrogance really gets to me. I personally don't care one way or the other if you go to the games, you didn't add anything for me by being there so drop the attitudes like you're some kind of super fans. - Josh.

It's just funny that you used these words in this order to blast someone else for their arrogance.

Come on up and join us next time, Josh, first round's on me.

Posted by: Eddie C | December 11, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Josh, you missed the key point before my little quoted snippet there - I remember what the old Cap Center was like in the 80s. And *gasp* I've been to other Caps games since then, albeit not with my Barra brothers and sisters. I have something very tangible to compare to what I saw last Friday.

Your impression that we're throwing attitude is very defensive sounding to me.

Posted by: Riz | December 11, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone was cranky since it was a bit of a rout and when the Caps lose, everyone gets cranky. That said, I am a STH and I welcome the Barra Brava back, dammit! There is enough space in that usually half-empty arena for everyone. So nyeh.

Posted by: jess | December 11, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Josh, honey, if you've gotten pretty loud on your own, why is it I really couldn't hear anything but us and the people around us who joined in with us? Come up and join us--we're not saviors, and neither are you!!! We're showing up and having fun! Try it sometime--we WILL be doing you a favor by being warm and welcoming, just as we were to people who stopped by to see what we were all about. We've already got some Caps fans coming to join us at DC United's first home game in April.

Now chill, dude. I know it's Monday, but really, you should have gotten more sleep this weekend if you're this cranky.

Posted by: wcevery4yrs | December 11, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

um, can someone tell those stupid, ignorant canadiens fans to stop the ole chants - you know, cause it's for soccer exclusively.

Posted by: moo | December 11, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The whole point of this is being respectful. And the sentiment some of us see is you either accept the Barra Brava or you aren't a real fan. You're not allowed to like to sit down and watch a game without being in position to be called out as not being a real fan. That's my problem in a nutshell, and I knew it was going to happen. I could care less one way or another really, but what's happening here is existing fans are getting bashed and the public perception of that is what upsets me. If you expect to be given a pass for your behavior (whatever it might be) don't call other people out for theirs.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Josh, you've done a great job creating a morgue-like atmosphere for the Capitals.
"You're doing a heckuva job Brownie" seems to be an apt quote to the situation.
I too used to go to Caps game at the old Caps Center in Landover, fans had passion and frequently fought with opposing fans, how is the mausoleum formerly known as the MCI Center an improvement?

Posted by: AlecW81 | December 11, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm a former Caps season ticket holder now living in Europe. What a crock that people complained about the chants! I love the songs the fans over here make up. The creativity shown is fantastic, and makes American fans, with their pathetic "Let's Go" chants, just look moronic.
Get a life, get a clue, and join in.

Posted by: Maineac | December 11, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Jay,

When the player were banging their sticks, several were looking over their shoulders up at the section where BB was sitting. I don't think it had much to do with Brashear exiting the box.
Order of events

-Brashear exits the box
-Some stupid announcement on the telescreen
-Showing Barra Brava
-Players banging sticks and looking up towards Barra Brava

Posted by: FS | December 11, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"When the player were banging their sticks, several were looking over their shoulders up at the section where BB was sitting. I don't think it had much to do with Brashear exiting the box.
Order of events

-Brashear exits the box
-Some stupid announcement on the telescreen
-Showing Barra Brava
-Players banging sticks and looking up towards Barra Brava"

So the Ducks must've been impressed to I guess. Trust me, we could barely hear it in 114 and I doubt the players heard much of what was going on up there. They were banging their sticks for Brashear and they did the same thing when Erskine exited the penalty box.

Posted by: Jay | December 11, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

As a NYR supporter, I would love to have a dedicated supporters section at MSG. As good as the blue seats can be, there is always room for improvement in terms of atmosphere. Organization is the key... and the current NHL booster clubs aren't getting the job done. Leave it to soccer fans to get the NHL fans off their duffs and back to their roots.

Posted by: Rangers supporter | December 11, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

AO back in number 2 in allstar voting

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/hockey/nhl/wires/12/11/2044.ap.hkn.nhl.all.star.voting.0621/

Posted by: AO | December 11, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

hey moo....once again we replaced OLE with OLIE
so we put a hockey theme to a soccer chant

Posted by: captain | December 11, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

captain - in case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic. I know that BB changed the chant (very clever), and I'm all for BB at the Caps games. I was referring to the person who said that "ole" is a soccer chant and doesn't belong at hockey games. My post was just to point out that it's being done at Montreal games...you know in Canada...where they know a thing or two about the game and don't seem to have a problem with such a chant.

