A Fan Is Born

Published on 18-Feb-2014 by Andy ForWhatItsWorth

Basketball - NCAA Mens    NCAA Basketball Daily Opinion

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A Fan Is Born

Here we go again.

“Fan behavior”...  Recent events have brought it back to light. And by “recent events,” I’m, of course, referring to competition being played anywhere at any time.

Because let’s face it, it doesn’t have to be $175 floor seats comboed with $12 beer that creates abhorrent fan behavior. It’s sport itself that birthed the beast.

So what is acceptable fan behavior? Well, first we have to determine what is expected of us as fans. While many run in fear of the “guy who plunks down his hard-earned cash and has therefore earned the right to say whatever the $@#% he wants!”, others court us. They want us on that wall – they need us on that wall.

After all, “fan behavior” is as much a part of the game – of any game – as keeping score. I mean, isn’t there something to be said for “getting into the head of an opponent?” Okay, maybe they’re not your opponent, directly.  But isn’t the job of a fan to be an advocate for his team? Look at the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Look at how much they appreciate their fans.  They retired their freakin’ number, and they weren’t even on the team!

Here's the 12th-man tradition -- hoisting its flag amidst din of fans' pride:

Teams acknowledge how much their fans contribute to them. They ask for their fan’s advocacy. They beg for it. “Hey,” they say, “if you want your team to win, you can take an active role in it. And if you take an active role in it, we’ll retire your number and create a banner that celebrates you.”

So what’s appropriate? You want me to cheer and be raucous and actually make a difference in the outcome of the game … but you don’t want me to cross a line? I can heckle and badger and even belittle to the point of distraction, but I can’t … what?  Call someone a “piece of crap?” Is that the rule? Is that printed somewhere so I can keep track? I mean, I just need to know.  Because by the time my third beer rolls around, I might forget.

Look, I’m not condoning abhorrent fan behavior, or – God forbid – hurting a player’s feelings while he’s actually playing the game. But it’s also not my place to curb the raucous behavior of a truly devout fan, especially if he’s a fan of the same team as me!

Let’s just be careful what we shake our finger at. Is it the Jeff Orrs of the world? Or is it the blue and green banner with the “12” on it?