For sports fans, there is such a fine line between "going the extra mile" and going well beyond that mile marker into a much uglier space. Much of the time the fans who go too far still have relatively good intentions.
But you know what they say about good intentions—and the road to hell that's paved with them.
Superfans sometimes have trouble capping their enthusiasm, controlling their tempers or resisting the urge to storm the field for reasons deemed at the time to be critically important. Other times, they just have an overwhelming urge to be noticed.
The result is that a fair number of them go WAY too far every now and again. Here are some fans and their respective offenses.
Offense: Overdoing the theatrics
On one hand, you have to respect the sports fans out there who go out of their way to take their fandom to the next level by getting horrifying tattoos or doing the whole costume thing.
On the other hand, I'm trying to imagine having to sit next to this Braves fan during a game against the Mets in June 2013. He was probably yelling excessively, considering it's baseball in June. Screaming should be limited until late July.
And Atlanta is hotter than the surface of the sun for most of the summer, so his face paint was probably dribbling down his face by the seventh inning. The humidity probably made those feathers sag into the beer of the person sitting behind him.
It's just too early for all this.
Sometimes fans can get a little obsessive about their favorite athlete, and sometimes they can get really obsessive about their favorite athlete. There's no greater example of the uncomfortable obsession a group of fans can have with an athlete than Tim Tebow fans.
Brian Scalabrine is a distant second.
When he was still backing up Kyle Orton during the 2011 Denver season, the pressure from fans who wanted Tebow to start increased exponentially each week as losses mounted early. It got to the point where they were banding together, pooling their resources, and having billboards put up in support of their miracle man.
It was weird. It remains weird to this day. Granted, it isn't nearly as weird as the column Chuck Norris recently published about Tebow, effectively outing him as a Tebow-obsessed fangirl.
Offense: Getting overly heated (See what I did there?)
In Game 2 of Heat-Bulls series during the 2013 NBA playoffs, Chicago bad boy Joakim Noah was ejected in the fourth quarter of Miami's blowout win at home.
Sure, the Bulls pulled off a surprise win in Game 1, but you'd think Heat fans would have been feeling better at that point—pulling even in the series and winning by nearly 30 points.
Most fans seated around Noah's path to the locker room seemed content to just let hm leave, but an infamous blonde widow named Filomena Tobias really felt the need to give him a piece of her mind.
Actually, she gave him the middle finger—with a side of white hot rage. Thanks for that lesson in poor sportsmanship, Ms. Tobias. Oh, and if the angry guy next to her is her date—I'd advise him to watch his back.
Listen, everyone love's Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi—well everyone except for fans of the La Liga clubs that have to play against him on the regular.
But there's a right way and a wrong way to express your love and/or admiration for an athlete who, whether you believe it or not, is a complete stranger to you.
In February 2013, during an International Friendly between Argentina and Sweden, one fan demonstrated exactly what not to do to your favorite athlete.
Thankfully Messi handled it like a gentleman, but that guy is lucky he didn't approach a less controlled footballer—like Joey Barton.
Offense: Bearing everything but your bare ass
It doesn't matter the circumstances, there's a limit to the level of fan nakedness that is acceptable in public. Certain variables can push the limit a little in either direction, but ultimately there's a line which should not be crossed.
It doesn't matter that cricket matches can go on for days. It doesn't matter that it's extremely hot in Australia in early January. And it doesn't even matter if there are beach chairs set up to make you more comfortable as the match drags on to it's third long, hot day.
Wearing a speedo crosses that line. Can you imagine focusing on…say…a baseball game with this guy sitting next to you? Having him cross in front of your face with his "covered" crotch region to go to the bathroom or balancing nachos on his lap?
Offense: Drinking till you drop
Drinking is often part of the game day ritual, particularly in college sports. Although, for some fans, it's a much larger part of the ritual than for others. Guzzling down brew all day is fine, if you can handle it.
Some people can't handle it.
If you get into drunken tussles, routinely throw up, or drop like a ton of bricks after over-indulging in the hooch, well then you can't handle your liquor. You should probably stay home to watch the game and/or seek out an AA meeting.
