Crossing the Line

Photo Credit to Andrez Mucka on Pexels

If you have visited my blog for some time, you may already know that I am a diehard sports fan. I’ve spent the past seventeen years cheering on my son’s teams. He played football for ten years (two years in junior high, four years in high school, and four years in college), and now he is making his living as a college football coach (seven years). My wife and I have attended many games in person or streamed them online. He’s doing what he loves, and as a parent, that’s all you can ask.

I enjoy most competitive events, be it football, baseball, basketball, boxing, horse racing, or tennis. My rooting interests go beyond sports. Perhaps I’m not as invested, but I also enjoy a good game of Jeopardy or even watching a spelling bee. It’s interesting because I don’t consider myself overly competitive, yet I love most competitions.

While I get into the games as much as anyone and root for my favorite teams like a true sports fan, there will be plenty of times where our favorite teams or players will come out on the short end. Much like life, things don’t always work out as hoped. Learning how to handle these setbacks is what we do as humans. Sometimes the other team played better that day and deserved to win. It’s not always the coach’s or the ref’s fault or whatever excuse people make.

The same is true for adults. Maybe we didn’t get that job we wanted because someone else interviewed better or was more qualified for the job. It’s a time to pick ourselves back up and try again. Resiliency, grit, and perseverance are essential qualities.

I’m bringing up this topic today because I recently saw a clip from a post-game tennis interview that got me thinking about what responsibilities we have as sports fans. When we buy a ticket to a sporting event, what exactly does this entitle us? I would argue that there should be limits, and those that violate those expectations should lose the privilege of attending.

The Indian Wells Tennis Tournament is now taking place in Indian Wells, California. It is a prestigious event, sometimes called the “fifth Grand Slam,” due to its significant prize money and large attendance. It is the home to the world’s second-largest tennis stadium, surpassed in size only by Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Former number one women’s player Naomi Osaka played a second-round match against Russian player Veronika Kudermetova when a woman in the stands yelled out, “Osaka, you suck!” While not over the top compared to what many fans shout, it rattled the Japanese star. She went to the chair umpire to ask for the fan’s removal. The umpire explained that he couldn’t take any action because he didn’t know which fan had commented. Osaka made the unusual inquiry to speak to the crowd in the middle of the match but found her request denied.

Osaka dropped the match 6-0, 6-4, but still wanted a chance to speak. Fighting back her tears, she thanked the audience for coming and congratulated her opponent. (See below) She also referenced a prior incident at Indian Wells that Serena and Venus Williams went through. Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete in the world, has admitted to “long bouts of depression” after capturing her first major at the United States Open in 2018. She has since gone on to win three more major tournaments, but her young career has been interrupted a few times due to her struggles with mental health. Having played in only a handful of matches recently, she has dropped to 78th in the world rankings. She has shown great courage in speaking publicly of her challenges with depression.

Naomi Osaka, addressing the crowd following her tennis match.

The incident that Osaka was referring to occurred in 2001. Star tennis sisters Serena and Venus Williams were heckled by fans, including some who allegedly used the “N” word. Twenty minutes before the semifinal match between Venus and Serena, Venus withdrew with an injury. Many tennis fans were angry at the late withdrawal. A rumor circulated that father, Richard, had orchestrated this move so that 19-year-old Serena would be fresher in her finals match.

Serena Williams defeated Kim Clijsters of Belgium in the final 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, but not before intense jeering from the crowd. When Richard and Venus came into the stadium to watch the match, the crowd booed, and some allegedly used racial epithets toward them. Richard created a stir before the match by raising his fist toward the crowd in a gesture that reminded some of track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute. Clijsters, a popular player on the tennis circuit for many years, received the support of most of the American crowd. Serena was rattled in the first set when the pro-Clijsters fans began cheering Williams’s unforced errors and double faults. Serena rallied to win the final two sets, and the crowd loudly booed when she went over to celebrate with her father and sister after the match.

2001 clip of Indian Wells final between Serena Williams (USA) and Kim Clijsters (Belgium). Sorry about the grainy footage.

