Saturday, December 09, 2006

Barra Brava At The Caps Game

I'm running short on time here, so I'll have to be quick with my thoughts and light on my linking back.

Dan Steinberg among others spent some time promoting D.C. United's Barra Brava appearance at the Caps game versus Anaheim last night. After attending the game last night and even spending some time (but not the whole game) with the Barras I have to give Duffman and his Barra Brava crew an A for effort. They picked a lousy game to attend but made the best of it as there were very few operational pauses (ie, moments of quiet) by the group last night, but they end up with a C-/D+ for execution which I am about to explain.
  1. Old habits die hard. While a good job was done "translating" D.C. United cheers for the Caps, some of the Barras had a hard time following along because they're so used to saying "United" instead of "Ovechkin" and "Capitals."
  2. As they say in Real Estate, location, location, location. Normally 60 fans would be enough to be heard throughout the arena, but being stuck up in the upper part of 406, the Barra's singing and chanting sounded like vague noise in other parts of the arena. Friends of mine who sit in 116 told me that they could hear something, but they couldn't understand it.
  3. A good way to resolve #2 is to cut out the Spanish chants and cheers, but as #1 points out, old habits die hard.
  4. You could tell the boredom set in when they started cheering for various past and present D.C. United players in the third period. I think that had to do with the stop and start nature of hockey. Soccer just seems to have a better overall flow even though play does stop from time to time.
  5. I'll have to watch my recording of the game, but they did not get any mention in any of the local or Los Angeles papers. While media coverage is not a barometer of success in this instance, the hoped for impact did not occur on most levels. They only got the fans around them going and that's it.

I'll give the Barras credit, they came, they saw, they kept going all night despite the fact that the Caps didn't get much of a lift from their antics. A few of their songs and cheers got approval from their neighbors and I didn't see any beer flying when the Caps scored their only goal which is a good thing. I'm interested to know how many angry e-mails showed up in Ted's mailbox this morning from people who were in their vicinity and didn't appreciate the shenanigans.

My suggestion to the Barras is to come up with songs and chants specific to the Caps. That will help combat old habits and give you a larger repertoire in case boredom sets in. I also suggest that the Caps place them on the Club Level. I know that Dishonest Abe and La' Sooz control the Club Level, but this not only gets people in that unpopulated area (though there was a completely empty section 431 last night in the upper deck) but also puts the Barra's closer to the action and in the middle of the arena. From there, it wouldn't be too hard for the rest of the fans at the Phone Booth to hear these guys.

But don't worry folks, the Barra Brava are planning a return on January 6th when the Caps host Atlanta. The Barra Brava fans who are also Caps die hards are hoping to make this a more regular thing; I think this has the chance to be something good.


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