Don’t be that guy: Avoiding fan labels
Not Your Average Joe
Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 01:11
I love attending sports games. Regardless of the level of play and venue, there are few things more fun than cheering on your team in the heat of battle. As a sports writer and broadcaster for several Miami sports, I’ve been luckier than many in being able to attend RedHawk sporting events. I’ve seen epic comebacks, disastrous drops and everything great Miami has to offer. Unfortunately, this means I’ve also seen the worst that the Red and White faithful have to offer as well. So, in honor of those freaky fans you love to hate, the following is a list of archetypes and accidental tropes that you sports-goers might fall into at Goggin or Yager, or anywhere Miami sports are played.
The Know-it-all Fan
By far the worst offender on the list, this guy is somehow who I’m always stuck next to when I attend a game purely as a spectator. He’s smug, he’s confident in his decision-making and he’s always reactionary. Yeah, I can see that the pass interference call was right after I’ve seen it on the replay, too. Oh, Austin Czarnik should have passed that puck earlier on the 3-on-2 chance? Maybe so, but he doesn’t have the luxury of watching the play break down to make a smart-aleck comment a few seconds later. But what’s worse than the constant yelling at no one in particular is when he makes a snide remark towards you or something you say to your friends with you. No matter what you say or how elegantly thought out your opinion may be, this guy is going to dispute it. You have a degree in sports management? Great for you, buddy – I’m looking forward to Miami not hiring you in their sports department upon your graduation.
The Obscenely Drunk Fan
Let me preface this by saying if this is a Bengals game and alcohol is served at the venue it is one thing. But this is Miami, and drinking isn’t allowed at the games. So do everyone a favor and don’t get wrecked at your dorm with your freshmen friends, only to throw up three rows up from the glass at a hockey game before the first period is even over. So don’t come to the game super-smashed, yelling obscenities and taking your shirt off – leave that to the 40 year-old, dead-end job fans you see on national television.
The Clueless Fan
This one’s a little more forgiving than the first two, but it still isn’t any less annoying. If you come to a game, you should at least be somewhat educated in the laws of the land. It’s entirely too common to hear a “why was there a whistle?” when a three-second rule is called. I don’t know a ton about basketball, but I can at least not question everything the official is doing on the court. There’s no need to announce your ignorance to everyone around you. Besides there’s more polite, subtle ways to express your ignorance: ask someone. It won’t hurt, and usually the guy next to you will be able to explain it in a way that even the most clueless fan can understand. He might give you a weird look for not knowing what is thought to be an obvious rule to the game, but at least you won’t be scorned for telling the scorekeeper to put two points on the board instead of three after Willie Moore knocks one down from behind the arc for the RedHawks.
The Fan Who Doesn’t Care
You might not be into sports, but that’s no excuse for vocalized apathy. It’s one thing to not understand a game like the previous entry, but it’s quite another to denounce a particular sport as a waste of time, claiming that you should have stayed home instead. One rule is don’t talk down about the sport, venue or fan base that populates said sport and venue. You don’t like hockey? That’s your choice, and it’s completely fine. But just don’t say that in the student section on Friday night at Goggin. At best, you’ll be marked by the RedHawk faithful as an unwelcome imbecile. At worst, the obscenely drunk fan will follow you out after the game, spin you around, and ruin your night with a well-placed sucker punch.
The Fan Who Gets in the Way
This one should go without saying. Sir, it’s fine that you’re excited about a play that’s developing downfield and I’m very happy that you’re excited. What’s not cool is that you’re 7-foot-1 and standing on the bleachers directly in my way, spilling popcorn all over my lap. Be polite, be courteous and be aware of those behind you – it goes a long way, and helps foster game day comradely with those around you. The most inexcusable instance of the fan who gets in the way is the one who leaves early or comes late to a contest and happens to be right in your way when a game-changing play occurs. With the frequency that this occurs I could make a separate column just about this guy, but you wouldn’t want to read it and I definitely don’t want to write it.