Upset by the treatment from the crowd, the Williams sisters boycotted Indian Wells for several years afterward. Serena didn’t return for fourteen years until 2015, while Venus sat out fifteen years until 2016.

The question on my mind is, at what point does the behavior of spectators cross the line and become unacceptable? It seems visiting teams and star players in professional sports are used to being booed. It’s been a part of sports for years. However, in more recent years, it seems that spectators have taken things too far. More recently, I’ve seen ejections occur when fans have dumped drinks on visiting players, shouted verbal threats, or taunted athletes with negative comments about their race or sexuality. I think permanent ejections of fans are appropriate in these circumstances. If we’re bringing our children to a sporting event, is this the kind of behavior we want them to learn?

I feel the same way about parents behaving terribly at youth sporting events. It sets an awful example for kids when adults scream at the referees, coaches, or other players. If these behaviors go unchecked, we are, in effect, sending a message to children that this type of behavior is acceptable. I’ve attended games where these loudmouths spoil things for the rest who are there to cheer on their children. I was at an elementary school watching a basketball game a few years back, and the referee had to call the police because an unruly spectator refused to leave the premises when ordered to do so.

It’s not realistic to monitor every action in a crowd of people, but I believe that simply buying a ticket doesn’t allow people to act in offensive ways. I tried to think of other instances where taunting is permitted. Besides sporting events, the only other places I remember seeing heckling were at a music concert and a comedy show. The common denominator seems to be a public event where people have paid to see a performer.

Seinfeld, one my all-time favorite television shows, even took a poke at this topic years ago. After being heckled by Kramer’s girlfriend during his standup comedy act, Jerry goes to her workplace and gives her a taste of her own medicine. What follows is a lot of absurdity, and I’ll let you be the judge as to whether you find it funny.

Clip #1 Kramer’s girlfriend heckling Jerry’s comedy act.
Clip #2 Jerry goes to the girlfriend’s workplace to heckle her.

104 thoughts on “Crossing the Line

  1. Kramer and his story of the bus ride is the funniest part of all! I forgot how much I loved that show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:09 pm

      The assembly of characters on that show was perfect. I don’t watch much television, but I’ll bet I’ve seen every one of their episodes at least once.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That sort of behavior is definitely over the line. My response is always the same: What’s the matter with you? Were you raised by wolves? (Judgemental, I know.)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:14 pm

      The behavior of some adults is downright embarrassing. I think even their kids know it is out of line, and in some cases, they probably wish their parents weren’t even there. I’ve wondered if someone sent them a video and they saw how out of control they were if it would have any effect on them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hard to say. They probably consider obnoxious, hurtful behavior “free speech.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I love wolf society. But that’s a whole different subject!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right; it is.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not into sports, never have been, but I have been to lots of professional football, baseball, or hockey games. My observation is that diehard fans are trying desperately to make friends with other fans, so they will attempt to outdo each other with their *enthusiasm* for the team. This leads to spectators crossing the line to unacceptable behavior– more to impress their peers than to cheer the their team on to victory. A thought

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:17 pm

      I think you’re on to something, especially when some groups of guys go together and alcohol is involved. They believe they are funny when they’re just making a fool of themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Seinfeld. I’ve been watching it for the first time these past few months (I’m the only adult in America who never watched them). I too like civility but I wonder if the players could model it a little better, if they would tamp down their political opinions, the phrases they wear on their clothing (‘pigs’ on socks), kneeling when they know how insulting it is to many fans. Is it all freedom of speech? Or a breakdown in civility? Having said that, I have no idea if any of this applies to tennis or just the bigger sports picture (NBA and football). I’m not even sure how this applies on the world stage (I’ve heard football in the EU is pretty rough and tumble).

    And yes, I agree, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:25 pm

      I’m almost always the oddball who doesn’t know any of the current shows. I may know what’s popular, but I often don’t watch them until later when they’re on Netflix.

