You’d think in the wake of a HUUUUUGE Ravens victory I’d have nothing to complain about, right?
It’s Election Day, I couldn’t help myself. But just so nobody gives me a ton of crap about using a Trump gif and snubbing Hillary, here ya go!
Is it relevant to the point? No. But I’m a sucker for that Shaq Shimmy!!
But let’s get back to football, shall we?
I could complain about the music that the stadium pumps out. You know, all of the songs you either don’t know or haven’t heard since 1993? And the awful timing, when they queue it up like two seconds before a play sets?
I could also complain about the Yinzer a few rows behind me who started off on a hot note referring to our Ravens quarterback as ‘Joe Flucco’ which is hands down the most unoriginal attempt at mockery I’ve heard between these fan bases. He then proceeded to laugh at Flacco going down with the broken knee brace calling him a ‘baby’ (mind you the entire stadium thought it was a re-torn ACL) only to follow that up with whining about Antonio Brown being ‘touched’ by Darren Waller and how awful that was…
But I digress.
No, instead I’m dedicating this week’s edition of Grind My Gears to oblivious and self-absorbed fans at the stadium who don’t understand the proper fan protocol when attending games, or understand but simply don’t care.
My issue isn’t inappropriate behavior in terms of getting violent, acting out, getting verbally abusive or belligerent. Rest assured, I saw hardly any traces of that behavior Sunday. Good on ya, Ravens and Steelers fans!
But what I did see a ton of was pure idiotic behavior with zero regard for those around you. Things that the Ravens should add to their ‘DON’T BE A JERK‘ little diddy they pump up on the jumbotrons early in the game.
Let’s do a list. Because I like lists and it’s my blog dammit!
1- Be Prepared at the Gates
100% common sense, but apparently that’s not a prerequisite for attending a game. The kind people working the gates at the Ravens games make it very easy for you, and borderline idiot-proof, with their signs indicating what can be left in your pockets… and what must come out. They tell you on the website what type of bags are acceptable and what items you can and cannot bring in to the games.
There’s always one person in your line when you walk up to the gates that leaves their keys in their pocket because they’re not paying attention and needs to double back through the metal detector, or the bro who still has a beer in his hand and has to chuck it, or the worst offenders who bring a solid colored dark bag (that’s a no-no) and try to sneak in things that are not on the list.
And of course they want to argue with the person at the gate as to why they should be allowed to bring their bag in, or why the Ravens won’t simply let them check the bag and hold it at some magical coat-check type area, assuming the personnel at the gates also double as valets and will handle that task for them as well.
Meanwhile you look back, your line has more than doubled, people are getting agitated, and you’re mad at yourself because when you walked up you almost took the line just to the left of this one, but this line was like two people shorter and you got greedy about it.
2-Don’t Move During a Play
This is a simple rule: if there’s a play in progress or an offense has already broken the huddle to start a play? You best hang out on the side of the aisle and wait until a break in the game. You do not attempt to make everybody stand up to move because you can’t wait 10 flippin’ seconds to get back to your seat, despite the fact that you can still see from the aisle! Your beer isn’t getting warm standing on the side. Your legs won’t give out in those few seconds of standing (unless you’re beyond sloshed, at which point you should just get an Uber and call it a day). Don’t be a jerk and impede the view of the row behind you when everybody stands up, because it’s a domino effect: they can’t see behind you, so they stand. Then the people behind them can’t see, so they stand. Next thing you know the entire stadium is standing all because you’re an impatient jackass.
And if that play just so happens to be a scoring play or a turnover?
Duck & cover. Things will likely be hurled in your general direction.
3- Stand Up When Somebody Walks Down Your Aisle
Understanding how rule 1 (above) works, somebody will eventually need to squeeze back to their seats in the middle of the aisle. And when they do? Stand up. Don’t be the jerk that is too important to stand up, so they twist their legs to the side, or try to fold themselves up in the chair like a laptop. Or even worse, never be that guy who barely moves an inch and expects you to climb over and around him as if this is some Ninja Warrior obstacle. There’s a special place for guys like that. That’s the kinda guy who gets his toes stepped on because he won’t move, then flips out at you like ‘how dare you not jump from a plane and parachute down to your seat as opposed to trying to cross my path!’
Just stand your lazy self up pal.
4- Selfie Protocol
Selfies are acceptable (see ME above). Photobombing those selfies is also acceptable, and quite frankly, expected and appreciated. Don’t photobomb them in an obscene manner though, guys. You look like trash. Just drop a little wink & a kiss in the background. Point to nothing in the distance with a face of disgust to leave them wondering what they missed. Maybe a face of disapproval if the selfie-ists are Steelers fans.
But when you feel so inclined to stand up at your seats with your friends, turn your back to the game mid-play and take a selfie?
Just like the 1st rule, nothing goes on during play on the field other than paying attention to play on the field. Wait til the TV timeout. Wait until halftime when nobody is paying attention to the marching band. Wait until the game is over and have the winning score in the background. But for cripe sake, don’t selfie while a play is being run. That screams ‘Look at me! I’m at the Ravens game so I can say I’m at a Ravens game!’ but when the guy next to you asks you to name another Ravens player not named Joe Flacco, Justin Tucker or Dennis Pitta?
Oh, and don’t duck-face either. Or chuck up a peace sign. The worst…
5- No Congregating in the Concourses
Folks… you’re gonna run into buddies at the Ravens game. There are 71,ooo+ people at the games. You’ll see one or two friend at least. And when you do? STEP ASIDE. Don’t form these large congregations in the middle of the concourses that resemble the hockey-hug after a goal, especially pre-game with everybody headed to their seats and now instead of a steady pace as you make your way around the stadium because you park on the complete opposite side of your seats, you end up sitting in the equivalent of 495 traffic at 4pm on a Friday in the rain.
But hey, it’s okay because you haven’t see Mike and Sam since that night at the Horseshoe Casino two whole weeks ago! There’s so much to talk about at that moment and it can’t wait! It’s not like we have any sort of technology that would allow you to speak to somebody from a distance, or perhaps send a written message that could reach them in the matter of mere seconds. No, this is far too important! Those 50 people behind you trying to squeeze through be damned! You must ask Mike how his kids are doing and tell him ‘it’s good seeing you!’ and ‘we need to hang out soon!’ even though you’ll never actually get around to it.
Same rule applies for people who step back into the middle of the concourse to look at the concession menu to decide what they want, then by the time they get to the front of the line they’re back to indecision and send the entire process into a tailspin. It’s concession food people. It’s all pre-frozen, nuked, and overpriced. How hard is it to decide between the $10 hotdog or the $10 pizza? Either way, you’ll be left mumbling ‘that was so not worth $10.’
Follow these simple rules, and everyone around you will thank you!
That’s simple enough, right?
(taps on Google, looks up local anger management classes)