Tune in to any sporting event on television, and you’re sure to witness one of the worst clichés in sports.
I’m not talking about what the athletes say afterwards in interviews. As Kevin Costner taught us in Bull Durham, those quotes are boring, and that’s the point. They’re an important part of an athlete’s media relations repertoire.
No, I’m talking about what the fans do during the games.
A fine example is the inevitable television shot panning the crowd that shows us at least one person holding their index finger high and proud, claiming that their team is in fact No. 1.
Many times, neither team involved is ranked at all. They certainly aren’t the best in the land.
Sure, it might be your favorite team playing, but "we're No. 1"? You can’t think of something cleverer to do on camera than that?
There are some other well-worn tricks in the collective sports fan’s bag of mischief that are in the same class.
Why this fad has didn’t die in the '80s is beyond me.
At Virginia Tech football games there would inevitably be a group of two or three students who would attempt to get the thing started in the North End Zone almost every game.
On rare occasion, they would hold off until the contest was in hand and all but decided. More often, however, this nonsense would begin in the third quarter or early fourth with the pending result still in doubt. They couldn’t even wait until a timeout, instead trying to coordinate a mass of humanity generally apathetic toward the phenomenon during the game.
Cricket Australia has actually banned the wave due to the either intentional or unintentional act of throwing things in the air when the wave goes around. This allegedly included such things as beer, food, and inexplicably even urine.
Of course, most American sports patrons aren’t as extreme as Australian cricket fans, so flying urine isn’t a huge issue. I just hate when something fans do distracts from the game. Which brings me to...
Somehow, people are still doing this at games.
You know you aren’t going to be able to see the rest of the game. You know you’re going to get arrested and spend the night in jail. And you’ve got to know you’re most likely going to get decked by a 250-pound linebacker or some equally large athlete eager to lower the boom on some roving drunkard.
They don’t even show people streaking on TV anymore to theoretically prevent other attention-seeking idiots from following suit.
I guess streakers are all simply drunk fools who made the mistake of listening to their buddies slur, “I bet you won’t get naked and run around on the field, you, I bet not BELCH.”
Yet another illogical habit of the masses.
Let’s say your team plays the No. 4 team in the nation and your club is unranked. Let’s say few, if any, expect your team to pull off a victory, and let’s also assume your team comes out and just dominates, sending everyone into a frenzy.
It doesn’t make much sense to go nuts about a victory over a team that isn’t very good, right? So then why imply that the excellent team you just upset is in fact rated too high and not all that good to begin with?
It’s just never made sense to me that you would celebrate a huge victory by loudly implying that the opposing team is bad because they just lost...to your team.
If you stop and think about it, it’s actually kind of insulting to your bunch.
There are plenty of other annoying habits of sports fans: booing your own team, throwing objects on the playing surface, or even just yelling stuff directed at players. These are all bad, but the ones I’ve highlighted annoy me the most.
They distract from the reason everyone is there in the first place—to watch the game and cheer for your team.
That doesn’t mean you have to sit on your hands for fear of ridicule. Just use a bit of discretion once in a while. Who knows—you might even enjoy it.