      I’m all for freedom of speech, but I don’t always agree with some of the ways celebrities use their platforms. Yet, I appreciate when they use their status to do good things, so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. I didn’t watch much TV until recently. My husband laughs because I catching up on Seinfeld.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love sports as well and it seems as though fans have really gone over the top in the last years, crossing over to horrible and rude behavior that is often hurtful

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:28 pm

      I like a beer as much as the next guy, but watching the ridiculous behavior of some who have overindulged makes a compelling reason not to serve alcohol at these events. Since that would cut into the owners’ profits, I can’t see that happening.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing all of this. I’m a huge tennis fan and have been attending the US OPEN in person for the last 20 years. And I remember seeing the Williams sisters playing on a small court before anyone knew who they were. It’s a terribly racist, unchecked industry (reflection of our country in general), and it’s so embarrassing that these incredible athletes have to be subjected to such treatment. Poor Osaka as well, I don’t blame her for disappearing and struggling with depression. It’s all just too much for one person to handle, no matter how confident you are. And you bring up a good point too in terms of regulation. It really would’ve been great if someone could’ve removed that person. Ugh, it’s a work in progress I suppose. But thank you for bringing this into the light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:38 pm

      I’m so envious of you, Libby, as the US Open is one of the things on my sports bucket list. The environment for those night matches on television seems electric. I’ve been to a Super Bowl, and a few years back one of my brothers and I attended the Final Four college basketball tournament. I also hope to go tho the Little League World Series someday.

      The athletes make mistakes just like us, and yet they often are blasted when they screw up because their lives are in the public eye. I know they make ridiculous money, but the flip side is all the pressure they’re under.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes good point about the ridiculous money they make as well, that makes it even more complex. And YES I hope you get to go someday. We look forward to it all year every year. It’s so fun and the campus is gorgeous. Be prepared to spend $8 on a bottle of water though! But like you said, it’s super electric actually, and really amazing. 🎾

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We love watching Seinfeld. My husband is watching some of them right now. I’m not a sports fan but a certain degree of booing to the opposite team seems to be natural. I can see that there has to be a limit without crossing the line. Very good discussion, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:44 pm

      The scary part is how close the fans are to the players in some sports, particularly basketball. A few decades ago, a female tennis player (Monica Seles) was stabbed by a fan who got out onto the court.

      Seinfeld is brilliant in that they can poke fun at human nature. Jerry, in particular, was constantly breaking up with girls for shallow reasons, and yet people do that.

      Like

      1. Wow, that was scary. I glanced at the screen when my husband watched some games. Some fans are really too close to the players.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Spectators should be at sports events for the love of the sport and not for the hate of the opponents. Booing at sports events really irritates me. Yeah, cheer for your favourites, but other that that zip it. Thanks for the Seinfeld laugh 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 3:52 pm

      I know you’re not much into sports, but one of the ways that many athletes have changed since I’ve been watching sports (a long time) is they purposefully bring a lot of attention to themselves with elaborate touchdown dances and showing up their opponents. It detracts from the game, and I have a much lower opinion of any player who makes it about himself than the game itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Maybe because I watch equestrian sports mostly, where there is a lot of respect to the sport 9at least on the surface), you just don’t see this. There is a lot of cheering for effort, not just wins.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree with all of the above–except the Seinfeld stuff. Sure, paid attendees have the right for a certain amount of cheers and boos, but not when it gets racist, sexist AND disturbing both to the competitors as well as other paid attendees. It sure looks like the two clips were staged and not impromptu. There’s one place where the taunting is de rigueur–that’s all the various pro wrestling matches!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 5:36 pm

      I was one of those gullible kids who ate all that wrestling stuff up, at least until I was nine or ten and figured out it was all fake. Funny that you should mention that. I had a scene in my work in progress where a father and son went to the wrestling matches, and the kid discovered it was all a charade. I ended up taking it out because while it was fun to write, it didn’t advance the plot.

      Like

      1. Decades ago now, I knew a woma friend of mother who had a woman wrestler staying with her for brief time. She said there were a few real matches called skirmishes (I think) when the wrestlers had a major issue. Those may not happen anymore.

