True Mountaineers are good sports, too
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 07:09
For weeks, many folks from West Virginia University and the Morgantown community have been concentrating on informing students and citizens about good sportsmanship. The challenge is to engage the WVU students and community in creating and maintaining a safe environment that promotes positive relationships with the community and our guests.
We want to have visitors to WVU events leave with a positive perception and image of our community. A recent survey from the NCAA finds that sportsmanship by the fans has gotten worse. It’s pretty sad when the people who have the least invested in a sport engage in inappropriate behavior just for the sake of rooting their team on.
We realize that it is just a few fans who make everyone look bad. A true fan should understand that good sportsmanship actually enhances the experience of both playing and watching sports. Here’s a quick reminder of some things to keep in mind next time you’re at the big game:
Watch your alcohol intake. Know what you can handle before you start to lose your inhibitions and get unruly. Most displays of bad sportsmanship from fans could be eliminated if fans would just drink responsibly. Besides, it’s hard to really appreciate a game if you’re completely tanked.
Respect the opposing team. Use your lung strength to root for your team and not against the other. When the visiting team walks out on to the field, don’t be a cad and boo them. Instead, respectfully clap for them. Applause is also appropriate when an opposing player is taken out of the game due to an injury. Finally, while it’s tempting to taunt and heckle an opposing team, be the better person and avoid it. It just brings the game down.
Respect your fellow fans. Tickets to college sports games cost big bucks. For many people, they are a splurge, something they buy in the hopes of having a great experience. Don’t ruin it for them by running your mouth the whole game. Nobody likes to sit next to the guy who loudly gives his armchair perspective about what went wrong with each play and how the coach is a moron. It grates on the nerves. Also, be respectful to fans who are rooting for the opposing team. Their allegiance to a set of guys wearing different uniforms and playing a game does not mark them as arch enemies or make them less human. Don’t give opposing fans dirty looks or hurl crass insults or items in their direction.
Watch your language. It’s always amazing what comes out of the mouths of fans at sporting events. It would make the saltiest of sailors blush. While I can understand an exasperated word being uttered from time to time, there’s no excuse for a fan’s language to devolve into lurid and filthy talk. Remember, at most sporting events, there are children, so adjust your language accordingly. And besides, if the rules demand that the athletes keep their language clean, we should expect that from the fans, too.
Respect the officials. Just as players should respect the officials, so should the fans. We’ve all been to sporting events where the refs are booed as soon as they walk out on to the field – before they’ve even made a call! Give the officials the respect they deserve. If it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the game. Sure, they all make bone headed decisions from time to time. But guess what? We do, too. Imagine what it would feel like if every time you made a bad decision at work, some jerks were there telling you to go kill yourself or saying some untrue thing about your family. Not very cool, huh?
When you’re feeling angry at the ref, take a minute to get some perspective on the situation. You may be able to see either the whole field of action from your perch in the stands or see the replay in slow-motion on the scoreboard, but the ref is out there at eye level watching the action happen in the blink of an eye. It’s not an easy job, and they’re doing the best they can.
Support your team, even when it loses. A true fan sticks with their team through good times and bad. It’s a sad sight to see the bleachers empty at a stadium 10 minutes before a game is over just because the home team is losing. Stick around until the end and root your team off the field.
Respect the High Five Rules of the Game
1. No excessive drinking—intoxicated fans are not allowed inside or outside the stadium.
2. No foul or abusive language.
3. No smoking in the seating or concourse areas.
4. No throwing stuff (anything) onto the field.
5. No ignoring of the instructions of Event/Security personnel.
Bad sportsmanship is not a criminal offense, but throwing things and hitting people is. Depending on the circumstances it can be assault and or battery, even destruction of property. Wouldn’t it be sad to ruin your college career just because the victim’s only crime was wearing the opposing team’s colors?