SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do People Really Do This?

A recent blurb in ESPN the Magazine caught my attention, this time about how college football and basketball players get harrassed and threatened by opposing fans. There were several laments from players about needs to change cell phone numbers, about getting threatened both on the telephone and at games, and the whole thing was shocking.


Why do people do this sort of thing? Don't they have lives, family members, day jobs, things to keep them interested and busy, or are their lives so narrow that they'll have a bad year and abuse their families and pets if their favorite college football team doesn't run the table ?

Do you care that much that you harangue the opposing players, who are just kids? Do you go out of your way to bother them and their families?

These are, after all, games. They're supposed to bring out the best in our competitive spirit and sportsmanship.

Even if you're a fan at a rival school. Even if you think that the other school plays dirty or cheats at recruiting. Write letters to newspapers, put up funny banners, come up with creative cheers, and exercise all of your First Amendment rights -- within reason.

But harrassing people personally is out of bounds. I don't live in an area where college football is taken as seriously as in other places, so perhaps I don't understand the passion of fans where the major conferences play. Fine. But I don't think I will ever understand what motivates people to do this sort of stuff.

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