The D.C. Defenders faced the Seattle Sea Dragons in an XFL game that people will remember not because of the football itself, but the fans. The crazy, unhinged XFL fans.
Lemons. Snakes. The closest association one might get from these two unrelated words are “Lemony Snicket,” and what unfolded on Sunday night in an XFL game between the D.C. Defenders and the Seattle Sea Dragons was, in fact, a series of unfortunate events.
The Defenders ended up beating the Sea Dragons, 22-18, to kick off the XFL season, and what a game it was. Saturdays are for the boys, but Sundays are apparently for Defenders fans to start one of their favorite traditions: building a beer snake.
Fans at Audi Field in Washington started stacking cups in an attempt to outdo themselves from 2020, when D.C. fans made a 75-foot-long beer snake that spanned nine rows. Eager to break some sort of unspoken record, fans began to resurrect the beer snake during the Defenders’ opening game against Seattle, but security quickly confiscated the cups.
This meant war, and the fans responded to the stringent security measures by throwing lemons on the field.
One could say the fans’ relationship with the stadium officials quickly soured.
In all seriousness, it’s unclear how the fans got ahold of all these lemons or why they chose lemons as ammunition in the first place.
Whatever their reason was, fans started pelting lemons onto the field in protest of the banned beer snake and even got some traction on Twitter with the hashtag, “Free the snake.”
XFL bans the beer snake and gets an earful of lemons from incensed fans
To the uninitiated, a beer snake is essentially the drunkard’s version of “The Wave.” Buy cups of beer during the game, down them, and get together with other fans to stack cups and create something marvelous, a bona fide work of art that you can tell your grandkids about one day.
The beer snake tradition dates back to the Defenders’ 2020 XFL season, when fans decided to have some fun with their empty cups because, well, why not? This was the XFL, not the “No Fun League.” Or so they thought.
In 2023, the XFL returned after a hiatus in 2021 and 2022, and fans understandably got angry when they found out that the league was banning beer snakes.
Per ESPN’s sideline reporter Stormy Buonantony, the enraged fans told security that “If you don’t give us beer snakes, we’re going to continue to give you lemons.”
Now, the question should not be, “Why are the fans throwing lemons?” The question should be, “Why is the XFL banning the one good thing to come out of this league? Who is getting hurt by these harmless beer snakes? Why is the XFL being such a party pooper?”
The league’s souring attitude toward beer snakes could explain the lemon situation (suck on that, wannabe Roger Goodell!) as fans fought back for their basic freedom and unalienable right to make snakes out of empty beer cups. Bring back the fun, and free the snake.