Don’t Ruin My Time
by Josh Spence

What is it about large crowds that make people feel like they can do whatever they want?  A friend recently described to me a trip to a sporting event, ruined by a few other fans that sounded all too familiar. 

We have all been there.  It wasn’t long ago that Terry Holland wrote an open letter to Pirate fans about the very issue.  You’re at a sporting event trying to enjoy yourself, but there are a few folks there whose object (it seems) is to disrupt the enjoyment of everyone else.  Whether they are shouting obscenities, starting fights, or just too drunk to be in public, these guys seem to take it as their personal responsibility to annoy everyone around them.

A friend of mine attended the most recent NASCAR race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte.  Of course this is one of the 10 races in the chase for the Nextel Cup.  A hot ticket to say the least, and my friend and his company had planned and looked forward to the event for months.

The trouble started before the race even did.  Everyone gathered in their seats as it was time for the singing of the national anthem.  Throughout the song several intoxicated individuals refused to give their due attention, but at this point everyone let it go.  Next up was the invocation, a tradition before the start of every race.  During which the same individuals refused to be quiet.  When someone nearby my friend asked the loud ones to quiet down, they promptly responded “there’s no God”. 

This as I understand was repeated throughout and even after the prayer was completed.  At this point several people around my friend were getting extremely upset, and a confrontation began.  Back and forth they went, until security had to be called.  That quieted their efforts briefly, but it didn’t last.  The belligerent gentlemen continued, adding aggressive behavior towards anyone that made a comment.  Eventually everyone in the surrounding area was ready to jump in and do whatever it took to shut them up.  My friend and his company eventually left the race with more than 100 laps to go.

I don’t think it’s a big secret why things like this happen.  A NASCAR race at night is just asking for it.  It’s like allowing people to drink all day before attending a drunken redneck convention.  Look I’m not one to tell you how to have a good time, but come on, have a little self control and respect for those around you, who by the way are there for the same reason as you, trying to have a good time.  Drinking and having a good time is one thing, we all enjoy it, but know your limit of self control.

It happened to me at the last Pirate game.  Although mine was admittedly a minor situation, we had gentlemen in front of us that insisted on standing on top of their seats, for the entire game.  If you want to stand up, fine, I don’t have a problem with that.  I think most people want to stand up and cheer and enjoy the game etc.  However, it is another thing for grown men to stand on top of their seats, for no good reason, for the majority of the game. 

The bottom line is that when you get that many people together in one spot, things like this are going to happen.  In large crowds people seem to lose their inhibitions and do things they normally wouldn’t, I guess the alcohol probably helps.  You know who you are, and if it’s you, respect the right of everyone else to enjoy the show, and don’t ruin my time! 

Josh Spence