By Gene Ballew, Athletics & Tourism Manager
As sports returned last year, we watched our favorite teams take the field to empty stadiums because of the pandemic. The vacant seats and quiet venues reminded us of the importance of the frenetic energy sports fans bring to the games we love.
But while fans can create a great atmosphere, they can also become a serious distraction when their behavior becomes inappropriate. That’s why spectators must strive to keep their behavior in check.
We’ve all seen examples of fans stepping over the line at professional, collegiate, and even high school sports events. It’s not uncommon for international games to be stopped and forfeited because of appalling fan behavior. For example, a recent U.S. soccer game was delayed and opposing fans were warned in their native language before the contest was allowed to continue.
Unfortunately, the troubling trend also affects youth sports. In College Station, folks sometimes seem to forget they are watching kids in a recreational program. As a result, we see parents and spectators – and sometimes coaches – ejected from our venues every season. In some sports, weekly ejections are common.
Watching a sports event creates emotional connections to your favorite team, the players, and other fans. Sometimes, the love of the game is enough, but when overwrought emotions take over, we can lose focus on the essentials of being a good fan.
It all starts with sportsmanship. Nothing is more important for athletes, and it applies equally to their loyal followers. That means being a good role model for everyone around you and respecting the players, coaches, and other fans – even when they wear the other team’s colors. The calls may not always go your team’s way, but always respect the officials, too.
You’ll enhance the game’s enjoyment for everyone by positively cheering for your team while being considerate of others. And if a player or official makes a mistake, understand and accept they are human beings striving to do their best. The effort is what counts.
When fan behavior becomes abusive and inappropriate, it spoils the game for everyone around them and shifts attention away from the participants. If you attend a game near an unruly and disruptive fan, allow event staff and officials to handle the situation. Trying to solve the problem yourself only means you’ll miss the action on the field.
Fans take on many forms, ranging from the casual fan to the absolute fanatic. Different types of fans contribute contrasting elements to a game atmosphere, but to me, the one accompanied by a child is the greatest. Sports provide an extraordinary opportunity for adults to be exemplary role models for impressionable youngsters.
Being an enthusiastic fan supporting your favorite team can be a tremendous and rewarding experience – if you participate positively and constructively.
For information on our fall sports schedules and leagues, go to cstx.gov/sports.
If you liked this post, share it!