Sports fan 101
By Dan Gray
The dictionary defines a sports fan as an enthusiastic devotee of sports.
Under this definition, for almost 35 years I have been a sports fan. If my grandmother had her way I would have appeared out of the womb singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game while holding a hockey stick wearing a Maple Leafs jersey. I have seen the best and worst of my favourite teams and their fans, myself included.
Whether a lifelong fan or a bandwagon fan, quiet or boisterous, overly critical or too optimistic, you are still a fan. And then there is an unwritten code of things we should and shouldn’t do. Don’t get so drunk you fight. Don’t streak, never touch a live batted-ball, don’t throw things on the playing field and most definitely don’t scream out racial slurs.
These rules are over arching. They don’t matter what sport, who you cheer for, what you do for a living or how you watch the game. You just don’t do these things.
Clapping when someone is injured should be one of these rules but it is not and it’s perplexing.
On Monday night I was embarrassed to be a Blue Jays fan. After two-thirds of an inning the Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer left the game with blood hemorrhaging from his finger. As he was walking off the field many “fans” cheered the fact he was leaving. It was truly distasteful and angering to watch.
There really is only one exception to the rule of never cheer an injury. If a player is obviously significantly injured enough the whole stadium goes quiet. Thee injured player then waves, or moves a limb or tips his hat, you cheer. You don’t cheer because he’s out, you cheer because it appears he might be ok.
Toronto is not alone when it comes to this egregious act of disrespect for the game. The most famous might be when Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irving suffered a career ending spinal injury and Philadelphia Eagles fans cheered, because he was hurt. To this day it is the go to example of deplorable fan etiquette.
That night, Jays’ fans cheered because he was out. We all knew he would be ok, he blew out stiches in his finger from an off-field incident with a drone so it wasn’t life threatening and they cheered.
It doesn’t matter the reason because no reason is good enough.
Fans doing stupid things happens occasionally around sports, but it seems to happen more frequently in Toronto. From bottle throwing to supposed slurs being shouted to now this. For a city with a lot of class, some fans seem to be extremely classless.
If you are an enthusiastic devotee of sports, a sports aficionado or just a normal everyday person who happened to be born into a sports loving family, if you choose to be a fan, learn the rules.
That’s the way I see it.