Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sit down

Couldn't help but feel some satisfaction from this story:
With the help of noted Cleveland Browns fan Bill Shakespeare, we present the star-crossed tale of Rob Stipe, a Dawg Pound fan who dresses up for games in a wig, face paint and shoulder pads and was recently kicked out of his seat at Cleveland Browns Stadium for standing up too much during games.
Stipe, a ticket holder of 25 years, was told by security personnel to sit during the first quarter of Sunday's game when he was standing during a third down. Later in the game, he was standing again and was asked to leave his seat due to a new rule that immediately boots second-offenders.

Stipe insists his standing isn't excessive. Adam Wright of The Chronicle-Telegram explains:
According to Stipe, "excessive standing" has become a bit of a no-no at Cleveland Browns Stadium over the last few seasons. Last year, he was also scolded for the offense and three sheriff's deputies were sent to meet him outside the bathroom to tell him to use his seat more.
"We do not stand all the time," the 35-year-old explained, referring to the as many as 12 friends and family who share season tickets. "We stand on first down, we stand at the beginning of this game, we stand at kickoff. We stand. We are standers, but we're also courteous to other people. If somebody says, 'Hey man, will you sit down?' Sure, I will love to sit down for you. No problem."
A Browns official told the newspaper that the standing rule is enforced only if other fans complain and that security personnel aren't scanning the crowd for standers. Stipe, who said he always honors requests to sit, admitted later in the story that he'd prefer everyone to stand.
"I hate the people who sit down at a game," he said. "It's not that I try to stand and [expletive] everyone off. I want everyone to stand so that when we're on national TV we don't look like lumps on a log."
The feeling is mutual, pal. We hate people who constantly stand up at a game.

Here's the deal: my father is a 30+ year Cleveland Browns season ticket holder.  We've gone to every Browns home game ever since I can remember.  Yes, we drive 5 hours from Indianapolis to Cleveland for every Browns home game.  We wear our Browns gear, yell and scream where needed, take our binoculars and radios to listen to the play-by-play, listen to the post game shows and everything.

Do we sound like fans to you?

We also prefer to sit down through the entire game. We're there to watch the game and if possible help the Browns win through cheering, yelling and screaming.  We're not there to be seen on TV. 

So it is more than a little annoying when someone in front of us insists on standing and cheering on just about every single play.  Don't get me wrong.  I understand it for big plays or tense situations, but every single play?  No. They put seats in the stadium for a reason.  We paid for seats to watch a football game, not to be forced to stand to watch the game or sit and watch your fat butt. 

One guy (a fat drunk) was so bad he basically forced us to change seats.  Drunk and threatened a fight if you told him to sit down.  If anything, Browns security is not tough enough on people who stand.

Plus, you do not need to be standing to cheer.  Lungs and vocal cords are perfectly functional when you are seated.

We have noticed that as the team's mediocrity has continued, the behavior of the fans has gotten worse and worse.  Standing was never an issue at old Municipal Stadium.  People knew when to stand (some of the time) and when to sit (most of the time).  Now, we have people who stand and yell when the Browns have the ball, even on first down.  Seriously, when your team has the ball, you're supposed to be quiet so they can hear the snap count.  Browns fans normally know this instinctively.

Our guess is that the season ticket holders sell or give their tickets away to people who don't know how to behave at football games.

And the comparison with other stadiums I've been to is striking.  I've noticed they don't have this problem in San Diego, when I go to watch the Chargers and sit in the season ticket section.  More amazing is Pittsburgh.  For Steeler games, the public address actually has an announcement that people should stay in their seats except for a stoppage in play.  They do stand for big plays, but generally they sit down.  Somehow, I don;t think anyone is going to question the passion of Steeler fans.

They know how to behave at football games.  It sounds like Rod Stipe, who should know better, does not.

Chris Chase finishes his story with this:
Look, I sympathize with Stipe. I much prefer standing to sitting while at games; it makes me feel like I'm into the game more. It also looks much better on television. But the decision to stand or sit is a collective one made by the crowd. If the people behind you aren't standing and aren't taking cues from you to stand, you're a jerk if you keep doing it. Stipe tells a sob story, but I'm guessing his one-sided account leaves out some key details about the extent of his standing, the annoyance of the crowd behind him or his reaction to security personnel. If his version is the complete truth, this is a preposterous miscarriage of ticket-holder justice. More likely than not, he wasn't booted for standing as much as he was for refusing to sit.
Except people like Stipe don't make it a cue; they make it a requirement.  Thanks to them,  if you don;t stand, you can't see the game, which is the reason you are at the stadium in the first place.

Standing is not a sign of being into the game.  Standing is a sign of wanting to be seen.  If you want to be seen, throw your own football party at home or go to a bar.  Leave the football at the stadium for the real fans who actually want to see the game.

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