I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a sports fan. In particular, I watch Colts football amongst other things.
Yesterday, I watched Austin Collie take a hit that took him down. His left hand was curled into a claw as his body hit the turf. He was clearly unconscious, and it was a scary several minutes as he lay motionless on the ground. As he was surrounded by medical personnel, all we could see was his feet, which never twitched.
But we could hear the Eagles fans. They were upset that the officials had called a penalty on the hit. I watched the replay over and over, and in truth, it probably was a bad call, but it was one of many from that officiating crew. (They were one of the worst crews I’d ever seen. Prolonged delays while they debated each call, missed calls, poor calls, just not good.)
There’s kind of an unwritten rule as a sports fan – we don’t like the other teams. We celebrate big hits against them. We love it.
But when a player goes down, and is clearly seriously injured? Silence.
Respect for those on the field. Respect for the team worried about their fallen teammate. Respect for the friends, parents, wives, children of that injured man. Respect for that player who’s putting his body on the line for our entertainment.
The fans in the stadium last night did not show any level of that respect. They booed. They yelled. Not just at the beginning, when watching the replays of the hit, and before they realized that our man was still on the ground, but throughout the several minutes he was attended to. While they cut away his facemask, and immobilized his neck. While they strapped him to a backboard, and carefully put him on a gurney. They booed as he was rolled off the field.
I commented on the lack of respect on my facebook page.
“Way to be classy, Philly fans. Sure, keep yelling while our man is clearly seriously injured. Respect will take you far in life.”
A good friend of mine, and fellow football fan, posted on his own page that he felt the hit was legal. I replied:
“There have been any number of shady calls (and non-calls) in this game. I agree, the hit didn't look illegal. Still, how weak of the Philly fans to continue to carry on while he was clearly motionless on the field?”
I proceeded to interact with him, moving past that hit, and my opinion of the fans, into such topics as the fabulous throwback jerseys the Colts were sporting. The game ended, I went to bed.
But I got up this morning, and in our thread (on my friend’s page, but not written by my friend) I found this:
“Who f***ing cares about the way the eagles fans act. They pay their money to get in. Oh the boos. Go f***ing boo hoo on your pillow. They got beat and he got hurt. That's the game.”
(The asterisks are my own. The very kindhearted individual who posted that used the entire word. I repeat, this was NOT from my friend.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a prime example of what’s wrong with our country.
RESPECT. Specifically, the lack of it.
Rest assured, I did not boo-hoo into my pillow. I did, however, point out that we were each entitled to our own opinions on the topic, but some ways to share them were more mature than others.
I have a great deal more that I want to say on this topic, but I’m going to stop here with this post (as I’ve written a mini-novel!) and we’re going to revisit the topic of respect. Teaching it. Displaying it. Living it. Meaning it.