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  10. I saw that story about Naomi Osaka in the news but didn’t pay too much attention to it.. but watching the video with her addressing the crowd despite the emotional turmoil she was going through was tough… I get that some form of heckling is part of sports but it’s a bit easier to swallow when you’re part of a team but when you’re just one person doing the best you can, trying to fulfill your dreams … it hits home hard (I could imagine)… It’s also not great that she didn’t get much support from the umpire either- this something that should be flagged in stadiums (in my opinion)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 7:07 pm

      I don’t blame the umpire since their primary responsibility is to control the match, though I hope some attempt was made to identify the perpetrator. I feel that the ushers should have been able to find out who the heckler was if they made an attempt. You have to know that others in the stadium would have pointed her out.

      Great point about individual sports vs. team sports. When the hate is directed at an individual, it becomes more personal, presenting a different feeling. I don’t know if you follow tennis, but Naomi is a likable player. I don’t think she likes being in the public spotlight, yet I admire her so much for having the gumption to speak out about depression and other mental health issues, as every little bit takes away some of the stigmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Good commentary on the sad state of affair in some high profile events, Pete. Crowds can be unmerciful and alcohol contributes to some of the rowdiness. As for Seinfeld, it always makes me laugh because it is so over the top. Best of success to your son. Working his way up to the pros, maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 7:11 pm

      Our son is newly engaged, but he will not be married until June of 2023. I’m not sure if he’s decided what his career aspirations are. He has his head screwed on straight and understands that asking a family to pick up and move every couple of years is challenging. If he found the perfect situation, I could see him settling down at a smaller university for quite a while.

      Like

  12. There is definitely a line, Pete and it’s crossed into so many areas of life now and it seems to be trundling on unchecked which I find most unsettling…There is that undercurrent of nastiness… I was brought up to keep it firmly zipped if I couldn’t say anything nice…A good discussion, Pete….I hope you have a great weekend 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 8:01 pm

      You and I see the same thing—a general lack of civility and people who are emboldened to talk crassly without any fear of repurcussions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, Pete and its scary because where will it end as it just keeps moving forward because people are seeing as the norm…I commented on a friends FB post a while ago as I felt they were being disrespectful to our Queen…I’ll rephrase that it was downright rude and a sexual innuendo…Never again… I got the flack from his friends who wondered why I didn’t see the joke…

        Liked by 1 person

  13. The only sport I watch is baseball and I was happy to see a fan banned for life for throwing something and hitting a player. Even happier when people in the crowd helped security locate the fan. Whether tossing an object, fighting or using hurtful and racist language there is no place for this type of behaviour anywhere. It is the reason I rarely attended my stepsons hockey games years ago and the reason I was very glad that my son wasn’t interested in playing hockey as a kid. The problem there was all the adults.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 8:06 pm

      I coached basketball for a couple of seasons at the community youth sports level. While you’re trying to win, the idea is to give all the kids a chance and expose them to the game. The problem is some adults see it as a “win at all costs,” which seems ridiculous to me at the 3rd-grade level. No wonder kids are confused. On the one hand, they’re told to “have fun,” yet the same adult is yelling at them fifteen minutes later.🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A great post and very interesting follow-up discussion. Rudeness is ubiquitous and can appear at coffee shops, work, and many times at a check-out counter. And then there are those that scold the rude people and then the confrontation goes to the higher level. But sporting events do create the context for intense emotions. I can only imagine the scene at the ancient Roman coliseum. What is the answer? Perhaps it is found in the face of kindness. “Be kind to unkind people; they need it the most!” Buddhism

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 8:22 pm

      I love that Buddhist philosophy. When I witness bad behavior in everyday actions such as you describe at a coffee shop or check-out counter, we tend to look the other way unless the berated individual looks distraught and needs help.

      The other day I was taking a walk and an elderly woman rode by on her bicycle in the opposite direction. We exchanged waves as she smiled. She rode a few yards past me and encountered another woman (I’m guessing about 25-years-old), and unbelievably the young woman called, “Get the hell out of the way, you old lady!” I was shocked. I turned around and told her I didn’t think that was very kind of her to do. She responded by telling me to “mind my own business” and flipped me off. It may not have helped, but it also felt wrong not to get involved.

      There used to be a show on ABC called What Would You Do? with host John Quinones. I don’t know if you ever saw it, but it was a group of actors who created a scenario where bystanders were faced with the dilemma of whether or not to get involved.

