Noisemakers have a time and place, and in front of my face during the game-winning shot isn’t it.
Sporting events can get tense at various intervals, but that doesn’t mean you can abandon reason and ruin my viewing experience in your excitement. To avoid being that person I secretly (or not so secretly) hate during games and tournaments, give me your hand and let me lead you on a five-step journey to general spectator courtesy.
Step 1: Supervise your children
Children at Shootout are inevitable and even encouraged. I fully support taking the whole family out to do activities, and children often enjoy the excitement of watching sports, even if they are too young to understand exactly what’s going on.
This does not give you license to bring them, ignore them and allow them to ruin the event for those around you while you enjoy the games.
At Shootouts past, I’ve seen plenty of children running around unsupervised in the main halls of the Sullivan Arena. Many of the unattended kids run into people walking between the bathrooms and concession stands. Some have hurt themselves and others by playing too rough, all while parents aren’t around or watching.
I once had to help a child call his father from my cell phone because he was lost and didn’t remember where they were sitting.
When you neglect to watch your kids, you are giving them opportunities to get into trouble, hurt themselves and even get lost.
What if something happened to your kid? What if someone walked over and snatched them up? You would be both helpless and clueless. Supervise your kids. It’ll work out better for spectators and their own safety.
Step 2: Control souvenirs
Back to the noisemakers — not in my face. I enjoy noisemakers, and even giant foam hands, but there is an unspoken etiquette to having fun with them. Do me and other spectators a favor. Keep them at your side or in your lap until someone makes a basket, a game is won or when your team pulls off a really epic maneuver. When any of the above occurs, please unleash the full fury of your excitement. That’s part of the fun.
The deal is this: If the players are still running around with a basketball, I want to be able to see what happens next. Please be conscious of those who sit next to you so everyone can enjoy the game.
Step 3: Bathroom breaks
Depending on where you sit, getting up to use the bathroom could be difficult for you — and for the people you have to plow through to get to there. Try to use the bathroom before the game and during breaks. Bring your kids along too. The lines are long, but you’ll miss less action and disrupt less people if you time your potty breaks.
People understand that emergency situations arise, and that is perfectly fine, but if more people would try to time their business, less awkward shuffling and view-blocking would occur.
Step 4: Turn you cell phones off
Cell phones at sporting events and other spectator-based outings are the bane of my existence. I don’t go to events to hear you talking about how terrible your boss is or how wonderful your love life is. I am going to view the thing I have paid to view. Or, since students get free tickets, the thing I am taking time out of my day to enjoy.
Again, emergencies happen. If you’re anticipating an important call, put your phone on vibrate and try to sit close to an aisle if possible. That way, you can quickly get up and move to somewhere more private than next to a group of strangers.
If the venue allows it, you are more than welcome to take pictures. I have no issues with that.
Step 5: Clean up after yourself
If you bring nachos and spill them, clean them up to the best of your ability. If you have papers and schedules that you don’t want, please don’t leave them in the bleachers. Pick them up and throw them away.
It creates more unnecessary work for the janitorial staff. Be a decent human being and clean up a little. It’s just the considerate thing to do. You don’t have to wipe down where you sit or anything like that. Just pick up your stuff. It doesn’t take any real effort.