Gary’s Blog: Fan Behavior

Gary’s Blog: Fan Behavior

By Gary Dickman.

I’m back. I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but I took last week off from this blog. Took a quick trip to visit family members in Pasadena and Santa Barbara. It was my first time seeing anyone from my family in over two years. It felt good to be able to be with them after all this time. In three weeks I’ll be going back east for a two-week trip, and I’ll be going to sporting events for the first time in a very long time. All three games will be MLB games, although I’m considering maybe going to an NBA Eastern Conference Finals game in either Brooklyn or Philadelphia. I think one of those teams will make it, maybe both, but we’ll see. But enough about me.

I wish this wasn’t a topic that needs to be brought up, but it is. Almost every year it’s brought up here and around colleges all around the country. Fans are very vocal everywhere on which coaches should be fired. And I hear it every year. It seems a little louder this year. We have very passionate fans here in Hawaii. And with the men’s basketball team losing again in the first round of the Big West Tournament, a lot of fans wanted Eran Ganot to be let go. And with the UH baseball team finishing their season losing 11 out of 12, the fans have been pretty strong with their feelings on Mike Trapasso returning or not as the program’s head coach.

I understand the fans frustration, I really do. No one’s happy or satisfied with how baseball or basketball finished their seasons. I have been accused of being a homer before, and I’m sure that’ll continue. I’m not trying to be. For me, even with pro sports I usually feel bad when a head coach or manager  fired. Maybe that’s just me. I do feel some fans don’t understand everything involved in letting go of a coach. Financial reasons come into play, and like it or not, college sports is a business and the money involved matters a lot. I’ll be honest about this: Working here at ESPN Honolulu and getting to know many of these coaches, I feel even stronger that I don’t want them to lose their jobs. I know to most fans that’s not a reason why I should defend them. And they’re right. But that’s how I feel. I never want to see someone lose their job, there shouldn’t be any joy in that. And I’m disappointed that fans at times want a coach fired so easily.

I don’t know what the future holds for Mike Trapasso. I know he’s a good guy who loves UH and Hawaii. Mike’s been very accommodating whenever I’ve asked him to be on the show. I also know that wins and losses matter. And there hasn’t been enough wins recently. I mentioned that finances come into play when deciding on a coach stying or not. Mike Trapasso’s contract is expiring, so we’ll see what happens in the near future. I do wish the best for him either way.

Here’s another topic that I wish didn’t have to be addressed: fan behavior. What is going on with fans at NBA games lately? They just start getting allowed back in big numbers and then you have a few idiots that don’t deserve to ever be at a game again. I’m sure you all know what’s happened at games in the last week. I do wonder what goes through a fan’s mind when they are spitting on players, throwing things at players, yelling things at players, running on the court during a game, etc. Do these morons think they’re funny or cool? Do they think they’re gonna get away with these acts?

I think that a lot of it has to do with liquor. I’ve seen people do incredibly dumb things while under the influence. How else do you explain a 20- or 25-year-old man spitting, throwing a water bottle, or running on the court in an NBA game and then smiling and laughing about it as they’re being thrown out? And that’s another thing that bothers me. In New York and Philadelphia last week, the two fans kicked out were banned indefinitely. Why indefinitely? When a fan does something that idiotic, they don’t deserve a second chance. I think if fans all knew that if they do something at an NBA or any game like we saw last week, and they’ll be banned permanently, as in forever, they might think twice about doing it. I hope that teams or leagues will take a stronger stance on this. I also was hoping that after the last year and a half, when so much was taken from us, that we’d appreciate being able to go to games again and not act like fools. And I know it’s only a small number of fans doing this, but come on.

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