Posted by: moo | December 11, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Tell the United fans they're welcome to visit Comcast anytime to cheer on the top-ranked Maryland women!

Posted by: Vincent | December 11, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Moo, its cool, my fault....
I used to go to leafs games, and yes up there the fans are insane. Used to sit glass, and the people would yell at you if you WERENT standing!
and thanks for the support

Posted by: captain | December 11, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I respect all fans and all their forms of support. This thing is going to have some growing pains until it catches on (if it does) and people know what games we will be at and can then avoid us. Others will join us. If there is nobody behind us, we have every right to stand. And we have every right to cheer, even during cheesy jumbotron activity.

Posted by: Duffman | December 11, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the fence. On the one hand, the noise was a welcome change to the normal sepulchral atmosphere. Too many Caps games attendees (I don't call them fans unless they are) sit on their hands even when the Telescreen tells them to clap. Sometimes not even when Goat or Horn Guy get going. It's a passionate sport with passionate fans and those who do make noise do so loudly and proudly. The more noisy it gets the more fun the experience is for fans.

On the other hand, it's a case of WHEN IN ROME. You're not in Europe at a hockey game. You're not even in America in an outdoor stadium watching a game with guys running around kicking a big white ball that is hard to miss. You're in an enclosed arena, blocking the view of guys skating much faster, handling a tiny rubber disk. The chanting and cheering are fine, but sit the heck down!!!

It's not fair to someone who shows up 41 games out of the year and pays thousands of dollars on seats to have their view obstructed by others who only plan to come a few times a season. Certainly not for the WHOLE GAME. Hockey is a fast game. It's easy to miss important plays and pretty goals. So please, for the love of all that is holy, if you knuckleheads want to come and cheer, please do. BUT GET THE F--- OUT OF MY LINE OF SIGHT FOR F---'S SAKE!!!

Also, Dan, I don't appreciate the negative tone in your article, and neither do many other hockey fans who were (emphasis on WERE) regular readers of yours. You've lost a lot of us today. Many of the fans you interviewed had valid points, which you summarily dismissed with sarcastic jabs. I'm not sure why, since journalists are always so, ya know, unbiased.

(Caps games: we're as quiet as your living room!) That's a poor generalization. DC may not be a hockey town, but those of us who are hockey fans get louder than anything I've heard at other sporting events when there's a packed house. I guess you didn't make it to the Buffalo game where we routed then then-best team in the league 7-4. Verizon Center SHOOK with the noise, and not just because it was a sellout crowd of half-and-half Sabres fans. We cheered loud to drown those people out. It worked.

(Caps fans: we know how to stop cheering!)
We also know how not to annoy those unfortunate enough to sit behind us. We don't obstruct their view while the puck is in play.

(If I cared enough to show up for the first period.)Many of us Caps fans work for a living. We get off of work sometimes later than we like, which makes us late for the game. But we come anyway, because we live for hockey.

BARRA BRAVA: Come join us. Be as loud as you can. But you need to respect those of us who make the time and pay the money to be there 41 nights out of the year. Sit down unless there's something going on that merits standing up. If you have any questions about when those times are, talk to Dan.

Oh, wait, he doesn't know jack about hockey. Well, ask anyone there. They'll be glad to help you out.

Maybe you could try figuring out some chants in English (since hockey fans at Verizon Center aren't generally fluent en Español) and work on some cheers that have something to do with the sporting event you're attending.

Lastly, to the Barra Brava above who claimed that the United are the only "real" team in DC: you're a disappointment. But I'm not going to judge the rest of your friends for your nastiness.

That's my piece. I've got to get ready for the Penguins game. Peace to all. Noisy peace is okay.

Posted by: ANONYMOUS | December 11, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it was just the sheer novelty of it -- never having seen it before, perhaps some Caps fans didn't "get it." That's not to say they can't or won't. I'm trying to imagine 15,000 fans behaving pretty much the same way. It would be an impressive thing to experience. I think the Barra Brava should be congratulated for injecting a new sense of enthusiasm into the Caps experience.

