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Class and Respect In the Stands -- Where Has it Gone?

The Queen Bee was unsettled by the lack of sportsmanship from the Boston College fans.

Every year the Trojan football team takes to the field in different cities around the country and the fans follow in flocks to witness what hopefully leads to triumph. Being a Trojan alumnus is more than just a status symbol. It is about a true love of our school and trying to show it in every way possible.

This week the USC Trojans were in Boston. I, along with three of my Gamma Phi Beta sorority sisters, made the trek to watch our football team and take our place in the festivities. All over Boston we ran into other Trojans, wearing their gear and showing their Trojan pride. We took over the city, a city that retains its own pride.

Yet, we did not run into many with Boston College gear. For a city so proud of their heritage, their love for their college football teams did not seem to be as robust, until they are winning (and when they are unexpectedly, watch out).

It's a shame. Boston is a beautiful city of old world revolutionary era architecture and even has the first bar in American which was established in 1657, and was a centralized focal point for the Revolutionary War. But I digress. This is an article about football and its fans, not about the history of Boston.

The 8 p.m. EST game was supposed to be the crowning glory of what was an amazing weekend vacation for us, but it was not to be as we hoped.

After an evening of making the trek to the stadium in the pouring rain -- something those of us that live in Southern California are not much used to as of late -- we arrived feeling pretty cold and soaked to the bone, but were excited to see our Trojans play with heart and passion, like they did the previous week against Stanford.

The first quarter went much like we all expected. The Trojans marched down the field, scoring and bringing the score to 10-0.  In the stands, we got excited to see the routing we were all expecting. Then something happened. We got to 17 points and then seemed to just…stop.

We stopped playing. We stopped trying. That’s what it felt like.

Boston College’s defense started playing on another level and our players, due to some unknown reason, seemed to lose their fire. Getting a first down was equivalent to finding a unicorn for the next couple of quarters. And BC's aggression and power just grew. Before we knew it, USC was losing by three.

All the while the hecklers were stepping up their assaults in the stands. The lack of sportsmanship exhibited by many of these fans was unbelievable. Even when one of our players was hurt on the field, the BC fans continued to cheer and heckle us, a disrespectful move our fans wouldn’t dare.

As it began to become clear the Trojans would not see victory this day in Boston, the stands became almost unbearable. This was a heartbreaking enough loss for the Trojan fans that had flown more than 3,000 miles to grab victory in what should have been a very easy game for our top-ten team.

We can only guess what it was that prevented our team from playing as they normally do and should have. But the fact we were pushed around and name called by these rogue fans made it a million times worse.

Football fans understand the want to cheer for your team and get excited when your team accomplishes what the fans believed to be unthinkable, but the level that some of these fans took the unnecessarily rude level of taunting was shocking.

As a team, the Trojans need to put this loss behind them and focus on the next game at home on September 26th against Oregon State. But as a fan, I am left to wonder if the days of class and manners are completely behind us.

And that truly makes me sad, as a long time fan of the sport and the fans that used to make it so great. At the end of the day, we are all just people and it is just a game. Some would do well to remember that.