Posted: May 24, 2011 in Sports just because

Sports fans, I’ve got a bone to pick with some of you and I told you that this past Sunday at the Sky Dome. My issue this time around has to do with the support, or lack thereof, of the home team when times are tough. As a fan you have a responsibility to uphold when you buy that ticket just as much as the player does and too many times you’ve let your teams down.

The “Boo” is one of the most common expressions shared at sporting events big and small, next to the clap and cheer. It is used by fans that are unhappy with the performance on the field, a call made by a game official, or anything that upsets the general population in the stands. They jeer with hands covered over their mouths to amplify its effect and make sure that as many people as possible will hear this emotion.

Yet to me, there is an art to being a fan which I like to call an informed fan, and as someone who buys a ticket you owe it to yourself to be an informed fan when you attend such events. I remember several incidents myself where there were misinformed boos and they stuck with me because they were ridiculous and unnecessary.

Let’s stick with the responsibility of the fan first off and how they have let their teams down in too many instances. There have been countless games which I have attended, be it basketball, baseball, hockey, where the home team has been down but not out. They have shown signs of improving and starting to get some life into them and all they needed was that extra little push. Where is that push to come from? Are they to guzzle down some Red Bull on the bench at the next break? No, it’s the fans’ job to help them out.

The fan is typically referred to as the Sixth man in basketball, the 12th man in football, etc. They are the extra part of the puzzle for the team. Player’s always thank the fans for this and that, yet the fans don’t always seem to be there when their team needs them, how come?

I always marvel at the fans in Los Angeles and how they support their Lakers at games, it’s great. Now I will absolutely acknowledge that it is much easier to support a team that always wins, or at least fields a strongly competitive team every year. I cannot ignore that fact, it’s the same as being a Yankees fan or Red Sox fan; it’s not hard to cheer for a winner.

With that said, Lakers fans have been complimented by some reporters as the most intelligent fans in sports and here is why. I watch a lot of Sunday and Saturday afternoon Lakers games, Kobe is amazing and I love watching him play so I watch but I’m not a Lakers fan. They have plenty of fans both within the greater Los Angeles area and all over North America who love to support only a winner. What I’ve noticed is informed fandom and it makes me smile.

In times of trouble, when the Lakers may be down or facing a hot streak by the opposing team what do the fans do? They cheer in unison “D-FENSE! D-FENSE!” and they rally behind their team in an effort to motivate them to stop the run. When the ref makes a call that’s clearly the call they don’t boo, they understand and grumble amongst themselves.

One of the worst things a fan can do is boo at the official when the call is clearly correct. This brings me to the Buffalo Bills game this past season in late November at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I forget the players involved, but the Bills were on defense and a pass interference call was made against the Bills and the fans were irate. They all were booing, cursing at the refs while the play was being replayed on the jumbo screen for everyone to watch.

Can you guess what the call was? It was correct, the Bills player was all over this guy, and I mean all over him. The Steelers player was tackled as if he had stolen some old lady’s purse and the Bill’s player was chasing after him and caught him, before the ball got there though. It was an obvious penalty and yet they were booing, why boo the official for doing a good job? Do you boo your mother when she bakes a cake for dessert and it’s delicious? I certainly hope not, good cake deserves nothing but praise, not boo’s.

Another example of lack of informed fans occurred at the Blue Jays game in Toronto vs. the Houston Astros at the Sky Dome (It is not, and will never be, the Rogers Centre to any true Jays fan). The team was playing Ok baseball, not great, and were certainly never out of the game and yet the crowd seemed so out of it, as per usual. There were the odd cheers of “Let’s Go Blue-Jays” but minimal support, besides my friends and myself who were several sections over.

This was upsetting later in the game as the team was playing good baseball, they just needed an edge. This is where the fans are supposed to cheer in less than stellar situations to let the team know “Hey! We’re behind you! You can do it!” but cheering go jays go, let’s go blue jays, whatever you want. Just something to give them the extra support to know “Hey, we’re here to support you not be against you, don’t worry about it just go out there and kill it.” However no such support came to life until the very end of the game, almost when it was too late.

This to me in unacceptable and a great example of misinformed fandom, if you have a chance to cheer on your team to success then do it, why else would you attend the game? You cannot expect the player’s to do all the work all the time. They want you to support them and to like them. No one likes getting booed and it certainly doesn’t inspire anyone to get better, but positive support with cheers, chants, clapping, just about anything can get a team going.

Booing officials is a different story, I can understand when a call is either questionable or visibly incorrect that you would voice displeasure, but sometimes it seems as if the fans are booing to say “C’mon, give us a break!” I’m sorry, did you want them to call the game in your favour to taint the win? Oh Ok sure, let’s have the home team get all the calls all the time so the home team always wins that’s a great idea. If you boo because you feel the officials are being too hard on you then go cry to someone who cares, which is no one.

Never ever blame the officials for a game unless they clearly made game changing calls that undeniably cost your team the game. By the way, that never happens unless say your team got 8 penalties in hockey and the other team was 8/8 on the power play. Even then the argument can be made that they just have an awesome power play and you should have stopped them from scoring so much.

In the end, I just want to see fans cheer when their team needs it and only boo the other team, that’s who deserves it if anyone. The home team is there to be cheered, to be celebrated; they’re not there to be booed because they didn’t win on your first attendance of the season. When I was in East Lansing to watch a Michigan State football game, they were down and it was silent and I said to a fan beside me “Wow, no one is booing this is awesome”. Their response was “Ya of course not! You don’t boo your own school, their your team, cheer them on don’t bring them down”

What a revolutionary concept, don’t bring them down just cheer them on. If only we had this attitude in more things in life a lot more would get done, and get done well. Next time you’re at the game and you want to boo, go the washroom and do it to the mirror first.


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