Sunday, 31 August 2014

Friday Night Lights and Bullies

One Game Suspension…For the Fan

Friday night kicked off the start of football season in a brand new stadium.  Even though I am not the parent of a player, cheerleader, band member, or even student of this school district, I was extremely proud and grateful to experience such an awesome improvement for the town in which I live.  The field was beautiful and the seating was top-notch.  The players and coaches were excited.  The cheerleaders were engaging, and the band was keeping the crowd alive.

Shortly before half-time, our team had a couple of busted plays and "the moment" occurred.  You know you have heard that moment before, many times, often at every game.  The crowd had silenced for the most part and the words spilled out like a slithering snake ready to strike.  The snake analogy works well in this instance as these "snakes" are waiting and hiding amongst the fans to spill their poison.  This poison was loud and this poison was at first infectious as the initial reaction was a reactionary "snicker" amongst the other fans.  

This "snicker" or more appropriately termed "nervous laughter" is the same problem that occurs among peers in an uncomfortable situation.  Thankfully, the second strike of this snake did not elicit the same reaction.  Again, it was quiet and the words were again directed to the coaching staff of this hometown team.  "What was that COACH?!  What are you doing COACH?! Hey COACH, that was terrible?!"  At this point, the trauma set in and I was forced into the "fight or flight" mode.  To "fight" from six rows up would only escalate the situation with this fan, however, the "flight" mode does not stop the situation from reoccurring.  At this point many people were looking around to see who was spilling the venom, but at the time, no one took a stab at correcting the behavior.

These coaches are someone's husband or wife, someone's father or mother, someone's son or daughter, and someone's sibling.  They put the lives of their families on hold for a very (if you are lucky) large part of the summer and school year.  They are not only molding great players, they are responsible for molding boys into young men.  They are often times the most coveted mentor in an adolescent's life, and these players are guided to respect their coach for the sake of the team.  By disrespecting the coach, you are directly disrespecting a valuable mentor in the life of a child.

I am a firm believer that being a season ticket holder of any organization brings with it a level of responsibility.  I would propose that when you pick up your tickets at the Administration office, you are required to sign a behavioral contract.  You should not be allowed to spew negativity, profanity, and generally unsportsmanlike conduct to any member of a school district.  At a minimum, the first offense should be a one game suspension.  The second offense should be a re-issuing of season tickets to someone more respectful of the hard work that goes into the lives of these children.  I am certain there is a waiting list for that seat.  To the man six rows in front of me…STOP BEING A BULLY.

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