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How to Enjoy a Pro-Sporting Event. - Sauce1977 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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How to Enjoy a Pro-Sporting Event. [Oct. 29th, 2003|01:38 am]
[In the Moment |groggygroggy]
[Special Music |Inner City - Big Fun]

Given the number of events I've attended, I can tell you that if you love the sport that you attend, this helps. What of those who may be indifferent to sports? What if you're the fan of a bad team?

I have some tips.

I couldn't claim to be the most authoritative fan on the planet . . . I have seen quite a few games, but my cousin Michelle worked for WDFN and now for the flagship station for the Wings, Tigers, and Lions . . . she's been in locker rooms, press conferences, behind the scenes in studios, and at way more games than I have.

I have seen some wonderful events . . . it helps to know enough about the sport for full enjoyment. My first favorite sport was baseball, and I followed it from the start of the 1984 magical Tigers season. I watched Jack Morris's no-hitter. I calculated batting averages after figuring out how they work (Hits divided by At-Bats = Batting Average). There are some tricks to this, however . . . walks don't count as an at-bat, and so on and so forth, I learned about my sport. I attended a couple of games at Tiger Stadium in 1984, and I was hooked.

After Little League, my dad and I took a trip to Toronto. I witnessed a no-hitter by Dave Stewart at the then-new Skydome in 1990. Had I not known what a no-hitter was, I wouldn't have been as thrilled.

You don't have to know everything about a sport . . . even the most seasoned fans become confused at the decisions during a pro game at times. Baseball is probably one of the most rule-intensive sports of all of them. It's a thinking-fan's game, and if you can get a competent understanding of baseball, then you can pretty much learn all the other sports.

Grab some extra money. Most sites have ATMs these days, so extra-extra money isn't a problem. However, you won't find parking attendants accepting cash or credit cards. You need to hand them dollar bills, so make sure you have whatever the price of a food item, drink, and program is (totally arbitrary, but those are common items for sale). Now, triple that amount . . . that's a good estimate of what you're looking at in terms of cash you might want to have on hand, unless you're just flat broke like me. :D

Of course, you want to leave all food or drink or box-cutters or most anything at home . . . security is tight these days. They will make you leave it outside, so forget about bringing anything extra. I caution you about cameras because you'll find at some events like concerts that they won't even allow anything outside of a cell phone in terms of devices. These extra things take time to inspect, so basically the rule is, don't take anything you'd miss if it suddenly was gone. Thefts happen too, so in big crowds, keep your hand near your wallet-pocket or gripped around your purse.

Have fun, order a mixed drink, or a beer, but remember that you can get a 6-pack for the price of one beer at most events. In other words, you could probably wait the 3 or so hours before you got out of the place before you really get your drink-on.

The next installment features my acquired skill for added enjoyment at a sporting event. The bonus subject is heckling, and I will break that one down soon.

[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-10-29 07:36 am (UTC)

On Heckling.

Heckling is such a negative word.

Instantly, you may think of the inebriated loudmouth, the one who won't shut up all game. At all the wrong times, this person's cackling, jeering and cheering at the oddest incidents during the game. They may even spill a drink or cause a fight at some point.

This isn't my definition of heckling. It's actually an art form. When done right, heckling is a form of sideshow entertainment. It can elevate the mood of the fans in your general area.

Generally, heckling at its best is somewhat tasteful, and it works better if the game is a rivalry. If the game goes poorly for the home team, it can also elevate moods, if you're a fan of the home team.

Some warnings follow careful notice. If someone becomes quite irate, that's a good time to shut your cake hole. A night in jail or personal physical injury is not worth standing up for yourself in front of an angered patron or security. You never know when someone just doesn't get what you're trying to do, or if they cannot deal with what you have to say.

The best and most important ingredient to successful heckling is confidence. That's easy to point, but it's hard to accomplish. Some people, like myself, although very shy at parties and sometimes quite mute most other times, find it quite easy to bellow some comment at a sporting event. If you're not familiar with this type of confidence, allow me to break it down for you.

The best way to build confidence is to know something about the game. This involves having a thorough understanding of the main points of the game. In other words, if you're at a baseball game, and you do not know what a strikeout is, you need to learn a few more things. Practice involves watching with educated others on television.

