Sports Event Etiquette

Sports and manners don’t always go hand in hand; make sure you’re acting the right way with these 3 tips.

Richie Frieman,
November 29, 2010
Episode #138

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Who doesn’t like going to a live sporting event? The anticipation, the crowd, the frenzy, the food, everything! I love it all. This past weekend I went a basketball game at my alma matter and got so into the game it was if I was 21 years old, again, painting my face and shouting the fight song at the top of my lungs. Now that I’m a parent, seeing other families with young kids made me long for the days when I can eventually bring my daughter to a game—though it may be a hard sell to her if Elmo or the Wiggles aren’t there.

Sports Event Etiquette

As I was gazing at the beautiful family of four in front of me, happily envisioning myself in a few years, all was sent crashing down when a young college kid yelled something rude and foul to the other team’s star player. In short, he alluded to having just had “relations” with #15’s mother, sister and girlfriend last night. Now, granted it got a good laugh from the crowd, but the last thing I want is my little angel to ever hear fictional - or factual for that matter- sex tales of some 19-year-old.

So, I figured I’d do what I always do when I witness unmannerly behavior--I created my top 3 ways to act properly at a sporting event.

Proper Sporting Event Etiquette Tip #1: You CAN Be Mean, But Just Don’t Be RUDE

I’m guilty as the next guy of booing and wishing incredible harm to the opposing team, but in my day I was never so crude that people would roll their eyes in shame. There is nothing wrong with hoping your linebacker dismantles the quarterback--it’s all a part of the game--but saying anything vulgar or cursing? Come on folks, where’s the team spirit there? Showing your support for your team does not have to be so distasteful. After all, you aren’t the only one there. Cursing in public is not just highly rude to others around you (of all ages), but most of all totally lacks any creativity. Yelling expletives at the coach, like “F*#$ yourself!” is just plain lame. Where’s the ingenuity? Where’s the cleverness?

If you’re going to tease, I suggest a more specific insult. Like when my college fans yell out, “NIT, NIT, NIT” implying the other team is so bad they will be heading to the loser’s bracket that is known as the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), rather than the NCAA March Madness games. It may not mean a lot to non-sports fans but trust me, the diehards know it well. It will mess the other team up and hopefully knock them off their game.

Sports Event Etiquette Tip #2: Keep Your Tips To Yourself

There is a good reason why you are sitting in the stands and not on the court or field. Despite how “bad” a player or coach appears to be, he’s a hell of a lot better than you are so don’t offer your advice. Some of the best comedy you’ll ever hear is when someone in the stands shouts their own tips for winning. Yes, Johnny Sidelines, I’m sure the coach will get right on taking your advice.