Despite our nice reputation, a lot of Kiwi's just can't handle booze. Combine it with losing in a sport held dear and things get pretty ugly.
Rowdy crowd mars Eden Park Test
Eden Park 'louts' anger
Unruly Eden Park mob a League problem
As usual, the comments are more telling than the stories themselves. The last one is an opinion piece, and the title isn't really right. Go to any major sports event (and even some not so major ones) and the pathetic, embarrassing behaviour on show at that match is evident. Some people go to watch the game, others just go to get drunk and have 'an awesome time', which is usually less than awesome for those around them. I've seen dickheads at every big sporting event I've ever been to, and had my manhood and sexuality questioned on more than one occasion for not enthusiastically joining in with childish obscenity laden insults directed at either players or officials (going back as far as high school). Not everyone does this, but the idiot minority is usually big enough to be unavoidable.
Couple of things this highlights:
-Some people in this country know how to drink responsibly, but for a vast amount their drinking habits stopped developing before leaving high school: drink as much as you can for as long as you can. I understand in other countries it is embarrassing to be seen drunk in public; here it is practically an expectation. I started out that way, but always being something of a cheap drunk (my alcohol tolerance has always been low for my body type, so low in fact that terrifyingly I can be what I would consider drunk and still have a blood alcohol level that would let me legally drive), as I have gotten older I find myself drinking less and less. I'll partake if it suits, but don't need it to have a good time. I like the buzz and the relaxing effect, but hate being drunk, and hate being around drunk people when I'm sober, and a hangover now just means a morning or a day wasted.
-Combining the latter group of excess drinkers with sports exacerbates a second tendency: national insecurity. The need for validation means we can be incredibly ungracious winners (as supporters-the sportspeople themselves are generally well grounded about winning and losing), and incredibly bitter and sore losers. Combine this with a perceived 'right' and need for alcohol while watching sport (I know people who wouldn't bother going to a game if it was dry) and idiocy ensues. Supporters wearing an opposition jersey, or applauding opposition points skilfully scored are asking for trouble, and I am not talking about good natured banter, I'm talking real hatred and harrassment. I've seen it happen, and it disgusts me. I have trouble reconciling it with our supposed image as a laid back easy going friendly nation.
-Another facet of the insecurity thing is our supposed fundamental rivalry with the Australians in almost every area possible. It is there for sure and one or two sports almost revolve around it, but the truth is the rivalry is massively one way. We care about it way more than the Australians do.
We've clearly got issues.