Don’t be that person in the stands at sporting events

We’re less than a week away from Manistee Catholic Central and Onekama clashing at Saber Stadium.

Volleyball starts even earlier. Girls golf has already started. It’s a glorious time for student athletes and coaches.

It’s also a great time for people who support the programs. It’s a chance to draw for the home team and hope they walk away with a win against the boys from the other city.

These people come from all sorts of backgrounds and reasons for attending. Some sit in the stands to support their children. Some have graduated their children but still happily support the current generation of student athletes. Some come just for the entertainment aspect while also supporting something their community is very proud of.

Then there’s a certain type of fan that every other type of fan despises. This is the fan I will refer to as “Ignorant Ivan”.

Ivan attends every game in his city. But Ivan behaves differently than the others. In fact, he’s the kind of fan I’m trying desperately to avoid.

Ivan is the fan who yells at the officers every time they call. He’s the fan who questions every decision made by his team’s coach, sometimes loud enough for the person next to him to hear, sometimes loud enough for everyone in the stands to know exactly how he feels. He’ll tell you how it should be, though he has no desire to actually coach because he’s “too smart to coach at the high school level.”

He’s the kind of fan that fans of the team he supports can’t stand. He’s also the type who doesn’t shy away from throwing a few verbal or physical fist smacks at opposing fans.

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Please to shout out loud don’t be an ignorant Ivan. Keep in mind that these are kids too young to buy a pack of cigarettes who more often than not are coached by teachers who volunteer after school because they love spending time helping people develop.

These aren’t the bright lights of Michigan Stadium or Comerica Park. These are Tuesday and Thursday night games in a high school gym.

These are Friday night lights.

It’s one thing to be proud of your city’s high school sports. But it is 100% unacceptable for your voice to overshadow what is happening in the game.

The memories these kids make should be what happens throughout the season. You should be able to look back and think, “Gosh, that bus ride to Mesick was so much fun.” What shouldn’t happen is athletes remembering their class reunion and asking, “Hey, remember the time Ivan got kicked out of the game by the referee?” and the answer “What time?”

This is the time when the kids shine, not the viewers. The kids are living in their high school athletic careers. Ivan has long graduated, but he makes himself felt even in his thirties and cannot give up the limelight.

So please, when you go to sporting events this season, cheer loud and proud for your team. Remember that the people who play and coach are people notorious for their imperfections.

But please show respect and class for those who wear the same school colors as you and the colors of the opposition. This is high school track and field; Respect should be shown in all facets and at all levels of the game. This includes spectators.

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And most importantly, don’t be an ignoramus Ivan this season.

Mitch Vosburg is a sports reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. He can be reached at 231-398-3108 or at [email protected]

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