Sports fans foul out: it’s just a game

The Southerner

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Screaming fans. Broken glass. A dangerous mob.To some, this might seem like an unusual phenomenon, like any riot. In Atlanta, however, Braves fans are the latest example of unruly sports fans who have gotten out of control. Why is it that major sporting events, such as baseball’s World Series, the NCAA men’s basketball championship, or even the NBA Finals, can result in mayhem?

Sports should be entertaining and fun for fans to watch. Healthy competition on an even playing field makes athletics meaningful and memorable.Sometimes it’s easy to forget these notions with all the scandals and cheating that go on, but every once in a while we as fans need to remind ourselves that it’s just a game.

Fans have been unruly lately, and if we focus on specific incidents, it’s easy to see that sports fans in America need a reminder that it doesn’t matter how much you love your team. Recently, after people became angry over an umpire’s call, Atlanta Braves fans dangerously threw bottles and cans onto the field. Then Kansas City fans booed their own quarterback, Matt Cassel, while he lay unconscious after getting hit during a play.

Fans are increasingly acting like rowdy, immature children across the country, and I feel that this doesn’t only pertain to Atlanta fans, but the state of fans everywhere has created issues for the leagues involved, and things are only spiraling downward.

The word “fan” is defined in the dictionary as “an enthusiastic devotee, usually as a spectator.” The boundaries of “enthusiasm” can be stretched to certain extremes of behavior, sometimes amusing, sometimes admired. But it definitely shouldn’t stretch to home fans cheering when their quarterback falls to the ground with a concussion. Or throwing bottles and garbage on a baseball field, putting other fans and players in danger, over an umpire’s call.Or egging a house that is rented by five college players only because the team lost a football game. Or threatening to fight a college athlete over the internet.

So this is what sports has come to?

I don’t care how much you love your team, it doesn’t give you the right to throw something from your seat. You don’t have the right to possibly injure an umpire or player. Our behavior at sporting events has reached the point where it can’t be ignored any longer. It’s embarrassing, but more than anything, it’s stupid. It’s just a game. Life will go on the next day whether your favorite team wins or loses.

The general lack of respect for the game has never been higher. When you egg the home of your own team’s football star, threaten them to a fight, or cheer because of their injury, all because it isn’t what you want, you’ve lost your mind.

Are people that involved in their team that they have to turn to violence to express themselves? And it’s not just the Major League Baseball fans, either. It’s the NFL, NBA, and NHL. Fans everywhere are acting like idiots when things don’t go their way.

Some people might think nothing has happened because of fans throwing dangerous objects onto Turner Field. They might say nobody was injured, so there is no problem. This may be true, but eventually we’ll need to deal with the worsening problem of unruly fans at sporting events. One day, we’ll have to create a solution to the people who think they’re above the law and maybe we’ll be able to act more appropriately toward each other and game officials.

I understand that this can’t be directed at all sports fans across the country. Most of us do respect the game and other fans around us. A lot of people, including myself, enjoy watching the game and cheering or booing in a respectful manner. It is understandable that the recent behavior couldn’t have been the fault of everyone.

Not many Georgia fans actually think that the quarterback’s bad game in their loss should result in egging and toilet-papering his house. Even fewer fans would actually want to threaten the linebacker to a fist fight like some did. This behavior is unacceptable, but I understand that all sports fans cannot be blamed.

Even though this may be true, fans have changed the way I look at sports for the worse. When I go to a game, I have paid for the ticket and should be allowed to voice my opinion, but I don’t feel I should be subjected to inappropriate or dangerous acts or language. As violence and rudeness of sports fans continues,the games as we know them will not be watched or appreciated in the same way. If we truly like the sports we claim to be fans of, we need to remind ourselves once again that it’s just a game.



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