Jan 15, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT
Welcome to Olney High in Philadelphia, where you must submit your name in advance and pass a background check in order to attend your school’s varsity boys basketball game. Sir, please pass through this metal detector, and remove your shoes. Are you a parent of one of the players? We’ll need to see a birth certificate. And please remove your belt. Yes, it’s all because, during a game last week, Olney fans were not pleased with the way that rival Frankford High was thrashing their team, and decided to invade the parking lot after the game and beat up their players and coach. Oh Philadelphia sports fans, you’ve done it again (wacky sound effect). Key quote from story:
When a Frankford player dunked a ball, Dubin said, an Olney fan standing behind that basket growled at him: “Stop trying to disrespect our team. We’re gonna f— you up after the game!”
It happened last week, as referees had to call the game in the fourth quarter due to Olney fans crowding the sideline and refusing to get back into the stands.
“When we came out as a team [to board the bus home], it was crazy. One of our [adult] fans got jumped right away; he got beat up pretty bad,” Frankford coach Ben Dubin said. “Everywhere you looked, there were fights going on, six to eight at a time. I got hit three times, [including] once to the face, but they didn’t catch me flush.”
Player Omar Askia was hit so hard in the face his eye swelled shut, Dubin said. Player Harold Hicks went home with a bloody mouth after catching a sucker-punch, Dubin said. Olney fans even appeared to be fighting each other, he added.
Lamar Poole, a Philadelphia police officer who was off duty, attended the game to cheer on his son Steffon, a Frankford player.
“It was crazy – very crazy,” said Poole, who was a star basketballer at Thomas Edison in the early 1990s. “There had to be 50 to 100 people out there, attacking the Frankford players . . . I stayed up at the top of the steps with my son, making sure nobody came after him.”
Now, Olney home games for boys varsity and JV and girls varsity are played in a mostly empty gym before a small, intimate gathering of parents … just like a Florida Marlins game.
Bonus fact, from Wikipedia: Recently, youths living in the area have dubbed the Olney neighborhood ‘The Ozone’.
To avenge loss, Olney fans beat coach, players after game [Philadelphia Daily News]
Olney High sees fewer spectators after brawl [Philadelphia Inquirer]
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