TALLAHASSEE FL - NOVEMBER 27, 2010 (I'm having an awesome time, can't you tell?) (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Generally, I consider myself to be a reasonably considerate individual. While I don't often take public transportation, when I do, I offer my seat to women, children, and the elderly. If I have to sneeze indoors, I do so into the crook of my elbow to help avoid spreading germs through handshakes. When I invite people into my home, I offer them a drink, let them sit in my favorite chair, and generally worry about their own comfort level before I think about my own. I even volunteer in the community and donate money to various charitable causes.But when it comes to conduct at sporting events, "society" and I cannot seem to get on the same page.
Rather than belabor my experience at Doak on Saturday, which I suspect was not uncommon amongst my vertical brethren, I decided to compile a Stander's Manifesto of sorts; a guide to assist those who might be unfamiliar with what to expect when encountering someone who is standing, cheering, stomping their feet and clapping their hands. While I don't expect to win the hearts and minds of those tethered to the cold, hard bleachers, perhaps those folks who read this will come away with a bit more appreciation for perspective of a seemingly recalcitrant Stander.
Point 1: Your Legs Are Not Broken
Unless you have some sort of medical condition that prevents you from alternatively standing and sitting for intervals of no more than 10-15 minutes (self-induced obesity doesn't count, but age might), you should probably expect that, if asked, I will politely decline to sit down while the Home Team is on Defense. Shocking, I know, but don't worry, you have plenty of other options. For starters, you could join me in standing. If that doesn't interest you, perhaps you might consider decamping to one of the many available empty seats within spitting distance of your current location. Also, if you are unhappy with your line of sight, don't forget the massive jumbotron (located above the student section). I use it on a regular basis, especially when my line of sight is impeded or sub-optimal.
Point 2: You May Be Trespassing
If you are someone who is sitting behind me (for the first and hopefully only time), who acquired his tickets in an unknown series of transactions for what I can fairly presume was less than face value, please be advised that the people who normally occupy your seats are also Standers. I know this, because we have seen each other, and high-fived or consoled each other, at nearly every game for the past six years. That's right, you have wandered your way behind enemy lines and into a bunch of season ticket holders.
Perhaps you should have sprung for more expensive tickets, rather than sitting directly adjacent to the student section, where a younger, slightly more energetic crowd tends to reside. If stadium seats are like real estate, it was probably unwise to speculatively invest in a location without any sort of homeowner's association or zoning restrictions. To carry that analogy a bit further, you might want to consider that some people, myself included, may be sitting in cheaper seats than they would prefer, in an attempt to compromise with the Priority 1 Wimbledon crowd. Anyway, welcome to my neighborhood.
Point 3: Sitting is a Catch 22
My wife has a set of pipes on her. When she stands and yells, which she does for nearly every defensive play, those in her cone of sound probably feel like they are topside on the Steve Irwin, being bombarded with noise from a Japanese-deployed LRAD. At one point, I could distinctly hear two noises in the stadium, my wife, and what I believe was a vuvuzela. The vuvuzela was louder, but only marginally so. If my wife were to yell and not stand, she would, without exaggeration, cause the people in front of us to go temporarily (and possibly permanently) deaf.
Continue reading the Manifesto after the Jump:
Point 4: Toyko Rose is in our Midst
Sitters who actively seek to curtail Standers ("Proud Sitters") are anathema. The collective effect of the Proud Standers efforts, should they to succeed, would be an erosion of home field advantage. Save the occasional big game, the fact of the matter is that Doak is nothing special when it comes to crowd noise, even without the active (and passive aggressive) attempts at sabotage. While Proud Sitters may view Standers as inconsiderate, Standers view your ilk as treasonous, half a step removed from actively supporting the away team.
At best, Proud Sitters appear selfish. Assuming they are marginally aware that one crowd induced procedure penalty or timeout has the potential to alter a drive or even the outcome of the game, they instead focus their efforts, energy and attention on making the stadium a kinder, gentler place to play for the opposing team. Unless you do not believe in home field advantage or crowd noise, there is really no debating this point. Coaches certainly believe it, otherwise teams would not bother to practice with the speakers on. And the odds-makers in Vegas believe it as well. Moving on.
Point 5: Breaking Bad
It is harder to get loud while sitting down. It's Science. I can't stomp my feet as loud, nor can I project my sound as well while seated.
Point 6: I Know You Can Do It
For whatever reason those of you who prefer to sit also seem to enjoy standing at unusual times. For example, you have no problem standing during timeouts. Perhaps this is because the bleachers are actually quite uncomfortable and are not designed to be sat on for extended periods of time. Even more curious, most chronic Sitters readily spring into action during the wave. For a stander like me, it is impossible to understand why you cannot simply take your standing "breaks" during the time when it is appropriate and helpful to stand.
Point 7: Don't Ask Me What the Score Is
As a corollary to point six, Sitters seem to have no problem missing crucial stretches of the game in order to get something to eat. I recognize that sitting for an extended period of time tends to be exhausting. If you would rather skip a crucial possession or possessions in order to re-carb without the ten minute halftime line, you shouldn't be that surprised at my lack of sympathy for your position.
Point 8: Are you Familiar With Henry Clay?
Committed sitters aren't simply interested in seeing the game. If they were, they would just stand when the person in front of them stands. Instead, they want it all; they want to sit and see the game. If a sitter was really interested in seeing the game more than they were interested in standing, the considerate thing to do would be to compromise and stand. Otherwise, the Sitter gets two things they want (sitting and seeing the game) and the Stander (who sees the game either way but wants to cheer as loudly as possible) gets nothing. Seems kind of selfish to me. In actuality, many standers would prefer to stand the entire time. Standing only while on defense while sitting on offense is actually a unilateral compromise, wherein Standers have given up 50% percent of their territory in exchange for absolutely nothing. How many more one-sided concessions can the Standers make?
Point 9: Paternalism, It's Good for You, That's Why We Call It Paternalism
While I'm a live and let live kind of a guy, standing is good for your health. I may not know you, but I don't want to see you die either. Standing strengths the leg muscles, prevents blood clots, strengthens the abdominals, is good for your back, tones your butt, and is positively correlated with reduced risk of heart disease and obesity. Sitting burns less calories than chewing a stick of gum. You are welcome.
Point 10: What is a Manifesto Without a Whimsical Solution?
If I were Athletic Director/Booster President for a day, the first thing I'd do would be to implement a standing preferred section. It makes sense for a number of reasons. The day that Doak actually institutes some type of anti-standing policy will be the day that I give up my season tickets and discontinue my booster contribution. I'll simply watch from home, as there will be no point in physically attending.
Point 11: Okay, How About a Band-Aid?
Until the Revolution occurs (which will in the age of media not only be televised, but also will be blogged, tweeted, facebooked, foursquared, and woofed) to show that Standers like myself are not unreasonable, and to reward those Proud Sitters for having the courage to examine the morally bankrupt nature of their position and the unjustified importance they tend to place upon their own personal comfort level, I am willing to offer a compromise. If asked, I will attempt to restrict my standing to the following defensive situations, provided that no one is standing in front of me:
a) non-standard, non-garbage time 1st and 2nd downs.
b) third downs.
c) fourth downs.
In exchange, I require nothing personally. You don't even need to know the difference between non-standard and standard downs, or when a game is in garbage time for this Great Compromise to apply.
However, I'm sure that the team would appreciate it if you would forget about the nachos for a few minutes and urge on the Defense with the same intensity you show when willing plucky Bobblehead Number 1 to victory. If you can do that, I can be somewhat accommodating to your personal needs. After all, I'm a generally considerate guy. Absent that, it is business as usual for this Stander.