My husband is the Offensive Line coach for South Dakota State University. We play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.....and it is a tough one. The Sagarin computer ratings (USA Today) rate it as the best conference at the D-1 FCS level. All I know is that it’s the hardest conference that we’ve ever played in......almost every game is a battle. In our three seasons at SDSU we have been so fortunate to be surrounded by an incredibly loyal Jackrabbit fan base. Our family has truly embraced being Jackrabbits.....so much we even had Jack (the school mascot) in our family picture.
In my opinion.....a fan has one primary job. It’s to show up and support their team. Some “fanatics” take it to a much higher degree, while others have problems with the show up and support parts. In the 16 years my husband and I have been married, he has coached at 9 different schools at the FBS, FCS, and Division 2 levels. I have experienced all kinds of fans at the different levels and regions of college football. I certainly have not seen it all.....but have seen most of it when it comes to fans. So today, I want to fill you in on some of my 7 least favorite types of fans I have encountered in my 17 seasons as a coach’s wife.
1. The Hecklers. They bully the opposing team’s fans often resorting to swearing and harassing them....even in front of their children. This callous fan has even stooped as low as to cheer for a player on the opposing team getting hurt during a game. I have, unfortunately, witnessed this from a particular team in our conference and it never sits well with me.....please have some class and remember that is someone’s son playing out there.
2. The Leave Early “fan.” This drives me nuts....especially if it’s a close game. Why do you leave early?!?!?? You paid to watch a game....so watch and support your team. After years of seeing this I have come to the conclusion that it’s usually two types of people. One the “fan” who is trying to beat traffic or the one who is ready to celebrate before they even know the actual score of the game.
3. The Social Media Troll. These are the fans that hide behind their computers bashing other teams, or even worse their own team, players, and coaches. Don’t get me wrong....I am all for a great rivalry. But starting quarrels on the internet with opposing fans or continuously being negative about your own squad simply shows that they have nothing better to do.
4. The Fair-Weather Fan. The one that helps fill the stands when his team is winning championships, but won’t show up for the following game day after a tough loss. They love up the coaching staff after a W, but will put up a for sale sign up at your house when you lose a game. Even the best of teams face adversity....step up and show up for your team.
5. The Moneymaker. Money means more to this fan than loyalty. They’ll sell their tickets to the opposing team’s fans in a minute if they can make an extra buck. If you can’t go to the game....sell them to your own fans....even at a loss, or donate them to a fan who may be going through a tough time and can’t afford to buy tickets. Your team deserves a true home field advantage.
6. The Inopportune Fan. This fan can be real noisy on game days. Don’t get me wrong, I can be REALLY noisy on game days too, but NOT when our offense has the ball. For those of you who don’t understand this......you actually want your team to hear the plays when they’re on the field. Save that voice for when the other team has the ball....especially on 3rd Down!
7. The Fan with all the answers. When your team Punts on 4th down, this fan always thinks we should have gone for it. If a run doesn’t work....it should have been a pass. They say hindsight is 20/20, but this fan takes it to the extreme. Coaches work a lot of hours and spend a large amount of time away from their families perfecting a game plan, but this fan thinks his play calls would be better with no preparation other than a tailgate. When you scream out what play you think should have been called....or you utter the words someone should get fired....please remember you may be sitting close to a coach’s family, and we sacrifice a lot. If this fan knew as much as he thinks he knew, the AD would come out of his suite at halftime to hire him.
A “True” fan enthusiastically devotes themselves to the their team. Their loyalty remains in good times and in bad....Not only during championship seasons or after great wins, but during rebuilding years and crushing losses. May your team be blessed with many “True” fans this season....and not too many on the list above.