Friday, June 26, 2009

The Old College Boo

Over breakfast this morning, TigerBlog was listening to a sports talk show discuss fan behavior at last night's NBA Draft and whether it is acceptable to boo, chant and shout reactions to a team's picks.

The argument against is that the fans are booing college players just starting their careers, effectively deciding the player's worth before he's dribbled a ball professionally.

Is it OK? Is it not? Should they just be used to it from all the razzing from student sections across the land?

TigerBlog thinks that part of the thought process behind fans booing at the draft (NFL even more famously) and at the games themselves has to do with money. It's ever more expensive to attend professional sports events, so perhaps fans feel the right to scream their frustrations/insults comes with purchasing the ticket. Maybe it's jealousy over the big bucks those on stage are about to receive. Who knows?

Discussions like this show how different a world Princeton athletics is in. It's hard to think of a time at a Princeton athletic event when fans booed a player in-game. Not during introductions or when a close referee's call goes one way or the other, but actual boos raining down during play. It's a pretty family-friendly place.

Why the difference? Is it because fans don't have to shell out a chunk of the monthly rent/mortgage payment to attend games here? Is it because people know these are college kids and not professionals? Is it different at other schools?

Perhaps another key difference is the relative unknown status college players have when they begin at universities. Sure, a kid may have all kinds of honors from high school or recruiting touts, but who's ever heard of an incoming freshman being dismissed as an awful choice before the first game? Either they play well and are lauded or they don't see much time and are an afterthought.

The need for fans to display their immediate reactions to draft picks probably comes from the same place as a fan's need for instant information. It's been discussed before on TigerBlog how game previews on are some of the highest-viewed stories. People want to have instant information in today's 24-hour news culture. Just as some fans can't wait for the game, they can't wait for the draft picks to get used to their teams and see how it all goes.

Your thoughts?

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