More tales of crazy things thrown onto fields of play
Posted: Wednesday April 12, 2006 11:26AM; Updated: Wednesday April 12, 2006 1:32PM
Red Wings fans have made throwing octopi onto the ice a tradition, but readers have seen much worse hurled onto the field of play.
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"How do you sneak a dead coyote into the gym anyway?" asks Andy from Sioux Falls, apparently mistaking me for a taxidermist/smuggler. Actually, he's one of many readers who chimed in with examples of fans throwing interesting items onto fields of play. (Thanks to all who wrote in, by the way. Sorry if I didn't respond to all of you.) Ol' Andy tells of the South Dakota-South Dakota State hoops rivalry, at which many a dead mascot -- a coyote and a jackrabbit, respectively -- has been heaved courtward, leading him to wonder, rightfully so, just how a lupine carcass can make it past security.
The mailbag brought so many more examples of interesting sports projectiles that we're dedicating most of this week's column to them. You'll likely notice a disproportionate number of examples coming from hockey. Why that is the case is beyond me. I'd love to hear any theories. I've categorized them for your convenience.
College kids have a tendency to throw their opponent's mascot onto the floor, usually after it's croaked. (This never happened to us at Vanderbilt, probably because authorities don't write off "hauling a dead Commodore around" as a harmless prank, even if you didn't kill him.) It happens in professional sports as well, often in the north -- which I guess makes sense, because the cold probably keeps the carcasses from getting rank as quickly.
Neate from Ottawa informs us, "There's at least two recorded instances I know of where hockey fans threw a deer leg on the ice at the end of the game." Here's one, from a Western Michigan-North Dakota college game back in 2003.
Dan from Moscow, Idaho, tells of a Minnesota-North Dakota game at which the UND fans threw dead gophers onto the ice after a goal, leading Dan to wonder, "What would've happened if the Gophers had shut them out?" Which is a question that has baffled people who bring dead animals to sporting events for years: What do I do if I can't throw my carcass?
A slew of Alaska Aces fans (that's a hockey team) wrote in to boast of their practice of tossing fish (usually salmon) onto the ice after a goal, though one reader noted that when the opponent is the Ice Dogs, franks are the projectile of choice. (More on those later.)
Georgia Tech fans once pelted Ara Parseghian with a fish -- a few readers speculated that they were just offering him up a dinner option for a Lenten Friday.
The best story re: animal corpses, though, comes from Scott in Huntington, W.Va., who offers a disclaimer -- and wildly overestimates the pull I have around here: "This might require a quick fact-check from an intern, but it is supposedly true." Anyway, the story Scott's dad told him was that Soupy Sales was once walking to a Marshall basketball game and happened upon a dead pigeon. Being Soupy Sales, he picked it up. And, as Scott tells us, "At halftime, the ref fired a starter's pistol (as was customary at the time). At the same time, Sales threw the carcass onto the court, much to the bewilderment of the officiating crew and the fans." Great stuff. Let's hope it's true.