It’s Only a Game

I love sports. I watch a lot of sports, attend games, and write about sports. I take sports seriously. But I know that they are just games. They’re diversions and entertainment meant to make life a little more fun. But some people don’t see it that way. They become emotionally invested to the point where sports become destructive to them and those around them.

There have been several incidents recently involving people who took it too far. Today, a man was arrested for making threats on Twitter toward Mets players, management, and fans. If you have a Twitter account, you probably know who this is.

Brandon Jacobs, running back for the New York Giants, also received threats from a Twitter user. Not only is that rude and illegal, it’s pretty stupid. Jacobs is 6’4” and weights upwards of 270 pounds.

Four people were charged with assault and disorderly conduct stemming from a fight at the Jets game this weekend. They punched each other because they had a disagreement over whose football team was better – and in this day and age of trash talk, an argument like that can turn personal.

Down in Houston, Texans fans have been threatening their quarterback, Matt Schaub, burning his jersey in the stadium parking lot, and two people were even arrested outside his home.

A Dodgers fan was killed near AT&T Park in San Francisco, reportedly because he shouted “Giants suck” outside a nightclub. In 2011, a Giants fan was severely beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.

I’d like to think these are all isolated incidents, and that 99% of people reading this would never engage in this kind of behavior. Maybe it’s been going on forever, and with the propagation of the new media and the too-much-information age, we’re simply hearing about it more, but I am increasingly disturbed by the severity of these events.

We’re passionate sports fans. We like to discuss, debate, and argue about what the GM, manager, and ownership should do. We like to roll our eyes at the latest baserunning mistake, or throw our hands up when our QB throws an interception. There’s nothing wrong with that.

When it gets to the point that you’re threatening players, trespassing on private property, engaging in violence, or even killing someone – just because you don’t agree with them or they’re in a slump or they’re wearing another team’s colors – then it’s time to take a good, hard look at your life.

Let’s just remember that these are games. They’re supposed to be fun. Let’s keep it that way.

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. Michael October 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm
    It’s only a game. It’s only a game indeed. Why not point out that many employees for ballparks are underpaid? The concession workers, clean up crews, ticket takers, and security. There work is not valued at MLB Stadiums because it’s not a remunerative job. That’s far more important than drunken and verbally abusive fans. That’s the real problem with sports – the people who provide us the entertainment are constantly being payed pennies compared to the general wealth of MLB.
    • chuck October 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm
      Michael, take your socialist – communist argument somewhere else. In fact, out of the country sounds just about right to me.
  2. DaveSchneck October 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm
    Great post. We’ve heard the message before, and it’s simple, but from my perspective we can’t hear it enough. Sports is entertainment.
  3. paul festa October 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm
    Excellent point, Michael. Definitely worth a future post.
  4. chris October 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm
    Great post. I used to work for a professional sports league where I had daily contact with athletes and realized, these guys are just like anyone else. To think that some people resort to violence over the performance of another adult boggles the mind. Where is the perspective?
  5. crozier October 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm
    Nice piece, Paul, though I think America does a better job controlling its collective emotions than other countries. We’ve yet to see a riot that compares with football matches in the UK (at least since the discontinuing of 10 cent beer games – I’m talking to you, Cleveland). We haven’t seen violence perpetrated on officials. Not to say the violence we’ve seen is excusable, but I suspect that overall, the per capita violence at major sporting events is no worse than at any other gathering, and probably lower, especially as compared to, say, the neighborhood bar.