Editor’s pick: Tips for spectators

By Jackson Gilbert

Most people have never been to a sporting event where the entire experience was ruined by an unruly or just plain uneducated fan.

But it happens.

During the last few years, I’ve gone on three road trips with my dad with the sole purpose to check out some of the best venues in college sports. I’ve watched basketball games in eight different states through those trips, including stops at Mizzou, Louisville, Illinois and Pitt.

I’ve also visited two places that could be considered the holy lands of college basketball — Butler’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse and Kentucky’s Rupp Arena (twice for games that went into overtime). Fans of those programs know how to watch a freaking basketball game. Here are some things I’ve learned.

Attention is key

I acknowledge the fact that not everyone goes to a basketball game for the sole purpose of watching the game. It’s a social event for some and a party atmosphere for others. But my message to those people who aren’t there for the game is to respect the ones that are. Pay attention to the game.

Sit the #%& down (unless everyone else is standing)!

Standard etiquette during sporting events is that you wait to get up from your seat until there is a stoppage in play or an intermission so that you don’t obstruct the view of the people behind you who are there for the game and not your rear end.

Stand the #%& up (unless everyone else is sitting down)!

Did your team just go on a run with 10 unanswered points and the opposing coach called a timeout? Guess what! Your team is playing well and is deserving of a standing ovation. Stand up and let your team know that you’re supporting them.

Put the phone down

At Rupp Arena, fans of Big Blue Nation don’t use their phones when the game is on. Instead, they’re clapping and yelling. Why use your phone during the game when you could be applauding and yelling for your team? Also, flash photography is never allowed at any sports events so make sure to turn that feature off.

The game started 45 minutes ago, where have you been?

The University of Michigan recently changed its student ticket program to first-come-first-serve. They were having problems with students arriving late into the first half of games because they had their seats waiting for them. This year, students arriving late were met with crappy seats and the problem was eliminated. Get to the game early and check out some of the cool pregame ceremonies. If nothing else, your team will appreciate the support.

The game isn’t over yet, where are you going?

Last year, Oakland trailed Youngstown State by four points with three seconds to go in a Horizon League tournament game and managed to win in overtime. A lot of people left that game early and missed one of the most amazing plays in Oakland sports history. Don’t be that person that missed the play that everyone is talking about.

Be reasonable (students take note)

I understand that some people love to heckle. Getting into the opposition’s head is a bona fide strategy in all sports.  Just don’t take things too far. College and pro athletes are people too.  They work hard for what they do. Don’t say anything to them while they’re on the court that you wouldn’t say to them in person. That’s just common courtesy. It’s up to fans to police themselves and those around them.