Not having been to a United game myself (sorry Brava horde), the closest parallel I could come to was my experience (in my dim past, certainly) at college football games where the student section didn't sit or shut up for 60 minutes.

Might I suggest that if fans want an antiseptic experience, they head over to Fed-Ex Field?

Posted by: ThePeerless | December 11, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I love the idea of the Barra getting a designated section at the back of the arena, b/c what makes the Barra such a great aspect of a DCU game is their infectious energy. I love my hockey, I love my footie. I love my Barra and I love my Caps. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water, expecially when that baby is drunk and screaming at Russians.

Posted by: Dan | December 11, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

If the standing bothered people, why not just move to any of the 4000 available seats throughout the upper bowl that night?

When my group arrived, I pointed to the Barra Brava section, noting it was obviously their's because it was the most crowded. (I think there's a metaphor in that.) It would not have been difficult to walk to section 423, which happens to be where I was. Plenty of seats, no one standing and the BB cheering was a distant rumble that warmed by heart.

Posted by: false_cause | December 11, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, if some of the fans didn't like The Barra the first time, they really aren't gonna like us Jan. 6th. I bet we can double our numbers for that game.

Posted by: DB | December 11, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey anonymous, hope you come back to check this out. As I said in the original post, "Seriously, I don't want to make it seem like I'm picking on Caps fans. Maybe the concept just doesn't translate. Or maybe they just need to be warned in advance."

I can see how if you sit in the same seat every game, and suddenly there are 60 people directly across the aisle screaming and standing, you'd be a bit put off. But the open enmity for fan noise at a sporting event did seem a little odd. I think I'd rather be around excessively loud fans than excessively empty seats, and a lot of the surrounding people were really, really peeved at the noise, which struck me as odd.

The sarcastic jabs were just supposed to be for fun; if you go back to one of my way earlier posts from a D.C. united game, I noted how many of the hardcore DCU fans who claim that they never ever give up on their team began cursing and badmouthing United when things started looking badly. Thankfully the Barra didn't give up on me after that. Hope you all don't, either.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | December 11, 2006 5:28 PM | Report abuse

When Luongo was in Florida, a group from his favorite restuarant came to the games as "Luongo's Legion" and dressed up like Roman soldiers. They made a ton of noise and carried drums, it was amazing and added the coolest ambience to the game.

Needless to say, Panther fans were outraged and aghast at this development, and the Legion slowly died a ignoble death.

Americans who pay a lot of money for tickets don't want to be disturbed from missing the game, I suppose.

Posted by: Rob | December 11, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Dan, the noise is not a problem for me. Most fans want there to be noise, because lack thereof presents possible apathy. My issue is with dozens of fans who seemingly (I know some of them are hockey fans as well) don't understand the flow of the game. Not only that, they are also seemingly oblivious of those BEHIND THEM. I sat near 406 and while I got a huge kick out of their zany antics, I felt seriously badly for those few fans stuck in the last rows of the section who just wanted to watch the game. Just knowing that that could have been me kinda soured me on the experiment.

If the Barra are going to take over a section, the Caps organization should make sure they're there from the back wall forward. The rows of people otherwise stuck behind them would appreciate it.

false_cause: The reason fans can't move about is because there are people who work for Verizon Center called ushers. Their job is to check your ticket before you enter the portal to a section. There isn't general admission, it's all assigned. Some would argue that later in the game the ushers are more lax and often times disappear altogether. Unfortunately, hockey fans want to see the whole game. Unless they're late.

I don't expect anyone to apologize for comments on either side, but I have a strong philosophy that dictates that you can trash talk a team or a sport, but you just don't trash talk fans. That's just me. But I really think that the Barra need to rethink their methods. I'd like to see them again. I'd like to hear them again. But there are no obstructed view seats in Verizon Center, and I'd rather keep it that way.

Posted by: ANONYMOUS | December 11, 2006 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"We've gotten really loud on our own, we don't need the help."

As a lifelong Caps fan, I can state with total confidence that Caps fans haven't been truly loud since 1998. Face it, the help is needed, unless playing in a morgue is going to help the Caps somehow.

I can see how people were frustrated. The standing up, unless everyone is standing, will definitely be a long-term problem. For me, this isn't a foreign concept at a hockey game, but I realize that as a longtime fan I am in the minority. On the other hand, as was pointed out before, standing up adds to the energy of the group. Why do you think people stand up when goals are scored? It's natural.

