In recent weeks, there has been a conversation in Weyburn about what constitutes being a good fan. The discussions started when the news came that the McLeod Series, an annual basketball event between the senior girls' and senior boys’ teams from Weyburn Comprehensive School and Estevan Comprehensive School, had been cancelled. The decision was made due to escalating emotions as well as conduct on and off the court.
So, what does being a good fan mean?
The Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings and the Weyburn Beavers are two of the most attended sports teams in Weyburn. We asked representatives from each team about what they think is a good fan.
“Well, I think being a good fan is fairly simple,” said Nick Nielsen. He is the office and marketing manager with the Red Wings and is also the voice of the Red Wings on BIG 106. “It’s just coming to whatever desired arena it is, whether it’s our rink or whatever sport you’re going to, and just being a part of the experience in the best way.”
The sentiment of creating a good experience as a fan was echoed by Garnet Hansen. He is the president of the Weyburn Beavers.
“I think to be a good fan, you’re respectful of both your opponents and officials, and you’re really looking for a good game, good outcomes, and you’re not cheering against somebody,” Hansen added.
Sportsmanship from fans is also important to Hansen.
“I’m not a big person for chirping the other team, or the officials, or anything because it seems like nothing good can come of that,” Hansen said. “Sometimes it can be done in good fun, but it gets carried away then you get the problems.”
“The word fan is short for the word fanatic, so you’re going to have people who are going to be really big, really intense for a team, and that’s always good to see that big, intense attitude towards the team, as long as it doesn’t get misconstrued and used in ways that are harmful,” Nielsen stated.
Nielsen pointed out that fans are seen as representatives of the team itself in many ways, especially when travelling to other places to watch a game.
“Whether you’re part of the organization, or whether you’re a fan, you want people to think about your team with some fondness to it,” Nielsen said. “You want people from the outside looking in to see if should be fun to be a part of that group.” He added that no matter your role in the organization, you want your team to be seen as one that handles things with class, as opposed to being an organization that is hated because of how its fans conduct themselves.
How a fan conducts themselves at an event can also be echoed or amplified by the rest of the crowd, Hansen explained. He pointed out that bad behaviour can be contagious, which doesn’t help anyone. To that, they do sometimes have to have a conversation with fans when they start to get too rowdy, but it isn’t something that they like to have to do.
“I think baseball, just by its nature, isn’t as confrontational as say a football game or, you know, hockey when there’s lots of physical contact, so you don’t tend to get it as much but you do run into the odd time, and I guess you just have to ask the people to take a breath and enjoy the game without getting carried away.”