Posted on 27. Feb, 2012 by Brandon Evans
I’m not sure if many people watch the Simpsons anymore, but I was a tremendous fan when I was in college years ago. One of the many catchphrases on the show was “Will somebody please think of the children?” It was exclaimed by the character Helen Lovejoy, the reverand’s wife, whenever some type of catastrophe, big or little, struck the town of Springfield.
I always thought it was a joke, but I felt like yelling it out Saturday afternoon. I was helping our sports editor Richard Greene cover a regional playoff game between the Alvord Lady Bulldogs and the Brock Lady Eagles.
I give the Brock girls a lot of credit. They played with confidence and skill. There is a lot to be said for having been there before. For the reigning state champs it was just another game. But for Alvord, which had a talented, dedicated and well-coached team as well, you could tell nerves played a role. This was the biggest game these girls had ever been a part of. Who wouldn’t be nervous?
I had the dubious pleasure of sitting at the scorers table, directly in front of the Brock fans. They were yelling just inches from the back of my head. And despite leading by 15 to 20 points for much of the game, they weren’t cheering very much. It was nonstop anger. There were grown women hissing, booing, screaming and cursing at the refs. I saw grown men standing and pointing and spewing venom at the Alvord players during timeouts. Young women just trying to play they best they can in a high pressure game were getting cursed by middle-aged white men in the stands.
It was outrageous. They couldn’t be happy that their girls were winning. They’d rath rant and rave and call refs and girls horrible names.
What kind of lessons are trickling down to the kids in the midst of such animal behavior? I couldn’t help but be reminded of Helen Lovejoy’s catchphrase during such an awful display of unsportsmanlike conduct by people who weren’t even playing the game. Being a passionate fan is one thing, but being hateful instead of simply supporting talented kids playing a game sends an unbalanced and frightening message to the ones this whole game is about.