The Role Of The Fan - Again

By Frank Workman | Feb 09, 2014

It happened this week at a high school basketball game.

If it didn’t involve your school, it could next time.

The short player for the home team had inside position for the rebound. A taller opponent went for the ball and knocked it out of bounds. The taller player began to stumble, and the shorter player gave an overly firm, emphatic two-handed shove, driving the opponent to the ground - followed by a clenched fist, cocked back as if ready to deliver a blow.

The short player was immediately wrapped up in a bearhug by a teammate and escorted away from the baseline scene, heading to their bench at the far side of the court.

A mom from the visiting team charged down the bleachers, walked onto the court, and wagged a finger into the face of the short player for a couple seconds before she returned to her seat.

In the stands, a home team dad hollered something toward the adjacent visitor’s section. A visiting dad took exception to what was said and the two dads soon were nose-to-nose. Two other dads became similarly engaged.

A quick-thinking gym manager bounded up the steps into the stands and came between the involved adults, bringing a semblance of order to the proceedings.

If not for his actions, a powder-keg could have erupted,  mayhem might have ensued. Arrests wouldn't have been out of the question.

With the local regular season now at an end, the playoffs begin this week.  The stakes are higher and emotions will run hotter than usual for the next three weeks.

Perhaps it’s time for a refresher course on what youth sports are about.

In order of importance, this is the cast of characters (and their locations);


1)      Players.   (Field of play)

2)      Officials.  (Field of play)

3)      Coaches.  (Bench)

4)      Fans.         (In the stands)

In this arrangement, it is the role of the players to play. The refs officiate.  Coaches coach.

It’s not complicated.

And fans cheer. (By the way, it’s always OK to give approval to ALL the players on the field of play, not just those on your team.)

Too many times the fans forget their role and feel compelled to play ALL the parts, especially #2 and #3.

It might be a good time for all fans involved to take a deep breath and re-evaluate.

Go to a game that you have no interest in – observe the behavior of those fans  (especially those who are overly loud and critical).

Maybe a lesson can be learned and you can avoid having a scene like this happen at a game you attend.


It’s up to you.


There’s no question about it.



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