Today, I would like to piggyback off of another blog and add my two cents to it. Kayte Christensen’s blog can be read right here. But I want to extend her blog and change it from the Celtics to fans in general.
Apparently there has been some “beef” between Kevin Garnett and Rey Allen that has caused such a rift that Allen was apparently not invited to a Celtic championship reunion. Apparently Garnett took exception to Allen’s leaving Boston to play for Miami when he became a free agent back around 2012 or so, and ever since there’s been beef. Fast forward to now, FIVE YEARS LATER, and apparently there’s still beef with trash talking galore. To all those involved: I’d like to say to all those involved: GROW UP!!!
But let’s forget the Celtics because for the purpose of this conversation their beef ain’t all that important. I’d like to extend her point to mine to an even less important topic – fans. Here is what she said regarding players leaving in free agency: “To a certain degree I can sympathize with fans being upset. They invest so much emotionally and financially in their teams. Because of that they have a pride and a certain, albeit unjustified, sense of ownership over players on their team.”
Here’s my point – fans have taken things to the Nth degree. Like the media, we have built up our own sense of self-importance – we believe that we are the story and not the athletes on the court, field, diamond, rink, or whatever. I believe that fan behavior is in part what is chasing fans away from sports, at least in terms of being active participants – be it sitting in the seats, or even participating in sports talk, or sports themselves.
I’ve been railing on this for a long time, and I could rewrite the laundry list of stuff that goes on that makes it less fun, certainly for me, but that would be a waste of space and your eyes would roll over. The fact is that the “look at me, I’m superfan” attitude is mirroring what is going on in real life, and I certainly couldn’t sum it up any better than what Kayte wrote:
“Can we just let it go? Can we gain just a little PERSPECTIVE here? Can we remember, even if just for a moment, that sports are sports. Just sports. Everyone from 3 year olds to 90 year olds play them. They are meant to be fun. They are meant to teach life lessons. They’re meant to bring people together. Not divide them.”
May I add, can we just enjoy an event without attempting to make ourselves the story? We don’t need ESPN to verify how great we are by appointing certain fans to an arbitrary “fan hall of fame.” We don’t need to see Marlins Man all the time, among others (you know who you are in Sacramento – you get more face time than Mark S. Allen). We don’t need a 30/30 on how we saved our team (for the record, I’ll give the credit to David Stern, Vivek Ranadive, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson). We don’t need to constantly see Fire Marshal Ed, Blue Man Group screwing with players in the penalty box, Lavar Ball, the Florida State girls in the front row of their games, or whoever else you want to equate who go to games to be seen. And we certainly don’t need the “Fans guide on how to be a fan and when to cheer or get loud (but what I will admit to is a hatred of bandwagon fans).”
In the end, my opinion is just like all the rest – everybody has one, but like Kayte says – sports is sports. In my opinion – it should not be a chance to market yourself. And just like every other walk of life, the vocal and visual minority gets all the attention. I’m certainly not some self-appointed “guardian of sports” nor am I writing a book on how to be a fan (though some others try). I’m simply saying that fans are a part of what is taking the joy out of sports.