7 Things Sports Fans SHOULD Do, Despite Being Told Otherwise

It's totally OK to stay seated when everyone around you is doing the Wave. Trust me.

Feb 13, 2013 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

I was sitting in the Superdome in New Orleans 10 agonizing days ago when suddenly, shortly after Beyonce’s halftime performance, the stadium lights suddenly went out.

Bizarrely enough, despite being terrified that the flames shooting in the air during the halftime show were going to light the roof on fire and we’d all trample each other to death in a stampede to escape, the lights going out didn’t really faze me.

I suppose I was “used” to it since I’d been at the 49ers/Steelers game when the lights at Candlestick went out during Monday Night Football. And instead of suspecting a terrorist was about to attack or that God just couldn't stand to watch Ray Lewis for one more second on the big TV in the sky, I just lamented the fact that now I was stuck watching the most painful game of my entire life for even longer.

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Booked my flight on Thursday, arrived on Friday, got tickets on Saturday night for face value. 

Seconds turned to minutes and minutes turned into, well, more minutes, and no one had any information. I turned to Twitter, but turned out even Twitter wasn’t sure what was happening. There was no electricity so no announcements could be made. Which is when the stadium, a crowd so lifeless and dull for the first half that I swore I’d never attend another Super Bowl game for the rest of my life, decided to take matters into their own hands. 

By doing the Wave.

Despite the fact that I once attempted to start the Wave at a baseball game (while sober), I actually believe that doing the Wave is one of the dumbest things one can ever do. And no, it’s not just because I almost died doing it once time.

Basically, doing the Wave is disrespecting your team. It’s saying, “You’re not being entertaining enough on the field, so I’m going to stand up, throw my hands in the air, and then sit down again super quickly as a way to stave off the boredom.” I mean, call me crazy, but if you’re THAT bored, just go get another beer. 

Doing the Wave is also a DEFINITE no-no when your team is on offense. Especially during a football game. Your job when your team needs to communicate effectively is to be as quiet as possible. Not to distract and make noise. If you’re doing the Wave and making it hard for your team to get plays off? You’re basically helping the defense do their job.

I get that it’s a little different when there’s a blackout and not much to do. I did use it as my one opportunity to go to the ladies’ room, a terrifying experience as it was pitch black in there with no running water. And fine, I grabbed a few beers (I only had the two the entire day, which no one, including me believes). But when I got back to my seats, people were still trying to get the crowd to get stoked for the Wave and since the 49ers were down by a million points and I was the grumpiest I’ve possibly ever been, I refused to participate. 

What I did remember, however, was an article Emily sent around a few months ago about “50 Things Sports Fans Should Never Do” one of which was “Don’t NOT Participate in the Wave.” Bleacher Report claims it’s important “for the younger generation” without ever actually questioning, well, all of the things I said above.

So I started thinking about a few other things in the article and realized that though they’d gotten a lot of things right (Don’t Pass Up a Free Ticket; Don’t Throw Stuff onto the Field or Court; Don’t Get into a Fight over Sports) they’d gotten quite a few wrong. Like:

1. Don’t Refer to Team as “We” 

Pretty sure if I answer “The Niners” when someone asks me who my football team is, I can call them “we.” Should you say “we” if you’re a newbie fan or don’t really love the team? Probably not. How will you know when you can start using “we?” It will just come naturally. One day you’ll be talking about the game and you’ll naturally hear yourself saying something like, “We should really run the ball more!” or, “Our offense looks great, but I’m worried about our special teams.” It’s totally OK to fall into this dialect and, in fact, it means you’re a true fan.

People who say you shouldn’t say “we” don’t understand that fandom actually helps teams win and lose. Fact.

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Example of how to use it in a sentence: "I went to the Superbowl and We lost."

2. Don’t Steal a Foul Ball or a Home Run Ball From a Kid 

I think I’ve said all I have to say about this matter.

3. Don’t Predict Anything 

Then what are sports fans supposed to do before seasons/games? One of the most common conversations leading up to a new season is “How many games do you think we’ll win?” or “Who do you think will win the NFC West?” Turn on the TV before any game on Sunday and the guys in really bizarre suits will be talking about who they think is going to win and how many points a certain person will score and what the play-calling will be like and who’s going to have a big game etc. etc.

Telling fans not to predict anything is telling them they can’t talk about sports. It makes no sense.

4. Don’t Get a Tat of Your Favorite Team 

Listen, if I were your mother, I’d tell you not to get a tattoo of anything ever. But I’m not. So do watcha like. I don’t see how a tattoo of your favorite team is any worse than Chinese characters or a cluster of stars.

5. Don’t Turn into a Bandwagon Fan 

I’ve written before that, at times, bandwagon fans can be, well, annoying. But I don’t begrudge anyone falling in love with my team. Will they appreciate the wins as much as I do? No, because, at least at first, they haven’t been through the heartache. But everyone has to become a fan somehow someway. Better jumping on the bandwagon when the team where you live is doing well than liking your boyfriend’s team just because he does.

6. Don’t Cry After a Loss 

I barely cry after most breakups, but no one has the right to tell me if and when I should shed tears, especially when it has to do with my team. I put my entire heart and soul into rooting for the 49ers and if a tough loss makes me get emotional, who is anyone else to judge?

Walking out of the Superdome after the Niners’ loss was horrible. I could barely speak. All I wanted was to get in bed and sleep for a week. But first, I had to get home. My friend and I walked in silence, splitting up on Bourbon Street, she going to meet her friends, me going to catch the ferry that would take me back to where I was staying. As I got on that ferry and it started moving across the Mississippi River, it all caught up with me. We’d come so far. But we’d lost.

So I put my hands in my head and I cried. And then I cried some more.

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This is actually me sobbing after the Niners beat Atlanta to go to the Superbowl, but you get the idea.

7. Don’t Let a Loss Ruin Your Day

Let it ruin your week. Seriously. If you invest hours of times, thousands of dollars, and all of your emotions into your team only to travel to New Orleans to watch them lose the Super Bowl? You’re allowed to be bummed. For a while. Don’t take it out on others because that’s never cool, but be as sad as you want for as long as you want.

In fact, if you didn’t let a loss like that ruin your day, I’d question why you were there in the first place.

Sports are emotional. That’s why we watch them. They bring us up. They push us down. And when our team wins, there’s no better feeling in the entire world. But when they lose? It sucks. And you feel it to your core. So don’t pretend otherwise. It’s all part of being a fan.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m climbing back into bed to cry a little more. It still hurts. It still hurts.

Follow @daisy on Twitter. She's still a little mopey about the 49ers' Super Bowl loss, but she's slowly getting over it.