Ticket vendor forced to get physical

Blues teams this year have a serious problem: “We have too many fans coming to the games,” says Glen Gravengaard of the men’s basketball team. “The games get really noisy and I can’t concentrate. We’ve talked to [athletic director] Joe Iacobellis about maybe shutting the doors, or changing the game time at the last minute, but he says there’s nothing he can do.”

Gravengaard feels disrespected by the support his team is receiving, saying, “I am a confident person and a grown man; I don’t need people to come and cheer or support me, and the rest of the team feels the same way.”

Discomfort for the players is only one of Capilano’s many adversities in the face of this fan crisis. “For one,” says Yorgie Svenson, director of marketing for the Blues, “there is just no way for us to meet the demand for tickets. The Sportsplex holds, at max, 1000 people at a game, and we have over 4000 students fighting over this very small quantity of tickets.” Another concern he mentions is how angry the 3000 fans are who don’t get tickets, adding, “it is not uncommon for me to receive death threats.”

A recent tribunal of Capilano administrators brainstormed to find a solution to the problem. Ideas included having a raffle for the tickets, or organizing a schedule so that each student is allowed a certain number of games a year. “These would only be temporary solutions,” said Svenson. “We have finalized plans to remove both concrete walls of the Sportsplex and replace them with glass. The roundabout will be destroyed to make way for bleachers. Speakers and a jumbotron will allow the fans to hear the game and see instant replays.”

Although this plan seems to placate the hordes of rabid Blues sports fans, players like Gravengaard, feel they should have been consulted, as none of them want people to come and support them, and secondly, are worried about their fans’ behaviour.

Last weekend highlighted two particularly bad incidents, both at home and on the road. The first took place at the Sportsplex, when hundreds of angry fans were turned away from the ticket booth. Tom Smith, head facilities attendant, was compelled to use physical force to repel the invading fanatics, using an ancient Chinese fighting technique called Bak Mei, a skill he says he learned at a free clinic held in the multipurpose room.

The second incident took place when the women’s volleyball team took on the Royals at Douglas College. Kristie Lum, a third year player, had just made a very tough dig, prompting roars of approval from the fans. Lum was quoted as demanding that the fans “shut the hell up.” When they cheered her ouburst, Lum took to the stands, violently beating several first year theater students, two of whom required massive facial reconstruction. Lum was not charged in the assault.

Despite these events, Yorgie Svenson remains optimistic that the new measures Capilano has put into place will ease the tension of Blues fans, although he admits it does little to help the concerns of the players: “Look, I’ve done all I can to make sure these fans don’t want to come to the games. We barely advertise and we don’t post the results of the games anywhere. This a problem the players are going to have to accept.”

// Mac Fairbairn
Sports Editor

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