How We Can All Enjoy Sports A Little More

We are all guilty of being “that guy” or “that girl” at some point in watching our favorite teams play. For some reason, we get caught up in the rivalries, goading from other fans, and probably one too many adult beverages to behave like respectful fans. It happens. Generally this is going to take away from the enjoyment of the game itself…and probably leave some people with first impressions that you would like a mulligan at making. Maybe there is a way to fix this?

In thinking about how to make the sports viewing environment a friendlier one, the game of golf comes to mind. Golf is not exactly “American Football” or “Rest of the World Futbol” but has millions of passionate fans and players around the world. These players will do anything to sneak out of the office or away from the house for a game of golf. They’re probably DVRing the tournament every Sunday with plans of cheering on each and every shot – almost regardless of who hits it.

Golf galleries often make up tens of thousands of people, generally without seats, crammed along a rope and all vying for a glimpse of the greatest shot they have ever seen. There is also a ton of alcohol at golf tournaments – something often attributed to fan behavior in other arenas. But what there is not in the game of golf and its galleries – is fights.

Nearly every football and futbol game has its share of battles on the field, but it’s the battles off the field that generally detract from the enjoyment and experience of the game. Sure, there are plenty of folks betting on sports, enjoying alcoholic beverages, and donning the uniforms and colors of their teams, but there are the same individuals attending golf tournaments around the world. What is the difference?

At golf tournaments fans cheer on the entire field, not just their favorite players. Usually they will even applaud the efforts of some of their least favorite players – but they are there for the enjoyment of the experience and of the game. This fails to translate to other sports, even with the same individual in attendance. How do we fix this?

Maybe the answer is to treat your next sporting event like you are attending a golf tournament. Be respectful, acknowledge good plays, and try not to judge other for their choice of laundry that day. You don’t have to root for the other teams, but you are going to enjoy the game more if you appreciate it for what it is. It is more than a game, of course it is, but if it is the game that you love and the players that you love, it is important to enjoy the experience and make the experience enjoyable for everyone else involved. That is our duty as fans.

Remember when we were kids and we all shook hands after the game? Somehow the idea of sportsmanship has been lost on many of us. Seeing teams line up after an amazing series is still one of the best scenes in sports, and it needs to happen more among those in attendance. Make it a point to say “good game” afterwards to your next foe. Say it genuinely, and their reaction just may surprise you.

It’s going to be hard. It may actually be impossible, but if we can somehow grow up and get each other on the same page, it’s going to be a hell of a lot more fun for everyone.