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Talk Sporty 101: How to be a frustrated fan

becoming a sports fan Jul 02, 2022

Just like I can’t tell you how to be a fan. I can’t tell you how to be a frustrated or disappointed fan. I CAN tell you when fandom crosses the line into bullying and jerk-ish behavior. As a sports broadcaster who has covered several losing teams and teams that haven’t lived up to expectations, I have a lot of experience watching frustrated fans react.

I know you want to think that what happens at a ballpark, stadium or arena stays there and that you as a fan are different than you as a person who shows up for work every day, but that’s not how it works. You are the same person. Your fandom is part of your personal brand. It’s easy for emotions to take over and for frustrations to turn into personal attacks, name calling, bullying and even harassment. I’ve not only seen it all, I’ve been on the receiving end of all of it. I’ve also been a fan for as long as I can remember, so I know frustrating it can get.


Instead of going off the rails every time your team disappoints you, try one of these approaches.

  1. Turn off the game. It’s my job to watch sports not yours. If you’re a fan, a game or sporting event should be fun and entertaining. If you’re not having fun, why would you keep watching? The choice is yours.
  2. Choose a different team. Sports fandom runs deep but no one is forcing you to cheer for one team over another. No one is requiring you to watch games you don’t find enjoyable. There is something to be said for fanbases who can commiserate together due to shared frustrations and experiences, but if you’re consistently miserable and don’t find it enjoyable make the choice to choose a team that brings you happiness.
  3. Yell loudly. Yelling at the top of your lungs is discouraged just about everywhere – except a sporting event when it’s not only encouraged but expected. Take the opportunity to let some frustration out but please don’t make it personal. When you’re in that environment there’s no reason to yell AT anyone. Just yell, in general, into the wind.

I realize you might not like any of these suggestions and you might even think I’m overreacting, but this is a small way to practice communication skills in frustrating environments. It’s not just about your reaction to a game, it’s your response when emotions are running high and you need to maintain a level of composure. Use sports to practice for those moments and use sports fandom in a way that goes beyond sports talk.


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