Fans must control their emotions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2005


love that commercial of Bob Uecker sitting in the stadium watching a baseball game and some one yells at him to get out of the way. Uecker responds with a laugh and says, "Ah fans, I love 'em."

Regardless of what fans say or how they act, sports will not survive without their interest and, more importantly, their money.

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But that doesn't mean bad behavior or criminal actions should be tolerated just because they are fans.

A case in point this past week dealt with Ohio State Buckeyes' senior tight end Ryan Hamby.

It was Hamby who appeared to have caught a touchdown pass in the middle of the end zone last Saturday night only to bobble the football into the air, then catching it for a second before a Texas defender applied a hit that knocked the ball loose and it fell for an incompletion.

Hamby said he had a sleepless night after dropping the pass which would have given Ohio State a 10-point lead at the time. The Buckeyes settled for a field goal and eventually lost the game 25-22.

It also ended any hopes of a national championship season.

Hamby became college football's version of Bob Uecker as he received hate mail, even death threats, for dropping the pass.

Hamby has tried to handle the situation in a more mature fashion than the adult fans.

''I'm not going to talk about them, but they're just dumb things. You almost want to say, you know, in the scheme of life there are things going on around the world. It's just a game," Hamby said.

America has an obsession with its sports teams and its athletes. I myself love sports. I've even considered a career in sports. But as much as we love whatever our game of choice is, it is merely a game.

Cleveland banned parents from a soccer league because of their behavior. Fights among parents were becoming too common.

There have been several stories about a hockey parent assaulting and even killing another parent.

Athletics are very emotional. It's understandable that coaches, players and fans can let their emotions get the better of them at times.

But there is a limit to anything, and letting our emotions reach irrational levels goes behind those limits.

If fans expect athletes to behave and stay under control, then they should expect nothing less from themselves.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.