      Looking forward to talking to you tomorrow night.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What would you do is a very good question, one that goes to the heart of facing darkness, in small ways and in very big ways. Looking forward to out discussion!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. The rude behavior reflects our society and what seems to be the belief of some that their presumed position in it affords the right to trample the rights and feelings of people they view as not on their level. Witness the State of the Union Address. Jackie Robinson and others endured worse. There will always be idiots. They are being encouraged unfortunately. I hope Osaka doesn’t let it bother her too much. But she has the right to be upset and ask that such fans be kicked out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 8:52 pm

      Many athletes make astronomical amounts of money, yet that shouldn’t give others free rein to belittle or humiliate them. I would be upset if I paid to see an athletic contest, and one of the athletes wasn’t trying, but I can’t think of too many other scenarios where I might boo someone.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think the same types of biases are playing out in the media criticism of Russel Westbrook and before him Allen Iverson. Their skin color, attitude and style of play makes or made them easy targets. I’ve been guilty too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great post (I did enjoy the Seinfeld clips too). I was scrolling through the comments and your comment about the astronomical amounts of money made by athletes was what I was planning on commenting about. I think many people feel entitled to harass celebrities and athletes because they are rich and famous and that should somehow go with the territory. That is such a messed up rationale for really bad behavior. Because Osaka worked hard and dedicated herself to her craft, you should be entitled to try to humiliate and harass her because she was successful?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. petespringerauthor March 20, 2022 — 6:18 pm

        It’s hard to understand people’s rationale. There are plenty of times when money equals power and unequal justice in society. The example you presented is the opposite effect as if being wealthy entitles the rest of us to act like jerks towards them.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s one thing to yell at the TV in our living room, quite another in a public venue. Maybe people are carrying over the freedom they feel in their homes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 9:02 pm

      I find it odd that some people find this appropriate at sporting events. I’m not sure why people feel empowered in that venue. I don’t hear people yelling at airplane pilots, bus drivers, general contractors, dentists, or most other professionals, so why is this socially accepted? Even as a teacher, I only had a few situations where a parent became unglued.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hiding in a crowd creates a sense of anonymity?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 7:47 am

        I think you nailed it.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. couldn’t agree more, Pete. Such behavior is part of the reason why I am no longer as big a sports fan as I used. that, and how money seems to be the driving force in sports today, and not love of the game.

    loved the Seinfeld clips…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 14, 2022 — 9:27 pm

      Understandably, money is a driving force in any business, but they should also do what’s necessary to set a pleasant environment. If someone in a restaurant starts carrying on, I would expect the management would bar that person from returning. Athletes and spectators should be held to high standards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. agreed. but these days you never know how someone is going to react – violence, social media, etc. so it can’t be easy to do what seems to be the right thing…

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Heckling might be funny on Seinfeld, but it’s not on the basketball court or football field for sure. Some parents crossed the line at our grandson’s soccer games, but most exhibited good sportsmanship. Very timely, Pete! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 7:52 am

      Our son played youth soccer one year, and I’ll never forget that one Saturday (apparently an annual event) was that spectators were directed to watch the game without making any noise. They distributed suckers so that people would have something in their mouths.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. You don’t have to be on social media to be a bully! Some like to do it in person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 7:53 am

      Yes, not that one form is better than another. Somehow it seems more shocking when it’s done publicly. I think many get off on trying to make themselves part of the show.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. People heckel and degrade others in all walks of life – they cross the line and should be accountable for their actions. One mean comment can alter another person’s life forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 7:57 am

      I taught many kids who shut down when someone made a negative comment about them. Kindness and meanness can be paid forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I agree with you about the disrespect shown in sporting arenas, Pete. There were some ugly scenes here in the tennis earlier this year. Social medial allows everyone to have a say. I wonder do they think it’s appropriate for them to have their say wherever they are. A little more respect in all walks of life would go a long way.
    Loved the Seinfeld clips. Brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 2:53 pm