The timely cheering will come. It takes awhile to get a large group in sync, and even longer when half of them don't really know the sport they're watching. However, complaints about it don't really fly. I'd take ill-timed cheers over the deafening silence Verizon Center usually offers up.

I do think that the more aggressive members of the Barra should note that it is a Caps game; we are guests in their place. Surely Caps fans and United fans can reach an agreement that means happy season ticket holders AND more noise.

The thing I actually find most distressing is that the noise didn't carry throughout the place. Is this an acoustics issue? Would a Bog interview with the architects be a good idea? I would have thought that it would be really loud all over. Perhaps the banners, retired jerseys, and speakers block the noise before it can spread?

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 11, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

If Barra Brava becomes a more permanent tradition at Caps games, I think their section should be treated like a student section at college sporting events. Located in a place where they can feel free to stand, and not impact how other people watch a game.

Just as Barra Brava has the right to enjoy the game by standing, chanting for the whole game, another Caps fan has the right to watch the game from his seat without having to stand up to watch the game.

Their section seemed to be in a good place, other than the few rows behind them. I assume if they build up hype for their next game, they can fill a whole section and not have to worry about people sitting behing them.

Ther'e not much to do about the noise aspect, I mean this is a sporting event, you should expect to have noise, and as a Caps fan I want as much noise as possible. It may help as they develop cheers to be integrated with game situations, i.e. great save by Olie, powerplays, penaly kills, bad calls by refs, etc. I can see where random cheers, that seemingly have nothing to do with the game could annoy some people.

Posted by: JPC | December 11, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, Nick Rimando lost in the "Water Wars" competition and now he lost his spot on DC United as he was packaged with Freddy Adu in a trade to Salt Lake City. No word on whether the contestants will be following him there.

Posted by: Mark Cunningham | December 11, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

This territorial mindset is absurd. I'm not criticizing every-day caps fans. I just think it is cool that we can see Barra (or perhaps we should name them somethign else when they go to caps games. just a though) at the games alongside regular ol fans. There is enough room at Verizon for both sets and I'm sure the two can coexist.

Let's not get upset about this. A dedicated fan section in one part of the arena where fans can stand and sing is a good idea. It can be done, I'm sure, without alienating regular STH's and the like. Let's find a way to bridge the gap.

And this idea that you only act 1 way a soccer games and another way at hockey games is nonsense. Who said you can't sing and cheer at caps games?

Posted by: Blackaces | December 11, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Cheering isn't for everybody, but neither is sitting in a dead stadium. ("Washington still has a team????")

About the only sport I really love sitting in the stands for in this country (besides soccer) is college hockey. I'll go watch just about any school's team because the fans are always awesome! Even club teams and lower division schools! The crowds are often small, but they're into the game and they always have funny, interactive cheers to scream for their team.

If you really need to "hear the announcer", you don't understand the game well enough to complain about other people cheering! The announcer is for the referees, who can't see who they just gave a penalty to, and the girls who have to ask, "Now WHAT just happened??? Is he on the red or the white team???"

Posted by: C2C | December 11, 2006 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to the video Dan.:^)

Vincent, do you sit down in the corrner with the rest of us student...and former students? Viva la Bara Brava! You guys are welcome at a UMD women's game anytime. You'd fit right in.

I was right up in section 405 below Bara and I loved it myself. Things do have a tendancy to be really dead during alot of the game and their energy was palpable. I could tell that alot of them were real hockey fans since they knew what was going on and alot had old school jerseys.

I can understand that some people were upset over what happened. The Caps need to publicize that something like this is goign to happen in the future so the rest of the building knows.

Also, guys, no group cursing next time pelase. It really doesn't sound very good.


Please let all of us here know when the tickets go on sale for the game on the 6th. I am so there and I know some friends who would love to be a part of this to.

Posted by: EricS | December 11, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I think DC United has done a good job figuring out how to provide a good stadium environment its rather varied fanbase, with Barra/Eagles on one side, families on the other, and some interim spaces in there as well. I have sat in all areas around RFK and know first hand that some of the people on the "other" side of the stadium love the supporters arcoss the pitch but also love the fact that they aren't a row behind their seven year old son.

The Barra/Caps experiment would've worked great at Caps Center back out in Landover, but once the Caps moved into DC the people attending the games changed from blue collar to white collar, AOL types. The hockey games are still way too expensive...

