A few comments on my most recent column for The Herald:
I’ve actually gotten some positive feedback about this week’s column, which dealt with the most obnoxious of fans at sporting events. I went into writing this column worried that somebody who sat near me at a game recently may think that the column was directly solely at him or her, but that isn’t the case. Quite frankly, the scenarios described in the column pretty much happen at every event I go to. It has nothing to do with gender, sport or level. It just happens.
The feedback I’ve gotten has come from those who are annoyed by these types as well. Nothing, however, has been said to me by anyone who routinely commits such behavior, i.e. the people this column is actually about. Alas, that is probably the most worrisome point — those who most need to hear how idiotic they sound just don’t get it, and never will. They may read this and either not realize that they act similarly, or figure that those of us who don’t like it just aren’t tough enough to handle the grown-up world of sports.
For me, anyway, I guess it comes down to one thing: I thought sports, the games anyway, were supposed to be played for the sheer fun of them. You’d think we’d at least be able to hold onto that at a local level.
Unfortunately, the local level is where the hurt is most prevalent.
Here’s the column:
Don’t be that guy.
Please, don’t. Don’t be him. Don’t do it. Stop right now. As the rant starts to build within your soul, squelch it. Please. Do it now, before it surfaces. Before it leaves your mouth and makes you look bad.
Because you will look bad. Say it, and you will say the next one. You’re breaking the dam, essentially. Then you will say more, and then more, and then, without even realizing it, you will have morphed into That Guy.
You know the guy I’m talking about. That Guy. You probably heard That Guy at the Southern Lee/Lee County game on Friday night, even if you didn’t sit next to him and even if the gym was crowded. And if you did sit near, or, heaven forbid, next to That Guy, it’s unlikely that you had a good time at the game. That Guy probably ruined it for you.
And just think if That Guy has a kid for a player out there on the court. Think about what it must be like on the ride home in That Guy’s car.
Don’t be That Guy.
You know the guy I’m talking about, right? You know him. You know you do.
He’s the guy who won’t stop giving it to the refs. He’s the guy who will bark about any call and even the noncalls. He’s the guy who can’t fathom that the same call he was begging for on one end of the floor was just let go on the other end, thereby benefiting his team.
He’s the guy who has to yell the entire game, has to holler at his kid, making the entire scene around him uncomfortable. He’s the guy who always claims that the other school must’ve paid off the refs, like that’s ever happened anywhere.
He’s the guy with all the tired clichés. All the excuses. All the noise.
And if his team can’t play the game, he’ll play the blame game. No way the other team could be better. Something had to go wrong. Something had to be in the works. Something was off. Or something.
He’s the guy who not only tries desperately to make himself known, he has to let everybody around him know that he understands the game going on in front of him. He knows it better than anyone around him, certainly better than the refs do and even better than the coaches on the sideline.
He cries for the timeout. Begs for another player. Demands attention.
And he does it every time. Every game. There he is. Giving it to them. Telling it like it is, at least in his own mind.
That Guy should know that the act is tired. It’s grown old. Enough already, you wish you could say to him. Just enjoy the game.
Only you don’t really want to talk to him, do you? Speaking your mind to That Guy would be a waste of time. He doesn’t get it when the ball is tipped or kicked off, so why would he get it now? And it would only extend the conversation you’re likely already trying to get out of, to put an end to.
So you move, hopeful to get away for a while.
But That Guy is always there. He’s always heard, even if he isn’t seen. He’s felt. It’s why he comes to the games. Not for the enjoyment of sport, but for the opportunity to act like he’s a bigger man than he really is. To be That Guy.
He knows stuff you don’t, and he’ll make sure you know it, too. He knows it all.
He’s That Guy.
Don’t be That Guy.
Nobody likes That Guy.