Tim Crone: Sports fans need to scale back the hate

The Examiner
Tim Crone

Starting pitching has returned for the Royals and the team is playing like a solid team once again. Hopefully, the young arms are beginning to learn the workings of the big league. 

The pandemic took a financial, physical and mental toll on everyone in the country. It is great to see the cheering crowds at a major golf tournament and NBA arenas filled up in time for the playoffs. Baseball fans are back in stands, eating hot dogs and enjoying the outdoors (when it is not raining.) 

All this is great, but the one thing I have noticed since the trauma of the pandemic is that many fans have forgotten how to act in public. During the final round of the PGA Championship when Phil Mickelson made history by winning a major tournament at the age of 50, the crowd rushed the 18th hole in the finals. It was mass chaos. Security was outmatched. Fortunately, it ended with no incidents. 

That was followed by two NBA playoff games that involved unruly fans. Russell Westbrook had popcorn and a lot of verbal abuse thrown at him while he was heading for the locker room. The fan was kicked out and banned from NBA games, but charges were not filed. In New York where the Knicks hosted the Atlanta Hawks, young rising star Trae Young was called every name in the book throughout both games and was spit on by a fan. 

Before I get a lot of negative emails – I realize that fans pay to watch live athletic events. Part of being a professional athlete is to possess the ability to handle fans and media. Fans can lose control in the heat of a great sporting event. I get all that. 

However, paying to get into a game does not give anyone a right to behave like a rear end.  Fans who surround them also paid to get into the game. They should not be subject to a 40-year-old behaving like Ned the third grader. 

Yes, professional athletes get paid a lot of money, but they should not be physically or verbally attacked because they play on the opposing team. Hate is becoming prominent in our society. It is not OK for an unruly fan to feel it is their duty to act like a great enforcer based upon the belief that because they have a ticket, they somehow have a license to act like a fool. 

Are we all so angry that it is appropriate to hate someone not on the same team or on our page? If this trend continues, something bad is going to happen at a major sporting event. 

For 70 years I have gone to every type of sporting event you can imagine. You know the feeling when it looks like things are getting out of control on the field and in the stands. 

I have attended a couple of Royals games this year and the crowd at the games appeared to just be glad to be in the stadium watching the game of baseball. There is hope that fans are learning once again how to act in public. 

The pandemic was the real deal and we all suffered. We see and hear enough about hate in this country through the news. We do not need to bring it into our sports venues. Sit back sports fans. Enjoy the game and continue to be grateful you can attend it live. 

• The quote of the week come from the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” 

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.