Every sports fan’s not to do list

A very dear friend of mine recently posted a video on social media entitled “Why women live longer.”

Upon clicking said video, one finds four boys on one of those spinning playground things with a fifth off to the side making the spinny thing go faster by propelling it with the wheels of his motorbike.  The spinny-go-round speeds faster and faster until, wait for it, one of the kids flies off, tumbling into embarrassment and more than likely into the hospital.  Hey, y’all.  Watch this!

Sometimes that Y chromosome makes us do the darnedest things.

Outside a Pittsburgh bar not long ago, and details are still sketchy depending on whose attorney you believe, former Jet, Buc, Patriot and Jet again, Darrelle Revis, was leaving a bar.  It was late in the evening, exponentially increasing the likelihood of alcohol consumption by all parties involved.  Like Herm Edwards often preaches, nothing good ever happens after midnight.

Apparently, some gentlemen nearby felt it was a good idea to heckle Mr. Revis as he was leaving the club.  It wasn’t.  The hecklers ended up laying on the sidewalk knocked out; Revis ended up arrested.

As more details emerge, this is slowly becoming a story of he said he said (shocker!) with both sides ending up in court and Revis likely settling out of it but this all could have been avoided had guys not given into their drunken starstruckedness, prompting them to provoke Revis.

Remember years ago, when Charles Barkley, who was allegedly minding his own business in an Orlando nightclub, ended up throwing a heckling fan through the bar’s plate glass window?  Sometimes it’s best not to poke the bear.

Recently the soft-spoken and now retired Marshawn Lynch announced he will no longer be taking pictures with male fans, only women and children.  While this might sound crass to some, Lynch is probably saving another idiot fan from having his ass beat.

One evening in Detroit many moons ago, a fan once threw a beer at Ron Artest.  We all remember how that ended up.

For the sake of all those involved and to hopefully keep our courtrooms a little less crowded, I have decided to put together a simple list of how to act when meeting a star-studded athlete.  A helpful list of dos, but mostly don’ts, if you will.

Rule #1: Don’t be overwhelmed by fame.  You’re not 13 anymore.  You’re 33 and the odds are you’re older than the person you’re fawning over.  Act like it.

Rule #2: Don’t be an idiot.  If you have to think twice about whether or not your behavior is inappropriate, it probably is.

Rule #3: Be respectful.  Do you like to talk about work 24 hours a day?  Imagine if someone came up to you and your significant other, interrupting your romantic dinner for two, and started talking to you about YOUR work, when they really knew nothing about it at all.  Then they want a picture with you and your autograph while your mouth is full of sushi.  When you were kind enough to take one, another fan comes up and asks the same thing.  And then another.  Think that would get tiring?

Rule #4: I’m never going to tell a heckler not to heckle.  By all means, have at it.  Just do so tastefully.  Do it with flair.  Be original.  Just don’t hit below the belt, for if you do…  In 1995, a heckler crossed the line, shouting out things to former Houston Rocket Vernon Maxwell about his daughter who had passed away a few years earlier.  Maxwell went up into the stands and kicked the shit out of the guy.  He was later fined, suspended and sued.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a person who wasn’t on Maxwell’s side when this all went down but that doesn’t change the fact that, well, fans can be idiots.  Please see Rule #2.

Rule #5: Never get involved in a land war in Asia and never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.  But if you’ve seen The Princess Bride, you knew this already.

Rule #6: If you are going to talk shit, be prepared to back it up or get knocked the fuck out.  These are highly trained athletes and while many might not know how to fight, odds are they’re in considerably better shape than you.

Sometimes all these helpful hints are easier said than done.  Upon meeting someone like say, Tim Tebow, most women swoon and most men, swoon as well.  He’s probably nice enough not to knock you out.  He might even hand you an autographed bible pamphlet if you’re lucky.  But sometimes people just want to be left alone.  Respect that.

As a young man, I once met Lou Ferigno.  I was tongue-tied.  I’m pretty sure if I met Lou Ferigno these days, I’d be able to muster a complete sentence.  I would also know not to bug him if I saw him out and he was in the middle of a conversation.  I hear you won’t like him when he’s angry.

Following these simple rules should prevent you from a) acting like a jerk when in the presence of a professional athlete and b) having your ass handed to you as a result.  Athletes already put themselves in the dumbest situations.  We don’t need to give them a reason to do anything dumber.

