Whenever I run across arguments justifying belligerent behavior and obscene language in the stands as being the badges of "true" fans, I am always curious as to what happened to the proponents' childhood. Did the man spewing inanity in front of me spring fully formed from the gut of a foul-mouthed middle-aged lout?
Being a fan, paying money to watch people do their jobs, living and dying vicariously through people based on the concession that they are better than you will ever be -- these are childish things. Sports, at least from the spectators' perspective, are how we get to act like children in a socially acceptable way along with thousands of closest friends.
Having a child helps to bring this all home. Sunday at Comcast was kid's day hosted by the University of Maryland Women's Basketball team. The athletics program has done a wonderful job of making events for the community and creating an atmosphere that is substantially different from that which pervades at other Maryland Athletics games.
My daughter had a great time. The organizers had made an area available for kids to make signs before going into the stadium. Our little one decided on a design and happily held it over her head at strange moments during the game. She danced when other kids danced. And, when she felt like it, nuzzled in with one of her relatives and watched the game asking questions with bizarre premises regarding what transpired before her.
After the game, juniors Kim Rodgers and Yemi Oyefuwa and freshmen Sequoia Austin, Alyssa Thomas, and Alicia DeVaughn signed autographs for kids with good humor. I bought a basketball for my daughter and, although it was almost the same size as her, she dragged it down in front of each of the players and thanked them with a grin.
She was probably even more pleased with the autograph she had gotten from Testudo earlier in the game, but for a two-year old who had not napped, we left the stadium with a pretty happy little girl.
Thanks to the Terps Athletics program for setting it up and we hope that it will be a regular feature of the team's season.
One unrelated note: great report on the Philippines' huge upset at the Suzuki Cup by Bleachers' Brew. Just a great story.