      It seems a bit symptomatic of the world these days where people say and do outlandish things for attention. Freedom of speech has boundaries.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It definitely should have, Pete. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  22. This seems to be becoming a more common feature at sports matches, and I think in life generally. If you buy a ticket, by all means cheer and support your favourites, but that doesn’t give you the right to be abusive to the opponents. It mirrors discussions we often see about rights and responsibilities. It’s a pity that the individual wasn’t identified and ejected – it wouldn’t have been that hard to do. When the player has a known history of mental health issues, about which she has bravely been upfront, that makes this kind of behaviour all the more despicable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 2:58 pm

      I can’t fault the umpire for not stopping the match, but I think they should have determined the party. You have to know that several people sitting around the heckler would know who it was and would be eager to point her out. I find Osaka to be an easy player to root for.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree – as I said in my comment it wouldn’t have been hard to find the woman, and I’m sure you’re right in saying that others in the vicinity would have been able to identify her. Unless they all turned a blind eye, of course. Osaka is a good player to watch, nice style and a good attitude.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s sad when people take things too far. I agree that there is some really appalling behavior at sporting events from fans. I think many have lost their moral compass, but that carries over in all parts of life. Paying for a ticket and attending a sporting event doesn’t give someone the right to become a class-A jerk and bully,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 3:09 pm

      Many of these fan incidents involve somebody trying to act tough in front of their friends, but I don’t get the sense that’s what happened here.

      Bad audience behavior doesn’t seem to be a big issue when writers make public appearances or give talks.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Sports fans and actually fans at a lot of events seem to think that buying a ticket gives them the right to behave appallingly and treat the person they are watching in a way that would never be tolerated face to face. It’s sort of like the digital apps, where being anonymous seems to bring out the worst in people. And it seems to be getting worse. Civility in any situation needs to be instilled in our children – we have to remember to be good role models.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 3:13 pm

      For me, the frightening part is people feel empowered to do things that would have only been seen as outrageous in the past. Not that bullying behind a computer screen is any better, but it’s a wonder that people do these things in plain sight.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. In my humble opinion, bad behavior is unacceptable anytime, anywhere. I hate it when fans cross the line and it always leaves a black mark on the event. I have seen parents come unglued at their children’s games and not only does it make the parent look bad, but puts the child in a terrible position with his peers. It’s not necessary AT ALL! Thanks for this post, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 11:08 am

      Great point about the position it puts the children in. It has to be hard for them when everyone looks at one of their parents with a stink eye. I’ve been at several youth sports events where parents have been told to leave by referees. One kid was out on the basketball court at the time and suddenly had to go when his father left.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I am most concerned when I read of parents being arrested because of violence at one of their children’s games, most often directed at the coach or referee in the given sport. I can’t believe that parents can let it get that far, but they do. Of course their kids grow up thinking that behavior, even not as extreme as leading to arrest, is normal in a parent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 3:19 pm

      And if that is all the child ever sees, is it any wonder that these issues continue to escalate? I know many young people think becoming famous is the ultimate goal, yet they don’t think of all the pressures of fame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Or the transitory nature of fame.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor March 23, 2022 — 8:47 am

        Right! It’s like the parents who want the distinction of having “a gifted child” as if they deserve an award for having good genes. I’ll take a well-adjusted, hard-working, kind, and responsible child every time.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I always was grateful for any child! I have been delighted at how each has grown into the person she was meant to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. I was raised to treat others the way I want to be treated. Heckling and abusive language is wrong no matter the circumstances. People who do this remind me of sandbox bullies, thinking they’re tough if they can make someone cry- I feel sorry for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 5:21 pm

      Some phrases such as “treat others the way you want to be treated” never go out of style. How can anyone possibly feel good about themselves by making another human cry?

