Q: In your survey on obnoxious fan behavior, what exactly do you consider obnoxious behavior? When a fan buys a ticket, especially if it’s a season ticket, where do you feel that the behavior crosses the line of decency?
A: The purchase of a ticket – season or otherwise – does not entitle a spectator to act any way he or she pleases. In the first place, management has rules and guidelines about what is and what is not acceptable and may eject a ticketholder for breaking those rules. At spectator sports, obnoxious behavior can be defined as outside the good-sport guidelines: Be patient as you walk to your seat, taking care not to jostle or shove anyone. Walk slowly with the crowd, not through it, when arriving and leaving. When vendors are hawking sodas and snacks in the stands, raising your arm to signal you want to buy something is preferable to shouting, “Over here!” If you’re in the middle of a row and have to ask others to pass your money and food, be sure to thank those who did the passing. When a large group of spectators rises and blocks your view, go with the flow and stand. If only one or two people are standing in front of you, be polite: “Get down in front!” will raise hackles, while “Would you mind sitting so that we can see?” usually won’t. Watch your language. Obscenities in public are by nature offensive, no matter how free-spirited the atmosphere. Remember, referees and coaches are people, too. Avoid being downright nasty if you don’t agree with a call or decision. Cheer your heart out after a play that goes your team’s way, but don’t be so loud or engage in so much horseplay that your behavior becomes obnoxious. At events where quiet is expected–a golf tournament, a tennis match, a game of billiards, or even a game of chess–don’t utter so much as a whisper when the players are trying to concentrate. These guidelines apply to season ticket holders as well as first time attendees.