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Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re entire life, then you’ve probably witnessed somebody somewhere make a fool of themselves.

Odds are probably pretty good that the last time you visited a sporting event, you observed an attitude or personality that fit that description.

Hopefully this will be the last time that I peck on this noisy keyboard about how important it is for fans, parents and sports enthusiasts to understand their responsibilities when attending a ballgame.

People who frequent a gym or stadium have a responsibility because they have an influence. That influence doesn’t go unnoticed to a young player who’s mind is growing and absorbing the atmospheres around them.

Coaches understand that all too well. A local coach recently addressed that issue to a crowd of parents. It all seemed like stuff we’ve all heard before. So, why does it continue to be a problem?

As the saying goes … it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. That statement drives me crazy because it absolutely is about winning or losing. It’s the whole reason you play the game.

The better statement would be “the way you play the game will define future success.”

I remember a baseball game sometime around fourth or fifth grade. I don’t remember who won — it was probably a loss — but I remember the reaction of the coach. His disagreement about a particular play during the game resulted in him keeping the team from shaking hands with the other team afterwards.

The back story was that the coach was a jerk and wasn’t fit to be a coach because of his poor attitude and bad leadership. Looking back, I wish I would’ve defied the coach and went to shake hands anyways. However, that would’ve been a sign of disrespect toward the coach because his guidance and authority is where a player is supposed to place their submission and trust. He’s supposed to be the faithful leader.

If social media would’ve been around back then, it probably wouldn’t have even happened due to fear. Fans don’t feel that fear from the stands.

It’s good to hear coaches nowadays talk about teaching responsibility, work ethic and character development. Parents and fans who act like fools in the stands aren’t teaching any of those things. They’re making it all about them and their shenanigans.

Basically, any ballgame anywhere is about the team, the kids and the experiences that the players are learning to guide them down the road to success.

Paying admittance to get in the gym doesn’t give anyone special rights. Paying attention to the athletes outside of the gym in “real life” is where people really make a difference.

So, if you attend a game this year, don’t try to do the referee’s job. Don’t try to do the coaches job. Do the job of being a responsible fan.

When any sports team concludes the season without any ejections being assessed to a coach, participant, school official, parent or fan, the school can submit a request form for an “Award of Excellence” for a specific sport according to the Arkansas Activities Association.

This is a new concept to me. Apparently not many schools qualify. Let’s change that.

Rodney Beaver is a sports writer for the Harrison Daily Times. E-mail him at rodneyb@harrisondaily.com or follow him at twitter.com/rodneybeaver .

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