There's no room for Artest-ry at games

December 07, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

As the winter prep season begins, it's time to review appropriate spectator etiquette, known as "How to be a fan and not a fool."

There are some basic guidelines that will help prevent an athlete from walking into a gym and turning into a scholastic version of Ron Artest.

This is not to say that any area athlete has a loose screw or there are imminent problems at any area high school, but this is simply a free service to help avoid destruction of any reputations.

The recent fracas in Detroit leaves us with a fresh reminder that fans - as well as players and coaches - should be held accountable for their actions, no matter the level of competition or sport.


Here is a "Five-Pack" of reminders for supporters heading to games this winter season, keeping in mind that basketball, in the pre-modern era, was played with a cage around the court as protection from spectators.

· Remember what our national anthem stands for. There is nothing more disrespectful than spectators singing out loud like Roseanne Barr in 'O flat.' Take the hats off, quit the talking and stand still for 90 seconds, both on the sidelines and in the stands.

How much effort does it really take to stand at attention for that long?

· School officials and security are at the event for a reason. If they tell you to do something, they most likely have a good reason. If there is no front-row seating, then don't sit there. Stay out of the aisles.

· Aah, the good old chants. ... An ongoing problem everywhere.

Why can't simple booing, shouting, clapping and cheering be enough? We've got personal attacks on players and the opposition. Whatever happened to "Here we go (mascot name)" or "Let's get fired up?"

Let's not continue with the "Your team's ugly" again ... or the "B---S---" response to the unfavorable officials' call.

Don't sit on your hands or keep your hands in your pockets, but as a fan, explore the possibilities of having fun at athletic events the right way and making it fun for those around you.

· Using common sense before acting is critical. Any negative action comes from a brain cramp. Let's keep from doing something in the stands to get a rise out of friends. No object throwing, no life-threatening comments (usually reserved for parents with high-blood pressure) and let's quit acting like a coach in the stands.

· And to the players, let's cut back on the trash talk during competition. Let's cut back on the theatrics when you have already made an excellent play based on your ability.

If you need to cut out this article and take it with you to the event you attend, consider it a free guideline to obedience. I can live with that.

Just behave. ... And enjoy the game!

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-731-5131, ext. 2311, or be e-mail at

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