Top Three Sports Venue Pet Peeves

Lee and I recently indulged in one of our favorite sports past-times – watching UGA crush Florida in a hockey match in Savannah. Those are great phrases. “UGA crush Florida.” “Hockey match in Savannah.”
This year was no different, with lots of cheering, winning, and slamming people against the wall. The fights were a bit tame for my liking, but when you’re beating Florida 14-1 (I’m not making that up) it’s hard to take a swing at their faces too.
A few other things were unchanged as well, although they’re unfortunate occurrences. I realized during the game that I have 3 major sports venue pet peeves. I’ve had them for a while, but never thought long enough about them to realize I seethe over them at nearly every sporting event at which they occur.
The first issue is finding my seat – and finding it already occupied. I really don’t like causing scenes, and normally am happy to walk away from a confrontation if it’s nothing serious. But if I walk away from this fight, then I’m going to have to sit in someone else’s seat and wait for a confrontation with them. It’s really just delaying the inevitable. And I’d rather fight when I know I’m right, so I usually fight for my legitimate seat.
I really didn’t think it would be a problem this time, because though we bought advance tickets, they were on the VERY BACK ROW. But of course, when we found our seats, they were occupied. Since they were the best seats we could get, and we were a bit early for the big game, I had a feeling all those empty seats around us wouldn’t stay empty long. So we took a deep breath, and politely approached the people in our seats and said something like, “I think we have these seats.” We held out our tickets as proof, and as a peace offering.
Not only did they disagree with us, they wanted to get pouty about it until we pointed out that the usher had told us specifically that this was our row. They finally got up in a huff and said, “You can have them. They’re terrible seats anyway.” Then why did they fight so hard?
Then followed pet peeve number two – when the singer tries to make the National Anthem their very own. I really like it when a talented singer will sing the anthem as written. But too often I find that both talented and not-so-talented singers try to add their personal touch, which is usually a combination of key changes and sliding notes all over the place. On this particular night, I could barely recognize the anthem. If it’s your own song, go nuts. But this is our nation’s song, and I prefer it like it is.
And finally, I don’t like bad sportsmanship from fellow spectators. I think cheering for your team is not only appropriate, it’s mandatory. Yelling at the blind referee is fine. If someone on the other team personally fouls your player, cry out about the injustice. But don’t boo the opposing team when they enter the arena. Especially in this case, it was painfully obvious the Georgia fans greatly outnumbered the Florida fans, so why was it necessary to make the arena vibrate with boos? Instead of seeing who can boo louder – cheer louder. Instead of trying to demoralize the opponent, focus your efforts on energizing your team.
The situation was made even worse by some flag-waving lunatics in the crowd. Everytime Georgia scored (which was about every 5 seconds), a kid with a big Georgia flag would run a lap around the arena.
A Florida fan (also a young kid) was waiting for his turn, but when his team failed to score, he finally decided a jog around the arena was necessary anyway. But instead of being greeted with cheers, mobs of kids who were Georgia fans started chasing him. Other kids on nearby rows grabbed at his flag and tried to rip it from him. He was pulled up into the stands at one point, and the police had to intervene. C’mon! He was probably 8 years old! His team was losing! If he wants to wave his little flag, let him. After all, we were doing the same thing (except we actually had something to celebrate). Instead of being great Georgia fans, they looked like great Georgia bullies.
There are plenty of things to like about the game. I love any chance to cheer for my dawgs. I love the excitement of a close game (even though this one was a serious spanking for Florida – but that’s nice too). I love the atmosphere, the food, the chance to scream without being locked away in the asylum. Despite those three pet peeves, it’s still well worth the price of admission.