Unfortunately, we’ve seen some recent examples of poor fan behaviour at footy games, often directed at the players.
Some may try to excuse this, pointing out an AFL game is a cauldron of emotions and things get said in the heat of the moment.
On the other hand though, there is never a good excuse for being a jerk.
Its not some nanny state idea or political correctness gone mad, driving the crack down on homophobia or racism.
It’s about making people not feel excluded because of who they are.
That’s not something footy is about. Footy is about bringing people together from a range of backgrounds and fusing them into something better.
Footy is the greatest thing in the history of time and it is open to all of us. Even as a middle aged white man, I feel included.
Really, not being a jerk is the heart of these matters and is a good measuring stick for how to behave at the footy.
It’s natural for you to have strong emotions, especially when your team is not doing well.
I’m a Melbourne fan and spend the entire footy season feeling a combination of shame, sadness and anger.
But a good football fan knows how to channel these emotions in a positive way, not in a negative way.
Acceptable was of channeling your emotion include:
- Sobbing uncontrollably
- Yelling at the umpires
- Cheering ironically when one of your players finally gets a kick
- Drinking the awful tasting mid-strength beer as punishment
- Reminding opposition supporters of a previous massive victory over them
- Convincing yourself you’re still in this, even though your not
- Retiring to the bar to talk about anything but the current game
- Emotional eating
- Wondering why you do this to yourself, week after week
- Actually reading The Record
- Trying to guess the size of the crowd
- Reading the text messages your friends are sending you bagging your teams performance
- Wondering why you don’t have better friends
If you follow these simple tips, you can enjoy the footy and make it enjoyable for others too.
So, if at any time you feel like going off the reservation on these tips, just think, why would I want to be a jerk? Then stop. It really is that easy.
See you at the footy.