Thursday, January 18, 2007

Guide to Being a Good Fan

One of the listserves I am on got into a discussion about fan behavior. And here's the thing. I have been to a range of games, school sponsored, independent but amateur, and professional. There are bad fans at all of them. (There are drunk fans at the professional ones too.) But it seems that there needs to be an understanding of what constitutes a good fan. So, here we go.
*Good fans root for their team. I know this is pretty basic, but I want everyone to understand before I get into the hows and all of that, that I understand the basic premise here.
*Good fans may get mad when things go badly for their team, but know how to express it properly.
*Good fans recognize that behavior that is acceptable in one's living room is not the same as what is acceptable in public.
*Good fans remember that good sportsmanship extends to the fans too. In fact, in some pro-level sports, bad behavior by fans can lead to the team being penalized, and good fans would of course not want that. At the amateur level, especially child and youth sports, fans should be modeling good behavior.
*Good fans remember no matter how freaking annoying anyone's play is - these people are trying. Comment on the play, not the player, and even then, remember, you don't want to be that guy in the Southwest ad.
*Good fans remember, amateur or pro, this is a family event. There is no level of sports that isn't catering to, marketing to, or trying to appeal to families. Remember that and moderate your behavior accordingly. You laugh, but at NHL games, they ask fans not to swear. Really.
*Good fans remember, while some fan interplay can be interesting, fans of opposing teams are not inherently evil - misguided in their team loyalties though they might be. And remember that sportsmanship thing? Still applies. (The addendum to this rule is that if someone is wearing gear for a team not in play - you may ask them if they are lost. But still, that is under the guise of helping them get to the right arena or stadium.)
*Good fans know that early cockiness can come back to bite you.
*Good fans also know that winning is good, and celebration is appropriate, but after a certain point, it speaks for itself. Really - everyone can see the scoreboard.