In October 2012, a "Reddit" user posted this photo of Georgia fan completely zonked out on the grass outside the stadium. That cop is either really irritated, or about to draw something on that guy's face with a Sharpie.
Offense: Being a complete weirdo and making everyone uncomfortable
Everyone has seen overzealous sports fans on the news. They're excited about the game, they're excited about being on television and they're just filled with unbridled enthusiasm for life.
It probably feels like the world is their oyster at that moment. They think that nothing they can say could be wrong, especially if they've been drinking. But I assure you, there are plenty of wrong things to say.
Before a Lakers playoff game in 2010, this crazy Kobe Bryant fan had a message for his favorite player:
"The Black Mamba! Hey Kobe, text me something, man I'll text you something back witty. Yeeeeah, let's develop some inside jokes...I wanna know you man....I wanna make you smile...I wanna make your sun shine!"
Anyone else wondering if this is the guy that Eminem's song "Stan" was based on?
Offense: Sustained stressful, straining, rage
In 2004 former U.S. Senator Zell Miller got so fired up with rage during and after his speech at the Republican National Convention that he publicly bemoaned that we, as a society, had moved beyond the time when it was acceptable to challenge people to a duel.
His red-faced freakout at pundit Chris Matthews is what I think of every time I see a shirtless, painted up sports fan, who looks like he may incur a stress fracture from screaming and flexing.
This Florida State fan from a game against Boston College in 2005 is an excellent example. An even better, yet excessively cited, example is the "Ultimate Georgia Fan" who was just a wee bit overly hyped for a game against South Carolina a few years back.
Offense: Taking matters into your own hands
No fans or players of any sport like the referees.
They are there to enforce the rules—a job that favors the other team at least 50 percent of the time.
Despite being hated, they're absolutely essential because, as we all know, without rules, there's chaos. Fans can take their aggression out on refs by burning them in effigy, throwing crap onto the field, and chanting curse words in unison.
Fans cannot take out their aggression by taking out the referee with a vuvuzela, as this man did during a South African soccer match in April 2013. It doesn't matter how mad you are, it's just a game.
On the other hand, we've finally established a good use for a vuvuzela—beating people.
Offense: Engaging in any behavior that ends with your face covered in blood
Unless your dome was the unsuspecting victim of an errant hockey puck or something, there's just no excuse to enter a game with your face not covered in blood and return home later that night a bloody mess.
It's perfectly fine to take sports very seriously. But if you're the type of person for whom taking something seriously usually ends in bloodshed, you should probably just watch from home.
Or better yet, get together with a group of like-minded fans to watch the game and beat the hell out of each other when things don't go your way. (Seriously though, don't)
Offense: Shirking parental responsibilities
Sure, catching a foul ball would be cool.
Although, if you're a dad at baseball game with your child and a foul ball is approaching, you should ask yourself: "Will this baseball be able to replace my child if he or she were to die as the result of my attempts to catch it?"
The answer should be no. If it's not, please surrender your children to the nearest fire station immediately.
Offense: Thinking you're the best coach in the stadium
I know it sometimes it feels like you're the only one in the world who can fix what's going wrong out on the field. Like everything would magically fall into place for your team if only they would do this one thing that only you know about.
It's usually when you're drunk and they're losing. Everyone has had that feeling at one time or another, but screaming it at the television–or from the stands—is one thing. Actually storming the field to argue strategy with the captain, that's something else altogether.
Just remember—there's a reason that they're there and you're wherever you are in life. And that reason isn't that you are the greatest undiscovered sports mind of a generation.
Offense: Staged overreaction
YouTube is rife with videos just like this. One or two fans hanging out in their living room, reacting to a game, with a strategically placed camera set to record…ya know…whatever might happen.
Maybe it'll be nothing…maybe it'll be something…but actually it'll definitely be something. That's why the camera is there, duh.
This Vikings' fan was probably legitimately upset after being destroyed by the Packers in the 2012 playoffs—and that's giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming the game is really on his television.
But his "meltdown" was completely staged. The yelling, exaggerated head-grabbing, and the inexplicable smashing of the coffee table are all just too much.
