Sports Etiquette: Being a Gentleman at Sporting Events

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Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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These days, it seems as though most sports fans check all common decency as soon as they pull into the parking lot of their favorite sports venues.  Fans tend to lean a little too far towards “fanatical” as they cheer on their teams.  More and more headlines of violence, riots, and all sorts of terrible behavior are becoming common place.  This is really a shame because it just encourages people to stay home and watch the games on TV, which hurts the team in the long run.  At any rate, we’ve come a long way since the days when spectators wore shirts and ties (and even a hat…a real one, not a ball cap) to baseball games.

Now I’m not going to sit here and suggest that I’ve always been some perfect angel when I attended sporting events.  However, since I no longer have access to the student section, I’m now expected to at least act like a civilized human being.  So, with that in mind, I’ve tried to come up with a list of rules for sports fans to abide by and make stadium life a little better for everyone.

#1) Drink Responsibly – This rule right here can pretty well solve the issues in the first paragraph.  Mix a little “seems like a good idea” juice with the high emotions of sports and bad things are bound to happen.  Now, I’m no teetotaler here, I will drink a beer with my hotdog from time to time.  I’m not going to suggest that you should never drink at a sporting event.  Almost every professional sports venue sells some form of alcohol.  However, just because alcohol is sold, it does not mean that it is your job to fund the team’s payroll with your alcohol consumption.  Regardless of whether or not you’ll be driving home after the game, nobody wants to have beer spilled on them or their kids because you can’t walk straight.  Bottom line, don’t be a drunken moron.

#2) Clean Up After Yourself – Yes, I understand that there are people who are paid specifically to clean up the stands after a game.  However, they are paid to clean up messes that you don’t have the tools to clean up yourself (i.e spilled drinks, food, etc.).  Those people aren’t there to pick up every piece of trash that you decide to leave under your seat.  I’m not at all suggesting that you head to the trash can every time you finish your Cracker Jacks, but you could at least pitch your hot dog wrappers and beer cups in the trash can on your way out.

#3) Know Your Armrest Rules – Just like when riding on an airplane, everyone is entitled to one armrest.  Don’t be that guy who pushes someone’s elbow off the arm rest in order to use two…just don’t…plain and simple.  Of course, if you’re a bleacher bum, armrests are the least of your worries.

#4) Learn to Park – Nothing can ruin an enjoyable day at the ball park like finding a dent in your fender or a scratch in your door.  Parking spaces, even the skinny ones at sporting events, are designed so that any standard vehicle can park or exit comfortably if centered in that parking space.  So, unless you are driving a dump truck, you should be good to go.  The problem is that most people don’t bother to center their car (or 15 passenger church van) in the spot.  Doing this only takes another ten seconds at most, so just be kind and do it.

Also, don’t drive a vehicle to the sporting event that you can’t maneuver in tight spaces.  A man needs to know his limitations.  If you can’t back up your soccer mom van without hitting something, then either let someone else drive or swallow your pride and ask someone to spot you.  You know who you are.

#5) Know Your Place – If you get unlucky and are stuck in the middle of a row, don’t get up every five minutes to pee or grab another beer (or both).  If you have small children, people will be more understanding and patient with you, but don’t abuse their good nature.  Consider asking people on the end if you can swap tickets with them.  If they refuse, then being pissed about you getting up all the time is their problem…at least you offered them a way out.

Similarly, if you are on the end of the row, people will be passing in front of you.  Get used to it.  Don’t snarl and swear like a douche, just stand up and smile every time it happens.  If you’re one that generally stays put during a sporting event, offer to trade seats with one of the middle men with the two kids that have to pee every five minutes.  You never know, he may just buy you a beer.

There you have it, five simple rules for being a gentleman at a sporting event.  Did I miss anything?  Let me know in the comments below.