So much of our effort is put into addressing the bad behavior of professional sports players and it hasn't been until recently that the spot light has actually been on the fans. Angry fans create a hostile environment for attending games. Who wants to go to baseball or football game if you think you might get beat up for liking the "away" team.
Have we lost our humanity? These are games! I think us as spectators have completely lost perspective of the importance and meaning that professional games have in our life. From a developmental perspective, we all go through a period in our life when we want to identify with something. This identification can come in the form of music, school, sports, art, etc or we can identify with more negative influences such as alcohol or drugs. Often the spectators who become violent about others who don't support their team are because they have over identified or objectified with the team in an unhealthy way.
I'm almost thinking the professional sports motto in general should be something like "Like us, but don't love us". Liking a team is much easier and doesn't come with all the emotional baggage that love has. So whether you live in Oakland, Los Angeles or New York, consider my suggestion. Being passionate about a sports organization doesn’t mean you need to be polarized by it. You can still appreciate that others might feel equally as passionate about their club as you do about yours. We all have a right to stand behind the teams we adore, but it doesn’t mean we have the license to go and attack anyone else for not supporting our team or liking another.
Professional sports might need anger management now more than ever. Not just the athletes, but the fans are in the spotlight for needing some serious help. As the saying goes, “can’t we just all get along?”
In any event, anyone who has ever found themselves saying or doing things they regret at a game might really benefit from an short, simple, yet effective online educational anger management class. Sports fans will learn civility by better understanding concepts in assertive communication, empathy and emotional awareness, stress management, and improving impulsivity. While we all want to be proud of the teams we cherish, shouldn’t our obligation to humanity supersede our need to win? I would certainly hope so.