The Fan’s Rulebook: How To Enjoy Yourself and Support Your Team Without Losing Your Friends

The other night I went to a Memphis Tigers basketball game. This isn’t a rare thing considering that I am a student of the university and a massive Tigers fan. When I go to games I go to enjoy myself and see a good game of basketball. I have sat in the Student Section for the past 3 years, and I’ve generally never really had a problem with other students. As any sports fan is well aware, there will be stretches of the game where things get intense or exciting and fans will usually stand up and cheer. The student sections are actually more prone to stand up longer than other fans, and often parts of or all of the student section will stand for pretty much the whole game. Sometimes there will be times when people will sit and others will stand, this is just part of the game. Well the other night there were some guys behind me and some friends and they had a problem with people standing, especially us, because they said that they couldn’t see and that theres no reason to stand. One guy in particular did most of the talking and his friends just basically tried to shut him up. He did nothing but drink, swear, complain about coaching and players and just generally made a spectacle of himself while spilling beer all over my jacket. I have a problem with these kinds of fans. They ruin the experience for other people. Which is why we need a Fan Rulebook. Here are some highlights…

Besides the totally rad and freaking classy cover.

Rule #1: Never Drink Alcohol Before Or During A Game
How many sports games have you been to where there is some obnoxious jerk yelling and cussing up a storm throughout the whole game while simultaneously pissing off everyone within 30 feet of them? How many times have you had alcohol spilled on you? How many times has some person acted like they wanted to fight you? If your answer is “Pretty Often” then you understand what I’m talking about. How do we combat this problem? Don’t let your alcoholic buddy drink before or during the game. Why? Because he does nothing but embarrass you and piss everyone else off. Either tell him to stop or let him go to the game by himself. This is rule number one because eliminating alcohol eliminates the possibilities of many people making fools of themselves and making everyone mad. If you’re going to drink, do it after the game so I don’t have to listen to your angry and expletive ladened rants.

“Oh I’m sorry, my beer tripped me because it’s tired of being empty…”

Rule #2: Unless You’ve Played College or Professional Level Sports Or Coached At One Of Those Levels, You Have No Right To Complain About Coaching Or Playing.
Why? Because you have no idea what you’re talking about. Lets say theoretically you were a good player in high school sports, draining 3’s for days. Thats great. Then why are you sitting in the stands drunk instead of out there on the floor playing? Oh yeah, you weren’t good enough or motivated enough or disciplined enough to play upper level sports. Shut up. If you think you can do better then try out for the team and prove us wrong. Get out there and play against guys twice your size in front of 20,000 people and see if you’re any better. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who have no idea what they are talking about and are louder than everyone else. I played high school football and basketball, but I also wasn’t good enough to play college sports. So when I see someone make a mistake or miss a shot I’m not ignorant enough to think that I could do better. If I could do better then I would be out there. You only know whats happening on the court or on the field if you’re actually out there playing. You can’t see and feel everything thats happening on the court if you’re sitting in the stands. You can’t hear whats being said between players, or between coaches. Shut up. You have no idea what you’re talking about and you’re making yourself sound like a moron. Armchair quarterbacks are sitting at home for a reason.

Don’t be fooled. He was “totally All-Region” in high school.

Rule #3: Surround Yourself With People of the Same Fan Level As Yourself
If you’re a guy who likes to paint up and go crazy the whole game then you should surround yourself with people from the same fold. If you’re a fan who loves the team but likes to relax and watch the game then find people who are like that. Because being alone in either category will do nothing but annoy people. If you’re up front with the crazy people then you need to act crazy, cause if you don’t you’re getting on their nerves. The same goes for a crazy person surrounded by more relaxed fans. Tone it down.

¿Por qué? Porque!

Rule #4: It’s Perfectly Acceptable and Encouraged To High Five And Maybe Hug Strangers
If your team just pulled off an amazing upset or made an awesome shot, there is nothing wrong with being so excited that you hug or high five a fellow fan close to you. It connects fans and makes the experience more memorable. Just make sure you don’t do it to someone who looks like they don’t want a hug. A fist bump will suffice.

Rule #5: Have Realistic Expectations
I cannot stand it when fans absolutely freak when something goes wrong and they immediately start complaining about how the program is a complete joke. Or when a fan is so delusional that they believe that they should win a national championship every year and if they don’t the coach needs to be fired. Both sides of the spectrum are equally annoying. Even if a team is stacked at the beginning of the season that does not guarantee that they will win a championship. Vice versa, if your team loses a game usually it does not mean all hope is lost and that you will never win again and that you should fire the coach. Stranger things have happened. Putting unrealistic expectations on a team before they ever step foot on the court or field is not only unfair, it’s grossly ignorant. You acquire expectations as the season progresses. You learn what the team is made of and what they are capable of and THEN you be optimistic yet realistic. Thats my way of doing it. It works for me.

It could be worse little buddy. You could like Michigan.

Rule #6: There Is No Such Thing As A “Fair Weather” Fan
By definition, a “Fair Weather Fan” is a fan who only supports the team when the team is having success. They are the first ones to dismiss the team when hard times come and the first ones to jump back on into the fray when things start going right. If you consider yourself to be one of these fans, then you are not a fan. Period. You are either for the team or against it.

Rule #7: Trolling On The Opposing Team’s Message Boards Does Nothing But Make You Look Like A Idiot Looking For Attention
People already argue enough on the internet. Have you seen Youtube? Cut the crap out. Going to another team’s board and looking to start crap does nothing but reflect the state of your personality. Let the fans talk to each other in peace. If you won’t say it to a persons face then you shouldn’t say it online.

Still wanna make fun of 12 year olds who post guitar videos on Youtube?

Rule #8: If You Lose, Move On
Hanging onto a loss and letting it dictate your mood does nothing to make it better. It’s not going to change the outcome of the game. It’s just going to make you miserable longer than you should be. I’ve lost enough big games in my life to learn that being unhealthily depressed will accomplish nothing. It’s just a game. There’s nothing wrong with being a little bummed but you can’t let it ruin your life. My personal rule is 12 hours. After 12 hours let it go and occupy your time with beating the crap out of your least favorite teams on the Playstation. It’s very therapeutic.

Rule #9: Have Fun!
You go to a game with your friends because its fun. Then have fun. Don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy yourself and the time you’re spending with people you care about while supporting the team you love.

Rule #10: Try To Be Nice
Just because you don’t care for the opposing team doesn’t mean its a free pass to act like a jerk. There is such a thing called mutual respect. Unless we’re talking about Ole Miss. Then you just trash them.

How’s that whole “bear mascot” thing working out for ya?

Random Thought of the Day
You ever have an awesome dream and then never have it again? That sucks doesn’t it.

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