Sunday, May 24, 2009

On the Tunney Side of the Street, #230 May 25, 2009

After Further Review … Can the words “civility” and “sports fan” be used in the same sentence? If the simple definition of civility is “courtesy” and the word “fan” is abbreviated from fanatic (excessively enthusiastic), can a fan be courteous?

This became an issue at a recent NBA playoff game when a couple of fans wanted to cheer on their team by standing up, thereby blocking the view of other fans, who were cheering the same team, but seated. All of the fans were in seats near the playing floor. The seated fans asked those standing to “Please sit down, we can’t see.” Those standing refused to sit. If you were the one standing, what would you do?

What needs to be pointed out is that those standing were younger (20-30s), while those sitting were older (50-60s). Older fans want to sit more than stand, and at stadium events usually sit throughout the performance. Attending concerts by Bennett, Streisand or the Philharmonic, an older audience is seated, except for an occasional “standing ovation.”

Younger fans want to stand throughout - rock concerts and the like. You may have noticed that during the recent NCAA basketball playoffs, all the students from the participating schools stood the ENTIRE game! That’s what today’s students do!

During the confrontation that took place at the aforementioned NBA playoff game, the standing fans said (in response to the request to sit down), “We paid for these seats and we’ll stand if we want to.” “Well,” said those sitting, ”If you paid for the seats, SIT in them!” “No” was the reply … “You stand up.” And so the banter continued.

This happens in other venues as well. Since today’s younger fans want to stand, the question is: Do they have that right, even if they block the view of those behind them? One of the arguments of those standing is that the enthusiasm (of standing) is more supportive of the players, and thus the players play better with that enthusiastic (standing) support. Excuse me? My observation of players is that, while, they are glad the fans are there, they don’t – and shouldn’t – pay much attention to whether their fans are sitting or standing!

Will you be considerate of others in the arena, as well as in other places in our society?

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