Leave competition to athletes

It’s a good time to be a sports fan.

It’s a good time to be a sports fan.

Today marks the start of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and closer to home, the 2014 Alberta Winter Games begin today in Banff and Canmore.

While it wrapped up on Sunday, Superbowl XLVIII is worth mentioning as well. Of course, we cannot forget that the 2014 Alberta Men’s Provincial Championship Boston Pizza Cup is already well underway.

With so many events taking place now and some of them in our own backyard, it would be foolish for sports fans not to take advantage of the opportunity to take some of them in and support the athletes.

Fans are important if not essential to sports. Ask any high caliber athlete, heck ask any athlete at all and they will tell you that what they do would not be possible without supporters.

Athletes will also tell you that nothing sounds better than hearing fans cheer them on.

So, fans are a good thing.

They promote sports, athletes and encourage athletes to do a better job or continue performing admirably. However, sports fans have the potential to engage in less than amiable practices too. Sometimes, fans aren’t content with watching, they want to compete, so they put down fans of other teams or brag about their own.

While the sporting world is one of the best breeding grounds for developing characteristics like camaraderie, teamwork and sportsmanship it can also be home to some undesirable features like snobbery and trash-talk as well.

It is something that really has no place in sports.

Every fan likes to think the team or athlete they support is the best. That’s fi ne, but just because you think your team is the best doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone else that their team is worse.

Fans are like athletes in a lot of ways. They celebrate when the team wins, grieve when the team loses and offer encouragement and support in either case.

As such, fans should have the same responsibilities when it comes to displaying sportsmanship, something that should be the bedrock of any sport but is seen too little in the sporting world these days.

So, when you are watching your event of choice this week, (and we would recommend you make it the Boston Pizza Cup, how often does Lacombe get to host an event that draws attention on a national scale?) cheer often but leave the competition to the athletes.