Sports are a genuinely wonderful thing. There’s nothing that can match the thrill and adrenaline rush of cheering on your favorite team or watching someone come inches away from victory only to have it snatched away. Sports are something that can be an incredibly personal experience but can also be at it’s best when shared with other people. There’s a real sense of community when it comes to sporting events as everyone comes together to share in something that you all truly love. The problem is that sports, and sports fans, in particular, have a bit of a reputation problem. A lot of the time the image that the world has of sports fans is of loud, rude, and sometimes even violent people who seem to want to spoil the whole experience for the rest of us. Sports should never be something that makes people feel unsafe or unwelcome so, with that in mind, here are some simple ways to be a better sports fan and how to encourage others to do the same.
When you’re a die-hard sports fan, it can be easy to forget what it’s like when you’re a newcomer. A lot of the time people who are new to a sport might not be fully aware of the rules or the fan traditions. Make sure that you do whatever you can to make them feel welcome and included. Help them out by explaining the rules or teaching them some of the crowd chants. By doing that you’ll create an atmosphere that is much more welcoming to anyone and everyone.
Call out toxic behavior
If you’ve paid good money for some AFL ANZAC day tickets and all you want to do is bask in the annual tradition of it with some friends and family, then nothing is going to ruin that experience faster than someone who is being rude and obnoxious. You should never put yourself in danger, but the more people put up with that kind of behavior, the more those kinds of people are going to continue to believe that it’s acceptable. There will usually be security personnel around who you can speak to and hopefully, they can either make that person behave in a more civil manner or remove them entirely. It should be made clear that anyone who thinks that they can be abusive to others at any sporting event simply isn’t welcome.
Remember, it’s not the end of the world
When your team loses, it can be pretty devastating. The emotional investment that people feel when they’re watching a game is one of the best things about being a sports fan. But under no circumstances does that give anyone the right to behave badly if that happens. If your team loses, then it’s alright to feel sad or angry, but treat fans and players of the opposite team with respect. Don’t harass the players of your own team for their “poor performance” either. Just move on and remember that there are always other games and other chances to take home a victory.