Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old Emerson student, died during a raucous post game celebration outside Fenway Park following the Red Sox’s victory over the New York Yankees to clinch the pennant.

The celebration turned rowdy as crowds lit fires and vandalized property. Police responded and had to resort to firing tear-gas pellets into the crowd. Snelgrove was shot in the eye with a pellet and died hours later.

Boston Police are taking responsibility for tragic event. Yet why do these celebrations get violent and require police intervention? What makes fans turn violent?

Violence has long been a part of a fan’s reaction.

A fan died after the Patriots won the Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers.

A Los Angeles Dodgers fan was shot and killed outside Dodger Stadium following a confrontation with a San Francisco Giants fan.

After the Lakers won their first of three championships in 2000, fans rioted in the streets, lighting bonfires and flipping over police cars.

In May 1985, a skirmish turned lethal between fans of Liverpool and Juventus, two European soccer clubs, as a wall gave way and 39 people died.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for crazy celebrations following great games, huge upsets, bitter rivalries and close calls. In college sports, it remains tradition to rush the field or the court following a big game. I hope in my remaining three years at Georgetown, I am provided a reason to rush the court or field.

A friend of mine at the University of North Carolina recalls rushing the field following an upset of Florida State. He climbed the goalpost and helped in bringing it down. This remains one of his favorite college memories, but how different would this memory be if someone had died in the tussle?

One possible explanation for this fan violence phenomenon is alcohol.

Alcohol obviously can make people choose to do things they otherwise would not do, for example, light a cop car on fire. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, enhances peer pressure and provokes wild behavior in general.

Add the adrenaline of a victory and things can quickly get out of hand. Should alcohol then be prohibited from all sports games?

As it is now, alcohol cannot be sold at on-campus college stadiums, but off-campus facilities remain fair game.

Regardless of how tight security may be, students will always find a way to sneak alcohol in or drink enough to get a buzz before the game. Prohibiting alcohol from professional sports is out of the question as beer has become part of the game-watching experience.

The Boston mayor suggested limiting alcohol sales after the death of Snelgrove, but only a few days after he retracted this statement. Instead, he offered more police forces in and outside bars in Boston during the World Series.

After Lakers’ fans rioted in the streets in June of 2000, Shaquille O’Neal purchased new squad cars to replace those ruined in the celebration.

Every year after, during any playoff game, TV stations would broadcast commercials filmed with various Laker stars urging fans to celebrate in a positive manner and not to be destructive. Do these commercials make a difference? Will the Boston mayor’s additional police forces serve as a deterrent? Judging from history as how this mob mentality still occurs, it is not likely to stop soon.

There’s no easy solution, as it’s impossible to remove alcohol from sports. Not only has beer become part of the experience, but also alcohol companies are fiscally involved.

It is also impossible to have a big victory without the adrenaline rush, and most of all, impossible to remove testosterone from the males who more often than not, are the sources of such acts. Maybe as a girl I just don’t understand the reason to burn things after a big game.

Fans need to take responsibility for their actions. Cities should not need to riot police outside of stadiums.

Fans must recognize that there is no reason for celebration that requires police enforcement. There are plenty of ways to celebrate safely, none of which result in use of water hoses, tear-gas pellets and night sticks.

As much as we may feel we live and die with our sports teams, at the end of the day, it is still just a game. We follow sports for entertainment, excitement, athletic spectacle, for a way to take pride in our cities and states.

It can only be hoped that Victoria Snelgrove did not die in vain. There is no excuse for such levels of craziness following a victory. Fans need to take a step back and try to peer through the beer goggles to realize that their actions might have serious, lethal consequences.

Snelgrove was an innocent bystander, a Red Sox fan celebrating the pennant, and now she is dead for wanting to commemorate their historic win.

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