With the regular season in the NFL and the beginning of the college football season fast approaching, now is as good a time as ever to go over an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of attending football games.
I’m talking about season ticket holder etiquette. Now most people go to the game with some friends. Maybe you have tickets through your office, with your brother, in-laws, etc. But for the season ticket holder, there’s another type of person you have to interact with. And those people are the other season ticket holders in your section that you only know from going to the games.
The beginning of a new season and returning to your section of the stadium is a family reunion of sorts. Much like a family, unfortunately you don’t get to choose who’s in your section. There’s bound to be some people you don’t like. But, there’s no reason why sections can’t get along anyways, if they stick to a few simple guidelines.
The following are the do’s and don’ts of interacting with fellow season ticket holders. Remember, these are regarding people you have no contact with outside of the stadium.
Do liberally hand out high fives. These are for everyone in the section. Even people you don’t recognize.
Don’t liberally hand out hugs. Hugging really has no place in the stadium, unless something miraculous has happened, and even then it should be reserved for people you know in some other context. It also becomes extremely transparent if your policy is to just hug the hot girls in the section.
Do talk about football related occurrences such as off-season moves or new strategies. This can and should be a quick exchange of ideas, while avoiding any real controversial subjects.
Don’t talk about your child custody battles. No need to bring that sort of personal heaviness into the stadium and share it with a virtual stranger. Remember, we’re talking to each other because of proximity. There are very few licensed therapists at a football game, and chances are you aren’t sitting next to one.
Do make occasional observations about the game. Try and limit it to two a quarter.
Don’t provide color commentary. I’m looking at you “wears-the radio-headphones-all-game guy.” If someone needs information from you, they won’t hesitate to ask. And believe it or not, “They need to throw it more,” or “Why would you punt?” is not valuable football insight.
Do maintain a united front against an opposing team’s fan or fans. Hurling insults to especially annoying visitors can be a fun and unifying activity for any section.
Don’t whip a battery at an opposing team’s fan or fans and then demand that your section lie to security for you. A section should be loyal to each other, but this isn’t the mob.
Don’t, under any circumstance, attempt to make contact with a fellow season ticket holder outside a football context. Tailgating maybe, but if you see each other at the grocery store or a bank, anything more than a polite nod is a severe violation of season ticket holder etiquette.