An email reader wants me to take Mike Wilbon to task over criticizing TFC fans for throwing streamers onto the field during corner kicks, but I think Wilbon is right.
I love atmosphere at games, but I hate anything being thrown on to the field. TFC fans aren't being original in this - the Legion 1908 of Chivas USA has a streamer ritual towards the goal near the end of every home match.
Thing is, I've seen Brad Guzan fight his way through streamers when trying to catch a cross - and he didn't look happy about the "support" from the fans.
I've watched TFC matches where the team needed only a goal to win or draw late in the game and fans were still throwing streamers to the opposition corner kicker, eating up clock time that their squad could presumably use to score.
I hate, hate, anything outside the field of play physically affecting the game. The emotional impact of fan support doesn't need to be translated into stuff flying out from the stands. The streamer shower almost always delays the match. What's a few seconds lost in return for atmosphere?, some might ask, but I really fail to see the point. Plus, I think it sets a bad precedent to throw anything on to the field - streamers today, something heavier and more painful in the future, perhaps. Cheer, jeer, sing, but don't detract from the game. It's a turn-off to me to watch players pick streamers off from the corner arc. I want to see soccer being played.
Granted, some people throw confetti after goals - I'm ok with that because the action stops for a bit after goals anyway, since a team celebrates scoring.
I remember asking Kevin Hartman about streamers and he pointed out that he didn't mind confetti, but streamers often didn't unroll and just remained on the field. His worry was that a defender, who often backs up while watching an attacker instead of where one is stepping, could turn an ankle or knee by stepping on the lumpy streamer roll. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it's not a valid concern.