Throwing garbage on the field, endless selfies, talking on your cell phone, kicking the back of a chair, wearing a different sport jersey...give your head a shake.
Sporting events can bring intensity, emotion, and entertainment like no other spectacle. They can make you laugh, cry, jeer or cheer...hell, they can even gave you a grade one jammer and send you to the ICU. For the price of a ticket, you can be guided through an emotional rollercoaster that would otherwise have your treating physician put you on meds or send you to Riverside for psychiatric review. But for the love of all that is Holy and happenstance, don't conduct yourself at a game so that people are already questioning your sanity...or their own.
Projectile Anger If your response to something happening on the field of play is every to throw an object in the direction of the players (unless it is a hat or an octopus), don't bother showing up. Not only can you hurt someone on the field or in the crowd if your pathetic noodle-arm can't throw a bottle that far (and go to jail for it), but the result could actually be forfeiture of the match by your team. As an embarrassing member of the home crowd, your team is ultimately responsible for your conduct, and if the environment is deemed dangerous as a result of your action, by the officiating crew, they can give an automatic win to the visitors. Don't be an idiot, if you're really that upset, crush a beer can on your forehead and call it a night. Or if you find you can't handle the emotions associated with disappointment, it's probably best if you stay home to watch it on TV, where you can punch corresponding holes in your drywall.
Selfie-thon There's no quicker way to look like a space cadet then to take multiple selfies at a sporting event. A quick snap to mark the occasion and create jealously on social media is one thing; taking 5 or 6 selfies in a row, while trying to harness the magic of the smoky-eyes/duck face combo, tells me and everyone tuning in that a) You likely aren't a real fan, and b) You'll probably win the 50/50 draw. Since you're really only there for the booze and to be seen anyways, why not save your pocket book and head to your local sports bar instead? It'll give you another hashtag or ten to add to your Instagram posts.
Talking on your cell phone A short call each half to check on your kid or to review your meeting schedule tomorrow is harmless. Blathering on about business, your exploits at the Roxy the night before, or the shopping trip to the States you are going on this weekend, during game play, is so far beyond irritating that it belongs up there with the guy who exhales loudly through his nose when he's eating bread. You're at a sporting event...talk about sports! I'm not saying you have to have been a fan for years or even that you must know everything about the sport and the game, but at least pretend to be interested! Any real sports fan can tell you that part of the fun of "having a team" is allowing yourself to be part of the team and allowing your emotions to become invested in them. How am I supposed to live and die with my team if you're talking to your business partner about how you're you going to buy low and sell high for 15 minutes of the second period and 4 minutes of the 3rd?!? Go in to the concourse if you need to have an important phone discussion during game play or make the call in between quarters. Or, by all means, call from your home office.
Kicking the back of the chair in front of you Does this really need to be said? At 6'4, I have long legs and big feet, but somehow I manage not to tap the back of your chair with my toes, kick it when I'm moving around, or rest my feet on the side of your armrest. There are few things more egregious then chair kicking at a sporting match (or movie theatre or concert, for that matter). Every time you kick the back of my chair, I image myself head-butting you in the chest (a little reference for the real soccer fans out there), and while I have practiced remarkable self-restraint up until this point in my life, there's no telling how I or someone else my size will react, going forward. You know where there is lots of leg room AND great seats though? Your house...
Wearing an inappropriate jersey No, I'm not talking about rocking number 69 or buying a Rusty Kuntz jersey. I'm all for supporting your team, but when you show up to a Toronto Blue Jays playoff baseball game wearing an Edmonton Oilers hockey jersey, I question everything about you, ranging from your knowledge of sports to your commitment to hygiene. Not only are you NOT wearing a jersey from either of the participating teams, but you're not even representing the right sport. Why are you here? Granted, I have seen some football jerseys at hockey games in the United States (the confusion is real), but Canadians are by far the worst offenders when it comes to this phenomenon. It doesn't seem to matter what the sport, but we feel compelled to reinforce the Canada = hockey stereotype at almost every other sporting event. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer...just stop it. If you don't have any attire that matches the sport you will be watching (at the very least), it's OK to just wear jeans and a t-shirt. Or, if you can't find anything else in your closet aside from a hockey jersey when you're going to watch a baseball game, feel free to stay in the closet.
DO Cheer your team on! As someone who has played in front of thousands of fans, I can tell you that crowd support and crowd noise does make a difference. It gives you that little bit extra that can be the decisive factor between winning and losing. Do trade comments with opposing fans. But keep it light; don't get offended about the things they say about your team. Witty banter is part of the fun of enjoying a sporting event and can make it that much more enjoyable. Don't be afraid to say good game to the other fans after the game, win or lose (nobody likes a sore loser, but even less a sore winner). We all have to start somewhere in our fandom, but avoiding some of these head-scratchers will help you enjoy the game more and incur my wrath less.