Offense: Being a freakshow attention-seeker
Standing out in the crowd is much easier at a golf tournament than among 75,000 other screaming fans at a stadium. Which is why this guy didn't have to go nearly as far as he did to get the attention he craves.
This weirdo was roaming the grounds during Round 3 of the Buick Open back in 2009. How he got past security wearing, or possessing, that neon green bodysuit is a mystery in itself. Golf security is notoriously rigid.
The fact that he ended squarely in the camera shot being Tiger Woods? Well, it's as impressive as he is horrifying.
Dude looks like an escapee from a human caterpillar experiment.
Offense: Going Dennis Rodman
Dying your hair ridiculous colors and getting a mohawk is fine if you're a professional athlete, punk rocker, or an angsty teenager. None of those people have to function in the real world, so it doesn't matter in the slightest how ridiculous their hair looks.
On the other hand, if you're a middle-aged NASCAR fan attending the Toyota/Save Mart 350, you might want to find a slightly less permanent way to show your support for Jeff Gordon.
Sure his spikes can be cut off and hair can be dyed back, but he'll never get the dignity back which he lost from doing it in the first place. Then again, dignity comes on a sliding scale at a NASCAR event.
Everyone knows you're not supposed to steal. Religious or not, "thou shall not steal" is a lesson that most parents teach their kids at a young age.
It's a lesson that tends to resonate better than lessons about not lying and respecting your elders because it has actual repercussions in most real-world situations.
However, there are some sports fans out there who reject the notion entirely, or throw it out the window when the right opportunity to gank some authentic gear presents itself.
In March 2013, a Bulls fan tried to snatch the headband right off the head of Heat superstar LeBron James as he headed to the locker room after a loss in Chicago. He didn't get the headband, but he did receive a very nasty glare.
He must have taken a cue from the fan in Oklahoma City who took a towel off the shoulders of Lakers star Kobe Bryant a few weeks earlier.
The last thing I want to do is speak unkindly of the people injured in Shanghai recently after being trampled in a stampede of fans desperate to get a closer look at David Beckham, who was appointed the Chinese soccer ambassador in March 2012.
But every time I hear about humans being injured in a stampede of other humans, I can't help but worry about the future of humanity. Animals on the African Savanna, wild horses, and even dolphins are known to stampede.
Aren't we supposed to be one…or even a few steps…above most animals?
Unfortunately, it seems, we're all just one David Beckham sighting away from being reduced to a frantic mess, each individual at the mercy of an uncontrollable mob.
Offense: Underestimating your opponent/overestimating yourself
Fights among fans are extremely common. Fans are always fighting amongst themselves in the stands, in the parking lot, or even around the concession stands. But fights between a fans and athletes—or one fan and one athlete—are relatively rare.
That's because most normal people, no matter how much liquid courage they've consumed, don't look look at someone like Tie Domi in the penalty box and conclude the best course of action is to engage him in a fight.
Of course that happened in Philadelphia. Nobody but a liquored up Flyers fan would be willing to jump into the penalty box with one of the most notorious NHL goons of a generation.
Another example? The Pistons fan who sparked the notorious "Malice at the Palace" brawl with the Pacers by throwing a cup at Ron Artest in 2004.
Offense: Turning it into a life or death situation
And you thought Heat fans weren't serious about basketball!
Obviously Mr. Markus wasn't serious about his suicidal reaction to LeBron James fouling out in Game 4 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers.
Seriously crazy is more like it. The Heat may have lost that game, but Mr. Markus here lost his damn mind—which is a lot worse.
He probably thought it was just a fun little attention-grabbing joke on Twitter, but the moment you bring a gun into a joke, it stops being funny.
Offense: Over-the-top signage
During the Bruins and Maple Leafs semifinal series in the 2013 NHL Playoffs, this Toronto fan made international headlines with his "clever" play on the rallying cry "Boston Strong," which stemmed from the bombing at the Boston Marathon weeks earlier.
Perhaps the sign went over well at the Air Canada Centre, but it didn't go over very well anywhere else. The general reaction to the sign ranged from relative disgust to outright rage.
Whatever the reaction, the sign wasn't even true. The Bruins won the game and the series, advancing all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. As for the Maple Leafs? Not so much.