8 thoughts on “Every sports fan’s not to do list

  1. Young males are the most often bitten by snakes. Weird, right?

    Ballsy doesn’t usually collide with thinking things through, but hey a little Johnny Knoxville sure makes for great YouTube videos. I take the same stance on this type of idiocy as steroid use in sports. If these clowns are willing to risk their long term health for my entertainment, all the power to em.

    As far as being star struck, I guess growing up in LA cured me of that as a kid. Meeting Eddie Van Halen got me hyped as a 12 year old…All I could think to say at the time was, “You fucking rule”. He chuckled and simply replied, “Thanks I guess”. I felt like an asset and vowed never to feel that way again. I’ve crossed paths with countless celebrities since. Some are cool, some are dicks… All are just people and appreciate being treated as such rather than being fawned over or incessantly praised …At least in my experience.

    Best time had was playing basketball with Bell Biv DeVoe.

    Most influential was having breakfast with John Wooden. Twice. Great man. You may recall the article I posted about it back at SRM.

    Other favorites were Heather Locklear and Chick Hearn. Just genuinely pleasant and friendly people. Heather had just been on Howard Stern when he dry hummed her, which I so graciously reminded her of teasingly. She enthusiastically responded, laughing and engaging about what went down a couple of days prior. Mr. Sambora, litter ally stuck holding the baby smiled politely but I could tell by his face he wasn’t happy about the subject matter, nor her openness with a simple peasant like me. To his credit, he said nothing.

    Least favorites were Todd Bridges, Cedric Ceballos and Gene Simmons. Dicks all.

  2. Sorry about the spelling above…Still adjusting to my new phone. It seems to have a mind of it’s own with that auto correct crap.

    Cedric showed up in line behind me at a little taco shop in Santa Monica. He was getting his Ferrari detailed at the car wash next door. Me instantly recognizing him seemed to put him off a bit. I didn’t say anything because he was on his cell, but when he hung up I asked him how he felt about the Lakers getting Shaq and what he thought their chances at winning were now. I think he knew Shaq was going to take his touches and wasn’t happy about his arrival. Based on his lack of eye contact and one word answers, after two or three questions I left him alone and wished him anf the team good luck.

    After eating he walked over to get his car. =As I was still sitting and eating I could see him nitpicking the detailing and having the guy spot clean here and there. I noticed he didn’t even tip the guy and he sped off all pissed off. Not atrocious behavior, just came off as an aloof jerk is all.

    Gave me that much more of a chuckle when he pulled that Lake Havasu disappearing act after labeling himself “Chise” (Short for franchise). Shortly thereafter we shipped him off to Phoenix for Robert Horry, and we all know how that turned out.

  3. My wife and I were staying in the same hotel as the Phillies for a weekend series in Pittsburgh (which we attended) and one of the mornings there as we were paying for breakfast I noticed Richie Ashburn and Mike Schmidt in line behind us, ready to pay next. I calmly mentioned to my wife to turn around so she got to see them if we didn’t catch up with them later but at that moment there was no way I was going to start yakking it up with them…especially with Mike’s press-generated reputation for surliness. We waited until they finished paying and in the lobby when we approached them for autographs and to say how much we enjoyed watching them play. Both of them were generous and gracious. I doubt they would have been if we started up with them while in line to pay a cashier and get out of a busy hotel dining scenario. Common sense right? Treat people like you’d like to be treated.

  4. Not that I’ve mingled with many celebs / athletes but I can say that I’ve talked to Dominique Wilkins when he was playing as well as Smoltz, Glavine and a couple of others as well (even a small-time boxer!) while out and about. I kept it short and sweet, and they were gentlemen to a fault.

    As an aside, and maybe it’s just the musicians I follow but I’ve never had a bad experience in talking to them before / after a performance. They seem to appreciate their fans.

    Lastly, if I ever get to meet the SC, I’ll try to aggravate him to the point of me having to bring out the Glock to protect myself. Just joking!!!!!! Don’t turn me into the Feds for that comment.

  5. Bleed…

    As one who makes his living in the service industry, tipping (or not tipping) can be seen as one of the truest judges of one’s character.

    Considering he stiffed the car wash guys after giving them a rash of shit, well, I guess it serves him right for getting moved for Big Shot.

    Karma’s a bitch.

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