WHAT COLLEGE FOOTBALL COULD LEARN FROM TURKISH SOCCER

Mike Hewitt

MORE FLARES. MORE PROFANITY.

Hi! We were in Turkey for a big piece about going to a soccer match in Turkey, a place that may take soccer more seriously than anyone in the United States takes college football. If you doubt this, consider the last time you watched Alabama fans, or anyone else for that matter, chant "CHEAT CHEAT CHEAT" at another team for ten minutes or so straight at a soccer game. You can't, because this does not happen, and Turkey's soccer fan on the whole is way more serious about fandom than you are.

So while we're going through our notes--LOL ACTUAL NOTES--on this, here's where Turkish soccer is all but giving you things to do better as a fan, or to demand out of your fan experience. There are only four of them so far, but they're important.

1. Singing. It's so sad that Americans can't drag together simple songs, but it really enhances an experience as a viewer when everyone can roar through no fewer than five basic songs, all of which mention doing horrible things to the opponent's relatives. This is how you actually feel about rivals, and should be able to express it accordingly with thousands of your close friends.

2. More stadium overhangs. It just makes things so much louder. Galatasaray's new stadium seats around 52K, and when they'd all whistle in unison at Fenerbahce the screeching was ear-splitting. You'll pay for it in terms of weird shadows-- see Cowboys stadium-- but with a college crowd that actually makes noise the environment would be nigh-hellish without having to suffer the sterility of a dome.

3. MORE STADIUMS SHAPED LIKE YOUR MIGHTY BEASTLY MASCOT.

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We'd trade The Swamp for Bursaspor's very real stadium opening later this year any day, so long as we could paint the interior nuke-orange.

4. Fist-shaking rage. That's probably the most underused gesture for an angry American fan, but nothing feels quite like trying it out and actually shaking your fist like you're a furious old man who has just had something delivered to his home in a ramshackle or half-assed fashion. When the refs made calls against Galatasaray the stands erupted in pure geriatric fist-shaking, and the whole effect went from comic to a bit frightening in just a few nanoseconds.

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