After growing up in Abbeville, South Carolina, a town full of under-achieving parents destined to relive their high school athletic careers, I gained a good sense of how NOT to act whenever attending sporting events. I have witnessed far too many fathers unable to control the surging amount of testosterone brought on by watching their mediocre-talented children ride the bench for a two-A powerhouse in the boonies of South Cackolaky. I have witnessed mothers being thrown out of middle school basketball games for using profanity towards the officials. I have even witnessed my very own high school literally fight their way onto national television during the state basketball playoffs.
Whatever crazy, haywire, Busch Light inspired conflicts you can imagine, it’s already happened in Abbeville.
It is common knowledge that this epidemic of cantankerous adults showing their lack of maturity at sporting events is not by any means limited to a small backwards town in the dirty South; it is ever-spreading, like a cancerous disease. We all remember what happened to the fan that threw beer on Ron Artest, and everybody at some point in their lives has witnessed either in real life or on TV a parent getting in to an all-out, Mortal Kombat style brawl at their own child’s little league T-ball game. When do we as a society draw a line in the sand and say “that’s enough”?
Now let’s not kid ourselves; we enjoy watching these events take place, mostly because they’re surprisingly entertaining. If you’d ask me, my personal brand of fan-driven delinquentism is when the mascots get into the action. I swear I will never laugh as hard as I did when Oregon Ducks’ mascot elbow dropped Shasta the Houston cougar in the kidney during the middle of the Oregon-Houston game last year. Yeah, that really happened, but as much as I enjoyed watching it, I can’t help but to feel ashamed for promoting it.
The bottom line is that no matter how much we may enjoy these fan-made meltdowns, we cannot continue to further endorse them. As soon as we direct our attention away from the game towards whoever is showing their (expletive deleted), we take away from the people who actually deserve our attention; the athletes. Nowadays, the price of a six-pack of beer and a high-school football game are fairly the same, so please, pick one or the other, don’t mix the two, because believe it or not, some of us actually still go to sporting events to watch the games, not the attention craving fans.