Ugly American

There's a wide range of emotions and sportsmanship in sports in the U.S. especially as fans. We have the NHL which from it's "Hansons Brothers" roots established the "goon" as a position on a hockey team and fighting has become a regular part of a hockey game. "I went to a boxing match and a hockey fight broke out." Golf has rules like don't walk across a lie and don't talk during a player's putt or drive. Kind of the opposite of the free throw in the NBA especially in the playoffs where the baseline fan's job is to "F" up the toss from the line.

Running is an individual sport, but there's a fair amount of camaraderie amongst runners and fan support is arguably the best in any sport since most live through the training of those they're rooting for. As a runner, you may meet a stranger at mile 23 that's hurting and you will encourage them and try to will them to go another mile. I ran into my online run buddy luau somewhere around or after Boston College at this last Boston Marathon, and we both were trying to push each other to finish strong.

This last weekend was Spring football in our house. Yes...bizarre to have football in May in Colorado, but it was playoff time for my son's 7th grade Titans football team. Just like "Remember the Titans" movie, this was a bit of a ragtag group of boys who weren't exactly the most "well oiled" cohesive team at the beginning of their season, but each week, they grew as a team. Learning as individuals, learning fundamentals, and learning how to play as a team. Kids learn from kids, but mainly from teachers, coaches and parents.

This last Saturday's playoff game was a huge first round playoff win for the Titans over the Young Guns who had previously beaten the boys in blue (jerseys.) Where things went sideways was as the game got "out of hand" in the second quarter with the Titans drubbing the Guns. Three Young Gun parents manned the "sticks" helping the officials determine first down and yards to go. One of the three took his "angry pill" and on virtually every play, he barked at his son and increasingly barked at the officials for the call or lack of call. His partners had a down-by-down debate with the line judge on where the ball should be placed. Aren't you supposed to use the children at the dining table rule as a stickman and "be seen and not heard?"

Just after the lead instigator parent's dog ironically got into a fight with a dog 1/4 his size, the refs had enough and booted his ass. Belligerent, he wouldn't leave the field like a petulant child and ranted about the poor officiating, and "I want my money back!" What a proud Dad moment. Moments later after a change in quarters as I was walking onto the field to replace ugly dad, the remaining two, were complaining to the refs about a two yard discrepancy. The game was out of hand and two yards didn't mean diddly. Two more parents were tossed again barking at the refs.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the coach of the Guns who had himself been barking all day, had his under the breath complaints turn into an every play outburst against the zebras. I'm not sure how much those refs made, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't enough to deal with these four.

It was an interesting parent moment in the car ride on the way home as I tried to turn this into a life lesson. I was more upset than the three dads that were booted. I told my two boys that I hope I would never lower myself to that kind of behavior. Did these men ever hear the term "lead by example?" I'm not trying to get all "high and mighty" but be careful of how you behave because someone may be looking at you and learning how to behave. Unless you want a bunch of future Jerry Springer show candidates, show some class and try and set an example for those that look up to you. At the next marathon race, bring your cowbell and cheer them all on with class.


  1. An ironic footnote to this blog. As I was cross-training this morning, I saw that they'd arrested the Dodgers fan who nearly beat to death the Giants fan and father who remains in a coma. Beat a man to death over a game? Really?!

  2. I'm glad I didn't cameo as an ugly american! ;)
    I think you helped me more than I helped you toward the end of Boston...that said, it is one of the more memorable moments for me for Boston 2011. Out of a sea of 27,000 runners to link up briefly over the course of a mile was pretty awesome. Thanks for the encouragement that day!


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