Monday, November 2, 2009

Is Sportsmanship Dead?

I had the opportunity to go to a Caps game last night (that's the Washington Capitals, for the NHL-deficient). We had a blast, and I was once again reminded how people watching at sporting events can be even more interesting than the game itself.

Throughout the evening, several people did a little seat-swapping to let their friends have a period in the better seats. One of the guys in our group was rooting for the other team. Very vocally rooting for the other team. He got to spend the second period in Caps season ticket seats, directly behind the goal. We could see him across the stadium. A jersey of blue in a sea of red. It was absolutely hysterical to see, even from afar, the syncopated hopping about and yelling.

After the second period, this brave young man came back and regaled us with his tales. The first thing out of his mouth was:

I have never felt so hated in my life. It was awesome!!!

Then he came to the meat of the matter. In the midst of all the hootin' and hollerin', the seven year old boy sitting behind him? Was throwing popcorn. At him.

Let me repeat: A seven year old boy was throwing popcorn at a 35 year old man. While his parents looked on in approval.

Blue Jersey man finally turned around and said: Look. Yell and verbally abuse me all you want to. That's fine. That's cool. Your kid throwing food at me is not. Psycho Caps family just blinked and tried to justify, then blinked when he continued, Your kid does that again, and I will have you ejected.

They shut the hell up. The food throwing stopped.

I am sure some would disagree, but I think this guy was spot on. Who the hell lets their children throw food at adults? Can he throw his lunch at his teacher when he doesn't agree with what she says? Can this child throw his crackers at his parents when they tell him to put his toys away? What the fuck? Like the guy said, yell, shout, dance, tease and nah-nah-nah with your fingers in your ears all you want. Throw food? Not in my book.

So what's the deal? Is sportsmanship dead?


A Free Man said...

Sounds more like responsible parenting is dead. Who were they playing? The Swedes love their hockey, don't they?

Patois said...

I could see a kid throwing a popcorn (or two) in a kind of "ha ha joke joke" way. (Assuming, of course, that there had already been some joke ribbing going on, back and forth like.) But just up and throwing it without any "intro" is just...yeah, psycho. I'd eject my kid on my own if he were doing that.

Mirth said...

I'd be absolutely mortified if my child acted like that. I'm that horrible parent that makes him use manners and even shoos him off of other peoples lawns when we're taking a walk. This type of parenting makes the argument for the forced sterilization of unfit parents.

Gypsy said...

Sounds like he did the right thing to me.

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is that the family probably thought they were enthusiastically supporting their team. Even more sad, you would think all kids understand that it's never ok to throw food. Fail.

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

Hootin' and hollerin' and rootin' for your team (home or visitor) is fine. It's FUN. Throwing food is disrespectful. Plain and simple. I'm glad your friend had the balls to put that family in their place (and probably ruin the game for them).

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@AFM: They were playing the Blue Jackets. I have always been particularly proud of how awesome NHL team name were. But the Blue Jackets? It doesn't necessarily strike fear in the hearts of their opponents.

@Patois: If that had been the case, the "ha ha" kind of thing, I think it totally would have been okay.

@Mirth: You make your child mind there manner? What the hell is wrong with you? ;)

@Gypsy: I wonder if the kid's parents think so.

@ConvincemeDC: I hope the kid chucks his cheerios at their heads someday. I doubt that would go over well. :)

@Joe: I don't know that I would have have the wherewithal. I am going to take this lesson to heart and tuck it away for future reference.