Personally, I do enjoy my sporting events. My elders watched sports, and my grandfather, father, mother, and other elders would impart and reinforce my understanding of the game. There's no better person to practice heckling with than your peers, around that big ol' tv set, in the comfort of a private residence. It takes time . . . you may never decide to heckle, but at least you'll understand a bit of what goes into the process of a heckling artist.

You know confidence, and when you're pretty familiar with the game and the rules and the sound of your voice at a shouting level in front of other people, then it's time to prepare for that sporting event.

There's no substitute for a quick wit. You can't beat someone with a whip-smart ability to react. When a ref makes a bad call, and you hear some person scream . . . "Oh COME ON! I guess the ref is REALLY LATE for dinner. Hey, ref! How 'bout if you LEAVE! WE'LL HANDLE IT FROM HERE!" . . . chances are they're a heckling artist.

I set some ground rules. If people are swearing around me in the general area, I'll swear too. However, if the crowd's generally well-behaved or filled with children, the last thing I need on my hands is some parent, telling me that their kid has never heard those words, and on and on.

In order to heckle, you have to get your audible voice above the crowd noise. The best time to heckle is when everyone is not cheering. In other words, you wanna be heard. Your ears, after time, will begin to notice the levels of ambient noise. Timing is the key. There is a statute of limitations. You have to get off a comment about a call within a few seconds after it happened, otherwise you move on. You might find yourself holding your tongue more often than not. Think high school cafeteria, with plenty of kids at a long table. More than a few of your friends are with you. Remember how you had to wait your turn to speak on those chatterbox days? That's about a good estimate of the heckle artist's challenge.

Remember, if you make a mistake, don't back down your confidence. I once stuttered about 4 times in an extended cat-call to a referee. If you're familiar with Stuttering John from Howard Stern's show, that's about what it resembled. I calmly finished. Don't give up! Get it out, let it out, shout, shout, let it all out, just like the 80s song by Tears for Fears. Get ready for the next opportunity.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-10-29 07:40 am (UTC)

Extra Credit Heckling.

Extra credit involves exclusive, miniscule information. If you're rolling, you can pull out little tidbits. For instance, I knew from a co-worker that a particular sports star used OnStar to find a strip club. Now, I wouldn't admonish him in person, nor would I think poorly of him. It is humorous that this sports star would use such a crappy service to find one, however . . . so I filed that nugget away for the upcoming game.

During a faltering moment for that player against our home team, I screamed out "Hey STRIP CLUB! I guess that night at the cathouse was a little too much fun, huh!"

My friends died laughing, as they knew about the player and the story. General laughter ensued from the surrounding crowd. The noise level had been low enough for everyone to hear it, and it was a successful heckle.

Mind you, only I knew about the player and the strip club incident. Who cares, you say? People will laugh . . . for no reason! They won't even know why they're laughing. Who cares if they're laughing at you, anyway? You're gonna toss out a nugget from your heckles that they'll appreciate. If they ask you what in blazes you just uttered, you know the story, so you can tell 'em.

Not all artists are equal. Some shine above others. I generally pay little heed to the other hecklers. I only respond to my friends while performing the art. If someone addresses me, I will interact, but I act as if I'm the only heckler there. I'm not in competition with the other hecklers, either . . . I'm just there to entertain, especially when the game goes bad for the home team. People appreciate a skilled heckler at those times.

You can also practice some silly buffoonery, but that's very situational. Be warned on obviously silly statements. Those are the moments where it could turn ugly for the non-appreciative in the crowd.

If anything, the next time you're at a football game, and some person is screaming, "THE TIGHT END IS WIIIIIDE OPENNNN!" with a big coy grin, you'll know a bit of the effort behind the heckle. :D
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[User Picture]From: fruitpunch76
2003-10-29 01:50 pm (UTC)

Re: Extra Credit Heckling.

What a way for me to wake up at work this morning! You are too good.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-10-29 09:06 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed.

I tried going to the website where they had those urban legends flash movies, but man, it was down the other day. I wonder if they're still on the web . . .
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