All these stories about local football teams’ fall practices kicking into high gear is getting me excited for the upcoming season. Especially Eastern Washington University since, as you know, I’m an Eagles alumnus, season ticket holder and fan.
I think that last one is pretty important, especially on game days. Sports fans are there to support their favorite teams, the players, coaches and support personnel.
We also reserve the right to live up to the root of the word fan, as in fanatical. Within reason of course; things like meanness, vulgarity, threatening attitudes towards anyone shouldn’t be permitted.
But face painting should, as well as tailgating to get into the right frame of mind, and I’m not necessarily referring to a frame of mind gotten into through over consumption of brewed up beverages. But definitely one of excitement – after all, as George Carlin once said, “In football, you can be reasonably certain that at least 27 times during the course of the game you will be capable of taking a human life.”
OK, please no human life taking.
But mainly being a fan is about cheering, loudly and wildly. Encouraging the players on when needed and at times, making it difficult for the opposing team to execute their plays.
Take third downs for example. If the opponent is facing third down, particularly if it’s third and short in our territory, fans should be standing up and cheering loudly so as to provide a little intimidation and disruption in the hopes it will negatively affect the play and Montana, sorry, the opponent will be forced to punt. If fans have noisemakers, use ‘em until your lungs burst, your palms bleed or you get blisters on your fingers.
Eagles fans are pretty good at this, although sometimes I’ve seen many fans doing the same thing when we are facing third down. News flash, when it’s an Eastern third down, Roos Field should be quieter than JFK Library during dead week.
Unfortunately, not all fans see this aspect of being a fan the same way I do. There are some who go to the football games and just sit there. Like they’re at home watching TV. Last year we had to put up with a couple of such fans sitting behind us. They weren’t there the year before, and besides, in my book, they weren’t all that great of fans since they often heckled our own players.
As fans, that’s somewhat of a right, but more reserved for pros that are getting paid yearly salaries which are larger than what I’ll earn in a lifetime. When it comes to college, especially Eastern’s level, players still have to work yard jobs to pay for books.
I’ve got news for you, if you sit near me and my posse: we get just as excited watching football at home as we do at the stadium. Heck, I’ve even started the wave in a friend’s living room.
As good fans we also want to be courteous and considerate of others, but that approach is a two-way street. For those excitable among us, maybe remember not to stand for every play, being cognizant of people behind you who don’t want to do so.
And for those who don’t want to let their emotions out so demonstrably, remember that now and then, the rest of us do – probably need to – and have a little leeway for it.
Besides, Roos Field now comes equipped with one big TV.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.