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Sportsmanship

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Our wonderful friend Jorga brought up an interesting topic inside one of the threads yesterday.  (Want to know how big the site has become?  I can't even remember where I found it.  Somebody will point it out to me, I'm sure.)  She was talking about going to the game with her grandson and discussing sportsmanship...the etiquette of booing and name-calling and yelling and such. 

It struck me as I read her comments how much our society has changed in the last couple of decades.  Once upon a time people cheered for their team, golf-clapped during opponent introductions, and only people who had six or seven too many stood and shouted at the court.  Now you have plenty of yelling and screaming, intentional noise disrupting opposing free throws, booing is commonplace, etc.  There's almost no place to go to express extra displeasure at acts like Trevor Ariza's the other night.  We already tossed our obsencities, yelled our voices hoarse, and blew our best heckling lines by the end of the first timeout.  This is where throwing things seems like a good idea, even though you know it isn't.  But booing doesn't seem like enough anymore.  Which begs the question:  Have we gone too far?

I've got to tell you, I'm a sucker for a good crowd chant, particularly if it's spontaneous.  I also like clever heckling.  But I find the guy constantly yelling from the upper deck seats a little annoying, if not silly.  Nobody can hear him down on the floor and the people around him already think like he does.

I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to the days of the golf clap.  But I'm not sure I'm down with the new era where buying a ticket seemingly entitles you to say anything you wish.  What if 108 people around you all bought tickets too and they think you're a Grade-A [insert word you can't say on Blazersedge]?

This brings up the broader question:  what does sportsmanship mean to you?  I'm not talking about the players.  They have their own code.  I'm talking about fans.  Does the word even have meaning anymore?  What, if anything, is out of bounds for a fan?  Are there ethical guidelines for fan behavior and how they affect the environment or the game?  Are thundersticks kosher?  How about screaming scandalous implications about the free-throw shooter's mom?  Plain old booing?  Ear-splitting shrieks?  Would there ever be a time you could do something that might affect the game or the environment but you wouldn't because you'd consider it unethical, rude, or just too far?  What does it mean for a fan to be a "good sport"?  Or does it even matter?

I'm interested in your take on the meaning of sportsmanship in the modern era and whether we see any (or need/want to see any) these days.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)