Our GM Hal Widsten expressed his thoughts on the behavior of some of the fans at Matador football games in his blog this week.
I second Hal’s opinion on this matter.
Now, let me preface by saying this: My broadcast partner Mike Andrews and I are wearing headsets & doing a live play-by-play broadcast during Seguin football games, so we never really get to hear what people are saying in the stands…we filter out the crowd noise, focus on the game, and pay attention to what we’re saying to each other. And from my understanding, we’re just talking about a few bad apples here…the vast majority of Matador fans, from my experience over the past three years, are extremely supportive and remain very positive at all times at Seguin High School sporting events, even when things aren’t going well for the home team. So know before I proceed that this is not at all an indictment on the Matador fan base at large, but rather – as I said above – a few bad apples.
But the bad apples need to be tossed out of the barrell. No reasonable, responsible, mature adult ever shows up at a high school sporting event and allows his or herself to yell venemous words of criticism at high school athletes. Ever. Fact. Period. It’s inappropriate and unacceptable behavior 100% of the time.
Regardless the sport, high-school athletes put themselves through a level of voluntary physical exertion and exhaustion in preparing for a season that 90% of the world’s population could never dream to relate to. And 90% of the people who yell words of criticism at those athletes couldn’t run a lap around their living rooms without coughing up a lung…or a cheeseburger (which, come to think of it, is beside the point - the genetic fusion of Lance Armstrong and Michael Jordan would be no more justified in yelling critical words at high school athletes).
And it’s irrelevant that your kid is playing well and another kid is not. Some kids are more talented, bigger, faster, and stronger than others. Part of life. Doesn’t always mean they’re working any harder. And on the rare occasion that another kid might not be giving 100%, it’s not for you to point out at the top of your lungs with a few thousand others sitting around you.
If the team is having a disappointing game or season, it’s okay to be disappointed, but it’s NOT okay to criticize the kids. And believe me, those kids are hurting a LOT more than you are after a bad play or loss, because they invested a LOT more than you did into trying to win that game.
You want to curse and criticize the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday when it looks like millionaires are giving a half-hearted effort and not doing their jobs? Fine…that’s a working condition those guys accept as part of the exchange for all that money when they sign on to become professional athletes.
But at a high-school sporting event? Paint a smile on your face, be positive, and cheer for the guys and girls out there representing whatever school you’re a fan of the next time you’re in attendance. Having played high school sports, with a sister who also played high school sports, in a house with a dad who coached and still coaches high school sports, this just happens to be a subject on which my opinion is not real flexible.