CHEERING ON: Crowd at Salter Oval. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
CHEERING ON: Crowd at Salter Oval. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

WATERCOOLER: Poor crowd behaviour ruining live sports?

AFTER spending a couple of hours Sunday standing between the crowd and the players at Salter Oval I have one question to ask.

What is wrong with people?

It seems the days of going to the footy to support your team, have a beer or a soft drink, hang out with your mates and throw a few clever sledges over the fence have gone forever.

I have heard some good one liners hurled towards players at Salter Oval, and often they were met with a sideways smile or even a thumbs up from the intended victim.

But it has now degenerated into vile personal attacks on players, which became so bad towards the end of the season players and officials have questioned their involvement in the game.

When police are stationed around the ground at the end of the A-grade grand final it is clear there is something wrong and not for one second do I think I know what the problem is, and how it could be fixed.

I first went to Salter Oval more than 30 years ago, and while I spend a lot of the afternoon scurrying around under the white-timber grandstand trying to claim bottles and the 20-cent reward that came with them, I don't remember the same vitriol from the footy fans.

At the weekend I saw police move in on a spectator to tell them to tone it down, and in the first week of the finals the police took someone behind the cricket club house to calm them down.

If sports administrators want to grow attendance, one place they can start looking is controlling crowd behaviour.

I cannot imagine any parent would want to take their children to the game when they hear swearing and abuse thrown around, when they can watch a game at home and not have to listen to any garbage in the crowd.

Not only would a better atmosphere entice more people to go the game, those on the ground would enjoy the sport more if they are not being abused while they try and play the love.

Please, take it easy at footy next season. Some of the behaviour off the field took away from what was some of the best action on it.

What do you think about this? Do you agree? Is poor crowd behaviour ruining live sports? 

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