      Liked by 1 person

  28. My experience is that the loudest hecklers are the ones who only comment from the sidelines i.e. ones who’ve never put any effort in getting better at the sport before. Because if you actually spend the time to learn it yourself, you wouldn’t choose to be a hater—even in losing you can admire the dedication that’s gone into something. And as a grappling fan myself, I’m actually surprised how many parents are willing to fight kids from the opposing team, just because they won. I guess we’ll always have those types, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 15, 2022 — 8:25 pm

      There are times I can be competitive, but some folks are so over the top I wonder if they realize how obnoxious they sound to the average person. I’ve always been grateful for anyone who coaches youth sports. It’s a commitment, and some are better than others, but those who sit in the stands and criticize the coaches, referees, other players on the team—it’s crazy. I would think to myself—don’t you realize when you’re publicly criticizing someone, there might be a family member right there hearing those words. It would be like someone coming into your home and critiquing how you parent, raise your children, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. HI Pete, I am not a sports fan and I never watch sport aside from a few cricket and hockey matches Greg played in junior school. Unfortunately, due to my interest in reading, baking, cooking, and art, my boys have also followed these paths and are not sporty. I feel a bit guilty but that is life. I do not agree with bad behaviour at sports matches or heckling. It is very bad sportmanship and people who do it should be banned from the matches.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 16, 2022 — 9:31 am

      No reason to feel guilty—we like what we like. Why does one person prefer steak while another enjoys chicken? Can you imagine someone heckling an artist while they’re painting a picture or a potter who’s working with clay? I can’t, which makes me curious why some feel like it’s okay at sporting events.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I watched both the clips and remembered why I loved Seinfeld. (but not Kramer as much as time went on) Spectators at sporting matches are out of control these days. Common courtesy everywhere is much rarer than it used to be. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor March 16, 2022 — 4:15 pm

      I loved all the characters on Seinfeld. They played off so much from one another well. Your comment reminded me that Michael Richards, who played Kramer, was involved in a heckling incident when he was doing stand-up comedy. I just Googled it, and back in 2006, it was reported that he went into a racist rant when someone was heckling him. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      Like

  31. I am absolutely terrible at sports and I don’t typically enjoy them unless that there is a horse involved 😅. I learn a lot from your blogs in regards to sports and I really can’t stand human nature. Everywhere I look these days it feels like people are part of the problem rather than the solution. I think a good part of it is how people are raised and I think the rest of it has to do with an inability to handle their surroundings as a proper adult which is 100% on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 16, 2022 — 5:20 pm

      I love the beauty, power, and strength of horses. I became a little gunshy around them after I went to summer camp, and the horse knew right away that he had a novice on his back. He took off running, hit the brakes, and deposited me on the ground, where I learned the meaning of “getting the wind knocked out of you.”🤣 I have gotten back on a few times since then with better experiences.

      How we’re raised is everything! When children acted out in class in angry ways, 95% of the time, their home life was a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL I have been kicked, rolled over on top of, thrown over fences, ran away with, bitten and so much more. I still love them but I’m pretty sure that’s because they burrowed their way into my bloodstream 😅. Yes I agree with you, good parenting is more than half the battle towards making functional adults. It’s heartbreaking to discover children who have parents who make them feel unloved and invalid.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor March 16, 2022 — 6:35 pm

        We, teachers, loved when we got parents like you, LaShelle, because you’re going to be one of those involved parents who contributes to your son’s education. I don’t know if you’ll get a chance or even if you’re interested, but I’m going to encourage you to volunteer in your son’s classroom (unless you home school, in which case you’ll already be volunteering in his classroom.)🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We homeschooled last year! There’s currently no volunteer positions available due to Covid because they don’t allow parents to enter the school with the students. However, I volunteered the year before Covid and I’m ALWAYS on the lookout!!

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Do you remember ten-cent beer night at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the mid-1970s? The Yankees were playing the Indians. The drunken fans became unruly and ended up on the playing field. Yankee manager Billy Martin splintered his bat on the top of the dugout where fans stood taunting players. I happened to be there. After that fiasco, there were no more ten-cent beer nights!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 17, 2022 — 7:50 pm

