Being a Good Fan

Last month, Algerian soccer player Albert Ebosse was hit in the head with a rock and died. Though this may seem like a brutal act of murder, the real cause of the incident was that Ebosse’s team lost a league game, and fans began to throw rocks from the stands. Though the Algerian League will open a full investigation, it will probably be difficult to find where the fatal rock came from. However, it is very likely that it came from a fan who overreacted at the loss.

As a spectator and fan, it can be easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. During the 2014 World Cup, countless Brazilian fans were shown hysterically crying after their team lost a game. Sadness during a severe match loss is an appropriate reaction; but depression and hysterics are definitely an overreaction. The same follows for anger: annoyance at bad plays is expected, but violence is ludicrous.

With the approach of fall and the beginning of many sports seasons, it is a good time to be reminded to keep our cool during games and matches. The crowd mentality makes it easy for fans to get carried away in angry protests, but part of being a true fan is remaining supportive of your team in all circumstances. In a response to a question about praying for a team to outright lose, Busted Halo’s Neela Kale writes, “It is always better to root for someone than to root against someone.” Being a good and supportive fan will make the match more enjoyable, and those around you will notice your positivity and catch on. After all, it is just a game.

Share these articles with young adults and discuss what it means to be a good fan:

  • What teams or players bring out the best and worst in you as a fan?
  • Describe an instance in which you feel you were a good fan. Describe an instance in which you feel you were a bad fan or you overreacted to a game/match and how you could have behaved better.
  • What are some ways in which you can influence people around you, in and out of the stands, to be better, more positive fans?
  • How can you keep yourself and others around you from overreacting to unpopular sports outcomes?