Posted by: neiman | December 12, 2006 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous - you are making good points and posting good arguments for your side.

People might take them more seriously if you put your name to them.

Posted by: Eddie C | December 12, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Says "Eddie C."

Just joking, Eddie, but it's hard to place much faith in any of the names that show up on any of our blogs. That's why I think it's so bizarre that The Post is excerpting blog comments on page 2 of the sports section. For all we know, Mike Wise is posting thousands of blog comments under assumed names just to get his work in the paper more frequently. I can see IP addresses for commenters, but for all you readers know, "Eddie C" might as well be an assumed name for both "moo" and "sherm," and all three of them might be Nick Rimando.

Come to think of it, this might actually not be me. If it's not, I'd ask whoever is posting this to submit a few items so I can take the rest of the day off.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | December 12, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Sure thing buddy, got you covered.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg | December 12, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

See, that wasn't me.

Posted by: Dan Steinberg (really) | December 12, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Braiiiins! Arrrggghh!

Braaaaaiiiins!

Posted by: Zombie Dan Steinberg | December 12, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Can I just use "Fake Dan Steinberg" as my posting name from now on? It's a bit more memorable than my initials. (BTW I was the 11:21 Steinberg).

Posted by: ES | December 12, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I could always turn the Bog over to someone else for a day. Now taking applications.

Posted by: Maybe Fake Steinberg? | December 12, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm the Whaler fan mentioned by Dan, whom I first met at the Ovechkin b'day bash. My girlfriend Katie and I had a blast sitting basically right next to Barra Brava, even as my Caps were gettin' lit up worse than a bum with a 40 of Olde E.

Keep coming to the games. The atmosphere was electric. I promise to get to a United game or two next season.

BTW-I joked to Katie that I probably knew a few of them. Ironically, I bumped into two of my pals who were cheering with Barra.

Posted by: Scott Rivette | December 12, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff from the BB.

As a hockey AND soccer (Galaxy!) fan I can see both sides. About the only thing that the complainers have legit arguments for is the standing/blocking of views. Even then, if arrangements could be made for standing in way that didn't block views, then there's not much else to moan about.

And "Ole!" is a soccer chant? Okay, maybe that's the origin, but I've heard it coming thru my tv speakers many times while watching Canadiens home games. That's C-a-n-a-d-i-e-n-s as in Montreal. You know, they play hockey.

I look forward to watching the Jan 6 game.

Posted by: RobertTheBruce | December 12, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As annoying as it is when the 'Booth is full of fans for the opposing team, at least they are hockey fans.
The Brava just seem to be fans of being loud.

Posted by: Capaholic | December 12, 2006 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"The reason fans can't move about is because there are people who work for Verizon Center called ushers."

They are as effective as a solid white line is for keeping a car from changing lanes. In the upper bowl, you can sit anywhere you want at any point in the game. After the first period, it doesn't even require effort. I regularly walk about to visit friends in various locations.

Posted by: false_cause | December 12, 2006 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I've only ever been able to sit in other sections a few times. Most notably when I joined the Germans for the Buffalo game and the Barra for the Ducks game. Most times if I even try to visit a friend in another section I get rebuffed by the usher. I wish they were as vigilant with telling people to wait for a whistle before returning to their seats as they were during intermissions when I roam. Meh. Ushers suck.

Duffman has told me that the entire section of 414 is a likely spot for the Barra in January. I'm in 415. Can't wait! My entire corner is gonna rock!

Posted by: The Horn Guy | December 13, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

i was one of the people "stuck" behind them in 406, and it wasnt a problem at all. it was great to be able to join in with them. i believe the bb only had like four rows, but everyone in the rest of the section didnt seem to mind. at least i didnt hear any complaining, and most of the people seemed to be like me, pleasantly surprised. go to the caps message board (http://boards.washingtoncaps.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=45914) for info on the upcoming game in january.

Posted by: Caps Fan | December 13, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Who goes to a stadium/arena to watch sports? That's what TV is for. Stadiums are for being a part of the event. And that means cheering, standing up and really supporting your team.

I'll be sitting with the Eagles and Barra each and every time I ride back down to DC for a visit.

Posted by: Robert Wilson | December 22, 2006 10:29 PM | Report abuse

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