      I remember that incident. I go way back with Billy Martin. I lived in the Dakotas growing up, and the professional baseball team closest to us was the Minnesota Twins. Martin was their manager for several years. He had a fiery temper in those days too. I remember that he and one of the pitchers on the Twins (I’m pretty sure his name was Dave Boswell) got into a fistfight. It’s hard to know how much this is myth vs. the truth, but the legend was that Martin challenged his own player to a fight. Then, when he was with the Yankees, I remember him trying to get at Reggie Jackson in the dugout for his lack of hustle. He would get crucified in today’s world of social media.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember the Reggie Jackson issue with Martin, too. But personalities like Billy Martin and Jimmy Piersall (When I was a child, I won his baseball card in a game of mumblety-peg) made this drawn-out summer game so much more interesting! But, I agree, they would not have survived the media.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. I have to say I really enjoyed the Seinfeld clips. This was funny to laugh at hecklers, but of course the real hecklers, like the one who jeered Osaka and many others, have definitely crossed the line. So, what has changed to the point that jeering is happening all too often? Recently here in New England a youth hockey player didn’t like the ref’s call. He started to skate away, then turned around and decked the ref, knocking him to the ice. And this was youth hockey.

    I always think about my little preschoolers and what I’m teaching them. That’s one piece. Families today are so stretched and stressed that they don’t have time for much of anything, so TV becomes overused. That’s another piece. Gone are the days of The Donna Reed Show and Leave it to Beaver where there was a lesson sandwiched somewhere in the show. And that’s another piece. School, home, TV. They can be be wonderful or not so wonderful. Thank you for your insight and observation, Pete. This was a terrific post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 18, 2022 — 2:34 pm

      It has taken society a long time to recognize the stigma attached to mental health. I think progress is being made in accepting how debilitating this can be for people.

      Changing gears, I wonder if you notice what I do about disabilities. Hardly anyone I know would dream of teasing someone with a physical disability if, for example, a child was in a wheelchair. Yet, some people still will tease about a mental disability. They might not tease children directly, but they’ll make jokes to their friends about riding the short bus. I don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has taken society way too long to recognize the stigma. We still have a way to go. I know people who suffer from depression and anxiety. It is debilitating.

        Yes, I do notice, Pete. It’s the subtle things that are the most hurtful, because it is easy to tease someone with a mental disability. With children I don’t use the term disability, I say different. That is something they understand. I don’t get it either. Every bit of education is a big help.

        I wrote about where this might stem from, but that really doesn’t address the present. So, apologies if I got off track.

        Liked by 1 person

  34. I always consider the fact that the athlete is where he/she is for a reason, and who am I to yell from the cheap seats?I’ve also seen this attitude (not always the case) when it comes to law enforcement. I was a member of that group for many years. Of course, you’ll find those among the ranks who are corrupt or violent, it doesn’t mean that every video showing an arrest is unjust or unnecessary. Things are not always as they seem, and when you’re in a life and death struggle you will do what you need to in order to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 20, 2022 — 7:32 am

      Great points, Mark. People are awfully judgmental about law enforcement, particularly when they have to make snap judgments in a split second. My general feeling is that, like my former profession (teaching), far more good people are in that profession than not. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. A very good article, Pete – I just don’t understand how people can behave like that. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 22, 2022 — 7:52 am

      People (including me) get way too wrapped up in the outcome of athletic events. Still, that is no excuse for bad behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Thanks for mentioning this topic, Pete! Sometimes its really terrible listening to such incredible things. Yes, we should not accept this anyway, because we are not in the times of the ancient Rome, with the Colloseum. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 27, 2022 — 8:53 am

      Spectators are more commonly inserting themselves into the action by running out onto the field/pitch. I’m glad that they are prosecuted because these are interruptions for the games we come to watch. Thanks for the reblog, Michael.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats so true, Pete! xx Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  37. I never understand bad behavior from people regarding rudeness toward: food service employees (they’re bringing me food! They’re angels!), nurses in the hospital (they’re wiping up poop and inserting IVs and bringing me food!), janitors (so much cleanup and repair), maids and housekeepers at hotels….

    I realize sports aren’t service workers, but general human decency is tantamount. People assume others don’t have feelings like their own, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 2, 2022 — 7:44 am

      Excellent examples of professions that certainly have to put up with many prima donnas. I always scratch my head when people give grief to their waiter/waitress as if they cooked the food. That would be like me getting mad at the UPS driver for having him bring me the package that I ordered.

      Liked by 1 person

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