The Five Phases of the Drunk Sports Fan


(Photo credit: akseabird)

Over the course of my lifetime, I have been to many sporting events. At sporting events you will find many things. There is always the person who is inappropriate on the jumbotron’s “Kiss Cam.” There is the fan who screams from the upper deck, nearly popping a blood vessel despite the fact that he is roughly 4,000 feet from the playing surface and no one can even sort of hear him. There is the one guy who insists on trying to start a chant over and over despite the fact that no one will ever join him.

If you look closely enough, behind each one of these activities you will find one thing.


Yes, alcohol and sports seemingly go hand in hand. One of the most famous athletes of all-time, Babe Ruth, frequently came to games drunk. He became the greatest baseball player ever AND lived all the way to the ripe old age of 53, so you know he was living right.

Nowadays, the drinking is relegated to the stands. After attending these games, you will notice that every drunk fans follows a specific pattern. Through my years of research, I have identified the pattern that each of these people will follow. The hockey game I attended this evening is a perfect example of what I like to call “The Five Phases of the Drunk Sports Fan.”

Phase 1: The Eternal Thirst

6:55- A group of 6-7 people walk up the steps to the seats behind me. Each of them has in tow the largest beer that they can have. They are clearly very thirsty, one man even stealing drinks from his wife’s $9 beer to quench his never-ending thirst.

7:10- The group takes turns going back to the concession stand to buy more beer. I would assume that, roughly five minutes into the game, they have each consumed three tall beers. They are not concerned about driving as one of the women is pregnant, therefore must sit idly by and watch as they each drink more and more, slipping into the second phase.

Phase 2: Confusion

7:23- One of the female fans leans over to a male and says the following: “You know what they should do? They should just, you know, take a shot and throw it.” This leads to much laughter from the male. “You don’t throw it in hockey. You have to hit the ball,” he says, unaware of the irony in his statement. Only 18 minutes in and the woman has forgotten how hockey works while her male counterpart has forgotten that balls are round, not flat black discs hit back on forth on ice.

7:45- I feel moisture on my back. Sure enough, the woman directly behind me, in her fog of confusion, had completely forgotten how cups work. She had mistakenly allowed her cup to tip over, dribbling beer onto my back. This transitions directly into the longest and arguably least pleasant of the phases.

Phase 3: Alcohol Related Loss of Hearing

Once a person slips into phase 3, something terrible happens. All of a sudden, the fan loses their ability to hear themselves. This causes them to scream, repeat themselves, and often say things they would not normally say. They are unaware of any of this, unfortunately.

7:46- Having noticed that I have wiped the spilled beer off of my back, the woman says “I’M SO SORRY!” Her friend, noticing that she has spilled says “YOU SPILLED BEER ON HIS BACK?! HOW DO YOU SPILL BEER ON HIS BACK?! HEY GUYS, SHE SPILLED BEER ON THIS GUY’S BACK! DOES HE KNOW YOU SPILLED BEER ON HIS BACK?” I turn around and let them know that I do, indeed, know that she has spilled beer on my back.

8:06- The two drunkest males participate in a debate over who is the better and more successful quarterback: Jay Cutler or Vince Young. It is very loud and a consensus is reached that Jay Cutler is a terrible person and also that Vince Young played football. This will not go down as history’s greatest argument.

8:14- One man says the following: “Her face is all @#$@#^% up, so she should just @%#%*^@ take a drink. I’m going to come over there and @@$#$%@& Mike Tyson his @#$@#^%%@#$!#$@$% and knock him over in 9 seconds and rip off his ear.”

8:23- The man who is married to the poor pregnant designated driver goes on a profanity laced tirade about buying his wife a Snickers bar. This is interrupted by a fellow drunk fan, one section over, who decides that now would be a good time to stand up and scream advice at the players skating on the ice. Instead of continuing with his delightful romp through the horrors of feeding your pregnant wife, he stands up and screams, “I don’t know what that guy over there just said, but just DO IT!”

8:25- I smell the strong scent of peanut butter. This is unrelated, but I am curious where someone got peanut butter at a hockey game.

8:35- One of the men screams at a woman on the JumboTron,  telling her to “take off your @#$@$#% shirt already!” She does not.

8:43- With the second period nearing an end, one of the men has just realized the Nashville Predators are hosting the Ducks. This causes him to try to reference the “Mighty Ducks” movie franchise as many times as possible: “Don’t you try to do that flying V you Goldberg knucklepuckers! Emilio Estevez!”

Phase 4: Confusion, Part Deux

Around this time, the fan’s buzz has worn off. This causes a regression, bringing the fan back to a phase of confusion, though it is foggier this time.

9:05- One of the men leans over to the rest of the group. “The score is 2-0, right?” For the last 45 minutes, the games has been tied at 2 goals a piece. The first goal was scored about an hour and a half before. He tries to talk his way through the goals, but has no recollection. He is clearly confused and will most likely spend the rest of his life trying to remember where those two missing goals went.

Phase 5: Remorse

After a night of loudly screaming nonsensical things, there is bound to be some regret. Normally this is hashed after the game. Fortunately for education’s sake, tonight’s feeling of remorse was much more evident.

9:15- One of the guys stops me as I return to my seat from a delightful wait in the mile-long men’s room line. “Hey, I’m sorry if we’ve been real @#$@#$#^ behind you guys tonight. I have people from Alabama with me, so I have to pay due to their ignorance.”

While I do not know what “pay due to their ignorance” means, and while he has clearly called his friend morons behind their backs to a complete stranger, the remorse is there. He will no doubt regret his behavior forever. Or at least until the next time he decides to drop $100 on beer at an athletic event.

I’m guessing his regret will probably be short-lived.

10 thoughts on “The Five Phases of the Drunk Sports Fan

  1. Interesting, I strangely want to go to a hockey game again. The last time I went to one, the Mississippi fans got into a fight with the Alabama fans. It was mostly screaming although the security had to separate 2 reminded me of a junior high school football game I once heard about…. in Alabama.


  2. This is awesome. I get so angry at fans that think they are ‘the show’. I just want to watch the game. I feel an odd sense of embarrassment during these times, and I don’t really enjoy interacting with them. Only if they are really really funny does it not bother me, but that is oh so seldom!


  3. You nailed it. So drunk sports fans are the same regardless of the place or event. Many a drunk has ruined a sports outing for me. And sporting events are not cheap. Hence, I watch the games from home. No drunks. No yelling. No beer soaked back. No line for the bathroom.


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