In the Penalty Box: Inappropriate fans

By Rachel Kearney

I see rowdy fans everywhere. As much as I don’t like opposing fans, I know it’s a part of the game. And as much as I love them, Tigerball’s student fans, who call themselves “Porter’s Posse,” can be some of the most obnoxious that I’ve seen.

We ran into some of these unruly fans a couple of weeks ago during a game. At one point, my coach was talking to officials about some poor calling, and I heard “WAAHH, WAAHH” coming from the stands. I looked up and, to my horror, I saw that it was not college students but adult men, presumably fathers of some of the opposing players.

And it didn’t end there. Among other things they did, these two men got behind our basket, yelled and jumped up and down as we shot free throws, mimicking Toby Tiger who was doing the same thing with my college-aged brothers on the other end.

If it had been an NFL game, it would have been expected. Every once in a while, I will see a report in the news about fans (typically adult men) that did something violent because of a game, particularly one at the professional level.

In one of my classes we talked about how Turkish soccer authorities decided to handle disorderly and violent behavior at soccer matches. This year, men were not allowed at games between teams that were known for their unruly fans. Women and children under 12 were allowed in for free.

After the first such game, a Turkish soccer player told the Associated Press, “It was such a fun and pleasant atmosphere.”

So yes, adult men in particular can be a bit out of hand at sporting events.

However, if during one of my games I saw my dad making fun of the other coach or jumping up and down to try and distract opposing players, I would probably tell him to stop coming to my games.

See, there are certain cultural norms. Parents yelling at officials, coaches or even their children during games is unfortunately one of these norms. But two adult men acting like drunks at an NAIA women’s basketball game isn’t.

I’m not saying that acting that way at any sporting event is appropriate. But it is unfortunate that society has digressed to this.

So then, what’s next? Parents beating teenage umpires to a pulp during a Little League game?

Oh wait, that already happened.

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