Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Being a Fan of the Away Team

I’ve loved football for a long time. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved turning on the TV on Sunday afternoons to watch professional football.  And even better than watching on TV is going to an actual football game.

There is nothing quite like going to the big stadium, cheering on your team in person, and being surrounded by thousands of fans who are cheering for the same team you are.
Wait, I need to rephrase that.  It isn’t always true.

There is nothing quite like going to the big stadium, cheering on your team in person, and being surrounded by thousands of fans who are cheering for the same team as you are, as long as you are cheering for the home team.

I learned this very quickly a few weeks ago.

Me wearing one of my St. Louis Rams shirts
For some reason, when I was younger, I became a St. Louis Rams fan. I’m not sure why, but I did, and I have been a Rams fan ever since. I still love the Minnesota Vikings, but the Rams are #1 in my heart.

Knowing I loved the Rams, a few of my friends who happened to get tickets for the Rams vs Vikings game a few weeks back called me and offered me a ticket to go watch my favorite team come play here in Minnesota. I was ecstatic.  I got dressed, putting on a long-sleeved Rams shirt with a jersey of one of my favorite Rams players on top.  As I went to the game, I was bouncing like a toddler who had just been given way too much sugar and a 5 hour energy.

Then I got to the game.

Do you know the term “Minnesota Nice?”

Yeah, I realized that doesn’t hold true when it comes to football games.  

From the start of the game to the finish, I was heckled to no end. Now I will admit, most of it was playful and said with a smile, but nevertheless, I was called some very mean things.

I was sworn at, called an idiot, and told to go home more times than I can count. At one point, a mom squatted down, pointed at me, and told her little toddler son, “those are the bad guys.”

C’mon ma’am, I don’t think I’m that bad of a guy.

All I wanted to do was watch and cheer on my team; I didn’t ask to be heckled.

Throughout life, we are going to have times where we believe and support something, and the majority of people might not agree with us.  They might laugh at our ideas, make fun of us, and tell us we’re wrong.  And it can be really hard.

But you wanna know what the bright spot was for me at the game?

The other Rams fans.

Even though there were thousands of people against me, there were a few people in attendance who were cheering for the same team as me. Who believed what I believed.

Just like that, when we stand by what we believe, there will be others who believe that too, even if we don’t see them right away.

When I reflected on my day at the football game, I realized it had taught me two main things.
1. It’s important for us to stand by what we believe in.

It is going to be incredibly difficult, but we need to stand up for what we know is right.

For instance, if we see a fellow student getting picked on, we need to stand by what is right and stick up for them, no matter what we think others may think of us. If we believe we can accomplish a goal, such as competing at state, we need to keep believing in ourselves, even if others doubt us.

There are going to be others who believe in us, others who agree. Family, friends, teachers. All people who can support us and cheer alongside of us.

2. We need be accept that not everyone thinks the same as us.

There’s a big difference between supporting your own idea and looking down on someone else’s.
How hard would it have been for those fans at the game to cheer on the Vikings without having to say rude and mean things to me? They could have cheered just as loud and been just as good of a fan without heckling those who they thought felt differently than themselves.

This year our officer team has picked out the theme, “Together We.” I love this theme, because it is focused on people coming together. People acting as ‘We’ instead of ‘I’ and ‘You.’

When we come together, we are always going to have different opinions on some things, and that is a good thing.

But it is important for us to always be listening to understand where others are coming from.  We need to try to see it from their perspective, and respect the fact they might think differently.  For instance, if a classmate shares an idea which we don’t agree with, we need to stop and think about where they are coming from and the positive aspects of their idea. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to admitting I’m wrong, so I have to work extra hard to keep an open mind and respect what others think or feel.

If I had the option to go back to another football game as the away team, I would totally do it again. There were moments it was really hard, but at the end of the day I was proud I stood for what I believed in without letting others dictate my actions.

And if I were to ever go back as the home team?

I would cheer on my team, but there’s no way I would heckle the visitors. I would understand what it is like to be in that position, and I would respect their willingness to come watch the game amongst many people who do not cheer for the same team as them.

We need to stand by what we believe and respect those who feel differently. That’s what that fateful football game taught me. And through all the heckling and name calling, I can still proudly say,

Go Rams!

Stationed by the Rising Sun.

1 comment:

  1. I know why you picked the Rams. Blue and gold man. You were born to be the FFA president!