School is starting very soon and most of us will be back in the stands for another season of junior high and high school athletics.
I think it’ll help some folks to go over the sort of things you should and shouldn’t do while attending games. Folks who run the sound system take notes.
Ultimately, I think it all boils down to one thing: Don’t be a jerk. Which is pretty much the lesson no matter what you endeavor to do with your life.
It may be all God needed to do when he gave Moses the 10 Commandments.
Moses: So, you’re going to give us laws to live by?
God: I’m just going to give you one: Don’t be a jerk.
Moses: We’re gonna need more than that.
God: I think all you can handle is one.
Moses: We need more structure. We can barely deal with Thursdays.
God: Good point.
Don’t leave your trash in the stands or on the ground. Be kind and just pick up after yourself and throw your trash away.
Do buy your friendly neighborhood sports reporter a drink and maybe some food. This is a rare instance in which you are allowed to feed the animals.
Don’t bring cowbells. Seriously, don’t do this. However, do bring vuvuzelas (or stadium horns).
Don’t play “Sweet Home Alabama” during any part of the game. Let’s talk about the elephant (pun intended) in the room: We’re not Alabama.
Do play some Credence Clearwater Revival.
Don’t play any Gary Glitter.
Do play “The Anvil of Crom”. (Sidebar: It is my dream to hear a high school band play this masterpiece because (A) Basil Poledouris is a genius and (B) this is masterful work.)
Don’t play “Let’s Get It Started.”
Do play “Dancing In the Dark.”
Don’t play these songs: I Like To Move It, Crazy Train, Enter Sandman, Welcome to the Jungle, and Thunderstruck.
What we do need is some Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Juno Reactor and Massive Attack. Some Twisted Sister is good as well.
Don’t call out plays for the opposing team. Just because you figured out how the coaches are calling in the plays for the little league team, it doesn’t mean you have to add to the confusion and call in plays as well.
Sure, it may be cute watching those little kids become confused about what’s going on, but it can be soul-crushing. Come to think of it, crushing the souls of children is what we do when we send them to elementary school, so what’s a little extra damage?
Don’t leave the game after halftime. I know many of you will just show up to watch the band, but stay and cheer for the kids playing on the field. Also, don’t complain about the marching band. Football needs the marching band and the marching band needs football. We can all work and live together, and we should all be supportive of each other.
Don’t blame the refs for every issue. I would admit I have a problem with this. I don’t like injustice and sometimes humans make mistakes and the ones who suffer are the kids playing the game. To make matters worse, if there was a bad call and the refs know it was a bad call they won’t reverse it or wave it off… they will deliver the “make-up call.” The call on the other team to somehow offset the mistake made by the refs so they penalize the other team for their own mistakes. That needs to stop as well. There’s a reason I have sat in the stands during basketball games. It’s better to hide among the crowd if I “accidentally” say something which could quite possibly get me tossed from the premises.
Don’t coach from the stands. For some of you, this may be the most difficult. Your kid or someone’s kid is out on the field and you want to tell them what to do. How to block. How to catch. How to run. Do you honestly think that at this point they don’t know what they’re doing? Of course, they don’t, they’re still in junior high or high school, but you have neither the right nor the privilege to start coaching them from the stands.
Let the coaches do their job. If you want to coach, sign up to coach a team. Programs are always looking for more coaches, so volunteer.
Don’t cheer against the opposing players. Those kids work just as hard as anyone else. Instead (again without being mean or hateful… I’m looking at you Eureka Springs) just hope the fans for the opposing team is reduced to tears. There’s nothing quite like watching grown men cry because high school kids are unable to meet their expectations and dreams. So… don’t hinge your life upon the choices of teenagers (This also goes to folks on social media who like to lambast high school kids for their college choices.)
(Sidebar: For a town with a reputation like Eureka Springs you may think they would be a friendlier bunch.)